Herbs & Plants

Adenophora Triphylla


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Botanical Name : Adenophora triphylla var. japonjca Hara
Family : Campanulaceae
Genus  : Adenophora

Synonyms : Adenophora tetraphylla – (Thunb.)Fisch. ex B.D.Jacks.  Campanula triphylla – Thunb.

Korean Name: Jan-dae

English Name: Three-leaf ladybell

Parts Used : Root

Habitat : E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea.    Grassy places in lowland and mountains, also on woodland edges. In meadows from the lowlands to elevations of 1000 metres. Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Meadow; Cultivated Beds;

Erect Perennial herb growing to 1m.Root white,thickened. Stem glabrous or white-pilose. Basal leaves long -petiolate,almost round; stem leaves usually in worls of 4 , oralternate, short-pitiolate  or sessile, oblong or oblong-ellipetic or linear, to 10 cm long, serrate. Flowers lower in whorls on very slender pedicels, more paniculate above; corolla pale bluish-violet, narrow urceolate- companulate, slightly constricted above, about 13-22 mm long; style long-exerted. July-Nov

It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower in September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

This quite rare & most elegant & graceful member of the Campanula family comes   from Japan. To 2-3’ tall, it forms erect, branching spikes bearing pale blue, perfect little chubby bells in late Summer thru Fall. The lance shaped leaves are glossy & held in whorls. Good garden soil is best. Easy! (Bait for snails).

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

Prefers a light rich slightly alkaline soil that is not too dry and a warm sunny position. Prefers a moist peaty soil in sun or partial shade. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. This species is extremely polymorphic, and several varieties and forms have been described in Japan. The many variations in several characters (hairiness, leaf-shape, inflorescence-shape etc.) can be seen in individuals growing intermixed. This species succeeds in a meadow if the grass is not cut until after the plant flowers. Intolerant of root disturbance. The young growth is extremely attractive to slugs, they have been known to destroy even mature plants.

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed can also be sown in spring. Surface sow 2 – 3 seeds per pot in the spring in order to avoid transplanting. We have found that if transplanted when very small seedlings grow away without difficulty. Germinates in 1 – 3 months at 10°c. Plant out into their permanent positions whilst young. Basal cuttings in spring. Division in spring – very difficult because the plant dislikes root disturbance.

Chemical Components:- Saponin (1). Triterpenes (2)

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root.

Root – cooked. The root is thick and carrot shaped. Leaves – cooked.

Medicinal Actions & Uses :
Antifungal; Cardiotonic; Expectorant.

The root is antifungal, carditonic and expectorant. It is used I Korea to treat bronchial catarrh and coughs, especially where there is excess phlegm. The rot has been shown to contain saponins and triterpenes which are responsible for its expectorant action.

Tradional Uses: Sputum, cough,bronchial catarrh

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Peltophorum Pterocarpum or Radhachura in Bengali

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Botanical name: Peltophorum pterocarpum.
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Genus: Peltophorum
Species: P. pterocarpum

Synonyms : Baryxylum inerme (Roxb.) Pierre, Caesal pinia ferruginea Dcne., Caesalpinia arborea Zoll. ex Miq., Caesalpinia inermis Roxb., Inga pterocarpa DC., Peltophorum ferrugineum (Dcne.) Benth., Peltophorum inerme (Roxb.) Llanos, Poinciana roxburghii G.Don

Common Name:Copperpod, Golden Flamboyant, Yellow Flamboyant, Yellow Flame Tree, Yellow Poinciana.
(English: Copper pod tree, Rusty shield bearer. Kannada: Peltophorum, Bengali: Radha chura)

Native to tropical southeastern Asia and northern Australasia, in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines (doubtfully native), and the islands off the coast of Northern Territory, Australia.

It is a deciduous tree growing to 15–25 m (rarely up to 50 m) tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m. The leaves are bipinnate, 30-60 cm long, with 16-20 pinnae, each pinna with 20-40 oval leaflets 8-25 mm long and 4-10 mm broad. The flowers are yellow, 2.5-4 cm diameter, produced in large compound racemes up to 20 cm long. The fruit is a pod 5-10 cm long and 2.5 cm broad, red at first, ripening black, and containing one to four seeds. Trees begin to flower after about four years.


You may click to see the pictures of Peltophorum Pterocarpum  


Its with wide-spreading branches form an umbrella-like crown up to 25′ across. The stems and twigs are rusty-red tomentose (fuzzy). The leaves are bipinnate (twice compound), about 2′ long with 8-20 pairs of 3/4″-long oblong leaflets. The fragrant flowers are clustered on upright stalks (racemes, actually) about 18″ long. Each flower is about an inch and a half across with translucent yellow, strangely-crinkled petals. The flowers have conspicuous orange stamens and each petal has a reddish brown mark in the center. They are followed by purplish brown, flattened, oblong seed pods, 3-4″ long, which remain on the tree until the next flowering season.

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Compared to gul mohar this tree flowers for longer periods, and often you can see buds, flowers, pods (copper coloured) and also leaves in the same tree. It is remarkably drought resistant and can grow very big and is a good shade tree.

Peltophorum pterocarpum is widely grown in tropical regions as an ornamental tree, particularly in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Florida and Hawaii in the United States.Propagation of yellow poinciana is by seeds that must be treated before they will germinate. In nature, the seeds would have passed through the gut of a bird or mammal before germinating in a pile of rich “compost.” We simulate that process with scarification (use a file or sandpaper), or a two-minute immersion in dilute acid or boiling water.

Yellow poincianas are usually planted as specimen trees or as shade trees. They are used as street trees in tropical cities, and commonly planted for shade in tropical and subtropical gardens. They are fast-growing and vigorous, but they cannot tolerate frost.The wood has a wide variety of uses, and the foliage, which are rich in protein, is used as a fodder crop.
It serves as a host for lac insects.

It is also used as a shade and cover plant in cacao and coffee plantations, for reforestation of wastelands covered with (Imperata cylindrica) and as a windbreak.

Also grown as an ornamental. Sap wood soft and light, not durable and of little use, heartwood red, hard and strong. Good for carpentry, construction and cartwright’s work. Bark contains tannins, giving a light yellow color to leather, tannins also present in leaves and wood.The wood is used for cabinet work, coach-building, furniture, planks and as firewood.

Medicinal uses: bark for dysentry, tooth powder, eye lotion, embrocation for pains and sores; the bark gives a dye of a yellow color. Can be used as a shade – or specimen tree.
USDA hardiness zone 10b..

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.


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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)


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Botanical Name: Cassia Augustifolia
Family:    Lauraceae
Genus:    Cinnamomum
Species:C. cassia
Order:    Laurales

Popular Name(s): Senna, Indian Senna, Tinnervelly Senna, Cassia Senna, Locust Plant, Rajavriksha
Parts Used: Pods, Stems and Leaves
Habitat: Cultivated in dry lands of Southern & Western India, Burma  and indigenous to Arabia.

Genus Species: Cassia senna or Cinnamonum cassia
Cultivated: Hot wet tropics of China, Indochina, East and West Indies, and Central America

Other Names:Chinese cassia or Chinese cinnamon,Malabathrum,Cinnamomum tamala ,Malobathrum or Malabar leaf

Description :
Cassia is an aromatic bark, similar to cinnamon, but differing in strength and quality. Cassia bark is darker, thicker and coarser, and the corky outer bark is often left on. The outer surface is rough and grayish brown, the inside bark is smoother and reddish-brown. Cassia is less costly than cinnamon and is often sold ground as cinnamon. When buying as sticks, cinnamon rolls into a single quill while cassia is rolled from both sides toward the centre so that they end up resembling scrolls.


The leaves, known as tejpat in Nepali,  Tejpatta  in Hindi, Tejpat in Assamese and Tamalpatra in Marathi and in original Sanskrit, are used extensively in the cuisines of India, Nepal, and Bhutan, particularly in the Moghul cuisine of North India and Nepal and in Tsheringma herbal tea in Bhutan. It is called Biryani Aaku or Bagharakku in Telugu. They are often erroneously labeled as “Indian bay leaves,” though the bay leaf is from the Bay Laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus, and the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different. Bay leaves are shorter and light to medium green in color, with one large vein down the length of the leaf;photo while tejpat are about twice as long and wider than laurel leaves. They are usually olive green in color, may have some brownish spots and have three veins down the length of the True tejpat leaves impart a strong cassia- or cinnamon-like aroma to dishes, while the bay leaf’s aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon. Indian grocery stores usually carry true tejpat leaves. Some grocers may only offer Turkish bay leaves, in regions where true tejpat is unavailable.

Cassia buds resemble cloves. They are the dried unripe fruits about 14 mm (1/2 in) long and half as wide. It is native to Burma and grown in China, Indo-China, the East and West Indies and Central America. Cassia is called kwei in the earliest Chinese herbal by Shen-nung (2700 B.C.). It reached Europe in classical times with Arabian and Phoenician traders and the buds were known in Europe in the Middle Ages.

There are many varieties of cassia, including:

Chinese cassia (Cinnamomum cassia) or cassia, is from Burma and South China, coming in quills or rolled. This variety is also the source of cassia buds.
Indian cassia (Cinnamomum tamala) is native to India where its leaves are also used as an herb (tejpat).
Indonesian cassia (Cinnamomum burmanni) or Padang cassia has a smoother bark and double quills. This is usually the cassia that is imported to North America.
Saigon cassia (Cinnamomum loureirii) is native to Indonesia and is also grown in Japan and Korea.
Oliverâ’s Bark (Cinnamomum oliveri) is an Australian substitute of cassia and cinnamon.
Mossoia Bark (Cinnamomum) is an inferior substitute for cassia and cinnamon from Papua New Guinea.
Bouquet: The buds have a slight aroma. the bark is sweet-spicy like cinnamon, but more pungent.
Flavour: The bark and the buds have similar flavours: warm, sweet and pungent.

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Cassia is the name given to the bark of several trees such as Cinnamonum cassia, C. aromatium, C. loureirii, C. burmannii, etc. These varieties have a wide distribution, but in ancient trade cassia used to come mainly from China, hence the name Chinese cinnamon or bastard cinnamon. The bark is coarser than that of true cinnamon, and the taste is more astringent and harsh, although a variety C. burmannii from Indonesia is similar to the Sri Lanka product.

Cassia is more widely used today than is cinnamon, although most people are unfamiliar with the name cassia; moreover, the word can be confused with Cassia angustifolia – a very different plant, namely senna! Cassia as a spice is favored by the Chinese for incorporation in Five Spice Powder (along with Szechuan pepper, cloves, fennel and star anise). Cassia leaves (tejpat) are currently used as a spice in Indian cooking, while cassia leaves and buds were a favored import (with the name malabathrum) in ancient Rome and also during the Middle Ages. See a list of spices by Taste and Hotness.

Useful Parts
:The spice in the case of both cinnamon and cassia come from bark of the plants.

Medicinal Properties:It is useful in habitual costiveness. It lowers bowels, increases peristaltic movements of the colon by its local action upon the intestinal wall.

Cinnamon and cassia extracts have been used medically to treat gastrointestinal problems and as a specific for diarrhea, but their value is marginal. Their use as antimicrobials is of limited relevance, and it is dubious if the presence of cinnamon or cassia in cooked foods retards spoilage if left unrefrigerated in a tropical climate. Nevertheless, cinnamon along with many other spices has antibacterial properties that may be worth exploiting.

The properties of cassia and cassia oil are similar to those of cinnamon and comprised largely of cinnamaldehyde.. Cassia is a tonic, carminative and stimulant. It is used to treat nausea and flatulence. It is also used alone or in combination to treat diarrhea.
Cassia (called ròu gùi; 肉桂 in Chinese) is used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs.

A 2003 study published in the DiabetesCare journal followed Type 2 diabetics ingesting 1, 3 or 6 grams of cassia daily. Those taking 6 grams shows changes after 20 days, and those taking lesser doses showed changes after 40 days. Regardless of the amount of cassia taken, they reduced their mean fasting serum glucose levels 18–29%, their triglyceride levels 23–30%, their LDL cholesterol 7–27%, and their total cholesterol 12–26%, over others taking placebos.

The effects, which may even be produced by brewing a tea from cassia bark, may also be beneficial for non-diabetics to prevent and control elevated glucose and blood lipid levels. Cassia’s effects on enhancing insulin sensitivity appear to be mediated by polyphenols . Despite these findings, cassia should not be used in place of anti-diabetic drugs, unless blood glucose levels are closely monitored and its use is combined with a strictly controlled diet and exercise program.

There is also much anecdotal evidence that consumption of cassia has a strong effect in lowering blood pressure, making it potentially useful to those suffering from hypertension. The USDA has three ongoing studies that are monitoring the blood pressure effect.

Though the spice has been used for thousands of years, there is concern that there is as yet no knowledge about the potential for toxic buildup of the fat-soluble components in cassia, as anything fat-soluble could potentially be subject to toxic buildup. There are no concluded long term clinical studies on the use of cassia for health reasons.


Historical View : The properties of cassia are similar to those of cinnamon; but it is commonly regarded as somewhat more astringent. Its uses are the same as those of cinnamon.

Bentley, Robert and Henry Trimen. Medicinal Plants; being descriptions with original figures of the principal plants employed in medicine and an account of the characters, properties, and uses of their parts and products of medicinal value. London, Churchill, 1880. (WZ 295 B556m 1880)

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.

Sources: and

Herbs & Plants

Thankuni Leaf (Centella asiatica)

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Botanical Name::Centella asiatica
Family: Mackinlayaceae
Genus: Centella
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Species: C. asiatica
Common names : Gotu Kola, Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort, Luei Gong Gen, Takip-kohol, Antanan, Pegagan, Pegaga, vallaarai , Kula kud, Bai Bua Bok , Brahmi (this last name is shared with Bacopa monnieri) and rau má (literally: mother vegetable- Vietnamese). In Assamese it is known as Manimuni. It is used as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional African medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine. Botanical synonyms include Hydrocotyle asiatica L. and Trisanthus cochinchinensis (Lour.).In Telugu Language this is known as “Saraswathi Plant” in India. In Kannada  language is known as Ondelaga.

Habitat : Native to India, Sri Lanka, northern Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, and other parts of Asia.Centella grows along ditches and in low wet areas. In Indian and Southeast Asian centella, the plant frequently suffers from high levels of bacterial contamination, possibly from having been harvested from sewage ditches. Because the plant is aquatic, it is especially sensitive to pollutants in the water, which easily are incorporated into the plant.

The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish green in color, interconnecting one plant to another. It has long-stalked, green, reniform leaves with rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles, around 2 cm. The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.
You may click to see the picture
The flowers are pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size (less than 3 mm), with 5-6 corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruit are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit.

The crop matures in three months and the whole plant, including the roots, is harvested manually.

Edible use:
Centella is used as a leafy green in Sri Lankan cuisine, where it is called Gotu Kola. In Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) Gotu = conical shape and Kola= leaf. It is most often prepared as mallung; a traditional accompaniment to rice and curry, and goes especially well with vegetarian dishes such as parippu’ (dhal), and jackfruit or pumpkin curry. It is considered quite nutritious. In addition to finely chopped gotu kola, mallung almost always contains grated coconut and may also contain finely chopped green chilis, chili powder (1/4 teaspoon), turmeric powder (1/8 teaspoon) and lime (or lemon) juice.

A variation of the extremely nutritious porridge known as Kola Kenda is also made with Gotu Kola by the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka. Kola Kenda is made with very well boiled red rice (with extra liquid), coconut milk and Gotu Kola which is liquidized. The porridge is accompanied with Jaggery for sweetness. Centella leaves are also used in the sweet “pennywort drink.”

In Indonesia, the leaves are used for sambai oi peuga-ga, an Aceh type of salad, also mixed into asinan in Bogor.

In Vietnam and Thailand this leaf is used for preparing a drink or can be eaten in raw form in salads or cold rolls.

In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad.

It is one of the constituents of the Indian summer drink “thandaayyee”.

Cultivation method: For rapid propagation vegetative organ especially stolon and seeds are used.

Medicinal Uses:
Gotu kola is a mild adaptogen, is mildly antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, anxiolytic, a cerebral tonic, a circulatory stimulant, a diuretic, nervine and vulnerary.

When eaten raw as a salad leaf, pegaga is thought to help maintain youthfulness. In Thailand cups with gotu kola leaves are used as an afternoon pick me up. A decoction of juice from the leaves is thought to relieve hypertension. This juice is also used as a general tonic for good health. A poultice of the leaves is also used to treat open sores.

Richard Lucas claimed in a book published in 1966 (second edition in 1979) that a subspecies “Hydrocotyle asiatica minor” allegedly from Sri Lanka also called “Fo ti tieng”, contained a longevity factor called ‘youth Vitamin X’ said to be ‘a tonic for the brain and endocrine glands’ and maintained that extracts of the plant help circulation and skin problems. However according to medicinal herbalist Michael Moore, it appears that there is no such subspecies and no Vitamin X is known to exist. Nonetheless some of the cerebral circulatory and dermatological actions claimed from centella (as hydrocotyle) have a solid basis.

Several scientific reports have documented Centella asiatica’s ability to aid wound healing, which is responsible for its traditional use in leprosy. Upon treatment with Centella asiatica, maturation of the scar is stimulated by the production of type I collagen. The treatment also results in a marked decrease in inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production.

The isolated steroids from the plant have been used to treat leprosy. In addition, preliminary evidence suggests that it may have nootropic effects. Centella asiatica is used to re-vitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration , and combat aging. Centella asiatica also has anti-oxidant properties. It works for venous insufficiency. It is used in Thailand for opium detoxification.

Ayurvedic medicine
In India it is popularly known by a variety of names: Bemgsag, Brahma manduki, Brahmanduki, Brahmi, Ondelaga (North India, West India), Gotu kola, Khulakhudi, Mandukparni, Mandookaparni, Mandukaparni (South India), or Thankuni depending on region.

Bacopa monnieri is the more widely known Brahmi—both have some common therapeutic properties in Vedic texts and both are used for improving memory. C. asiatica is called “Brahmi” particularly in north India, although that may be a case of mistaken identification that was introduced during the 16th century, when brahmi was confused with mandukaparni, a name for C. asiatica.

Probably the earliest study of Mandookaparni as Medya Rasayana (improving the mental ability) was carried out at Dr.A.Lakshmipathy Research Centre(now under CCRAS)VHS,Adyar,Chennai by Dr.M.V.R Apparao,Kanchana Srinivasan et al.

Village people use it hugely for its availability and easy cultivation. Juice of leaves is used to cure dysentery and bowel complaints especially for babies and used as tonic also. It is also used for eczema, ulcers, liver complaints, rheumatism, improving memory, piles and irregular menstruation. Saving hair leaf juice is also very effective.

Gotu Kola is a minor feature in the longevity myth of the Tai Chi Chuan master Li Ching-Yun. He purportedly lived to be 256, due in part to his usage of traditional Chinese herbs including Gotu Kola.

A popular folklore tale from Sri Lanka speaks of a prominent king from the 10th century AD named Aruna Withane who claimed that Gotu Kola provided him with energy and stamina to satisfy his 50-woman harem.

Background: Elderly people of this region(Eastern India & Bangladesh) have a strong belief that thankuni leaf as a pulp or extract can control loose motion. The mechanism of action of thankuni leaf extract is not known but the elderly, especially grandmothers, use thankuni leaf extracts for their grandchildren who suffer from loose motion. Objective: Evaluate control of motion and fluid loss as affected by intake of thankuni extract. Methodology: In a prospective study, 25 children aged 1-2 year(s), having more than 5 loose motions/day were randomly advised to take 60 mL of thankuni extract (extracted from 50 leafs with stem). The children were suffering from persistent malnutritional diarrhoea. They were also fed khichuri made with 300 g of rice, 200 g of vegetables, two eggs, 150 g of fish, 150 g of musur dal, and 30 mL of soybean oil. The total amount of khichuri was divided into 3 meals, and after each meal, 60 mL of thankuni extract was given to ingest. They were also advised to drink oral saline (tasty saline) in between the meals, and if capable, to eat fruits, such as banana, mango, guava, star fruit, and shaddock. The study was conducted at the private chamber of the author during 3 January-3 June 2003. None was admitted to hospital. Urinary excretion and stool of each patient were examined routinely on the first and the fifth day. After fifth day, they were advised to eat normal diets. Results: On the second day, 5 patients showed controlled motion (2-3 motions a day). Eleven cases showed controlled motion on the third day, 7 cases on the fourth day, and 2 cases on the fifth day. Signs of dehydration were absent in 15 cases on the third day, 8 cases on the fourth day, and 2 cases on the fifth day. Motion and dehydration both were controlled within the fifth day of thankuni therapy. Conclusion: Treatment of diarrhoea with thankuni, a common herb in Bangladesh, is not yet established, but the observation on 25 cases in this study showed 100% cure within 5 days. So, ICDDR,B  and other big children hospitals handling diarrhoea should give a clinical trial  upon thankuni extract and should establish this low-cost easy treatment in Bangladesh and abroad.

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

Medicinal Plants Of Bangladesh
Transfusion Medicine, Comilla Medical College, Comilla, Bangladesh

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