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Herbs & Plants

Calophyllum inophyllum

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Botanical Name : Calophyllum inophyllum
Family: Clusiaceae
Subfamily: Kielmeyeroideae
Genus: Calophyllum
Tribe: Calophylleae
Species: C. inophyllum  
Kingdom:
Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales

Common Names:-
In Sanskrit this tree is known as punnaga. In Tamil it is known as pinnai and is often found on coastal Tamil Nadu. In Malayalam, the tree is called as “Punnagam” or “Punna” and the fruit is called as Punnakka. Bats are known to feed on the fruits. In the Maldives it is known as funa, a name derived from Sanskrit. Several of the Maldive Islands are named Funadhoo in reference to this tree.

In English this tree is also often called Ballnut or, confusingly, “Alexandrian Laurel” (it is not a laurel nor native to Alexandria and not to be confused with the small shrub Danae racemosa also known as Alexandrian laurel).

In Tahiti it is called ?ati or tamanu  tree. Several species of the tree grow wild in the tropical climes in the Pacific. In Hawai?i, the tree and nuts are called kamani in Fiji the name is dilo, while it is fetau in both Samoa and Niu?, and in Tonga it is feta?u or tamanu. In Vanuatu, the natives call the oil nambagura.


Habitat :
It is native from East Africa, southern coastal India to Malesia and Australia.


Description:

Calophyllum inophyllum is a large evergreen. Nowadays it is widely cultivated in all tropical regions of the world, including several Pacific Islands. Because of its decorative leaves, fragrant flowers and spreading crown, it is best known as an ornamental plant.

It is a low-branching and slow-growing tree with a broad and irregular crown. It usually reaches 8 to 20 metres (26 to 66 ft) in height. The flower is 25 millimetres (0.98 in) wide and occurs in racemose or paniculate inflorescences consisting of 4 to 15 flowers. Flowering can occur year-round, but usually two distinct flowering periods are observed, in late spring and in late autumn. The fruit (the ballnut) is a round, green drupe reaching 2 to 4 centimetres (0.79 to 1.6 in) in diameter and having a single large seed. When ripe, the fruit is wrinkled and its color varies from yellow to brownish-red.

You may click to see the pictures.(1)……(2).(3)…..(4)

This tree often grows in coastal regions as well as nearby lowland forests. However it has also been cultivated successfully in inland areas at moderate altitudes. It tolerates varied kinds of soil, coastal sand, clay or even degraded soil.

Medicinal Uses:

Common Uses:Calophyllum inophyllum fruit oil is used in  Abrasions/Cuts * Acne * Burns/SunBurn * Deodorants/Perfumes * Eczema * Facial and Skin care * Fungus Infections * Herpes * Insect Bites/Rashes * Neuralgia * Psoriasis * Rheumatoid Arthritis * Scabies *
Properties:  Anti-inflammatory* Deodorant* Emollient* Skin tonic* Vulnerary*

Pacific islanders apply Tamanu nut oil to scrapes, cuts, burns, insect bites and stings, acne and acne scars, psoriasis, diabetic sores, anal fissures, sunburn, dry or scaly skin, blisters, eczema, diaper rash and herpes sores–and even to reduce foot and body odor! It takes 100 kilograms of Tamanu nuts, the amount that one tree produces annually, to yield just 5 kilograms of cold pressed oil, which puts the somewhat the high cost of this spectacular nut oil into perspective.

Tamanu oil fades stretch marks with incredible results. It also works miracles on scar tissue, making scars look less unsightly. Can be used directly on the skin or mixed within formulations.

Other Uses
Besides being a popular ornamental plant, its wood is hard and strong and has been used in construction or boatbuilding. Traditional Pacific Islanders used Calophyllum wood to construct the keel of their canoes while the boat sides were made from breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) wood. The seeds yield a thick, dark green oil for medicinal use or hair grease. Active ingredients in the oil are believed to regenerate tissue, so is sought after by cosmetics manufacturers as an ingredient in skin cremes. The nuts should be well dried before cracking, after which the oil-laden kernel should be further dried. The first neoflavone isolated in 1951 from natural sources was calophyllolide from Calophyllum inophyllum seeds.

The fatty acid methyl ester of Calophyllum inophyllum seed oil meets all of the major biodiesel requirements in the United States (ASTM D 6751-02, ASTM PS 121-99), Germany (DIN V 51606) and European Union (EN 14214). The average oil yield is 11.7 kg-oil/tree or 4680 kg-oil/hectare

The tree is regarded as sacred in some Pacific islands because of its excellent growth in sandy soil as shade tree and many uses.

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/Calophyllum_inophyllum
http://www.hear.org/starr/images/species/?q=calophyllum+inophyllum&o=plants
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail285.php

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Wild Cabbage(Brassica oleracea)

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Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms : Brassica sylvestris.

Common Names: Wild Cabbage, Broccoli, Tronchuda cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Kohlrabi, Sprouting broccoli

Habitat : Brassica oleracea is native to Coastal regions of the Mediterranean and W. Europe north to France and Britain. Its high tolerance of salt and lime and its intolerance of competition from other plants typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs.

Description:
Biennial/Perennial growing to 1.2m.Wild  forming a stout rosette of large leaves in the first year, the leaves being fleshier and thicker than those of other species of Brassica, adaptations to store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment. In its second year, the stored nutrients are used to produce a flower spike 1 to 2 metres (3–7 ft) tall bearing numerous yellow flowers.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

They have smooth margins and look like the outer or basal, non-heading leaves of cabbage. The lower leaves tend to sag down and the upper ones are more erect and cup-shaped. Kale leaves are not as thick as collards and in many cultivars they are fringed or wavy-edged. Kale plants, and their leaves, are smaller than those of collards. There are many cultivars of kale and collards. Some were selected more for ornamental use than food.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Slightly bitter raw, they can be cooked in one or more changes of water. We find that the slight bitterness actually enhances the flavour, and this is one of our favourite cooked leaves. The plant can usually be harvested all year round, though there will be little to pick in very cold winters.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Anthelmintic; Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Laxative; Stomachic.

The leaves are cardiotonic and stomachic. They have been used in the treatment of gout and rheumatism. The leaves can be used as a poultice to cleanse infected wounds – the mid-rib is removed and the leaf ironed then placed on the affected area whilst still hot. The poultice should not be left on too long or it an cause blisters. The seeds are anthelmintic, diuretic, laxative and stomachic.

Cabbages best known medicinal use is as a poultice,  the leaves of the wild or cultivated plant are blanched, crushed, or chopped, and applied to swellings, tumors and painful joints. Wild cabbage leaves eaten raw or cooked aid digestion and the breakdown of toxins in the liver, so the Romans   eating it to ease a hangover was quite sensible.  The leaves can be used as a poultice to cleanse infected wounds – the mid-rib is removed and the leaf ironed then placed on the affected area whilst still hot. The seeds are anthelmintic, diuretic, laxative and stomachic.  Cabbage is also detoxifying and helpful in the long term treatment of arthritis.  The high vitamin C content of cabbage has made it useful in the prevention of scurvy.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in full sun in any reasonable soil, though it prefers a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil. It does well in heavy clay soils. It is often found wild by the coast and tolerates considerable maritime exposure. The true wild cabbage is a short-lived perennial, though we have seen specimens 5 years old or more[K]. This species has long been cultivated for its edible leaves, stems etc and a wide diversity of forms have been developed, including cabbages, cauliflowers, broccolis and Brussels sprouts. Most of these forms are biennial in cultivation, though there are also some perennial forms. These different forms are detailed below and have each been given their own entry in the database. We have chosen the most up to date classification we can find, as treated in ‘World Economic Plants’. B. oleracea alboglabra. Chinese kales are fast-growing plants with tender edible leaves. Although perennials, they are usually grown as annuals and are eaten as a summer and autumn crop whilst still young. B. oleracea botrytis. Cauliflowers are grown mainly for their edible swollen inflorescence. Different cultivars can be used to provide crops all year round. B. oleracea botrytis aparagoides. A short-lived perennial form of cauliflower producing a small cauliflower head in the spring followed by a number of broccoli-like flowering shoots. B. oleracea capitata. These are the cultivated cabbages, grown for their edible leaves that usually form a compact head. Reasonably winter hardy, different cultivars can be used to provide edible plants all year round. B. oleracea costata. Couve tronchuda is a tall-growing form of cabbage. It is less hardy than most other forms of this genus. B. oleracea gemmifera. Brussels sprouts form large edible axillary buds 5cm or more long. They are mainly used as late autumn to spring crops. B. oleracea gongylodes. Kohl rabi produces an edible swollen stem 8cm or more in diameter. It is reasonably cold hardy and provides crops from mid summer to the winter. B. oleracea italica. The calabreses and sprouting broccolis, grown mainly for their edible flowering shoots. Calabrese is the less hardy and is used mainly as an autumn and early winter crop. The sprouting broccolis are very winter hardy and are grown outdoors through the winter to provide a spring to early summer crop. B. oleracea medullosa. Marrowstem kales have edible leaves and stems. B. oleracea palmifolia. The Jersey kale produces a very tall stem which has been used as a walking stick. B. oleracea ramosa. The thousand-headed and perennial kales are very cold hardy. Their flavour is stronger than most of the other cultivated forms and they are mainly used as a winter crop. This form is very close to the wild species and has the most potential for developing perennial cultivars. B. oleracea subauda. The savoy cabbages form large heads like the cultivated cabbages (B. oleracea capitata). They have a stronger flavour, crinkly leaves and are generally more cold-hardy so can provide a winter crop in areas with quite severe winters. B. oleracea sabellica. The curly kales have attractively curled leaves. These are quite cold-tolerant plants and are mainly used to provide edible leaves in winter and spring. B. oleracea viridis. Collards are a cold-hardy non-heading form of cabbage, used mainly to provide green leaves in the spring.

Propagation
Seed – sow April in situ. Seedlings transplant very well and so, if you sow the seed too thickly, it is a simple matter to move some of the plants to give them more space. Cuttings root very easily at almost any time in the growing season[K]. Use shoots about 8cm long of the current year’s growth and place them in individual pots in the cuttings frame.

Cultivars
‘Tree Collards’
This is a perennial form of cabbage that is said to live for 20 years or more. The leaves are a very dark green and look somewhat like the leaves of savoy cabbages, though the plant does not form a heart. The flavour is very good and the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The plant can be harvested all year round. The shoot tips are removed when about 15 – 20cm long, making sure that there is plenty of stem left. The plant then forms new sideshoots along the stem and these can also be harvested in their turn.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Brassica+oleracea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassica_oleracea
http://www.floridata.com/ref/b/bras_ole_kale.cfm

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

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Herbs & Plants

Otaheite Gooseberry

Botanical Name:Phyllanthus acidus
Family: Phyllanthaceae

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Tribe: Phyllantheae
Subtribe: Flueggeinae
Genus: Phyllanthus
Species: P. acidus
Parts Used :  Whole plant
Other Names:Malay gooseberry, Tahitian gooseberry, country gooseberry, star gooseberry, West India gooseberry or simply gooseberry tree,Kuppanti, Buddabudama / Tankari / Physalis minima, Linn.
In Telugu it is called Nela Usiri
Habitat:This tropical or subtropical species is thought to originate in Madagascar, then carried to the East Indies. Now it is generally found in South India, and Southeast Asia countries, such as Southern Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Northern Malaya. It also occurs in the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues and also in Guam, Hawaii and several other Pacific islands. In 1793, the plant was introduces to Jamaica from Timor. From there, it progressively spread to the whole Caribbean region, as far as the Bahamas or Bermuda. It is now naturalized in Central and South America.

In the United States, the tree is occasionally found as a curiosity in Florida. For instance, it is resistant enough to fruit in Tampa.

Description:The plant is a curious intermediary between shrubs and tree, reaching 2 to 9 m in height. The tree’s dense and bushy crown is composed of thickish, tough main branches, at the end of which are clusters of deciduous, greenish, 15-to-30-cm long branchlets. The branchlets bear alternate leaves that are ovate or lanceolate in form, with short petioles and pointed ends. The leaves are 2-7.5 cm long and thin, they are green and smooth on the upperside and blue-green on the underside. In general, the Otaheite gooseberry very much looks like the bilimbi tree.
You may click to see the pictures…...(01)...(1)..(2)…...(3)…...(4)..

LeavesThe flowers can be male, female or hermaphrodite. They are small and pinkish and appear in clusters in 5-to-12.5-cm long panicles. Flowers are formed at leafless parts of the main branches, at the upper part of the tree. The fruits are numerous, oblate, with 6 to 8 ribs, develop so densely that they actually form spectacular masses. They are pale yellow or white, waxy, crisp and juicy, and very sour. It has only one seed in each fruit.

Cultivation:
The Otaheite gooseberry prefers moist soil. Although it usually grows from seeds, the tree can also be multiplied from budding, greenwood cuttings or air-layers. It bears two crops per year in South India: one in April-May and the other in August-September. Elsewhere, it is mainly harvested in January. It is mostly cultivated for ornamentation.

Food Uses:
The flesh must be sliced from the stone, or the fruits must be cooked and then pressed through a sieve to separate the stones. The sliced raw flesh can be covered with sugar and let stand in the refrigerator for a day. The sugar draws out the juice and modifies the acidity so that the flesh and juice can be used as a sauce. If left longer, the flesh shrivels and the juice can be strained off as a clear, pale-yellow sirup. In Indonesia, the tart flesh is added to many dishes as a flavoring. The juice is used in cold drinks in the Philippines. Bahamian cooks soak the whole fruits in salty water overnight to reduce the acidity, then rinse, boil once or twice, discarding the water, then boil with equal amount of sugar until thick, and put up in sterilized jars without removing seeds. The repeated processing results in considerable loss of flavor. Fully ripe fruits do not really require this treatment. If cooked long enough with plenty of sugar, the fruit and juice turn ruby-red and yield a sprightly jelly. In Malaya, the ripe or unripe Otaheite gooseberry is cooked and served as a relish, or made into a thick sirup or sweet preserve. It is also combined with other fruits in making chutney and jam because it helps these products to “set”. Often, the fruits are candied, or pickled in salt. In the Philippines, they are used to make vinegar.

The young leaves are cooked as greens in India and Indonesia.
The juice can be used in beverage, or the fruit pickled in sugar. When cooked with plenty of sugar, the fruit turns ruby red and produces a kind of jelly, which is called m?t chùm ru?t in Vietnamese. It can also be salted.

The fruit is called “Grosella” in Puerto Rico. Since the fruit is tart, it if often eaten in “Dulce de Grosellas”. The preparation of this dessert consist in simmering the berries with sugar until they are soft and turn red in color. The liquid from the cooking is also used as a beverage.

Other Uses
Wood: The wood is light-brown, fine-grained, attractive, fairly hard, strong, tough, durable if seasoned, but scarce, as the tree is seldom cut down.
Root bark: The root bark has limited use in tanning in India.
Medicinal Uses:Enlargement of Spleen, to restore flaccid breasts, to restore lost vigour,Bronchitis, Erysipelas, Ulcers, Ascites,Tonic, Diuretic, Purgative.

In India, the fruits are taken as liver tonic, to enrich the blood. The sirup is prescribed as a stomachic; and the seeds are cathartic. The leaves, with added pepper, are poulticed on sciatica, lumbago or rheumatism. A decoction of the leaves is given as a sudorific. Because of the mucilaginous nature of the leaves, they are taken as a demulcent in cases of gonorrhea.

The root is drastically purgative and regarded as toxic in Malaya but is boiled and the steam inhaled to relieve coughs and headache. The root infusion is taken in very small doses to alleviate asthma. Externally, the root is used to treat psoriasis of the soles of feet. The juice of the root bark, which contains saponin, gallic acid, tannin and a crystalline substance which may be lupeol, has been employed in criminal poisoning.

The acrid latex of various parts of the tree is emetic and purgative.

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/Otaheite_gooseberry
http://apmab.ap.nic.in/products.php?&start=10#
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/otaheite_gooseberry.html

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Herbs & Plants Suppliments our body needs

Kava

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Botanical Name: Piper methysticum
Family:Pepper/ Piperaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Genus: Piper
Species: P. methysticum
Other names: kava kava, kawa, kew, yagona, sakau .awa (Hawaii), ‘ava (Samoa), yaqona (Fiji), and sakau (Pohnpei).
Parts Used:The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.

Habitat:South Pacific Isands.

Description:
Kava is a tall shrub in the pepper family that grows in the South Pacific islands.Kava kava belongs to the pepper family (Piperaceae) and is also known as kava, asava pepper, or intoxicating pepper. It grows to an average height of 6 ft (1.83 m) and has large heart-shaped leaves that can grow to 10 in (25.4 cm) wide. A related species is Piper sanctum, a native plant of Mexico that is used as a stimulant. It has been used there for thousands of years as a folk remedy and as a social and ceremonial beverage.

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

The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.

Botany and agronomy
There are several cultivars of kava, with varying concentrations of primary and secondary psychoactive substances. The largest number are grown in the Republic of Vanuatu, and so it is recognised as the “home” of kava. Kava was historically grown only in the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Fiji, the Samoas and Tonga. Some is grown in the Solomon Islands since World War II, but most is imported. Kava is a cash crop in Vanuatu and Fiji.

The kava shrub thrives in loose, well-drained soils where plenty of air reaches the roots. It grows naturally where rainfall is plentiful (over 2,000 mm/yr). Ideal growing conditions are 20 to 35 degrees Celsius (70 to 95 °F), and 70–100% relative humidity. Too much sunlight is harmful, especially in early growth, so kava is an understory crop.

Kava cannot reproduce sexually. Female flowers are especially rare and do not produce fruit even when hand-pollinated. Its propagation is entirely due to human efforts by the method of striking.

Traditionally, plants are harvested around 4 years of age, as older plants have higher concentrations of kavalactones. But in the past two decades farmers have been harvesting younger and younger plants, as young as 18 months. After reaching about 2 m height, plants grow a wider stalk and additional stalks, but not much taller. The roots can reach 60 cm depth.

Composition
Fresh kava root contains on average 80% water. Dried root contains approximately 43% starch, 20% fibers, 15% kavalactones, 12% water, 3.2% sugars, 3.6% proteins, and 3.2% minerals. Kavalactone content is greatest in the roots and decreases higher up the plant. Relative concentrations of 15%, 10% and 5% have been observed in the root, stump, and basal stems, respectively.

The mature roots of the kava plant are harvested after a minimum of 4 years (at least five years ideally) for peak kavalactone content. Most kava plants produce around 50 kgs (110 lbs) of root when they are harvested. Kava root is classified into two categories: crown root (or chips) and lateral root. Crown roots are the large diameter pieces that look like big (1.5 inch to 5 inches diameter) wooden poker chips. Most kava plants consist of approximately 80% crown root upon harvesting. Lateral roots are smaller diameter roots that look more like a typical root. A mature kava plant is approximately 20% lateral roots. Kava lateral roots have the highest content of kavalactones in the kava plant. “Waka” grade kava is kava that is made of lateral roots only.
General use
Kava kava has been prescribed by healthcare providers to treat a wide range of ailments, including insomnia, nervousness, and stress-related anxiety and anxiety disorders. It is also reported to relieve urinary infections, vaginitis, fatigue, asthma, rheumatism, and pain.

The active ingredients in kava kava are called kavalactones and are found in the root of the plant. Kavalactones cause reactions in the brain similar to pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for depression and anxiety. Research has shown that kavalactones have a calming, sedative effect that relaxes muscles, relieves spasms, and prevents convulsions. Kavalactones also have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties that may bring relief to sore throats, sore gums, canker sores, and toothaches.

Kava kava is a strong diuretic that is reportedly beneficial in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis. The diuretic effect of the herb relieves pain and helps remove waste products from the afflicted joints. Antispasmodic properties have shown to help ease menstrual cramps by relaxing the muscles of the uterus. Kava kava’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agents may help relieve an irritable bladder, urinary tract infections, and inflammation of the prostate gland.

Kava root...……………….....Kava root power…………….Cava in bottle as medicine

Medicinal Uses:
Kava kava has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years and used by Pacific Islanders to treat rheumatism, asthma, worms, obesity, headaches, fungal infections,leprosy, gonorrhea, vaginal infections, urinary infections, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, and insomnia. It was also used as a diuretic, an aphrodisiac, to promote energy, and to bring about sweating during colds and fevers. Pacific Islanders consume a kava kava drink at social, ritual, and ceremonial functions. It is drunk at ceremonies to commemorate marriages, births, and deaths; in meetings of village elders; as an offering to the gods; to cure illness; and to welcome honored guests. Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II, and Hillary Rodham Clinton have all drunk kava kava during their island visits.

The drink is prepared by grinding, grating, or pounding the roots of the plant, then soaking the pulp in cold water or coconut milk. Traditionally the root was chewed, spit into a bowl, and mixed with coconut milk or water. That practice is no longer the standard.

Captain James Cook has been credited with the Western discovery of kava kava during his journey to the South Pacific in the late 1700s. The first herbal products made from kava kava appeared in Europe in the 1860s. Pharmaceutical preparations became available in Germany in the 1920s. Currently, kava kava has received widespread attention because of its reputation to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Preparation & Consumption:
Traditional preparation
Kava is consumed in various ways throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia and Australia. Traditionally it is prepared by either chewing, grinding or pounding the roots of the kava plant. Grinding is done by hand against a cone-shaped block of dead coral; the hand forms a mortar and the coral a pestle. The ground root/bark is combined with only a little water, as the fresh root releases moisture during grinding. Pounding is done in a large stone with a small log. The product is then added to cold water and consumed as quickly as possible.

Kava root drying in Lovoni village, Ovalau

The extract is an emulsion of kavalactone droplets in starch. The taste is slightly pungent, while the distinctive aroma depends on whether it was prepared from dry or fresh plant, and on the variety. The colour is grey to tan to opaque greenish.

Kava prepared as described above is much more potent than processed kava. Chewing produces the strongest effect because it produces the finest particles. Fresh, undried kava produces a stronger beverage than dry kava. The strength also depends on the species and techniques of cultivation. Many find mixing powdered kava with hot water makes the drink stronger. However the active ingredients of kava, such as Kavalactone, are ruined at 140 degrees. Most tea steeps at 180 degrees for at least a couple minutes which will reduce the potency of the kava.

In Vanuatu, a strong kava drink is normally followed by a hot meal or tea. The meal traditionally follows some time after the drink so that the psychoactives are absorbed into the bloodstream quicker. Traditionally no flavoring is added.

Fijians commonly share a drink called “grog”, made by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder and mixing it with cold water. Traditionally, grog is drunk from the shorn half-shell of a coconut, called a “bilo.” Despite tasting very much like dirty water, grog is very popular in Fiji, especially among young men, and often brings people together for storytelling and socializing.

Modern preparation
In modernized countries Kava beverage is usually made from Kava root powder. The root is dried and then finely ground into powder before being exported. Generally one tablespoon of powder is added per cup of water, but sometimes as much as a half a cup of powder (eight tablespoons) is added per cup of water to increase potency. The powder is then soaked in water for approximately 30 minutes to allow the water to completely soak through the powdered fibers. Lecithin is often added to aid in the process of emulsifying the kavalactones with water. The Kava powder, water, and lecithin are blended in a blender for several minutes then strained into a straining cloth. Nylon, cheesecloth, and silk screen are common materials for straining. The remaining liquid is squeezed from the pulp and the pulp is discarded. As an alternative to the blender method, with the powdered pulp enclosed within the straining material, the pulp is massaged for five to ten minutes in water, then the liquid is wrung out. The more pressure that is applied to the wet powdered pulp while wringing it out, the more kavalactones will be released from it. Finally the pulp resin is discarded and the beverage is enjoyed. Often coconut water, coconut milk, lemongrass, cocoa, sugar, or soy milk is added to improve flavor.

Pharmacology
Kava’s active principal ingredients are the kavalactones, of which at least 15 have been identified and are all considered psychoactive. Only six of them produce noticeable effects, and their concentrations in kava plants vary. Different ratios can produce different effects. Kava has some abuse potential and some experts recommend cycling use over 1 to 3 months.

Pills
Pharmaceutical companies and herbal supplement companies extract kavalactones from the kava plant using solvents such as acetone and ethanol and produce pills standardized with between 30% and 90% kavalactones. Some kava herbal supplements have been accused of contributing to very rare but severe hepatotoxic reactions (see section on safety) such may have been due to the use of plant parts other than the root, such as stems or peelings that are known to have been exported to European manufacturers. A kava pill usually has anywhere from 60 mg to 150 mg of kavalactones. By comparison the typical bowl of traditionally prepared kava beverage has around 250 mg of kavalactones.

Uses: In some parts of the Western World, kava extract is marketed as herbal medicine against stress, insomnia, and anxiety. A Cochrane Collaboration systematic review of its evidence concluded that it was likely to be more effective than placebo at treating short-term social anxiety. Safety concerns have been raised over liver toxicity, although research indicates that this may be largely due to the use of stems and leaves in supplements, which were not used indigeneously

The word kava is used to refer both to the plant and the beverage produced from its roots. Kava is a tranquilizer primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones.

Because kava can cause sedation, and in high amounts, intoxication, kava drinks are consumed in some parts of the world in much the same way as alcohol.

Although it’s not clear exactly how kava works, kavalactones may affect the levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells) in the blood. Kava has been found to affect the levels of specific neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine

A number of well-designed studies have examined kava’s ability to relieve anxiety compared to anxiety medication or a placebo. The results have been promising.

In 2003, a review by the Cochrane Collaboration examined the existing research to see how kava fared compared to a placebo in treating anxiety. After analyzing the 11 studies (involving a total of 645 people) that met the criteria, the researchers concluded that kava “appears to be an effective symptomatic treatment option for anxiety.” However, they added that it seemed to be a small effect.

Effects:
A moderately potent kava drink causes effects within 20–30 minutes that last for about two and a half hours, but can be felt for up to eight hours. Because of this, it is recommended to space out servings about fifteen minutes apart. Some report longer term effects up to two days after ingestion, including mental clarity, patience, and an ease of acceptance. The effects of kava are most often compared to alcohol, or a large dose of Valium.

The sensations, in order of appearance, are slight tongue and lip numbing (the lips and skin surrounding may appear unusually pale); mildly talkative and sociable behavior; clear thinking; anxiolytic (calming) effects; relaxed muscles; and a very euphoric sense of well-being. The numbing of the mouth is caused by the two kavalactones kavain and dihydrokavain which cause the contraction of the blood vessels in these areas acting as a local topical anesthetic. These anesthetics can also make one’s stomach feel numb. Sometimes this feeling has been mistaken for nausea. Some report that caffeine, consumed in moderation in conjunction with kava can significantly increase mental alertness.

A potent drink results in a faster onset with a lack of stimulation, the user’s eyes become sensitive to light, they soon become somnolent and then have deep, dreamless sleep within 30 minutes. Sleep is often restful and there are pronounced periods of sleepiness correlating to the amount and potency of kava consumed. Unlike alcohol-induced sleep, after wakening the drinker does not experience any mental or physical after effects. However, this sleep has been reported as extremely restful and the user often wakes up more stimulated than he or she normally would. Although excessive consumption of exceptionally potent brew has been known to cause pronounced sleepiness into the next day. Although heavy doses can cause deep dreamless sleep, it is reported that many people experience lighter sleep and rather vivid dreams after drinking moderate amounts of kava.

After thousands of years of use by the Polynesians and decades of research in Europe and the U.S., the traditional use of kava root has never been found to have any addictive or permanent adverse effects. Users do not develop a tolerance. While small doses of kava have been shown to slightly improve memory and cognition, large amounts at one time have been shown to cause intoxication. In Utah, California, and Hawaii there have been cases where people were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after drinking a significant amount of kava (eight cups or more) although some of them were acquitted due to the laws not being broad enough to cover kava consumption.

Kava Culture:
Kava is used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes throughout the Pacific. These cultures have a great respect for the plant and place a high importance on it. Correspondingly, the paraphernalia surrounding the traditional kava ceremony are expertly crafted. Traditionally designed kava bowls are bowls made from a single piece of wood, with multiple legs. More modern examples are also highly decorated, often carved and inlayed with mother of pearl and shell.CLICK & SEE

Kava root being prepared in Asanvari, a village on Maewo Island in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu. Photo taken in September, 2002 by Jordan Bigel.

Kava is used primarily at social gatherings to increase amiability and to relax after work. It has great religious significance, being used to obtain inspiration. Among some fundamentalist Christian sects in the Western Pacific, the drink has been demonized and seen as a vice, and young members of these religions often reject its traditional use. However, among most mainline Christian denominations, i.e. the Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Anglican churches, kava drinking is encouraged where it replaces the greater danger of alcohol.

Basic research on anti-cancer potential
On 15 February 2006, the Fiji Times and Fiji Live reported that researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and the Laboratoire de Biologie Moleculaire du Cancer in Luxembourg had discovered that kava may treat ovarian cancer and leukemia. Kava compounds inhibited the activation of a nuclear factor that led to the growth of cancer cells. The Aberdeen University researchers published in the journal The South Pacific Journal of Natural Science that kava methanol extracts had been shown to kill leukemia and ovarian cancer cells in test tubes.The kava compounds were shown to target only cancerous cells; no healthy cells were harmed. This may help explain why kava consumption is correlated with decreased incidence of cancer.

Fiji Kava Council Chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo welcomed the findings, saying that they would boost the kava industry. For his part, Agriculture Minister Ilaitia Tuisese called on the researchers to help persuade members of European Union to lift their ban on kava imports.

Liver damage incidents and regulation
In 2001 concerns were raised about the safety of commercial kava products. There have been allegations of severe liver toxicity, including liver failure in some people who had used dietary supplements containing kava extract (but not in anyone who had drunk kava the traditional way). Out of the 50 people worldwide taking kava pills and extracts that have had some type of problem, almost all of them had been mixing them with alcohol and pills that could have effects on the liver.[16] The fact that different kava strains have slightly different chemical composition made testing for toxicity difficult as well.

The possibility of liver damage consequently prompted action of many regulatory agencies in European countries where the legal precautionary principle so mandated. In the UK, the Medicines for Human Use (Kava-kava) (Prohibition) Order 2002 prohibits the sale, supply or import of most derivative medicinal products. Kava is banned in Switzerland, France, Germany and The Netherlands[17]. The health agency of Canada issued a stop-sale order for kava in 2002. But legislation in 2004 made the legal status of kava uncertain. The United States CDC has released a report[18] expressing reservations about the use of kava and its possibly adverse side effects (specifically severe liver toxicity), as has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has recommended that no more than 250 mg of kavalactones be taken in a 24 hour period.[20] According to the Medicines Control Agency in the U.K., there is no safe dose of kava, as there is no way to predict which individuals would have adverse reactions.

Potential Side Effects of Kava:
Side effects include indigestion, mouth numbness, skin rash, headache, drowsiness and visual disturbances. Chronic or heavy use of kava has linked to pulmonary hypertension, skin scaling, loss of muscle control, kidney damage, and blood abnormalities.

Kava may lower blood pressure and it also may interfere with blood clotting, so it shouldn’t be used by people with bleeding disorders. People with Parkinson’s disease shouldn’t use kava because it may worsen symptoms.

Kava should not be taken within 2 weeks of surgery. Pregnant and nursing women, children, and people with liver or kidney disease shouldn’t use kava.

Possible Drug Interactions:
Kava shouldn’t be taken by people who are taking Parkinson’s disease medications, antipsychotic drugs, or any medication that influences dopamine levels.

Kava shouldn’t be combined with alcohol or medications for anxiety or insomnia, including benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) or Ativan (lorazepam). It may have an additive effect if taken with drugs that cause drowsiness.

Kava may have an additive effect if combined with antidepressant drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).

Kava shouldn’t be taken with any drug or herb that impairs liver function. Kava also may interfere with blood clotting, so people taking Coumadin (warfarin) or any drug that influences blood clotting should avoid it unless under a doctor’s supervision.

Kava is a diuretic, so it may have an additive effect if combined with drugs or herbs that have diuretic properties.

Allergy
Literature suggests that <0.5% of people that take kava have an allergic reaction to it. Allergic reactions are usually mild and include itchy skin or itchy throat, and hives on the skin usually prevalent on the user’s belly region. If someone has an allergy to any relative of the pepper family, such as black pepper, they have a higher chance of having a kava allergy.

Click to learn more about Kava.:-.>………(1)….(2)……(3).…..(4)….(5)

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://altmedicine.about.com/od/kava/p/kava.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava

http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/kava-kava

 

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