Categories
Herbs & Plants

Parsnip

Botanical Name: Pastinaca sativa
Family:Apiaceae
Genus:Pastinaca
Species:    P. sativa
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Apiales

Common Name :Parsnip

Habitat : Parsnip is native to Eurasia. It has been used as a vegetable since antiquity and was cultivated by the Romans, although there is some confusion in the literature of the time between parsnips and carrots. It was used as a sweetener before the arrival in Europe of cane sugar. It was introduced into the United States in the nineteenth century.

Description:
Parsnip is a biennial  plant with a rosette of roughly hairy leaves that has a pungent odor when crushed. The petioles are grooved and have sheathed bases. The leaves are once- or twice-pinnate with broad, ovate, sometimes lobed leaflets with toothed margins; they grow up to 40 cm (16 in) long. The flower stalk develops in the second year, growing to a height of 40 to 200 cm (20 to 80 in). It is hairy, grooved, hollow (except at the nodes), and sparsely branched. It has a few stalkless, single-lobed leaves measuring 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) long that are arranged in opposite pairs. The yellow flowers are in a loose, compound umbel measuring 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) in diameter. There are 6–25 straight pedicels, each measuring 2–5 cm (1–2 in) that support the umbellets (secondary umbels). The umbels and umbellets usually have no upper or lower bracts. The flowers have tiny sepals or lack them entirely, and measure about 3.5 mm. They consist of five yellow petals that are curled inward, five stamens, and one pistil. The fruits, or schizocarps, are oval and flat, with narrow wings and short, spreading styles. They are colored straw to light brown, and measure 4–8 mm long….click & see

Parsnip  is a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. Its long tuberous root has cream-colored skin and flesh and can be left in the ground when mature as it becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts. In its first growing season, the plant has a rosette of pinnate, mid-green leaves. If unharvested, it produces its flowering stem, topped by an umbel of small yellow flowers, in its second growing season. By this time the stem is woody and the tuber inedible. The seeds are pale brown, flat and winged.

Parsnips are grown for their fleshy, edible cream-colored taproots. The roots are generally smooth, although lateral roots sometimes form. Most are cylindrical, but some cultivars have a more bulbous shape, which generally tend to be favored by food processors as they are more resistant to breakage. The plant has a apical meristem that produces a rosette of pinnate leaves, each with several pairs of leaflets with toothed margins. The lower leaves have short stems, the upper ones are stemless, and the terminal leaves have three lobes. The highly branched floral stem is hollow and grooved, and can grow to more than 150 cm (60 in) tall.

Cultivation:
The wild parsnip from which the modern cultivated varieties were derived is a plant of dry rough grassland and waste places, particularly on chalk and limestone. Parsnips are biennials but are normally grown as annuals. Sandy and loamy soils are preferable to silt, clay and stony ground as the latter produce short, forked roots.. Parsnip seed significantly deteriorates in viability if stored for long. Seeds are usually planted in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked to a fine tilth, in the position where the plants are to grow. The growing plants are thinned and kept weed free. Harvesting begins in late fall after the first frost, and continues through winter. The rows can be covered with straw to enable the crop to be lifted during frosty weather. Low soil temperatures cause some of the starches stored in the roots to be converted into sugars, giving them a sweeter taste.

Propagation :   
Seed – sow from late winter to late spring in situ. Seed can be slow to germinate, especially from the earlier sowings, it is best to mark the rows by sowing a few radishes with the parsnips. The seed has a short viability, very few will still be viable 15 months after harvesting

Edible Uses:
The parsnip is usually cooked but can also be eaten raw. It is high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. It also contains antioxidants and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.

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Parsnips resemble carrots and can be used in similar ways but they have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. While parsnips can be eaten raw, they are more commonly served cooked. They can be baked, boiled, pureed, roasted, fried or steamed. When used in stews, soups and casseroles they give a rich flavor.  In some cases, the parsnip is boiled and the solid portions are removed from the soup or stew, leaving behind a more subtle flavor than the whole root, and starch to thicken the dish. Roast parsnip is considered an essential part of Christmas dinner in some parts of the English-speaking world and frequently features in the traditional Sunday Roast.  Parsnips can also be fried or thinly sliced and made into crisps. Parsnips can be made into a wine that has a taste similar to Madeira.

In Roman times, parsnips were believed to be an aphrodisiac.  However, parsnips do not typically feature in modern Italian cooking. Instead, they are fed to pigs, particularly those bred to make Parma ham.

Medicinal Uses:
In traditional Chinese medicine, the root of Chinese parsnip is used as a herbal medicine ingredient.

Poultice;  Women’s complaints.

A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of women’s complaints. A poultice of the roots has been applied to inflammations and sores. The root contains xanthotoxin, which is used in the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo. Xanthotoxin is the substance that causes photosensitivity .

Other Uses:
Insecticide;  Repellent.

The leaves and roots are used to make an insect spray. Roughly chop the leaves and roots, put them in a basin with enough water to cover, leave them overnight then strain and use as an insecticide against aphids and red spider mite.

Known Hazards:
While the root of the parsnip is edible, handling the shoots and leaves of the plant requires caution as the sap is toxic.  Like many other members of the family Apiaceae, the parsnip contains furanocoumarin, a photosensitive chemical that causes a condition known as phytophotodermatitis.  The condition is a type of chemical burn rather than an allergic reaction, and is similar to the rash caused by poison ivy. Symptoms include redness, burning, and blisters. Afflicted areas can remain discolored for up to two years.  Although there have been some reports of gardeners experiencing toxic symptoms after coming into contact with foliage,  these have been small in number compared to the number of people that grow the crop. The problem is most likely to occur on a sunny day when gathering foliage or pulling up old plants that have gone to seed. The symptoms have mostly been mild to moderate.  The toxic properties of parsnip extracts are resistant to heating, or a storage period of several months. Toxic symptoms can also affect livestock and poultry in parts of their bodies where their skin is exposed.  Polyacetylenes can be found in Apiaceae vegetables such as parsnip, and they show cytotoxic activities  In sunlight, handling the stems and foliage can cause a skin rash…...click & see

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsnip
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Pastinaca+sativa

Categories
Healthy Tips

Foods for for healthy hair & scalf

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Salmon : It contains vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. This omega-3 fatty acid is very much essential to keep your scalp and hair shaft very well hydrated. As healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, get in more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

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Beef :If you don’t have cholesterol problems, then you must consume this meat at least twice a day. This food has all the possible nutrients that your hair needs for its up keep. The presence of protein, vitamin B, iron, zinc and other vital minerals will help to maintain the health of your scalp and hair.Though it is rich in nutrients, the consumption of beef should be minimum to avoid other health problems.

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Prunes: Including prunes in your diet can help to improve your hair texture as well as proper bowl movements. As it is rich in iron, it helps prevent hair loss, dull hair, thin hair, and discoloration of your hair.

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Green tea : The presence of polyphenols helps in keeping your scalp healthy. If your scalp is healthy, then the overall health of your hair improves, as it helps to keep your hair shiny and dandruff free. To treat your dandruff problem with this miraculous tea. Wash your hair with green tea or apply it on your scalp which will help to kill your dandruff worries.

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Carrots: Carrots not only help to sharpen your vision but also to maintain the health of your hair due to the presence of vitamin A. Existence of vitamin A helps in formation of sebum oil in the scalp. Sebum is a very important element which helps to keep the scalp and hair very well moisturized. A moisturized scalp means healthy hair.

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Eggs: Eggs are rich in biotin and vitamin B. These two nutrients are very important for the health and maintenance of your hair. Biotin is a star element, which helps to keep your hair shiny and lustrous. Biotin is also present in many shampoos and conditioners and is one of the important elements needed for hair health.

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Dark green leafy vegetables: Include lots of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and lettuces in your diet. All these dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin A and Vitamin C. Both these vitamins help in the formation of sebum, which is a natural hair conditioner and hence moisturizes your skin and scalp.

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Brown rice:  Brown rice has some protein, vitamins and fiber. Besides giving you healthy hair and scalp, it also keeps you from over eating as it keeps you full for a longer time. Hence, switch to brown rice now to maintain your hair as well as your body.

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Oysters: Hair loss or dandruff is due to low level of hormone androgen production. Include oysters in your diet as they are rich in zinc, which further helps in the production of androgen and hence fights against hair fall and dandruff. Besides, it also helps your locks retain shine and health.

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Walnuts : Walnuts are one of the best nuts for your hair nourishment and maintenance. As they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, vitamin E and copper they protect your hair against damage from the sun by being a shield when you venture out; they also prevent hair loss and help keep your hair lustrous and rich in color.

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Cottage cheese: Besides it being low-fat, cottage cheese is also rich in calcium and protein. Include this healthy cheese for breakfast if your goal is to get rid of dull hair and shed some extra kilos at the same time.

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Green peas: Green peas are a well balanced food available for healthy hair. They are loaded with all types of minerals and vitamins like zinc, iron and vitamin B, which help in maintaining the health of your hair and scalp.

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Lentils: If you really want healthy hair and scalp, then include lentils in your diet at least 3-4 times a week, because, Lentils are rich in folic acid. Presence of folic acid helps in providing the requisite amount of oxygen to your scalp and skin, which further promotes hair growth and cell renewal.

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Bell peppers: Include all colors of bell peppers in your diet as they are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C guarantees efficient transition of oxygen to hair follicles. Besides, it also helps in the formation of collagen and promotes hair growth and prevents hair breakage.

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Whole grains; Whole grains are rich in nutrients and fibers. This promotes hair growth and makes it a super food for healthy hair. Besides, it also aids good digestion and prevents ailments like diabetes, obesity and constipation.

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Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which when consumed gets converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A prevents dull scalp and hair and promotes growth and proper circulation of oxygen to the hair follicle.

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Blueberries: This super fruit is loaded with vitamin C, which helps in oxygen circulation to the scalp and hair follicles, and prevents hair breakage.

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Bacon: Though it is an enemy if you want to kick some calories, but if you want healthy hair then you should consume not more than 4 ounces. It is loaded with all healthy hair promoting nutrients like vitamin B, zinc and protein.

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Shrimps: Shrimps are not only delicious but also a great doctor for your dull hair and scalp. Shrimps are loaded with vitamin B12, iron and zinc, all of which prevent hair loss and promote growth and maintenance.

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Pumpkin seeds:  Pumpkin seeds are a perfect hair rejuvenating snack. They’re good for overall health, as they are loaded with protein, omega-6 fatty acids, zinc and iron.

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Resource:
The Times Of India, Feb22,2013

Categories
News on Health & Science

The Amazing Nutrient that Lowers Your Blood Pressure

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Research has recently found that vitamin D has a protective effect against arterial stiffness and impaired blood vessel relaxation.

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Study participants with reduced levels of vitamin D had increased arterial stiffness and vascular function impairment. However, among those whose vitamin D levels were normalized over a six month period, vascular health improved and blood pressure measurements declined.

Science Newsline Reports:

“The results add to evidence that lack of vitamin D can lead to impaired vascular health, contributing to high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

In related news, researchers have also found that high level of vitamin D could be protective against the development of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in adults.

In women younger than 75, those who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations lower than 38 nanomoles per liter were more likely to have age-related macular degeneration than women with concentrations greater than 38 nanomoles per liter.

Resources:
*Science Newsline April 4, 2011
*Archives of Ophthalmology April 2011; 129(4): 481-489
*MSNBC April 27, 2011
*Science Daily March 21, 2011
*Journal of General Internal Medicine April 21, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]
*Diabetes Care May 2011;34(5):1133-8
*Journal of General Internal Medicine March 15, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Posted By Dr. Mercola | April 30 2011

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Categories
Healthy Tips

Increased Levels Of Vitamin D3 For Optimum Health

Vitamin D is one of the most beneficial nutrients for your entire health from head to toe. But as you get older, you are no longer able to maintain the adequate amounts of vitamin D that you need. So how can individuals help support optimal bone mineral levels and enhance their bone strength, while preventing this from becoming a continuing cause of their deteriorating health?


Most experts agree that adding more vitamin D to the diet through foods and/or supplements can help increase your bone strength. And contrary to decades of warnings about overexposure to the sun, a moderate amount of daily sun exposure can flood the body with vitamin D from the sun’s rays.

Research from The Vitamin D Council states that as little as 20 minutes spent in the sun produces up to 10,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D. This is close to 50 times the amount of the United States government’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 200 IU per day.

A vitamin D deficiency can not only lead to decreased bone strength, but according to the Council, medical studies show that ensuring optimal and adequate levels of this vitamin may promote heart and cardiovascular health, support strong immunity, enhance your mood and mental health, promote strong and healthy muscle function, and maintain healthy cellular function.

In fact, vitamin D is so important for the body that it helps maximize the use of other key nutrients including magnesium, zinc, vitamin K2, boron and vitamin A. However, obtaining and supplementing with the right kind of vitamin D can produce the greatest benefits for your health, as well. The Council states that vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the most potent form of the nutrient and has strong health-promoting properties.

Source : BETTER Health Research :

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Categories
Healthy Tips

Does More Frequent Meals Really Rev Up Your Metabolism?

You’ve probably heard that eating smaller meals, several times a day will stimulate your metabolism, and keep it revved to burn more calories throughout your day.
…………….CLICK & SEE
The New York Times points out that although some studies have found modest health benefits to eating smaller meals, the research usually involved extremes.

Many weight-loss books and fad diets claim six meals a day is a more realistic approach.

But will it really make a difference?

The New York Times states:

“As long as total caloric and nutrient intake stays the same, then metabolism, at the end of the day, should stay the same as well. One study that carefully demonstrated this, published in 2009 in The British Journal of Nutrition, involved groups of overweight men and women who were randomly assigned to very strict low-calorie diets and followed for eight weeks. Each subject consumed the same number of calories per day, but one group took in three meals a day and the other six.

Both groups lost significant and equivalent amounts of weight. There was no difference between them in fat loss, appetite control or measurements of hormones that signal hunger and satiety. Other studies have had similar results.”

Exercise, on the other hand, seems to effectively increase metabolism according to studies.


Reources:

New York Times March 21, 2010
The British Journal of Nutrition November 30, 2009; 1-4. [Epub ahead of print]

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