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Herbs & Plants

Allium acuminatum

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Botanical Name : Allium acuminatum
Family : Alliaceae
Genus : Allium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Species: A. acuminatum

Common Name: Tapertip onion or Hooker’s onion


Habitat
: Allium acuminatum is native to  Western N. America – Washington to N. California.It grows in amongst dry sunny rocks on hills and plains.

Description:
Plant:  perennial
; scape terete full length, 10-35 cm. Traditionally, bulbs were dug in the spring and eaten by the Thompson.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from May to June. Its bulbs are small and spherical and smell like onions. The flowers are pink to purple on a long stem which appear after the leaves have died.

Flowers: 10-20 flowers per scape; outer tepals commonly purple-rose, lanceolate, 8-15 mm, becoming involute margined and keeled, tips spreading to recurved; inner tepals smaller than outer series

Bulb: Bulb growing to 0.3m by 0.08m.    New bulb is formed inside of the bulb coat of the parent bulb, bulb coat maked with squarish reticulations

The long, narrow basal leaves typical of the Onion Family can be seen dried in the lower part of the picture at left.  Many wild animals eat the bulbs and the onion-flavored leaves of this and other Alliaceae.

Leaves: slightly channeled or V-shaped in cross section

CLICK & SEE

The onions were eaten by first peoples in southern British Columbia. They were harvested in either early spring or late fall and usually cooked in pits.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation :
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil.  The bulbs tend to rot when grown in cool wet climates, even if they are given sharp drainage. This species is best in a cold frame and given a dry summer rest.  The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Seed.

Bulb – raw or cooked.   Eaten in spring and early summer. A strong flavour . The bulb is 10 – 15mm wide .  Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a relish. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads. The seed heads can be placed in hot ashes for a few minutes, then the seeds extracted and eaten.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses

Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses : …Repellent.....The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles. The bulbs can be rubbed on the skin to repel insects.

Known Hazards :  Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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.

Other Uses
Repellent.

The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles . The bulbs can be rubbed on the skin to repel insects.

Known Hazards : Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible .

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Allium+acuminatum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_acuminatum
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ALAC4&photoID=alac4_005_ahp.jpg
http://www.cwnp.org/photopgs/adoc/alacuminatum.html
http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Pink%20Enlarged%20Photo%20Pages/allium.htm
http://www.penstemon.org/Idaho07PreviewPartTwo.htm

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News on Health & Science

Onion a Day Keeps Hay Fever Away

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Onion may hold the key to beating hay fever, says a new study.
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Dutch researchers say onion skins contain quercetin, a potent natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory shown to help hay fever sufferers.

According to the British Onion Producers’ Association, onions contain three times as much quercetin as kale – the next-richest source – and 10 times as much as broccoli, reports The Daily Express.

Allergic rhinitis triggered by the pollens of specific seasonal plants is commonly known as “hay fever”, because it is most prevalent during haying season.

Although hay fever can not spread from person to person the symptoms can pass from person to person and it is the biggest cause of sick leave in the US and the UK.

Sources: The Times Of India


The Amazing properties of Onion

It is not a Vague story… but Fact.

A friend of mine told me a story about  when he was a kid he was in the hospital & nearly dying.  His grandmother came to the hospital & told a family member to go buy her a large onion & a new pair of white cotton socks.  She sliced the onion open then put a slice on the bottom of each of his feet & put the white cotton socks on him.  In the morning when he awoke they removed the socks.  The slices of onion were black & his fever was gone.  The following story that someone sent to me might have some truth in it & we are going to try it this winter.

In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu.  Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy.  When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of  the onions and place it under the microscope.  She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion.  It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in AZ. She said that several years ago many of her employees were  coming down with the flu and so were many of her customers.  The next year she placed several bowls with  onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of  her staff got sick.  It must work.. (And no, she is not in the onion business)

The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home.  If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere.  Try it and see what happens.  We did it last year and we never got the flu.

For flu cure:
Cut both ends off an onion put one end on a fork and then place the forked end into an empty jar… placing the jar next to the sick patient at night.  It is said, the onion would be black in the morning from the germs… sure enough it happened just like that… the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.

Onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.

One more thing, never store cut onions and consume the next day!
They will have more bacteria to do harm than to do good

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Arnica

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Botanical Name: Arnica montana
Family:    Asteraceae
Genus:    Arnica
Species:    A. montana
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Synonyms: Mountain Tobacco. Leopard’s Bane.
Parts Used:
Root, flowers.
Habitat:
Arnica montana is widespread across most of Europe. It is absent from the British Isles and the Italian and Balkan Peninsulas. Arnica montana grows in nutrient-poor siliceous meadows up to nearly 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). It is rare overall, but may be locally abundant. It is becoming rarer, particularly in the north of its distribution, largely due to increasingly intensive agriculture. In more upland regions, it may also be found on nutrient-poor moors and heaths.

Description:   Arnica montana has tall stems, 20–60 cm (7.9–23.6 in) high, supporting usually a single flower head. Most of the leaves are in a basal rosette, but one or two pairs may be found on the stem and are, unusually for composites, opposite. The flower heads are yellow, approximately 5 cm (2.0 in) in diameter, and appear from May to August.

click to see the pictures…>.…....(01)..…(1)……..(2).……..(3).…..…(4)….….

Botanical Description :  Arnica is a genus with about 30 perennial, herbaceous species, belonging to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The genus name Arnica may be derived from the Latin arna, “lamb”, in reference to the soft, hairy leaves.

This circumboreal and montane genus occurs mostly in the temperate regions of western North America, while two are native to Eurasia (A. angustifolia and A. montana).

Arnica used to be included in the tribe Senecioneae, because it has a pappus of fine bristles. This was soon questioned and Nordenstam (1977) placed it tentatively in tribe Heliantheae s.l. This arrangement also became uncertain because of the sesquiterpene lactone chemistry in certain species. Lately Arnica was placed in an unresolved clade together with Madiinae, Eupatorieae, Heliantheae s.s. and Pectidinae.

Several species, such as Arnica montana and Arnica chamissonis contain helenalin, a sesquiterpene lactone that is a major ingredient in anti-inflammatory preparations (mostly against bruises).

Arnica species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bucculatrix arnicella.
Cultivation: Arnica thrives in a mixture of loam, peat, and sand. It may be propagated by root division or from seed. Divide in spring. Sow in early spring in a cold frame, and plant out in May.

The flowers are collected entire and dried, but the receptacles are sometimes removed as they are liable to be attacked by insects.

The root is collected in autumn after the leaves have died down.

Constituents: A bitter yellow crystalline principle, Arnicin, and a volatile oil. Tannin and phulin are also present. The flowers are said to contain more Arnicin than the rhizome, but no tannin.

Medicinal Action and Uses:

Arnica promotes the healing of wounds contracted through blows, punctures, falls and cuts. It is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, relieves pain from injuries and promotes tissue regeneration. One can clean wounds, abscesses, boils and ulcers with diluted Arnica tinctures and dress them with a compress soaked in the same solution. For contusions, sprains, bruises, bursitis, arthritis and inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, apply packs of diluted Arnica tincture. To relieve headaches and visual disturbances due to concussion, apply such compresses around the head and neck. To prepare packs and washes, dilute one tablespoon of Arnica tincture in a cup of boiled water (or where sensitivity is suspected, double the water). The tincture made from the flowers is only used externally, whereas the tincture made from the roots is used internally for cases of hematoma and inflammation of the veins. Arnica also improves the circulation. Arnica flowers are sometimes adulterated with other composite flowers, especially Calendula officinalis, Inula brittanica, Kragapogon pratensis, and Scorzonera humilis. For tender feet a foot-bath of hot water containing 1/2 oz. of the tincture has brought great relief. Arnica has been shown to be an immuno-stimulant, as both the sesquiterpene lactone helenalin and the polysaccharide fraction stimulate phagocytosis. Sesquiterpene lactones are known to have anti-inflammatory activity and their biological effects appear to be mediated through immunological processes. As helenalin is one of the most active, this might help account for the use of Arnica for pain and inflammation.

Arnica has been used for heart problems (as it contains a cardiotonic substance), to improve circulation, to reduce cholesterol and to stimulate the central nervous system. But the internal use should only be done under supervision. It displays astonishing stimulating, decongesting and relaxing properties. The heart is both stimulated in deficient conditions and relieved in excess ones, depending on the case presented.

For sprains and strains, arnica promotes healing and has an antibacterial action; causes reabsorption of internal bleeding in bruises and sprains. Apply as a cream to the affected area, or soak a pad in diluted tincture and use as a compress. Take homeopathic Arnica 6x every 1-2 hours. Do not use on broken skin; use only homeopathic Arnica internally.

Clearing heat in the sense of both deficiency heat and fire toxin is one of its strengths. In Yin deficiency syndromes with either low fever or hot flushes, it matches up well with the likes of hawthorn, rehmannia, mistletoe and valerian.

Arnica montana is sometimes grown in herb gardens and historically has been used as medicine. It has been used in herbal medicine for centuries.  A systematic review of homeopathic A. montana concluded that there are no rigorous clinical trials that support the claim that it is efficacious beyond a placebo effect.

The roots contain derivatives of thymol, which are used as fungicides and preservatives and may have some anti-inflammatory effect. When used topically in a gel at 50% concentration, A. montana was found to have the same effect when compared to a 5% ibuprofen gel for treating the symptoms of hand osteoarthritis.

A scientific study by FDA funded dermatologists found that the application of topical A. montana had no better effect than a placebo in the treatment of laser-induced bruising


Used externally this herb reduces inflammation and pain of bruises, aches, and sprains. While usage it must be kept in mind that internal application of this herb has a toxic effect on the heart and causes very high blood pressure.

In countries where Arnica is indigenous, it has long been a popular remedy. In the North American colonies the flowers are used in preference to the rhizome. They have a discutient property. The tincture is used for external application to sprains, bruises, and wounds, and as a paint for chilblains when the skin is unbroken. Repeated applications may produce severe inflammation. It is seldom used internally, because of its irritant effect on the stomach. Its action is stimulant and diuretic, and it is chiefly used in low fevers and paralytie affections.

Arnica flowers are sometimes adulterated with other composite flowers, especially Calendula officinalis, Inula brittanica, Kragapogon pratensis, and Scorzonera humilis.

A homoeopathic tincture, X6, has been used successfully in the treatment of epilepsy; also for seasickness, 3 X before sailing, and every hour on board till comfortable.

In homeopathic arnica in form of tincture or globules is very commonly used to releave the pain of any kind of wound.

For tender feet a foot-bath of hot water containing 1/2 oz. of the tineture has brought great relief. Applied to the scalp it will make the hair grow.

Known Hazards:  Arnica montana contains the toxin helenalin, which can be poisonous if large amounts of the plant are eaten. It produces severe gastroenteritis and internal bleeding of the digestive tract if enough material is ingested. Contact with the plant  may also cause skin irritation.

Great care must be exercised though, as some people are particularly sensitive to the plant and many severe cases of poisoning have resulted from its use, especially if taken internally.

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.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/herbal-encyclopedia/index.html

en.wikipedia.org and botanical.com

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

 

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Fruits & Vegetables

Onion

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You are what you eat. Some of the gravest health problems can be caused by food and yet, food can also be a cure for many an ailment.

CLICK & SEE THE ONION PLANT 

Onion, like its cousin garlic, is a member of the Allium family. It is rich is certain sulphur-containing compounds. It is these compounds that are responsible for the pungent smell and fumes as well as the various health benefits,

It is Rich in chromium, Vitamin C and dietary fibre.

– Onions have blood sugar regulating effects due to its chromium content as well as increasing insulin availability. This makes it a friend of diabetics.
– Regular consumption of onion reduces bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. It also reduces atherosclerosis.
– Eating onions as little as 2-3 times a week significantly reduces risk of colon cancer
– Onions have this compound that inhibits the breakdown of bone cells thereby reducing osteoporosis.
– The anti bacterial property of onion has long been recognised by Ayurveda. The anti-inflammatory agents present in onions help reduce the cell-inflammation in conditions like asthma and respiratory tract infection. Onion soup could be nature’s own remedy to soothe a cold!

If you ignore the slight side-effect of onion-breath, onions can be just good for you.

Onions have been used for their medicinal properties for centuries. A paste or Ointment made out of onion is said to prevent infection in wounds and burns. Another use externally for age spots, warts, or freckles is to mix onion juice with vinegar and rub on the affected areas. One amusing bit of folklore says that if you put onion juice on your head and then sit out in the sun, you can cure baldness….

Onions and all the other members of the Allium family are thought to have some impact on high cholesterol and blood pressure. An onion Tea can be made and used daily, but I’m not sure how that would taste. The prudent thing for blood pressure and high cholesterol is probably to just include onions in your diet at every opportunity. Unfortunately, the down side to this is that onion compounds travel through the body when ingested and it takes time to process them out through sweat or breathing. Just brushing the teeth doesn’t make the odor go away. So, you’ll live to a ripe old age, but nobody will want to be around you…..

In Ayurveda both Charaka and Shushruta believed onion to be a strengthening food.

*Drinking the mixed juice of onion and bitter gourd cures severe indigestion.
*The juice of a boiled and crushed onion clears phlegm.
*Eating onion helps to clear phlegm from the throat and mouth. Teeth turn brighter. It sharpens the memory and strengthens the nerves.
*One spoonful of onion juice eliminates worms in the stomach of children

Handling onions
Next time you chop an onion and it stings your eyes, remember this is the compound that makes you cry and bestows so many benefits.

Some people soak the halved onion pieces in water before chopping it. But this process causes a loss of nutrients and you may not reap the full benefits of this vegetable. The best way to avoid the tears is to chill the onions for some time before you start chopping. Also, chopping onions in standing position will keep your eyes away from the line of fumes and lessen the eye irritatio.

Some ways to use onion in your diet:

*Use sliced onions in salads with tomatoes, cucumber slices and feta cheese, flavoured with salt, pepper and juice of a lime.
*Roast onion slices in an oven and use them as a garnish on curries and gravy vegetables.
*Make a paste of onions, tomato, garlic, ginger, red chillies and salt. Saut in a little oil and use as gravy for your favourite vegetables.
*Sliced onions can be cooked with any vegetable like cauliflower, gourds, peas, ladys finger, etc., to make a dry curry.
*Mix finely chopped onions in whole wheat flour, with a sprinkling of salt, pepper, ajwain (omum). Bind the dough and roll out into chapattis/parathas.
*Sliced onions can be added to any cooked lentils/ beans like tur dal, rajma, Kabuli chana, chana dal, black-eyed peas.
*Add finely chopped onions to fresh curds with some grated carrots to make a refreshing raita (pachadi).
SOME HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING RAW ONIONS:-

Health benefits of eating raw onions: Cures constipation:

The fiber in raw onions help flush out toxins and hard food particles that get stuck in the intestines. If you are suffering from constipation, have raw onions.

An Ayurveda medicine for sore throat: If you are suffering from cold, cough and a sore throat, have fresh onion juice. Add jaggery or honey to the onion juice.

Remedy for bleeding problems: Have a bleeding nose or suffer from piles? Have raw onions. It is one simple and effective home remedy to cure piles naturally. To cure a bleeding nose, cut a raw onion and smell it for some time. The white onions can help cure bleeding problems.

Controls diabetes: This is one of the health benefits of eating raw onions. If consumed raw, onions increase the production of insulin. So, if you are diabetic, you have a good reason to munch crisp raw onion salad regularly.

Protects the heart: Regular consumption of raw onion protects the heart from coronary diseases. It control high blood pressure and also opens blocked arteries. This is one of the known health benefits of eating raw onions.

Controls cholesterol levels: The small herbaceous plant vegetable has a very good health benefit for obese people and heart patients. Raw onions control cholesterol by reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. It has methylallyl sulphide as well as the sulphur-containing amino-acids that lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels.Prevents growth of cancer cells: Onion is rich in sulphur compounds. Sulphur protects the body from stomach, colon, breast, lung and prostate cancer and prevents the growth of cancer cells. It also helps cure urinary tract disorders.

We often see tears flowing from the eyes while chopping onions. The sulphur-containing oils and organic sulphides lead to tears once it enters the nostrils. These oils help treat anemia. Note that the oils and the effect of organic sulphides reduce when the onions are cooked. So, to treat anemia, have raw onions. These are few health benefits of eating raw onions. You can have raw onions in sandwiches, mix with your vegetable salad or use as toppings for hamburgers and chaats. To prevent the strong and pungent mouth odor of raw onions, brush your teeth and have some mouth fresheners like cardamom or clove

Ext.from:/www.chennaionline.com/health and http://www.gardensablaze.com/VegOnion.htm

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