Tag Archives: Produce

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Botanical Name: Lycopersicon esculentum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. lycopersicum

Synonyms :Lycopersicon lycopersicum.

Common Name: Tomato

Habitat: Original habitat is obscure, probably Western S. America, a cultivated form of Lycopersicon cerasiforme

Description:
Lycopersicon esculentum is a ANNUAL growing to 2 m (6ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in). The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual. An average common tomato weighs approximately 100 grams (4 oz)
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Tomato plants are dicots, and grow as a series of branching stems, with a terminal bud at the tip that does the actual growing. When that tip eventually stops growing, whether because of pruning or flowering, lateral buds take over and grow into other, fully functional, vines....CLICK & SEE:

Tomato vines are typically pubescent, meaning covered with fine short hairs. These hairs facilitate the vining process, turning into roots wherever the plant is in contact with the ground and moisture, especially if the vine’s connection to its original root has been damaged or severed.

Most tomato plants have compound leaves, and are called regular leaf (RL) plants, but some cultivars have simple leaves known as potato leaf (PL) style because of their resemblance to that particular relative. Of RL plants, there are variations, such as rugose leaves, which are deeply grooved, and variegated, angora leaves, which have additional colors where a genetic mutation causes chlorophyll to be excluded from some portions of the leaves

It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Requires a rich well-drained soil in a warm sunny position. The tomato is widely grown throughout the world for its edible fruit. There are many named varieties and over the considerable period of cultivation by humans two distinct types have emerged. These are:- L. esculentum cerasiforme (Dunal.)A.Gray. This is the cherry tomato. Closer to the original species, it produces a large crop of small fruits with a delicious sweetness. L. esculentum esculentum. This is the more commonly grown tomato with much larger fruits. There are a very large number of cultivars with a wide variety of colours and fruit shapes and sizes. Tomato plants are not frost-tolerant and generally need to be started off in a greenhouse in the spring if they are to succeed outdoors in Britain. They also need a hot sunny summer if they are to fruit well. Some varieties have been developed that can be successfully grown outdoors during the summer in temperate climates such as Britain, although good summers are still required in order to get reasonable yields. Varieties have been developed in Eastern Europe that can flower and set fruit at 7°c (this is compared with a temperature requirement of 11 – 13°c in earlier varieties). These varieties could provide a basis for the commercial outdoor cultivation of tomatoes in Britain. Tomatoes grow well with asparagus, parsley, brassicas and stinging nettles. They are also a good companion for gooseberries, helping to keep them free of insect pests. They dislike growing near fennel, kohl-rabi, potatoes and brassicas (this is not a typing error, merely a difference of opinion between different books). This species hybridizes with L. pimpinellifolium (which is called L. esculentum pimpinellifolium by some botanists) but it does not hybridize with L. peruvianum.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually quick and good. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich compost as soon as the first true leaf appears and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Seed can also be sown in situ under a cloche at the end of April, though in a cool summer the results may be disappointing. The seedcoat may carry tomato mosaic virus. However, by sowing the seed 15mm deep the seedcoat will remain below the soil surface when the seed germinates and the disease will be inactivated

Edible Uses:..…Fruit – raw or cooked. It can be used as a savoury vegetable or flavouring in cooked foods, or can be eaten out of hand as a dessert fruit. It is much used in salads and as a flavouring in soups and other cooked foods. A juice made from the fruit is often sold in health food shops. The fruit can also be dried and ground into a powder that can be used as a flavouring and thickening agent in soups, breads, pancakes etc. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Suitable for culinary purposes. The seed is small and it would be very fiddly to utilize. It is only viable to use the seed as a source of oil if large quantities of the plants are being grown for their fruits and the seed is not wanted.

Medicinal Uses:

Antirheumatic; Cardiac; Homeopathy; Odontalgic; Skin.

The pulped fruit is an extremely beneficial skin-wash for people with oily skin. Sliced fruits are a quick and easy first aid treatment for burns, scalds and sunburn. A decoction of the root is ingested in the treatment of toothache. The skin of tomato fruits is a good source of lycopine, a substance that has been shown to protect people from heart attacks. It seems to be more effective when it is cooked and so can be obtained from food products such as tomato ketchup and tinned tomatoes. Lycopine has also been shown to have a very beneficial effect upon the prostate and is being used increasingly to treat enlarge prostate and the difficulties in urination that accompany this disorder. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and severe headaches.
Other Uses:
Cosmetic; Insecticide; Oil; Repellent.

The strong aroma of this plant is said to repel insects from nearby plants. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It can be used in making soap. See the notes above regarding utilization. A spray made from tomato leaves is an effective but very poisonous insecticide. It is especially effective against ants but should be used with great caution because it will also kill beneficial insects and, if ingested, is toxic to humans. The pulp of the fruit is used cosmetically in face-pack

Known Hazards :All green parts of the plant are poisonous.
Plant toxicity:
Leaves, stems, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of the toxic alkaloid tomatine. They also contain solanine, a toxic alkaloid found in potato leaves and other plants in the nightshade family. Use of tomato leaves in herbal tea has been responsible for at least one death. However, levels of tomatine in foliage and green fruit are generally too small to be dangerous unless large amounts are consumed, for example, as greens. Small amounts of tomato foliage are sometimes used for flavoring without ill effect, and the green fruit is sometimes used for cooking, particularly as fried green tomatoes. Compared to potatoes the amount of solanine in green or ripe tomatoes is low; however, even in the case of potatoes while solanine poisoning resulting from dosages several times normal human consumption has been demonstrated, actual cases of poisoning resulting from excessive consumption of potatoes that have high concentration of solanine are rare.

Tomato plants can be toxic to dogs if they eat large amounts of the fruit, or chew plant material. Tomatoes have been linked to seven salmonella outbreaks since 1990
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/Tomato
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lycopersicon+esculentum

Solanum centrale

Botanical Name :Solanum centrale
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. centrale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Name:Kutjera, or Australian desert raisin.
Some other names:In english it is called English Bush raisin, bush tomato, bush sultana. In Alyawarr  it is called Akatjurra. In
Arrernte it is called  Merne akatyerre and in Pitjantjatjara it is called  Kampurarpa.

Habitat :Solanum centrale is  native to the more arid parts of Australia. Like other “bush tomatoes“, it has been used as a food source by Central Australian Aboriginal groups for millennia.

Description:
Like many plants of the Solanum genus, desert raisin is a small bush and has a thorny aspect. It is a fast growing shrub that fruits prolifically the year after fire or good rains. It can also grow back after being dormant as root stock for years after drought years. The vitamin C-rich fruit are 1–3 cm in diameter and yellow in color when fully ripe. They dry on the bush and look like raisins. These fruits have a strong, pungent taste of tamarillo and caramel that makes them popular for use in sauces and condiments. They can be obtained either whole or ground, with the ground product (sold as “kutjera powder”) easily added to bread mixes, salads, sauces, cheese dishes, chutneys, stews or mixed into butter.

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Mardu people would skewer bush tomatoes and dry them so the food was readily transportable.

Cultivation:
Traditionally, the dried fruit are collected from the small bushes in late autumn and early winter. In the wild, they fruit for only two months. These days they are grown commercially by Aboriginal communities in the deserts of central Australia. Using irrigation, they have extended the fruiting season to eight months. The fruit are grown by Amata and Mimili communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, by the Dinahline community near Ceduna, by the Nepabunna community in the northern Flinders Ranges, and on the Tangglun Piltengi Yunti farm in Murray Bridge, and are marketed by Outback Pride.

Desert Garden Produce is the only fully commercial Solanum centrale producer in the Northern Territory. It is the major commercial supplier to Robins Foods Pty Ltd under the Outback Spirit label

Edible Uses:
The ripe fruit has a delicious sun-dried tomato flavour and can be used in any dishes where tomatoes are used. Also called Desert Raisin or Desert Tomato.

Medicinal Uses:
Not found

Known Hazards:Green unripe fruits contain the toxin solanine (the same as that present in green potatoes) and must be fully ripened before consumption. There are many other Solanum species that resemble Solanum centrale, only some of which produce edible fruit.

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/Solanum_centrale
http://herbalistics.com.au/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=485
http://inglewoodbushtuckergardens.webs.com/plantprofiles.htm

Peanut

Botanical Name :Arachis hypogaea
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Aeschynomeneae
Genus: Arachis
Species: A. hypogaea
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliophyta
Order: Fabales

Common Names:Mungfali, Mung Phali, Chinibadam, Buchanaka, Shimbika, Mandapi, Ground Nut, Monkey nut, Pea nut,Earthnuts, Goober peas, Monkey nuts, Pygmy nuts and Pig nuts.

Bengali Name: China badam

Habitat :The peanut plant (Arachis hypogea) is a legume that is native to South America.The cultivated peanut was probably first domesticated in the valleys of Perú. (it now grows in warm areas around the world).

Description:
The peanut is in “bean” family (Fabaceae).  It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm.  The leaves are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets (two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), each leaflet 1 to 7 cm.   long and 1 to 3 cm.  broad. The flowers are a typical peaflower in shape, 2 to 4 cm.   across, yellow with reddish veining. After pollination, the fruit develops into a legume 3 to 7 cm.  long, containing 1 to 4 seeds, which forces its way underground to mature. Hypogaea means “under the earth.”

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The peanut was introduced to China by Portuguese traders in the 17th century and another variety by American missionaries in the 19th century.

They became popular and are featured in many Chinese dishes, often being boiled. During the 1980s peanut production began to increase greatly so that as of 2006 China was the world’s largest peanut producer. A major factor in this increase was the household-responsibility system, which moved financial control from the government to the farmers.

Cultivation:
The orange veined, yellow petaled, pea-like flower of the Arachis hypogaea is borne in axillary clusters above ground. Following self-pollination, the flowers fade and wither. The stalk at the base of the ovary, called the pedicel, elongates rapidly, and turns downward to bury the fruits several inches in the ground, where they complete their development. The entire plant, including most of the roots, is removed from the soil during harvesting.

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The pods act in nutrient absorption. The fruits have wrinkled shells that are constricted between pairs of the one to four (usually two) seeds per pod.

Peanuts grow best in light, sandy loam soil. They require five months of warm weather, and an annual rainfall of 500 to 1,000 mm (20 to 39 in) or the equivalent in irrigation water.

The pods ripen 120 to 150 days after the seeds are planted. If the crop is harvested too early, the pods will be unripe. If they are harvested late, the pods will snap off at the stalk, and will remain in the soil.

Peanuts are particularly susceptible to contamination during growth and storage. Poor storage of peanuts can lead to an infection by the mold fungus Aspergillus flavus, releasing the toxic substance aflatoxin. The aflatoxin-producing molds exist throughout the peanut growing areas and may produce aflatoxin in peanuts when conditions are favorable to fungal growth.

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Harvesting occurs in two stages. In mechanized systems a machine is used to cut off the main root of the peanut plant by cutting through the soil just below the level of the peanut pods. The machine lifts the “bush” from the ground and shakes it, then inverts the bush, leaving the plant upside down on the ground to keep the peanuts out of the dirt. This allows the peanuts to dry slowly to a bit less than a third of their original moisture level over a period of 3–4 days. Traditionally, peanuts are pulled and inverted by hand.

After the peanuts have dried sufficiently, they are threshed, removing the peanut pods from the rest of the bush

Uses
Peanuts are found in a wide range of grocery products.Popular confections include salted peanuts, peanut butter (sandwiches, candy bars, and cups), peanut brittle, and shelled nuts (plain/roasted). Salted peanuts are usually roasted in oil and packed in retail size, plastic bags or hermetically sealed cans. Dry roasted, salted peanuts are also marketed in significant quantities. Peanuts are often a major ingredient in mixed nuts because of their inexpensiveness compared to Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, and so on. The primary use of peanut butter is in the home, but large quantities are also used in the commercial manufacture of sandwiches, candy, and bakery products. Boiled peanuts are a preparation of raw, unshelled green peanuts boiled in brine and typically eaten as a snack in the southern United States where most peanuts are grown. More recently, fried peanut recipes have emerged – allowing both shell and nut to be eaten. Peanuts are also used in cosmetics, nitroglycerin, plastics, dyes and paints (see George Washington Carver, who described a large amount of uses for peanuts).

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Peanut oil……
Peanut oil is often used in cooking, because it has a mild flavor and a relatively high smoke point. Due to its high monounsaturated content it is considered more healthy than saturated oils, and is resistant to rancidity. There are several types of peanut oil including: aromatic roasted peanut oil, refined peanut oil, extra virgin or cold pressed peanut oil and peanut extract. In the United States, refined peanut oil is exempt from allergen labeling laws.

Peanut flour…..
Peanut flour is lower in fat than peanut butter, and is popular with chefs because its high protein content makes it suitable as a flavor enhancer.   Peanut flour is used as a gluten-free solution.

Boiled peanuts….
Boiled peanuts are a popular snack in the southern United States, as well as in India and China. Peanuts are also used in the Mali meat stew maafe, and in many sauces for South American meat dishes, especially rabbit.

Peanuts can be used like other legumes and grains to make a lactose-free milk-like beverage, peanut milk. Peanut plant tops are used for hay.

Low grade or culled peanuts not suitable for the edible market are used in the production of peanut oil. The protein cake (oilcake meal) residue from oil processing is used as an animal feed and as a soil fertilizer. Low grade peanuts are also widely sold as a garden bird feed.

Peanuts have a variety of industrial end uses. Paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressings, furniture polish, insecticides, and nitroglycerin are made from peanut oil. Soap is made from saponified oil, and many cosmetics contain peanut oil and its derivatives. The protein portion of the oil is used in the manufacture of some textile fibers. Peanut shells are used in the manufacture of plastic, wallboard, abrasives, fuel, cellulose (used in rayon and paper) and mucilage (glue). Rudolf Diesel ran some of the first engines that bear his name on peanut oil   and it is still seen as a potentially useful fuel.


HEALTH BENEFITS :->

Peanuts are used to help fight malnutrition. Plumpy Nut and Medika Mamba[10] are high protein, high energy and high nutrient peanut-based pastes that were developed to be used as a therapeutic food to aid in famine relief. Organizations like the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Project Peanut Butter and Doctors Without Borders have used these products to help save malnourished children in developing countries.
Peanuts are rich in nutrients, providing over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Peanuts are a good source of niacin, folate, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, manganese and phosphorus. They also are naturally free of trans-fats and sodium, and contain about 25% protein (a higher proportion than in any true nut).

While peanuts are considered high in fat, they primarily contain “good” fats also known as unsaturated fats. One serving of peanuts contains 11.5 g unsaturated fat and 2 g of saturated fat. In fact, peanuts have been linked well enough to their heart-healthy benefits. In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration released a health claim recognizing peanuts in helping maintain one’s cholesterol:

Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, including peanuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Some brands of peanut butter are fortified with omega-3 fatty acid in the form of flaxseed oil to balance the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

Niacin
Peanuts are a good source of niacin, and thus contribute to brain health and blood flow.

Antioxidants
Recent research on peanuts and nuts in general has found antioxidants and other chemicals that may provide health benefits.  New research shows peanuts rival the antioxidant content of many fruits. Roasted peanuts rival the antioxidant content of blackberries and strawberries, and are far richer in antioxidants than carrots or beets. Research conducted by a team of University of Florida scientists, published in the journal Food Chemistry, shows that peanuts contain high concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols, primarily a compound called p-coumaric acid, and that roasting can increase peanuts’ p-coumaric acid levels, boosting their overall antioxidant content by as much as 22%.

Medicinal Uses:

The seeds have been used in folk medicine as an anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac and decoagulant. Peanuts play a small role in various folk pharmacopoeias. In China the nuts are considered demulcent, pectoral, and peptic; the oil aperient and emollient, taken internally in milk for treating gonorrhea, externally for treating rheumatism. In Zimbabwe the peanut is used in folk remedies for plantar warts. Hemostatic and vasoconstrictor activity are reported. The alcoholic extract is said to affect isolated smooth muscles and frog hearts like acetylcholine. The alcoholic lipoid fraction of the seed is said to prevent hemophiliac tendencies and for the treatment of some blood disorders (mucorrhagia and arthritic hemorrhages) in hemophilia.  The red papery skins are one of the best dietary sources of oligomeric procyanidins, which are compounds that decrease capillary fragility and permeability, helping to prevent and treat varicose veins

Resveratrol
Peanuts are a significant source of resveratrol, a chemical studied for potential anti-aging effects and also associated with reduced cardiovascular disease and reduced cancer risk.

It has recently been found that the average amount of resveratrol in one ounce of commonly eaten peanuts (15 whole peanut kernels) is 73 g.

Coenzyme Q10
Peanuts are a source of coenzyme Q10, as are oily fish, beef, soybeans and spinach.

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HEALTH ALART ->
Allergies:-…….
Some people (0.6–1% of the US population) have mild to severe allergic reactions. For some people with peanut allergy, exposure can cause fatal anaphylactic shock. For these individuals, eating a small amount of peanut or just breathing the dust from peanuts[citation needed] can cause a fatal reaction. An allergic reaction also can be triggered by eating foods that have been processed with machines that have previously processed peanuts,[citation needed] making the avoidance of such food difficult.

A theory of the development of peanut allergy has to do with the way peanuts are processed in North America versus other countries, like China and India. Peanuts are widely eaten in China and India, but peanut allergies are almost unheard of there. According to a 2003 study, roasting peanuts, as more commonly done in North America, causes the major peanut allergen Ara h2 to become a stronger inhibitor of the digestive enzyme trypsin, making it more resistant to digestion. Additionally, this allergen has also been shown to protect Ara h1, another major peanut allergen, from digestion—a characteristic further enhanced by roasting.

Another theory, called the hygiene hypothesis, states that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents like germs and parasites could be causing the increase of food allergies.

Recent (2008) studies comparing age of peanut introduction in Great Britain with introduction in Israel appear to show that delaying exposure to peanuts can dramatically increase the risk of developing peanut allergies.

Results from some animal studies (and limited evidence from human subjects) suggest that the dose of peanuts is an important mediator of peanut sensitisation and tolerance; low doses tend to lead to sensitisation and higher doses tend to lead to tolerance.

Though the allergy can last a lifetime, another 2003 study indicates that 23.3% of children will outgrow a peanut allergy.

Peanut allergy has been associated with the use of skin preparations containing peanut oil among children, but the evidence is not regarded as conclusive. Peanut allergies have also been associated with family history and intake of soy products.

Some school districts in the U.S.A have banned peanuts. There are experimental techniques which appear to have desensitized some allergic individuals. The most popular technique, oral immunotherapy, works to create desensitization in those peanut allergic by feeding them small amounts of peanut until their body becomes desensitized.

Research indicates that refined peanut oil will not cause allergic reactions in most people with peanut allergies. However, crude (unrefined) peanut oils are strongly flavoured, and have been shown to contain protein, which may cause allergic reactions.

In a randomized, double-blind crossover study, 60 people with proven peanut allergy were challenged with both crude peanut oil and refined peanut oil. The authors conclude, “Crude peanut oil caused allergic reactions in 10% of allergic subjects studied and should continue to be avoided.” They also state, “Refined peanut oil does not seem to pose a risk to most people with peanut allergy.” However, they point out that refined peanut oil can still pose a risk to peanut-allergic individuals if oil that has previously been used to cook foods containing peanuts is reused.

Some progress is possibly being made in the UK, where researchers at Cambridge are studying the effectiveness of the desensitization technique.

Contamination and aflatoxin
Peanuts may be contaminated with the mold Aspergillus flavus which produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin. Lower quality specimens, particularly where mold is evident, are more likely to be contaminated. USDA tests every truckload of raw peanuts for aflatoxin; any containing aflatoxin levels of more than 20 parts per billion are destroyed. The peanut industry has manufacturing steps in place to ensure all peanuts are inspected for aflatoxin. Peanuts are also processed at a high temperature to ensure any microorganisms are killed.

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/Peanut
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/plants/pages/peanutplant.shtml

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

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Grapefruit

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

Image via Wikipedia

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

Common Name : Grapefruit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to learn :->

Medicinal Use of Citrus

Grape Fruit  is Very Good for Gums

Click to see ->Grapefruit diet

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

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

CLICK & SEE  :->  Grapefruit raises breast cancer risk   

Click & see : Grapefruit Juice Dangers Q&A

Interactions With Drugs and Medicines:-

Grapefruit has serious interactions with many commonly prescribed medications.

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

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

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

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

Statins (Cholesterol Lowering Drugs):

* Baycol (Cerivastatin)

* Mevacor (Lovastatin)

*Lipitor (Atorvastatin)

*Zocor (Simvastatin)

Antihistamines:

*Ebastine

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

Calcium Channel Blockers (Blood Pressure Drugs):

*Nimotop (Nimodipine)

*Nitrendipine

*Plendil (Felodipine)

* Pranidipine

*Sular (Nisoldipine)

Psychiatric Medications:

*Buspar (Buspirone)

*Halcion (Triazolam)

*Tegretol (Carbamazepine)

* Valium (Diazepam)

* Versed (Midazolam)

Intestinal Medications:

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

*Immune Suppressants:

* Neoral (Cyclosporine)

* Prograf (Tacrolimus)

*Pain Medications:

*Methadone

*Impotence Drug:

*Viagra (Sildenafil)

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


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

*Amiodarone (CordaroneÒ)

* Cilostazol (PletalÒ)

*Donepezil (AriceptÒ)

* Losartan (CozaarÒ)

*Montelukast (SingulairÒ)

*Pimozide (OrapÒ)

*Quetiapine (SeroquelÒ)

*Sildenafil (ViagraÒ)

* Tamoxifen (NolvadexÒ)

*Tamsulosin (FlomaxÒ)

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

Click to see-> List of drugs affected by grapefruit

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

Grapefruit may help weight loss

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

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

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

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Citrus

Botanical Name :Citrus Limonum
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Aurantioideae
Tribe: Citreae
Genus: Citrus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name:Lemon

Habitat :Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar (Burma) and the Yunnan province of China. Citrus fruit has been cultivated in an ever-widening area since ancient times; the best-known examples are the oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes.

Description:
Citrus limon  plants are large shrubs or small trees, reaching 5–15 m tall, with spiny shoots and alternately arranged evergreen leaves with an entire margin. The flowers are solitary or in small corymbs, each flower 2–4 cm diameter, with five (rarely four) white petals and numerous stamens; they are often very strongly scented. The fruit is a hesperidium, a specialised berry, globose to elongated, 4–30 cm long and 4–20 cm diameter, with a leathery rind or “peel” called a pericarp. The outermost layer of the pericarp is an “exocarp” called the flavedo, commonly referred to as the zest. The middle layer of the pericarp is the mesocarp, which in citrus fruits consists of the white, spongy “albedo”, or “pith”. The innermost layer of the pericarp is the endocarp. The segments are also called “liths”, and the space inside each lith is a locule filled with juice vesicles, or “pulp”. From the endocarp, string-like “hairs” extend into the locules, which provide nourishment to the fruit as it develops.
click to see the pictures……….>..(01)…...(1)...(2)..…....(3).....…….
Citrus fruits are notable for their fragrance, partly due to flavonoids and limonoids (which in turn are terpenes) contained in the rind, and most are juice-laden. The juice contains a high quantity of citric acid giving them their characteristic sharp flavour. The genus is commercially important as many species are cultivated for their fruit, which is eaten fresh, pressed for juice, or preserved in marmalades and pickles.

They are also good sources of vitamin C and flavonoids. The flavonoids include various flavanones and flavones

Citrus fruits are notable for their fragrance, partly due to flavonoids and limonoids (which in turn are terpenes) contained in the rind, and most are juice-laden. The juice contains a high quantity of citric acid giving them their characteristic sharp flavour. They are also good sources of vitamin C and flavonoids.

The taxonomy of the genus is complex and the precise number of natural species is unclear, as many of the named species are clonally-propagated hybrids, and there is genetic evidence that even the wild, true-breeding species are of hybrid origin. Cultivated Citrus may be derived from as few as four ancestral species. Numerous natural and cultivated origin hybrids include commercially important fruit such as the orange, grapefruit, lemon, some limes, and some tangerines. Recent research has suggested that the closely related genus Fortunella, and perhaps also Poncirus and the Australian genera Microcitrus and Eremocitrus, should be included in Citrus. In fact, most botanists now classify Microcitrus and Eremocitrus as part of the genus Citrus.

 

Cultivation

As citrus trees hybridise very readily (e.g., seeds grown from Persian limes can produce fruit similar to grapefruit), all commercial citrus cultivation uses trees produced by grafting the desired fruiting cultivars onto rootstocks selected for disease resistance and hardiness.

The color of citrus fruits only develops in climates with a (diurnal) cool winter. In tropical regions with no winter, citrus fruits remain green until maturity, hence the tropical “green orange”. The lime plant in particular is extremely sensitive to cool conditions, thus it is usually never exposed to cool enough conditions to develop a color. If they are left in a cool place over winter, the fruits will actually change to a yellow color. Many citrus fruits are picked while still green, and ripened while in transit to supermarkets.

Citrus fruitsCitrus trees are not generally frost hardy. Citrus reticulata tends to be the hardiest of the common Citrus species and can withstand short periods down to as cold as −10 °C, but realistically temperatures not falling below −2 °C are required for successful cultivation. A few hardy hybrids can withstand temperatures well below freezing, but do not produce quality fruit. A related plant, the Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata) can survive below −20 °C; its fruit are astringent and inedible unless cooked.

The trees do best in a consistently sunny, humid environment with fertile soil and adequate rainfall or irrigation. (Older ‘abandoned’ Citrus in low valleyland may suffer, yet survive, the dry summer of Central California Inner Coast Ranges. Any age Citrus grows well with infrequent irrigation in partial/understory shade, but the fruit crop is smaller.) Though broadleaved, they are evergreen and do not drop leaves except when stressed. The trees flower (sweet-scented at 2 to 20 meters) in the spring, and fruit is set shortly afterward. Fruit begins to ripen in fall or early winter months, depending on cultivar, and develops increasing sweetness afterward. Some cultivars of tangerines ripen by winter. Some, such as the grapefruit, may take up to eighteen months to ripen.

 

Limes in a grocery store.Major commercial citrus growing areas include southern China and most part of Asia, the Mediterranean Basin (including Southern Spain), South Africa, Australia, the southernmost United States, and parts of South America. In the U.S., Florida, Texas, and California are major producers, while smaller plantings are present in other Sun Belt states.

Common Uses
Lemonade or limeade are popular beverages prepared by diluting the juices of these fruits and adding sugar. Lemons and limes are also used as garnishes or in cooked dishes. Their juice is used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes, it can commonly be found in salad dressings and squeezed over cooked meat or vegetables. A variety of flavours can be derived from different parts and treatments of citrus fruits. The rind and oil of the fruit is generally very bitter, especially when cooked. The fruit pulp can vary from sweet and tart to extremely sour. Marmalade, a condiment derived from cooked orange and lemon, can be especially bitter. Lemon or lime is commonly used as a garnish for water, soft drinks, or cocktails. Citrus juices, rinds, or slices are used in a variety of mixed drinks. The skin of some citrus fruits, known as zest, is used as a spice in cooking. The zest of a lemon can also be soaked in water in a coffee filter, and drank.Lemon-Tea is a very good and testful drink for many Asians.

Kaffir Lime Leaves:
Aroma and Flavour: The haunting bouquet is unmistakably citrus and scented. The full citrus flavour is imparted when the leaves are torn or shredded.

Culinary Use: Apart from the leaves of the bush , only the fruit rind is used, finely grated, in Thai and Indonesian dishes. The leaves are torn or finely shredded and used in soups and curries – they also give a distinctive flaour to fish and chicken dishes.

Medical Uses:

The citrus juice used to be included in Thai ointments and shampoo, and in tonics in Malaysia.
Citrus juice also has medical uses – the lemon juice is used to relieve the pain of bee stings. The orange is also used in Vitamin C pills, which prevents scurvy. Scurvy is caused by Vitamin C deficiency, and can be prevented by having 10 milligrams of Vitamin C a day. An early sign of scurvy is fatigue. If ignored, later symptoms are bleeding and brusing easily.

A native from Asia, probably from India, it is now widely cultivated in Italy, California and Australia. Lemon was unknown to the ancient Greeks arriving in Europe probably brought by Roman soldiers returning from Asia Minor. It is one of the most important and versatile natural medicines for home use. A familiar food as well as a remedy, it has a high vitamin C content that helps improve resistance to infection, making it valuable for colds and flu. It is taken as a preventative for many conditions, including stomach infections, circulatory problems and arteriosclerosis. Lemon juice and oil are effective in killing germs. It decreases inflammation and improves digestion.

The fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and has cooling properties.  Lemon juice is a traditional remedy for sunburn, and it was once taken cold to relieve feverish conditions including malaria.   Today, hot lemon juice and honey is still a favorite home remedy for colds and its astringency is useful for sore throats. In the home, lemon juice may be used to descale kettles and acts as a mild bleach.  Lemons are an excellent preventative medicine and have a wide range of uses in the domestic medicine chest. The fruit is rich in vitamin C which helps the body to fight off infections and also to prevent or treat scurvy. It was at one time a legal requirement that sailors should be given an ounce of lemon each day in order to prevent scurvy. Applied locally, the juice is a good astringent and is used as a gargle for sore throats etc. Lemon juice is also a very effective bactericide. It is also a good antiperiodic and has been used as a substitute for quinine in treating malaria and other fevers.  Although the fruit is very acid, once eaten it has an alkalizing effect upon the body. This makes it useful in the treatment of rheumatic conditions.  The skin of the ripe fruit is carminative and stomachic. The essential oil from the skin of the fruit is strongly rubefacient and when taken internally in small doses has stimulating and carminative properties.  The stembark is bitter, stomachic and tonic.  Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics.  The bioflavonoids in the fruit help to strengthen the inner lining of blood vessels, especially veins and capillaries, and help counter varicose veins and easy bruising.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, antibacterial, antioxidant, reduces fever.
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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus

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

 

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