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Herbs & Plants

Myrica nagi

Botanical Name: Myrica nagi
Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Myrica
Species: M. esculenta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales
Synonyms:
*Myrica integrifolia
*Myrica sapida
Common Name : Box Myrtle

Habitat : Myrica nagi is native to E. Asia – Himalayas. It grows on drier aspects to 1800 metres. Open, mixed forests on mountain slopes at elevations of 300 – 2500 metres.

Description:
Myrica nagi is an evergreen Tree growing to 12 m (39ft 4in). It is in leaf 12-Jan. The leaves are long and either pale or rust- colored. The tree has many hairy branches. The flowers that bloom on them are few and far apart and quite small in size as well. The seeds of the plant own a wrinkled appearance.

The bark that grows on the tree Myrica Nagi is aromatic in nature and owing to it; the tree has been in use for its aromatic properties for ages.
The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist soil. Grows well in an open position in a well-drained soil in sun or light shade. Thrives in any ordinary garden soil. Prefers a lime-free loamy or peaty soil. We are not sure how hardy this plant will be in Britain, it is unlikely to succeed outside the very mildest areas of the country. There is also some confusion between this species and M. rubra, it is possible that they are the same. The fruit is sold in local markets in the Himalayas. It ripens over a fairly long period, so is not suitable for commercial cultivation. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Many species in this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Barely cover the seed and keep it moist. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good[78]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:

Fruit – raw or cooked. Sweet with a pleasant blend of acid, they are very pleasant eating. About 13mm in diameter. The fruit contains about 12.6% sugar, 1% protein, 0.4% ash. Low in vitamin C, about 4.1mg per 100ml. The fruit does not keep well, only lasting in good condition for 2 – 3 days after picking. Yields from mature trees can be as high as 25kg per year, but are more often around 15.5kg.
Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Antirheumatic; Antiseptic; Aromatic; Astringent; Carminative; Febrifuge; Ophthalmic;
Rubefacient; Stimulant.

The bark is antirheumatic, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, ophthalmic and stimulant. It has proved useful in the treatment of fevers, asthma and coughs. The juice is applied to treat rheumatism. Mixed with ginger, it is used as a rubefacient in the treatment of choler. The juice of the bark is taken internally in the treatment of catarrh and headaches, and is applied externally to cuts and wounds. A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of fevers, asthma and diarrhoea. This decoction is boiled to form a gelatinous mass that is applied as a poultice on sprains. Combined with the bark of Quercus lanata, it is used as a decoction in the treatmnt of dysentery. The juice of the unripe fruit is used as an anthelmintic.
Other Uses:
Dye; Tannin; Wax; Wood.

A wax covering on the fruit is extracted by scalding the fruit with boiling water and immersing them for a few minutes, the wax floats to the surface and is then skimmed off. The fruit is then boiled in water to extract the wax from the pulp and once more the wax is skimmed off. It is then strained through a muslin cloth and can be used to make aromatic candles. Candles made from this wax are quite brittle but are less greasy in warm weather. They are slightly aromatic and do not smoke when put out, making them much more pleasant to use that wax or tallow candles. The wax is also used in making soaps. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. The plant is a source of tannin. (Probably the bark or the leaves.) The bark is said to contain 60 – 80% tannin. Wood – hard, close-grained. a good fuel. Used mainly for fuel, though it is sometimes used for making poles for construction.

Known Hazards : Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, there is a report for some members of this genus that some of the constituents of the wax might be carcinogenic.

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

Myrica Nagi


http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Myrica+nagi

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Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices) News on Health & Science

FDA Approves Two New Stevia-Based Sweeteners

The FDA approved two versions of a new zero-calorie sweetener developed by the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo.

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Cargill, which is marketing the sweetener Truvia from Coca-Cola, received notification from the FDA that it had no objection to the product, calling it “generally recognized as safe.”

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PepsiCo said it also had received a similar letter and the same “generally recognized as safe” designation for its sweetener, PureVia.

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Both products use rebiana, an extract from the steviaplant.

Sources: New York Times December 17, 2008

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Categories
News on Health & Science

Fast Food Goes Organic

Organic to Go, a Seattle organic fast food company founded in 2004, has purchased cafes and catering operations. The company plans to create lunch places serving organic meals.

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People who eat meals out increasingly want more nutritious food. More than 76 percent of the people in a recent poll said they are trying to eat out more healthfully than they were two years ago.

Another showed that, after bite-sized desserts, the hottest trends in food were locally grown and organic produce.

Organic to Go opened its first cafe three years ago. Now it boasts 33 outposts in Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

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Sources: Washington Post June 3, 2008

Categories
News on Health & Science

The Miracle Berry

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Imagine an extract from a berry that would make sour things taste sweet and help you lose weight. Then imagine not being allowed to take it.

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The berry makes sour things taste sweet

The world is getting fatter. One billion people are overweight, and 300 million of those are clinically obese.

The search is always on for replacements for those things that, eaten in excess, make us obese – fatty and sugary foods. There is no miracle pill that can replace either. Nearly four decades ago one man came close to providing a tablet that could reduce our love of sugar. In the 1960s, Robert Harvey, a biomedical postgraduate student, encountered the miracle berry, an African fruit which turns sour tastes to sweet.

“You can eat a berry and then bite into a lemon,” says Harvey. “It becomes not only sweeter, but it will be the best lemon you’ve tasted in your life.”

FIND OUT MORE…
The Miracle Berry, presented by Tom Mangold, is on Radio 4 at 2100 BST on 28 April
Or listen again on the BBC iPlayer

More importantly, this “miracle” can be used to manufacture sweet tasting foods without sugar or sweeteners, which have always been plagued by an after-taste.

Spotting the potential health benefits, and the healthy profits, that the miracle berry promised, Harvey founded the Miralin Company to grow the berry in Jamaica and Puerto Rico, extract its active ingredient in laboratories in Hudson, Massachusetts, and market it across the United States. At first, Harvey aimed his products at diabetics.

“In market testing, diabetics thought our product, as the name implies, was a miracle.”

But Harvey’s sweet dream of making the world healthier came to an abrupt end. On the eve of the launch in 1974, the US Food and Drugs Administration unexpectedly turned against the product.

Legal advice and contact with the FDA had led Harvey to believe that the extract from the berry would be allowed under the classification “generally recognised as safe”. Having been eaten for centuries in Africa, without anecdotal reports of problems, it could be assumed not to be harmful.

But the FDA decided it would be considered as an additive which required several years more testing. In the poor economic climate of 1974, this could not be funded and the company folded.

“I was in shock,” says Harvey. “We were on very good terms with the FDA and enjoyed their full support. There was no sign of any problem. Without any opportunity to know what the concern was and who raised it, and to respond to it – they just banned the product.”

He remembers a number of strange events leading up to the FDA’s decision, beginning immediately after one particular market research test.

His investors, including Reynolds Metals, Barclays and Prudential, had put up big money. They were looking for big returns.

“From the beginning my interest was in the diabetic market but my backers wanted to put double zeros after the numbers we were projecting.”

So, in the summer of 1974, miracle berry ice lollies, in four different flavours, were compared to similar, sugar-sweetened versions by schoolchildren in Boston. The berry won every time.

Don Emery, then vice president of the Miralin company, recalls the excitement.

“If we had got beyond the diabetic market we could have been a multi-billion dollar company. We’d have displaced maybe millions of tons of sugar and lots of artificial sweeteners as well.”

A few weeks later, things turned sour. A car was spotted driving back and forwards past Miralin’s offices, slowing down as someone took photographs of the building. Then, late one night, Harvey was followed as he drove home.

“I sped up, then he sped up. I pulled into this dirt access road and turned off my lights and the other car went past the end of the road at a very high speed. Clearly I was being monitored.”

Sugar denial:  Finally, at the end of that summer, Harvey and Emery arrived back at the office after dinner to find they were being burgled. The burglars escaped and were never found, but the main FDA file was left lying open on the floor.

A few weeks later the FDA, which had previously been very supportive, wrote to Miralin, effectively banning its product. No co-incidence, according to Don Emery.

Obesity is a massive problem in the West  :  “I honestly believe that we were done in by some industrial interest that did not want to see us survive because we were a threat. Somebody influenced somebody in the FDA to cause the regulatory action that was taken against us.”

The Sugar Association, the trade body representing “Big Sugar” in the US, declined to be interviewed on the subject but flatly denied that the industry had exerted any influence over the FDA.

The Calorie Control Council, which represents artificial sweetener manufacturers in the US, has failed to respond to questions on the issue.

The Food and Drugs Administration also refused to be interviewed and has indicated that a Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation request to look at the relevant FDA files will not be considered for a year. Robert Harvey had requested the same files over 30 years ago.

“We got back the most redacted information I’ve ever seen from FOI. Everything was blacked out. There would have been material in the file that would have embarrassed the FDA, I believe.”

Faced with this silence, it’s virtually impossible to assess what actually happened to prevent the miracle berry’s progress to a sugar-free market.

But one thing is certain, it never got the chance to prove whether it really would have provided a miracle in our ever fattening world. And for Robert Harvey, that’s the biggest shame of all.

“It was a big loss not only for my employees and shareholders but, even more importantly, for diabetics and other people with special dietary needs. It was tragic.”

CLICK TO KNOW MORE ABOUT : MIRACLE BERRY:
*Also known as “miracle fruit” or Synsepalum dulcificum
*Grown in Africa, first documented in 18th Century
*Acts on the sour receptors of the tongue, turning sour tastes sweet
*Effect lasts 30 mins – two hours
*Effect is destroyed in hot foods – eg coffee and baked foods
*Renders an accompanying dry white wine sickly sweet
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Sources: BBC NEWS:28Th. Aptil ’08
Categories
Dry Fruit

Peanut

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Highlights of the Round-table Discussion

A group of the country’s leading scientists in the areas of nutrition, epidemiology, anthropology, public health, and food science met in a rare round-table conference to share their knowledge and to discuss what we know and what we need to know about the role of nuts in the diet. There is an emerging body of research that appears to show that nuts may play an important role in decreasing the risk factors for heart disease and possibly other chronic diseases. Future research needs were also discussed. The conference was unprecedented in the prominence of the scientists and organizations involved and in that many of the participating scholars discussed work from recently published and current research. The conference was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association and the University of California at Davis. Additional support was provided by the International Nut Council and the National Peanut Council. It was held Sept. 28 and 29, 1995 at the U.S.D.A.-A.R.S. Western Human Nutrition Center, Presidio of San Francisco. A general overview of the information shared is presented here.


Introduction: Nutritional Components of Nuts

Nuts Are Rich in Fiber, Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients
Nuts are a complex plant food. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, biotin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. Many nuts are also an great source of folic acid, which has been shown to reduce the instance of birth defects when taken by pregnant mothers.
Nuts may also be a source of helpful biologically active components found in plant foods, such as phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds that are potentially beneficial to people, but not currently classified as vitamins or minerals. They are important “health protectants.” Phytochemicals in nuts include ellagic acid, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, luteolin (a major antioxidant), isoflavones and tocotrienols. Some nuts contain up to eight different forms of sterols, which are thought to help moderate cholesterol levels. Nuts appear to contain a number of these phytochemicals, although further analysis needs to be conducted as new technology is developed to measure exact amounts.

Not All Fat Is the Same
Despite being thought of as “bad for you,” fat is essential for our bodies to function properly. While many Americans eat too much of it, we need to consume some fat in our diets.
An ounce of nuts has between 165 and 200 calories and between 14 and 21 grams of fat. About 80% of the calories in nuts comes from fat, however, most of that fat (more than 90% on average) is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Unsaturated fats are generally thought of as the “good” fats, as opposed to artery-clogging saturated fats, mostly found in animal products, like butter and meat. Because the fat in nuts is unsaturated, nuts can actually work to lower total (or serum) cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Diets high in saturated fat contribute to high levels of total (or serum) cholesterol and to high levels of low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. Too much saturated fat in the diet also unfortunately reduces “good” high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.
Most nuts are very low in saturated fats. Opinion polls have show that many people mistakenly believe that nuts contain cholesterol. There is no cholesterol in nuts, since they are a plant product, and cholesterol is found only in animal products.


Nuts, An Ancient Food
Not only are nuts health-enhancing for modern people, they were probably one of the reasons that people first settled into villages. Recent archeological excavations at the village of Hallan Cemi in Eastern Turkey, settled 10,000 years ago, has uncovered the existence of a non-migratory society with economies centered on the harvesting of almonds and pistachios. The work of Michael Rosenberg, Ph.D., has shown that this settled village life preceded the development of agriculture. It’s possible that nut-centered societies not only preceded agricultural ones, but that the harvesting of wild nuts may have actually fostered agriculture.


 

Although the benefits are greatest for frequent nut eaters, those who ate nuts even once a week had 25% less
heart disease than those who avoided nuts.

Nuts should not be left out of any cholesterol lowering diet,” says Dr. Joan Sabaté.

The Role of Nuts in Disease Prevention

In addition to helping people control or prevent cardiovascular diseases, nuts might also play a role in reducing or preventing deaths attributable to diabetes and cancer.

Extracted from : ://www.aboutpeanuts.com/nn1.html

Consume monounsaturated fats.
Vegetable oils like canola, olive and peanut, and certain nuts including walnuts, almonds and peanuts, may increase your high-density lipoprotein, also known as “good” cholesterol.
New research shows “peanut and peanut butter ” is wet loss diet reduces heart disease risk by 14%
Harvard study shows eating peanuts and peanut butter may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at Harvard find three times as many people stick to Medditerranean -style weight loss diet than traditional low fat diet

Additional studies show peanuts are Heart -Healthy-lowering blood cholesterol.
Effective in healing people on Mediterranean Diet-loose weight and keep it off..

More satisfying for longer period of times,than high carbohydrate snacks.

Comprised of important plant chemicals, such asphytosterols,thought to help fight heart disease and cancer.

Extracted from:http://www.peanut-institute.org/

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