Categories
Herbs & Plants

Alocasia

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Botanical Name :Alocasia
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Colocasieae
Genus: Alocasia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales
Syn. : Arum Indicum, Roxb. Sans, Alocasia macorhiza (Linn);  Alocasia odora Koch; Colocasia macrorhiza Schott

Common Name :Makanda, Giant taro, Mankachu, Great-leaved Caledium, Alavu, mankanda, Genasoo, Marambu, Alu, Merukanlilangu, Chara kanda,Elephant Ear,Giant Elephant Ear

.Bengali name :Kochu
Parts used: Stems, leave, rhizomes.

Habitat :Native to Java and Malaysia, people there use alocasia (Esculenta, Taro) as important sources of starch, such as poi in the Hawaiian food tradition. It grows most places having worm climate.Grows  very well in India, Balgladesh and Sreelankha.

Description:
Alocasia is a genus of about 70 species .These rhizomatous or bulbous perennials occur in tropical humid climates of southeast Asia and a few other places. They are grown as ornamentals for their large heart-shaped or arrowhead-shaped leaves, sometimes called African Masks or Elephant’s Ears. These plants are variable in size, height, shape, and leaf color.
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The underground stems of Alocasia Indica constitute a valu-able and important vegetable of native dietary. The stems sometimes grow to an immense size, from six to eight feet in length and can be preserved for a considerable time. Hence they are of great importance in jail dietary when fresh vegetables become scarce in the bazar or jail garden. They thrive best in shade under the eaves of huts or buildings and beside fences.
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The stem (a corm) is edible, but contains raphid or raphide crystals of oxalic acid that can numb and swell the tongue and pharynx resulting in difficult breathing, and sharp throat pain. The lower parts contain more of the poison. Prolonged boiling before serving or processing may reduce the risks but acidic fruit such as tamarind will dissolve them.

Constituents and properties:-
*Rhizomes contain phytosterols, alkaloids, glucose and fructose.
*Root tuber contains neurotoxin, sapotoxin.

Medicinal Uses:
Medicinally manaka is said to be useful in anasarca, in which disease it is used in the following manner. Take of the powdered meal of Alocasia Indica eight tolas, powdered rice sixteen tolas, water and milk, forty-eight tol?s each, boil them together till the water is evaporated. This preparation called Menamanda, is given as diet.1 No other article is allowed in addition to it except milk. A ghrita is also ordered to be made with a decoction and paste of menaka but it is not in vogue.

Folkloric
• Leaves and corms used for furuncles, impetigo and snake bites
• Ground petioles in near-decayed state are placed in cloth and heated in coals, used for toothaches.
• Decoction of rhizomes used for abdominal pains and vomiting.
• Acrid juice used for stings of giant nettles (Laportea).
• In Java, chopped roots and leaves applied to painful joints.
• In India, rhizomes are rubefacient; employed as external stimulant and for fevers.

Other Uses:
As Houseplants
Hybrids, such as the Amazon Lily or the African Mask (Alocasia x amazonica) are grown as popular ornamentals. Alocasia are distinctly exotic and tropical plants that are increasingly becoming popular in American and European homes as houseplants. They are typically grown as pot plants but a better way is to grow the plants permanently in the controlled conditions of a greenhouse. They do not do well in the dark and need good lighting if inside the house. They should be cared for as any other tropical plant with weekly cleaning of the leaves and frequent fine water misting without leaving the plants wet.

Unfortunately, they rarely survive cold winters, or the dryness of artificial heating, but an attempt to slowly acclimatize plants from the summer garden to the house can help . Once inside the watering period must be reduced and the plants should be protected from spider mites or red spider attack. Alternatively, let younger plants die back to the corm from when the temperature reaches 19 degrees and with some luck this could lead to a rebirth in spring.

Studies
• Antifungal / Anti-HIV1 Reverse Transcriptase: Alocasin, an anti-fungal protein was isolated from the rhizome of Alocasia macrorrhiza. and showed antifungal activity against Botrytis cineria. Alocasin also reduced the activity of HIV1 reverse transcriptase.
• Neurotoxicity / Sapotoxin: A case report of poisoning due to the raw root tuber of Chinese medicinal plant, A macrorrhiza, presenting with severe pain and numbness periorally, with nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Root tuber is known to contain the neurotoxin, sapotoxin.
Anti-Tumor: In a study of the antitumor effect of water extract of Alocasia macrorrhiza, the inhibitory rate was 29.38% against S180 in mice and 51.72% against transplantable human gastroadenitis in nude mice.

Known Possible Hazards :
• Stinging Raphides: Stems, corms, leaves and petioles contain stinging raphides (calcium oxalate crystals) that are destroyed by boiling and roasting.
• Neurotoxicity: Case report possiblty caused by tuber root neurotoxin, sapotoxin.

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.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/alocasia
http://mgonline.com/articles/alocasia.aspx
http://www.aroid.org/gallery/kozminski/Alocasia/
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp
http://www.stuartxchange.org/Biga.html

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Herbs & Plants

Dendrobium nobile

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Botanical Name :Dendrobium nobile
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Genus: Dendrobium
Tribe: Dendrobieae
Subtribe: Dendrobiinae
Species: D. nobile
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Synonyms : D. lindleyanum. D. coerulescens.
Common Name : Noble Dendrobium, Dendrobium nobile,
Chinese Name: shí hú or shí hú lán

Habitat : The plant is native to southern Asia.China to the Himalayas.Tree trunks in mountain forests, also on rocks in mountain valleys at elevations of 500 – 1700 metres.

Description:
An evergreen Perennial growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES..

Hybrids derived from the species Dendrobium nobile have been very popular for more than a hundred years. Their long running popularity springs from their profuse show of long lasting brightly colored flowers, which bloom along their stems in late winter and early spring. The species itself is also very popular because it regularly flowers freely and lasts for a long time as cutflower.This orchid is one of the most widespread ornamental members of the family. There are many different created varieties which bloom in different colors – yellow, white, etc.These traits have been passed along to its progeny.

Dendrobium nobile is a sympodial orchid which forms pseudobulbs. When the life cycle of the mother plant ends it produces little offsets, continuing the life of the plant. The same cycle is used every year. The stem is erect and during the flowering period it forms blooms on its sides along the whole length of the orchid. This monocot has thin, white roots and leads an epiphytic type of life.

Cultivation:
Dendrobium nobile and its hybrids are very easy to grow, if a couple of specific cultural requirements are met.

As the new growths begins in the spring, increase water and fertilizer frequency. During the active growing period of spring and summer Dendrobium nobile prefers reduced light, increased water, and fertilizer every two weeks (1/2 teaspoon per gallon of urea free water soluble fertilizer ). As the plants mature in the fall, cultural needs change drastically. Now brighter light, cooler temperatures, and no fertilizer will help to initiate flower buds. Water normally so that the bulbs do not shrivel. Buds will appear when the night temperatures drop to 55 or lower and the growths have fully matured. This is usually in November to December in the northern US, and January to February in the southern US. Blooms will follow in about two months after the cooling period.

When these plants are grown inside, they should be placed outside in the fall to benefit from the cooler temperatures at night. In the northern US, they should brought inside, when the night temperatures are consistently below 45F. In the southern US, they should be brough inside before the onset of freezing weather. They should kept in a relatively cool location (such as an unheated room or an enclosed porch) until buds start to form.

Dendrobium nobile and their hybrids enjoy being root bound, so never overpot the plants. They do very well in small pots for their root mass. Clay pots does them well. Many growers use regular seedling bark mixture or osmunda for a potting media; however, some growers also use long-fibered sphagnum moss. Dendrobium nobile can also be grown mounted, or in baskets, but watering must be increased.

If keikis or off-shoot plantlets form along the stems, that is usually a sign of too much fertilizer and/or too warm night temperatures. These keikeis may be potted as new plants after they have formed roots of at leat 3 or 4 inches. If plants produce all keikis and no blooms, definite culture changes are in order, such as longer cooling period in the fall and reduction in fertilizer amounts.

Propagation  :

Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil[200]. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.


Medicinal Uses:

It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.The whole plant contains mucilage and the alkaloid dendrobine. It is antiphlogistic, pectoral, sialogogue, stomachic and tonic. It is used in Vietnam as a tonic in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, general debility, flatulence, dyspepsia, reduced salivation, parched and thirsty mouth, night sweats, fever and anorexia. It is also said to be effective in the treatment of sexual impotence, arthralgia, lumbago, pain in the extremities etc. The plant is harvested at the end of the growing season and dried for later use. The dried plants are imbued with alcohol and steam cooked before use.

The medicinal plant is usually cut prior to flowering or harvested toward the end of its growing season where it is subsequently dried until ready for use. Typically, the dried stems are used for making herbal remedies, but they are occasionally used fresh. Decoctions and tinctures of Dendrobium nobile are created by steeping the dried, shredded stems in alcohol and then steaming them. In addition, an herbal tea can be made from the stems.

Remedies made from Dendrobium nobile have commonly been used throughout history to help boost the immune system. Its primary use, however, has been for the replenishment of fluids. Dendrobium increases salivation and is often prescribed to treat complaints associated with dry mouth, dry cough, and severe thirst. Additionally, the plant is effective in treating conditions related to dry, hot weather, such as sunstroke. Indigenous people of the Eastern Himalayas believed that these flowers could also cure eye ailments.

The tonic made frmo Dendrobium also nourishes the stomach, lungs, and kidneys. It can be given to lower fever and ease both vomiting and abdominal pain. The plant also has a history of medicinal use in treating pulmonary tuberculosis, impotence, and anorexia. Since Dendrobium nobile is known for increasing fluids, it should come as no surprise that the plant can also moisten and enhance the skin.

As with any other herbal remedy, supervision from qualified providers is important. Although Dendrobium nobile is thought to be quite safe in appropriate doses, the wrong dosage can have adverse effects on the body. For example, overdoses of Dendrobium can lead to heart and lung problems as well as convulsions.

You may click to see
;What Are the Medical Uses of Dendrobium Nobile?

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/Dendrobium_nobile
http://www.clanorchids.com/pages/d/dnobile.html
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-medical-uses-of-dendrobium-nobile.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dendrobium+nobile

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Hyacinth Orchid (Bletilla striata )

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Botanical Name : Bletilla striata
Family : Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Genus : Bletilla
Synonyms : Bletia hyacinthina – (Sm.)R.Br.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Tribe: Arethuseae
Subtribe: Coelogyninae
Alliance: Calanthe

Habitat :Bletilla striata is native to  E. Asia – China, Japan.  Grassy slopes in foothills, C. and S. Japan.It  grows  In sandy soils amongst grassy patches on cool mountain slopes in China. Margins of woods and thickets.Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Description:
Bletilla is a temperate, terrestrial genus of orchids containing 9 species distributed through China, Japan and Taiwan and Vietnam. The name is actually a diminutive of Bletia because of the resemblance between the two genera even though Bletia is a New World genus. The genera Jimensia Raf. and Polytoma Lour. ex Gomes are generally included into Bletilla. This genus is abbreviated Ble in trade journals.

Bletilla striata is the most common form found in the nursery trade and is often labeled simply as ‘Hardy Orchid’ or ‘Chinese Ground Orchid’ and is quite inexpensive. This beautiful and hardy deciduous orchid has the distinction of being one of the first orchids in cultivation in England dating from around 1794. The very flat knob-like tuberous root system is typically sympodial, expansive and each shoot is of annual duration only. On established plants, almost every new growth shoot has a flower spike before leaves fully develop. Each shoot can have up to fourteen beautiful rose-mauve flowers with a ruffled lip about 30mm diameter, scentless and looking something like a miniature Cattleya orchid flower. An established clump can have literally dozens of flower spikes flowering in the late Spring and the clumps only increase in beauty with time. They rarely exceed two feet in height.

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

Bulb growing to 0.4m by 0.25m.  The flowers and leaves are at the mercy of late frosts, which are to be avoided if at all possible with coverings of a sheet or newspapers. Resist the temptation to remove the mulch layer even if the new growths are raising up the mulch due to an early Spring, unless no more frosts are likely. Unlike most tropical orchids, B. striata has attractive foliage even when not flowering. The pleated, tapered foliage looks very similar to the juvenile leaves of many palm species. A well established clump of these in flower is quite beautiful and they are surprisingly hardy even into USDA Zone 5 with a heavy mulch. They easily succeed in USDA Zone 6 with only a moderate mulch of straw or leaves. These hardiness ratings only apply to plants in the ground with the idea of preventing the actual root system from being frozen. If potted, they should be placed in a frost-free location if winter temperatures go below freezing. The plant is generally considered hardy without a mulch if minimum winter temperatures do not go below 25°F.

It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
The plant prefers medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

List of species:-
*Bletilla chartacea

*Bletilla cotoensis

*Bletilla foliosa

*Bletilla japonica

*Bletilla morrisonicola

*Bletilla ochracea

*Bletilla scopulorum

*Bletilla sinensis

*Bletilla striata

*Bletilla szetschuanica

*Bletilla yunnanensis

Cultivation :
Requires a friable, damp but well-drained soil enriched with leafmold. Dislikes wet soils[200]. Requires shade from the midday sun. Plants prefer a sheltered position in light shade, also succeeding in full sun in humus-rich soils. Plants are hardy in favoured localities in Britain but they usually require greenhouse protection in this country. Plants have grown well at Kew Botanical gardens, where they have formed large colonies. Apply a good organic mulch in the late autumn or lift the bulbs and store them dry in a frost free place. Plant out in spring and only just cover the bulb. This species is cultivated in China as a medicinal plant. Grows well with ferns in a woodland setting. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid. Plant the tubers no more than 5cm deep in the soil.

Propagation
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. Make sure that you keep plenty of soil with each plant. It is also said to be possible to transplant orchids after they have flowered but whilst they are still in leaf. Division is best carried out in the spring. Each division should have a leading point and two, or preferably three, pseudobulbs/joints of the rhizome. More propagating material can be obtained by cutting halfway through the rhizome during the previous growing season at the point where you wish to divide. This will stimulate the production of growth buds at the point of division.

Edible Uses
None known

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Antibacterial; Antiinflammatory; Antiphlogistic; Demulcent; Pectoral; Skin; Styptic; Vulnerary.

The hyacinth orchid is an important wound herb in China, where it has been used medicinally for over 1,500 years. The root (actually a pseudobulb) is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, demulcent, pectoral, skin, styptic and vulnerary. It is taken internally in the treatment of haemorrhages of the stomach or lungs, uterine bleeding and nose bleeds. It is particularly effective against the endotoxin produced by Haemophilus pertusis in whooping cough[176]. Externally, it is mixed with sesame oil and applied as a poultice to burns, cuts, abscesses and sores. The pseudobulbs are harvested when the plant is dormant and are dried for use in decoctions and powders.

Bletilla is used in Herbal Medicine (bai ji). When employed in herbal remedies, the tuber is peeled and dried in the sun, then cut into slices or ground into a powder.

Bletilla is associated with the Lung, Stomach and Liver meridians in traditional Chinese medicine, and has a bitter taste and cool properties. Its main functions are to reduce swelling and stop bleeding in the lungs and stomach. It is often used with gelatin, donkey glue and cuttlefish bone as part of a larger herbal formula.

Among the modern uses for bletilla are treatment of sores, ulcers and chapped skin. Because of its astringent properties, Bletilla is often used to stop bleeding caused by traumatic injuries, heal wounds, reduce swelling, and promote regeneration of tissue. When used with other herbs, bletilla can help treat coughs and phlegmy obstructions.

The typical dose of Bletilla depends on the condition being treated. Usually, practitioners recommend between 3 and 15 grams of bletilla, taken as a powder. Larger amounts can be applied to the skin, usually mixed with sesame oil.

Whole, dried Bletilla root is sold at many herbal shops, Asian markets and specialty stores. Bletilla powder is widely available, as are some decoctions that contain Bletilla.

Bletilla is incompatible with aconite root, and therefore should not be taken with aconite root or any formulas that contain it. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with bletilla. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking bletilla or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

Other Uses
Gum; Ink; Size.

The bulb is mucilaginous, it is used as a size to impart a glossiness to ink and also to make an invisible ink (seen by wetting the paper and holding it up to the light).

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Bletilla+striata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bletilla

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Herbs & Plants

Adam & Eve (Aplectrum hyemale)-Orchid

Botanical Name: Aplectrum hyemale
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
Subtribe: Corallorhizinae
Genus: Aplectrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Cymbidium hyemale (Muhl.)

Other Names: Adam & Eve Root, Puttyroot.

Habitat:
Habitat :
Aplectrum hyemale is native to the eastern United States and Canada, from Oklahoma east to the Carolinas and north to Minnesota, Ontario, Quebec and Massachusetts It grows in deep shade in the leaf litter of the forest floor. Woods and swamps. Moist, deciduous, upland to swampy forests from sea level to 1200 metres.

Parts Used: Root.

Description:  Aplectrum hyemale is a perennial  orchid plant, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).  This orchid is somewhat rare, since it prefers rich woodland slopes that have been undisturbed by timber activities or munching cattle.
Flower: Loose cluster of 8 to 20 greenish purple (sometimes yellow or white with purple tinge) flowers with two lips on 1 to 1-1/2 foot slender, leafless stalk; lower lip is white with purple spots, small lobe on each side and wavy in front. Leaf: Single oval basal leaf with white veins appears in fall and disappears after flowering; 4 to 6 inches long….click & see
It sends up a pretty, upright, ribbed leaf in the fall, and this remains through the winter, dying just as the plant is about to flower. The name “Adam & Eve” comes from the fact that the old root (Adam) gives rise to the new….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is hardy to zone 5. It is in leaf from October to May, in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. We rate it 1 out of 5 for usefulness...click & see

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

root (Eve), and then continues to hang around. The name “Puttyroot” comes from the fact that Native Americans used the glutinous matter derived from crushing the bulb of the plant to mend broken pottery and to fasten objects together.

Cultivation :
Needs to be grown in the shade and humus-rich soil of a woodland garden.

Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.

Plants have proved to be amenable to cultivation.

Propagation:

Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.

Division of the tubers as the flowers fade. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers.

Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally

Medicinal Properties: Analgesic; Pectoral; Poultice.

Uses: American Indians poulticed roots on boils. Root tea formerly used for bronchial troubles.

Analgesic; Pectoral; Poultice.

The roots are macerated to a paste and applied to boils or used to treat head pains,

A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of bronchial troubles.

The roots were given to children by some tribes of native North American Indians in order to endow the children with the gift of eloquence and to make them fat.

Other Uses
Adhesive.
A glue can be obtained from the tubers. The roots are bruised with a small addition of water, this gives a strong cement that is used for repairing broken pots, glass etc.
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.indianspringherbs.com/Adam_And_Eve.htm
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Aplectrum+hyemale

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aplectrum