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Bitter orange

Botanical Name :Citrus aurantium L.
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. × aurantium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms : Citrus bigarradia – Loisel.,  Citrus vulgaris – Risso.

Common Names:Bitter orange, Seville orange, sour orange, bigarade orange, or marmalade orange

Habitat :Bitter oranges originate from northeastern India and certain regions of China and Myanmar. The fruit has spread to the rest of the world by the 1st century CE, when the Romans first started cultivating bitter oranges to use them in natural remedies and as a delicious treat. With fall of Roman Empire, the cultivation of Bitter Orange has staggered for a while in Europe. It was the Arabs who spread it all the way to Spain, where they grow even today, lining the streets and spreading the wonderful aroma of the fresh citrus blossoms. Some of these trees are more than 600 years old, but oldest live bitter orange tree is supposedly one planted back in 1421, and still growing at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris.

When the Americas were discovered, Spanish people brought the seeds of bitter orange to North America, namely to Florida and the Bahamas. Florida is today known as the world’s largest producer of oranges, and the fragrant blossoms of the orange tree are listed as Florida state symbols.

Description:
An evergreen Tree growing to 9m by 6m.
It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic (reproduce by seeds formed without sexual fusion), insects. The plant is self-fertile.
click to see the pictures...>..(O1)....(1).…….(2).….…(3)..…….(4)…..……….
The plant prefers medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Varities:
*Citrus x aurantium subsp. amara is a spiny evergreen tree native to southern Vietnam, but widely cultivated. It is used as grafting stock for citrus trees, in marmalade, and in liqueur such as triple sec, Grand Marnier and Curaçao. It is also cultivated for the essential oil expressed from the fruit, and for neroli oil and orange flower water, which are distilled from the flowers.

*Seville orange (or bigarade) is a widely-known, particularly tart orange which is now grown throughout the Mediterranean region. It has a thick, dimpled skin, and is prized for making marmalade, being higher in pectin than the sweet orange, and therefore giving a better set and a higher yield. It is also used in compotes and for orange-flavored liqueurs. Once a year, oranges of this variety are collected from trees in Seville and shipped to Britain to be used in marmalade.[6] However, the fruit is rarely consumed locally in Andalusia.

*Chinotto, from the myrtle-leaved orange tree, C. aurantium var. myrtifolia, is used for the namesake Italian soda beverage.[8] This is sometimes considered a separate species.
Daidai, C. aurantium var. daidai, is used in Chinese medicine and Japanese New Year celebrations. The aromatic flowers are added to tea.

*Wild Florida sour orange is found near small streams in generally secluded and wooded parts of Florida and the Bahamas. It was introduced to the area from Spain.

*Bergamot orange is probably a bitter orange and limetta hybrid; it is cultivated in Italy for the production of bergamot oil, a component of many brands of perfume and tea, especially Earl Grey tea.

Cultivation :
Prefers a moderately heavy loam with a generous amount of compost and sand added and a very sunny position. Prefers a pH between 5 and 6[200]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 8.3. Plants are intolerant of water logging. When growing plants in pots, a compost comprising equal quantities of loam and leafmould plus a little charcoal should produce good results[260]. Do not use manure since Citrus species dislike it. When watering pot plants it is important to neither overwater or underwater since the plant will soon complain by turning yellow and dying. Water only when the compost is almost dry, but do not allow it to become completely dry. Dormant plants can withstand temperatures down to about -6°c so long as this is preceded by cool weather in order to harden off the plant. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. A tree grown outdoors on the coast at Salcombe in Devon lived for over 200 years. The bitter orange is often grown for its edible fruit in warm temperate and tropical zones, there are many named varieties. In Britain it can be grown in a pot that is placed outdoors in the summer and brought into a greenhouse during the winter. Plants dislike root disturbance and so should be placed into their permanent positions when young. If growing them in pots, great care must be exercised when potting them on into larger containers.

Propagation:
The seed is best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it ripe after thoroughly rinsing it. Sow stored seed in March in a greenhouse[3]. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 3 weeks at 13°c. Seedlings are liable to damp off so they must be watered with care and kept well ventilated. The seed is usually polyembrionic, two or more seedlings arise from each seed and they are genetically identical to the parent but they do not usually carry any virus that might be present in the parent plant. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least three growing seasons before trying them outdoors. Plant them out in the summer and give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering in October.

Edible Uses:

Edible Parts: Fruit.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Oil.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Very bitter. It is used in making marmalade and other preserves. The fruit is about 5 – 7cm in diameter. The rind of the fruit is often used as a flavouring in cakes etc. Used in ‘bouquet garni’. An oil obtained from the seeds contains linolenic acid and is becoming more widely used as a food because of its ability to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood. The flowers are used for scenting tea. An essential oil from the dried peel of immature fruits is used as a food flavouring

Cooking:
The unripe fruit, called narthangai, is commonly used in Southern Indian cuisine, especially in Tamil cuisine. It is pickled by cutting it into spirals and stuffing it with salt. The pickle is usually consumed with yoghurt rice thayir sadam. The fresh fruit is also used frequently in pachadis. The juice from the ripe fruit is also used as a marinade for meat in Nicaraguan, Cuban, Dominican and Haitian cooking, as it was in Peruvian Ceviche until the 1960s. The peel can be used in the production of bitters. In Yucatan (Mexico), it is a main ingredient of the cochinita pibil.

The Belgian Witbier (white beer) is made from wheat spiced with the peel of the bitter orange. The Finnish and Swedish use bitter orange peel in gingerbread (pepparkakor), some Christmas bread and in mämmi. It is also used in the Nordic mulled wine glögg. In Greece and Cyprus, the nerántzi or kitrómilon, respectively, is one of the most prized fruits used for spoon sweets, and the C. aurantium tree (nerantziá or kitromiliá) is a popular ornamental tree. Throughout Iran, the juice is popularly used as a salad dressing, souring agent in stews and pickles or as a marinade. The blossoms are collected fresh to make a prized sweet-smelling aromatic jam (“Bitter orange blossom jam” Morabba Bahar-Narendj), or added to brewing tea. In Turkey, juice of the ripe fruits can be used as salad dressing, especially in Çukurova region.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Antiemetic; Antifungal; Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Aromatherapy; Carminative; Contraceptive; Diaphoretic; Digestive; Miscellany; Sedative; Stimulant; Stomachic; Tonic.

Citrus species contain a wide range of active ingredients and research is still underway in finding uses for them. They are rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, acids and volatile oils. They also contain coumarins such as bergapten which sensitizes the skin to sunlight. Bergapten is sometimes added to tanning preparations since it promotes pigmentation in the skin, though it can cause dermatitis or allergic responses in some people. Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics. The plants also contain umbelliferone, which is antifungal, as well as essential oils that are antifungal and antibacterial. They also contain the pyrone citrantin, which shows antifertility activity and was once used as a component of contraceptives. Both the leaves and the flowers are antispasmodic, digestive and sedative. An infusion is used in the treatment of stomach problems, sluggish digestion etc. The fruit is antiemetic, antitussive, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive and expectorant.The immature fruit can be used (called Zhi Shi in China) or the mature fruit with seeds and endocarp removed (called Zhi Ke). The immature fruit has a stronger action. They are used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation, abdominal distension, stuffy sensation in the chest, prolapse of the uterus, rectum and stomach. The fruit peel is bitter, digestive and stomachic. The seed and the pericarp are used in the treatment of anorexia, chest pains, colds, coughs etc. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Radiance’. It is used in treating depression, tension and skin problems.

The leaves have a high vitamin C content in the form of ascorbic acid, and the fruit is full of this too. The fruit also contains flavonoid-glycosides such as aldehytes, ketone-free acids, esters, coumarins and tetranotriterpenoids (limonin). Synephrine is the main chemical constituent in the fruit flavones naringin and neohesperidin. The fruit contains vitamin A and some B-complex vitamins, with the minerals calcium, iron and phosphorous; amino acids are also present.

Herbal stimulant:
The extract of bitter orange (and bitter orange peel) has been marketed as dietary supplement purported to act as a weight-loss aid and appetite suppressant. Bitter orange contains the tyramine metabolites N-methyltyramine, octopamine and synephrine, substances similar to epinephrine, which act on the ?1 adrenergic receptor to constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure and heart rate.p-Synephrine alone or in combination with caffeine or other substances has been shown to modestly increase weight loss in several low-quality clinical trials. Following bans on the herbal stimulant ephedra in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere, bitter orange has been substituted into “ephedra-free” herbal weight-loss products by dietary supplement manufacturers. Like most dietary supplement ingredients, bitter orange has not undergone formal safety testing, but it is believed to cause the same spectrum of adverse events as ephedra. Case reports have linked bitter orange supplements to strokes, angina, and ischemic colitis. The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that “there is currently little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra.” Bitter orange may have serious drug interactions with drugs such as statins in a similar way to grapefruit.

Contraindications:
Because of the potential for additive effects, synephrine use is best avoided in patients with hypertension, tachyarrhythmia, or narrow angle glaucoma.

Pregnancy/Lactation:
Avoid use due to lack of clinical data regarding safety and efficacy during pregnancy and lactation.

Bitter Orange Interactions
Bitter orange may inhibit intestinal CYP3A4 and intestinal efflux and may interact with numerous drugs, including anxiolytics, antidepressants, antiviral agents, calcium channel blockers, dextromethorphan, GI prokinetic agents, vasoconstrictors, and weight-loss formulas.

Other Uses

Essential; Hedge; Oil; Repellent; Rootstock.
This species is much used as a rootstock for the sweet orange, C. sinensis, because of its disease resistance and greater hardiness. Grown as a hedging plant in N. America. A semi-drying oil obtained from the seed is used in soap making. Essential oils obtained from the peel, petals and leaves are used as a food flavouring and also in perfumery and medicines. The oil from the flowers is called ‘Neroli oil’ – yields are very low from this species and so it is often adulterated with inferior oils. The oil from the leaves and young shoots is called ‘petit-grain’ – 400 kilos of plant material yield about 1 kilo of oil. This is also often adulterated with inferior products. Neroli oil, mixed with vaseline, is used in India as a preventative against leeches

Toxicology
Medical literature primarily documents cardiovascular toxicity, especially due to the stimulant amines synephrine, octopamine, and N-methyltyramine, which may cause vasoconstriction as well as increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Known Hazards: (Bitter Orange Adverse Reactions)
There are numerous case reports of adverse cardiac reactions associated with C. aurantium extract use.

Following an incident in which a healthy young man suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack) linked to bitter orange, a case study found that dietary supplement manufacturers had replaced ephedra with its analogs from bitter orange

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.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus_%C3%97_aurantium
http://www.drugs.com/npp/bitter-orange.html
http://www.fragrantica.com/notes/Bitter-Orange-79.html
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Citrus+aurantium

Grapefruit

Orange blossom and oranges. Taken by Ellen Lev...

Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Citrus paradisi
Family: Rutceae
Genus: Citrus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Species: C. × paradisi

Common Name : Grapefruit

Other Names:Citrus grandis, Pomelo, Mahanimbu,  Batabi limbu  in bengali

Habitat :  Grapefruit  is native to tropical   &  subtropical  regions of the world.

The grapefruit is a sub-tropical citrus tree grown for its fruit which was originally named the “forbidden fruit” of Barbados.

Description:The grapefruit tree reaches 15 to 20 ft (4.5-6 m) or even 45 ft (13.7 m) with age, has a rounded top of spreading branches; the trunk may exceed 6 in (15 cm) in diameter; that of a very old tree actually attained nearly 8 ft (2.4 m) in circumference. The twigs normally bear short, supple thorns. The evergreen leaves are ovate, 3 to 6 in (7.5-15 cm) long, and 1 3/4 to 3 in (4.5-7.5 cm) wide; dark-green above, lighter beneath, with minute, rounded teeth on the margins, and dotted with tiny oil glands; the petiole has broad, oblanceolate or obovate wings. The white, 4-petalled flowers, are 1 3/4 to 2 in (4.5-5 cm) across and borne singly or in clusters in the leaf axils. The fruit is nearly round or oblate to slightly pear-shaped, 4 to 6 in (10-15 cm) wide with smooth, finely dotted peel, up to 3/8 in (1 cm) thick, pale-lemon, sometimes blushed with pink, and aromatic outwardly; white, spongy and bitter inside. The center may be solid or semi-hollow. The pale-yellow, nearly whitish, or pink, or even deep-red pulp is in 11 to 14 segments with thin, membranous, somewhat bitter walls; very juicy, acid to sweet-acid in flavor when fully ripe. While some fruits are seedless or nearly so, there may be up to 90 white, elliptical, pointed seeds about 1/2 in (1.25 cm) in length. Unlike those of the pummelo, grapefruit seeds are usually polyembryonic. The number of fruits in a cluster varies greatly; a dozen is unusual but there have been as many as 20.
These evergreen trees are usually found at around 5-6 m tall, although they can reach 13-15 m. The leaves are dark green, long (up to 150 mm) and thin. It produces 5 cm white four-petalled flowers. The fruit is yellow-skinned, largely oblate and ranges in diameter from 10-15 cm . The flesh is segmented and acidic, varying in color depending on the cultivars, which include white, pink and red pulps of varying sweetness. The 1929 US Ruby Red (of the Redblush variety) has the first grapefruit patent.

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The fruit has only become popular from the late 19th century; before that it was only grown as an ornamental plant. The US quickly became a major producer of the fruit, with orchards in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. In Spanish, the fruit is known as toronja or pomelo.

Click to learn more about Grapefruit

History:
The fruit was first documented in 1750 by the Rev. Griffith Hughes describing specimens from Barbados. Currently, the grapefruit is said to be one of the “Seven Wonders of Barbados.” It had developed as a hybrid of the pomelo (Citrus maxima) with the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), though it is closer to the former. It was brought to Florida by Odette Philippe in 1823. Further crosses have produced the tangelo (1905), the minneola (1931), and the sweetie (1984). The sweetie has very small genetic and other differences from pomelo.

The grapefruit was known as the shaddock or shattuck until the 1800s. Its current name alludes to clusters of the fruit on the tree, which often appear similar to grapes. Botanically, it was not distinguished from the pomelo until the 1830s, when it was given the name Citrus paradisi. Its true origins were not determined until the 1940s. This led to the official name being altered to Citrus × paradisi. Grapefruit peel oil is used in aromatherapy and it is historically known for its aromatic scent.

The 1929 Ruby Red patent was associated with real commercial success, which came after the discovery of a red grapefruit growing on a pink variety. Only with Ruby Red the grapefruit transformed into a real agricultural fruit. The Red grapefruit, starting from the Ruby Red, has even become a symbol fruit of Texas, where white “inferior” grapefruit were eliminated and only red grapefruit were grown for decades. Using radiation to trigger mutations, new varieties were developed to retain the red tones which typically faded to pink, with Rio Red is the current (2007) Texas grapefruit with registered trademarks Rio Star and Ruby-Sweet, also sometimes promoted as “Reddest” and “Texas Choice”.

Colors & Flavors:
Grapefruit comes in many varieties, determinable by color, which is caused by the pigmentation of the fruit in respect of both its state of ripeness and genetic bent. The most popular varieties cultivated today are red, white, and pink hues, referring to the inside, pulp color of the fruit. The family of flavors range from highly acidic and somewhat bitter to sweet and tart. Para-1-menthene-8-thiol, a sulfur-containing terpene, is one of the substances which has a strong influence on the taste and odor of grapefruit, compared with other citrus fruits.

Nutritional properties:
Grapefruit is an excellent source of many nutrients and phytochemicals, for a healthy diet. Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C,pectin fiber, and the pink and red hues contain the beneficial antioxidant lycopene Studies have shown grapefruit helps lower cholesterol and there is evidence that the seeds have high levels of antioxidant properties. Grapefruit forms a core part of the “grapefruit diet”, the theory being that the fruit’s low glycemic index is able to help the body‘s metabolism burn fat.

Grapefruit seed extract has been claimed to be a strong antimicrobial with proven activity against bacteria and fungi. However, studies have shown the efficacy of grapefruit seed extract as an antimicrobial is not demonstrated. Although GSE is promoted as a highly effective plant-based preservative by some natural personal care manufacturers, studies indicate the universal antimicrobial activity associated with GSE preparations is merely due to contamination with synthetic preservatives.

A 2007 study found a correlation between eating a quarter of grapefruit daily and a 30% increase in risk for breast cancer in post-menopausal women. The study points to the inhibition of CYP3A4 enzyme by grapefruit, which metabolizes estrogen.

Medicinal Value
Grapefruit stimulates the appetite and is used for its digestive, stomachic, antiseptic, tonic, and diuretic qualities.

Grapefruit and Weight Loss Diets
Over the years a number of people have promoted the grapefruit as possessing a unique ability to burn away fat. People following grapefruit diets lose weight because they eat little else-a practice that can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Grapefruits, however, are a good food to include in a sensible weight-loss diet; a serving contains less than 100 calories, and its high-fiber content satisfies hunger. If you’re trying to lose weight, make grapefruit your first course to help prevent overeating. It’s also an ideal snack food.

Grapefruit and Cholesterol Control
Grapefruits are especially high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol.

Grapefruit for Cancer Control
Recent studies indicate that grapefruits contain substances that are useful in preventing several diseases. Pink and red grapefruits are high in lycopene, an antioxidant that appears to lower the risk of prostate cancer. Researchers have not yet identified lycopene’s mechanism of action, but a 6-year Harvard study involving 48,000 doctors and other health professionals has linked 10 servings of lycopene-rich foods a week with a 50 percent reduction in prostate cancer.

Other protective plant chemicals found in grapefruits include phenolic acid, which inhibits the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines; limonoids, terpenes, and monoterpenes, which induce the production of enzymes that help prevent cancer; and bioflavonoids, which inhibit the action of hormones that promote tumor growth.

Ayurvedic Uses:Vata-kaphha nashak, mild laxative, digestive, appetiser, loss of appetite, abdominal colic, worms, vomiting, nausea.

Other Uses of Grapefruit
Some people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other inflammatory disorders find that eating grapefruit daily seems to alleviate their symptoms. This is thought to stem from plant chemicals that block Prostaglandins, substances that cause inflammation.

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Medicinal Use of Citrus

Grape Fruit  is Very Good for Gums

Click to see ->Grapefruit diet

Drug interactions:
Grapefruit can have a number of interactions with drugs, often increasing the effective potency of compounds. Grapefruit contains naringin, bergamottin and dihydroxybergamottin, which inhibit the cytochrome P450 isoform CYP3A4 in the intestine. It is via inhibition of this enzyme that grapefruit increases the effects of buspirone (Buspar), carbamazepine, several statin drugs (such as simvastatin), terfenadine, felodipine, nifedipine, verapamil, estradiol, tacrolimus, dextromethorphan (significant only at recreational doses), benzodiazepines, and ciclosporin. The effect of grapefruit juice with regard to drug absorption was originally discovered in 1989. However, the effect became well-publicized after being responsible for a number of deaths due to overdosing on medication.

Safety :-
People who are allergic to citrus fruits are likely to react to grapefruits, too. The sensitivity may be to the fruit itself or to an oil in the peel.

CLICK & SEE  :->  Grapefruit raises breast cancer risk   

Click & see : Grapefruit Juice Dangers Q&A

Interactions With Drugs and Medicines:-

Grapefruit has serious interactions with many commonly prescribed medications.

Grapefruit juice inhibits a special enzyme in the intestines that is responsible for the natural breakdown and absorption of many medications. When the action of this enzyme is blocked, the blood levels of these medications increase, which can lead to toxic side effects from the medications.

Grapefruit juice research has suggested that flavonoids and/or furanocoumarin compounds are the substances that act to block the enzyme in the intestines that normally metabolizes many drugs.

The grapefruit juice-drug interaction can lead to unpredictable and hazardous levels of certain important drugs.

These medications should not be consumed with grapefruit juice  unless advised by a doctor:

Statins (Cholesterol Lowering Drugs):

* Baycol (Cerivastatin)

* Mevacor (Lovastatin)

*Lipitor (Atorvastatin)

*Zocor (Simvastatin)

Antihistamines:

*Ebastine

*Seldane (Terfenadine, taken off the U.S. market)

Calcium Channel Blockers (Blood Pressure Drugs):

*Nimotop (Nimodipine)

*Nitrendipine

*Plendil (Felodipine)

* Pranidipine

*Sular (Nisoldipine)

Psychiatric Medications:

*Buspar (Buspirone)

*Halcion (Triazolam)

*Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

* Valium (Diazepam)

* Versed (Midazolam)

Intestinal Medications:

Propulsid (Cisapride, taken off the U.S. market)

*Immune Suppressants:

* Neoral (Cyclosporine)

* Prograf (Tacrolimus)

*Pain Medications:

*Methadone

*Impotence Drug:

*Viagra (Sildenafil)

Toxic blood levels of these medications can occur when patients taking them consume grapefruit juice. The high blood levels of the medications can cause damage to organs or impair their normal function, which can be dangerous.


The following drugs may potentially have interactions with grapefruit juice, but this potential has not been scientifically studied. Use caution:

*Amiodarone (CordaroneÒ)

* Cilostazol (PletalÒ)

*Donepezil (AriceptÒ)

* Losartan (CozaarÒ)

*Montelukast (SingulairÒ)

*Pimozide (OrapÒ)

*Quetiapine (SeroquelÒ)

*Sildenafil (ViagraÒ)

* Tamoxifen (NolvadexÒ)

*Tamsulosin (FlomaxÒ)

Related Topic: Interactions of Grapefruit with Medications For a detailed description of how grapefruit affects the metabolism of prescription drugs.

Click to see-> List of drugs affected by grapefruit

Click to read:->Grapefruit ‘may cut gum disease’:Grapefruit heals stomach ulcers :

Grapefruit may help weight loss

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapefruit

http://www.holisticonline.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/h_grapefruit.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_herbs_and_minerals_in_Ayurveda

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Orange

Botanical Name: Citrus aurantium
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. × sinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Citrus vulgaris. Citrus Bigaradia. Citrus aurantium amara. Bigaradier. Bigarade Orange. Bitter Orange. Seville Orange. (Sweet) Portugal Orange. China Orange. Citrus dulcis.
Parts Used: Fruit, flowers, peel.
Habitat: India, China. Cultivated in Spain, Madeira, etc.

Description:
Both common and official names are derived from the Sanskrit nagaranga through the Arabic naranj.
It is a small tree with a smooth, greyishbrown bark and branches that spread into a fairly regular hemisphere. The oval, alternate, evergreen leaves, 3 to 4 inches long, have sometimes a spine in the axil. They are glossy, dark green on the upper side, paler beneath. The calyx is cup-shaped and the thick, fleshy petals, five in number, are intensely white, and curl back.

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Orange   ”specifically, sweet orange” refers to the citrus tree Citrus sinensis (syn. Citrus aurantium L. var. dulcis L., or Citrus aurantium Risso) and its fruit. The orange is a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata). It is a small flowering tree growing to about 10 m tall with evergreen leaves, which are arranged alternately, of ovate shape with crenulate margins. The orange fruit is a hesperidium, a type of berry.

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The word “orange” ultimately comes from Sanskrit narang or Tamil. The fruit typically has 11 individual pieces inside and in Tamil, the word “Orangu” translates to “6 and 5” implying 11. Oranges originated in southeast Asia, in either India, Vietnam or southern China. The fruit of Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. In a number of languages, it is known as a “Chinese apple” (e.g. Dutch Sinaasappel, “China’s apple”).

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Oranges are highly valued for their vitamin C content. It is a primary source of vitamin C for most Americans. This wonderful fruit has more to offer nutritionally than just this one nutrient, containing sufficient amounts of folacin, calcium, potassium, thiamin, niacin and magnesium. Most of the consumption of oranges is in the form of juice. Eating the whole fruit provides 130% of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C, less than the juice, but more fiber, which is not present in the juice.

The fruit is technically a hesperidium, a kind of berry. It consists of several easily separated carpels, or sections, each containing several seeds and many juice cells, covered by a leathery skin, containing numerous oil glands. Orange trees are evergreens, seldom exceeding 30 ft in height. The leaves are oval and glossy and the flowers are white and fragrant.

These semitropical evergreens probably originated in Southeast Asia. Columbus and other European travelers brought sweet orange seed and seedlings with them to the New World. By 1820 there were groves in St Augustine, Florida, and by the end of the Civil War oranges were being shipped north in groves. A freeze produced a major set back in production in 1895, but by 1910 crops in Florida had been reestablished. Florida is the number one citrus producer, producing 70% of the U.S. crop, with 90% of that going into juice. However, Arizona, Texas, and California also produce small amounts, with variations in color and peel.

Fruit
All citrus trees are of the single genus Citrus, and remain largely interbreedable; that is, there is only one “superspecies” which includes lemons, limes and oranges. Nevertheless, names have been given to the various members of the citrus family, oranges often being referred to as Citrus sinensis and Citrus aurantium. Fruits of all members of the genus Citrus are considered berries because they have many seeds, are fleshy and soft, and derive from a single ovary. An orange seed is sometimes referred to as a pip.

Varieties:
Persian orange
The Persian orange, grown widely in southern Europe after its introduction to Italy in the 11th century, was bitter. Sweet oranges brought to Europe in the 15th century from India by Portuguese traders, quickly displaced the bitter, and are now the most common variety of orange cultivated. The sweet orange will grow to different sizes and colours according to local conditions, most commonly with ten carpels, or segments, inside.

Navel orange
A single mutation in 1820 in an orchard of sweet oranges planted at a monastery in Brazil yielded the navel orange, also known as the Washington, Riverside or Bahie navel. The mutation causes navel oranges to develop a second orange at the base of the original fruit, opposite the stem. The second orange develops as a cojoined twin in a set of smaller segments embedded within the peel of the larger orange. From the outside, the smaller, undeveloped twin left a formation at the bottom of the fruit, looking similar to the human navel.

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Because the mutation left the fruit seedless and therefore sterile, the only means available to cultivate more of this new variety is to graft cuttings onto other varieties of citrus tree. Two such cuttings of the original tree were transplanted to Riverside, California in 1870, which eventually led to worldwide popularity.

Today, navel oranges continue to be produced via cutting and grafting. This does not allow for the usual selective breeding methodologies, and so not only do the navel oranges of today have exactly the same genetic makeup as the original tree, but also, they all can even be considered to be the fruit of that single, now centuries-old tree.

On rare occasions, however, further mutations can lead to new varieties.

Valencia orange……....click to see
The Valencia or Murcia orange is one of the sweet oranges used for juice extraction. It is a late-season fruit, and therefore a popular variety when the navel oranges are out of season. For this reason, the orange was chosen to be the official mascot of the 1982 FIFA World Cup, which was held in Spain. The mascot was called “Naranjito” (“little orange”), and wore the colours of the Spanish soccer team uniform.

Blood orange….click to see

Orange output in 2005The blood orange has streaks of red in the fruit, and the juice is often a dark burgundy colour. The fruit has found a niche as an interesting ingredient variation on traditional Seville marmalade, with its striking red streaks and distinct flavour. The mandarin orange is similar, but smaller and sweeter, and the scarlet navel is a variety with the same diploid mutation as the navel orange.

Constituents: The peel of var. Bigaradia contains volatile oil, three glucosides, hesperidin, isohesperidin, an amorphous bitter principle, Aurantiamarin, aurantiamaric acid, resin, etc.

The ethyl ether of -naphthol, under the name of nerolin, is an artificial oil of neroli, said to be ten times as strong.

Oil of Orange Flowers is:
‘soluble in an equal volume of alcohol, the solution having a violet fluorescence and a neutral reaction to litmus paper. The specific gravity is 0.868 to 0.880 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.). When agitated with a concentrated solution of sodium bisulphate it assumes a permanent purple-red colour.’
It must not be coloured by sulphuretted hydrogen.
Oil of Sweet Orange Peel contains at least 90 per cent o-limonene, the remaining 10 per cent being the odorous constituents, citral, citronellal, etc. It is a yellow liquid with the specific gravity 0.842 to 0.846 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.).

Oil of Bitter Orange Peel, a pale yellow liquid, is soluble in four volumes of alcohol, the solution being neutral to litmus paper. The specific gravity is 0.842 to 0.848 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.). The odour is more delicate than that of the Sweet Orange.

Fuming nitric acid gives a dark green colour to sweet peel and a brown to the bitter.

Medicinal Action and Uses:

The oil is used chiefly as a flavouring agent, but may be used in the same way as oil of turpentine in chronic bronchitis. It is non-irritant to the kidneys and pleasant to take.

On the Continent an infusion of dried flowers is used as a mild nervous stimulant.

The powdered Bitter Orange peel should be dried over freshly-burnt lime. For flavouring, the sweet peel is better, and as a tonic, that of the Seville or Bigaradia is preferred.

A syrup and an elixir are used for flavouring, and a wine as a vehicle for medicines.

The compound wine is too dangerous as an intoxicant, being mixed with absinthium, to be recommended as a tonic.

Preparations of Bitter Orange: Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion of Orange, B.P., 4 to 8 drachms. Infusion of Orange Compound, B.P., 4 to 8 drachms. Compound spirit, U.S.P., 1 to 2 drachms. Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Wine, B.P., a wineglassful.

Preparations of Sweet Orange: Syrup, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture, U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm.

Make Oranges Part of Your 5 A Day Plan

Drink a cool glass of orange juice for breakfast or serve orange halves instead of grapefruit for a change.
Combine the juice with other fruits and yogurt in the blender for a smoothie any time of day.
A couple of tablespoons of orange juice concentrate can be added to a fruit cup for a great flavorful sauce.
Cut oranges into wedges and eat them for a light snack or use them as edible garnishes.
Buy a zesting tool or grate orange rind to use in recipes, rice, or stir fry for added flavor.
Carry an orange with you wherever you go, they come in their own covered container so you can just peel and eat orange segments whenever the snack craze occurs.
Orange juice can be used over fresh fruits to prevent browning.

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://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/oraswe12.html
http://www.foodreference.com/html/artoranges.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit)

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Nux Vomica

Botanical Name : Strychnos Nux-vomica (LINN.)
Family: Loganiaceae
Genus: Strychnos
Species: S. nux-vomica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms: Poison Nut. Semen strychnos. Quaker Buttons.
Part Used: Dried ripe seeds.
Habitat: India, in the Malay Archipelago

The Strychnine tree (Strychnos nux-vomica) also known as Nux vomica, is an evergreen tree native to southeast Asia, a member of family Loganiaceae. It grows in open habitats, usually attaining a size about 25 meters tall.

It is a major source of the highly poisonous alkaloid strychnine, derived from the seeds inside the tree’s round, green to orange fruit. However, the tree’s bark also contains poisonous compounds, including brucine.

Description: A medium-sized tree with a short, crooked, thick trunk, the wood is white hard, close grained, durable and the root very bitter. Branches irregular, covered with a smooth ash-coloured bark; young shoots deep green, shiny; leaves opposite, short stalked, oval, shiny, smooth on both sides, about 4 inches long and 3 broad; flowers small, greeny-white, funnel shape, in small terminal cymes, blooming in the cold season and having a disagreeable smell. Fruit about the size of a large apple with a smooth hard rind or shell which when ripe is a lovely orange colour, filled with a soft white jelly-like pulp containing five seeds covered with a soft woolly-like substance, white and horny internally. The seeds are removed when ripe, cleansed, dried and sorted; they are exported from Cochin, Madras and other Indian ports. The seeds have the shape of flattened disks densely covered with closely appressed satiny hairs, radiating from the centre of the flattened sides and giving to the seeds a characteristic sheen; they are very hard, with a dark grey horny endosperm in which the small embryo is embedded; no odour but a very bitter taste.

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Constituents: -Nux Vomica contains the alkaloids, Strychnine and Brucine, also traces of strychnicine, and a glucoside Loganin, about 3 per cent fatty matter, caffeotannic acid and a trace of copper. The pulp of the fruit contains about 5 per cent of loganin together with the alkaloid strychnicine.

General use
Nux vomica is one of the most frequently used homeopathic remedies, especially for acute conditions. Homeopaths prescribe this polychrest for hangovers, back pain, digestive problems, headaches, allergies, colds, flu, emotional stress, constipation, menstrual problems, and hemorrhoids.

Nux vomica affects the nervous system. When taken by a healthy person the remedy causes muscle spasms and cramps, and even convulsions. It affects all five senses and bodily reflexes and causes extreme sensitivity to light, touch, noise, and smells.

Nux vomica is the homeopathic remedy that is created from the seeds of the strychnos nux vomica tree. Also known as poison nut or vomiting nut, this tree is an evergreen tree that is native to East India, Burma, Thailand, China, and Northern Australia.

The tree belongs to the Loganiaceae family and has small flowers and orange colored fruits that are the size of an apple or orange. Inside the fruit are five seeds surrounded by a jelly-like pulp. The ash gray seeds are round and measure 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter and are .25 in (0.6 cm) thick. The seeds are coated with downy hairs that give them a satiny appearance.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The propertiesof Nux Vomica are substantially those of the alkaloid Strychnine. The powdered seeds are employed in atonic dyspepsia. The tincture of Nux Vomica is often used in mixtures – for its stimulant action on the gastro-intestinal tract. In the mouth it acts as a bitter, increasing appetite; it stimulates peristalsis, in chronic constipation due to atony of the bowel it is often combined with cascara and other laxatives with good effects. Strychnine, the chief alkaloid constituent of the seeds, also acts as a bitter, increasing the flow of gastric juice; it is rapidly absorbed as it reaches the intestines, after which it exerts its characteristic effects upon the central nervous system, the movements of respiration are deepened and quickened and the heart slowed through excitation of the vagal centre. The senses of smell, touch, hearing and vision are rendered more acute, it improves the pulse and raises blood pressure and is of great value as a tonic to the circulatory system in cardiac failure. Strychnine is excreted very slowly and its action is cumulative in any but small doses; it is much used as a gastric tonic in dyspepsia. The most direct symptom caused by strychnine is violent convulsions due to a simultaneous stimulation of the motor or sensory ganglia of the spinal cord; during the convulsion there is great rise in blood pressure; in some types of chronic lead poisoning it is of great value. In cases of surgical shock and cardiac failure large doses are given up to 1/10 grain by hypodermic injection; also used as an antidote in poisoning by chloral or chloroform. Brucine closely resembles strychnine in its action, but is slightly less poisonous, it paralyses the peripheral motor nerves. It is said that the convulsive action characteristic of strychnine is absent in brucine almost entirely. It is used in pruritis and as a local anodyne in inflammations of the external ear.

The main alkaloids in the seeds are strychnine and brucine. These alkaloids give the seeds their bitter taste. Strychnine by itself is extremely poisonous, but when given in small doses to humans it promotes appetite, aids digestion, and increases the frequency of urination. In the nineteenth century it was used as a central nervous stimulant. In larger doses, however, strychnine produces a loss of appetite, hypersensitivity, depression, anxiety, and rigidity and stiffness of arms and legs. Toxic doses may cause convulsions and death. Some historians think that Alexander the Great died from drinking wine poisoned by strychnine.

Medicinal use of the nut dates back to the middle of the sixteenth century, where it was written about extensively by Valerius Cordus. Germans used the nut as a treatment for worms, rabies, hysteria, rheumatism, gout, and as an antidote for the plague.

Uses in Homeopathy

In homeopathy, Nux-v. — as it is commonly abbreviated — is one of the most commonly prescribed remedies, used for patients who are competitive, ambitious, driven,and irritable.

Preparations
\The seeds of the tree are ground until powdered then mixed with milk sugar. This solution is then diluted and succussed to create the final preparation.

Nux vomica is available at health food and drug stores in various potencies in the form of tinctures, tablets, and pellets.

Precautions
If symptoms do not improve after the recommended time period, a homeopath or healthcare practitioner should be consulted.

The recommended dose should not be exceeded, as the strychnine in nux vomica is poisonous. People should be careful to use only preparations made by established manufacturers, as cases of accidental strychnine poisoning from non-homeopathic herbal preparations containing nux vomica have been reported.

Side effects
There are no known side effects at recommended dosages, but individual aggravations may occur.

Interactions
When taking any homeopathic remedy, use of peppermint products, coffee, or alcohol should be avoided. These products may cause the remedy to be ineffective.

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

Resources:
http://www.healthline.com

http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#kanchanara

http://botanical.com