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Herbs & Plants

Zizyphus vulgaris

Botanical Name : Zizyphus vulgaris/Ziziphus jujuba
Family: Rhamnaceae
Tribe:     Paliureae
Genus:     Ziziphus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Rosales

Synonyms: Zizyphus sativa. Brustbeeren. Judendornbeeren. Rhamnus Zizyphus.

Common Name :Jujube Berries, Indian jujube or Chinese date.Bengali :Kul

Vernacular names:
Jujube fruit is called  or just   in Mandarin Chinese,”pomme surette” in French, “bor” in Konkani and Marathi, “ber” in Hindi, kul in Bengali,borai in Bangladesh, ilanthappazham or badari in Malayalam,  (ilanthai/elantha pazham) in Tamil-speaking regions,  (Yelchi Hannu) in Kannada and “Regi pandu” in Telugu. It is called zinzell in Malta. In Vietnamese, the fruit is called “táo tàu,” which translates to “Chinese apple. In Urdu it is called “UNNAB”

Habitat:Jujube Berries is Originally a native of Syria, Zizyphus vulgaris was introduced into Italy in the reign of Augustus, and is now naturalized in Provence, and particularly in the islands of HyŠres, where the berries are largely collected when ripe, and dried in the sun. It is distributed in the warm-temperate and subtropical regions throughout the world.

Description:
The trees average 25 feet in height and are covered with a rough, brown bark. They have many branches, with annual thorny branchlets bearing alternate, oval-oblong leaves of a clear green colour, with three to five strongly-marked, longitudinous veins. The small flowers are pale yellow and solitary. The fruit is a blood-red drupe, the size and shape of an olive, sweet, and mucilaginous in taste, slightly astringent. The pulp becomes softer and sweeter in drying, and the taste more like wine. They have pointed, oblong stones.
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Edible Uses:The freshly harvested as well as the candied dried fruits are often eaten as a snack, or with coffee. They are available in either red or black, the latter being smoked to enhance their flavor. In China and Korea, a sweetened tea syrup containing jujube fruits is available in glass jars, and canned jujube tea or jujube tea in the form of teabags is also available. Although not widely available, jujube juice and jujube vinegar are also produced; they are used for making pickles in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

In China, a wine made from jujubes, called hong zao jiu  is also produced. Jujubes are sometimes preserved by storing in a jar filled with baijiu (Chinese liquor), which allows them to be kept fresh for a long time, especially through the winter. Such jujubes are called jiu zao (??; literally “alcohol jujube”). These fruits are also a significant ingredient in a wide variety of Chinese delicacies.

In Korea, jujubes are called daechu and are used in Daechucha teas and samgyetang.

In Lebanon, Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries the fruit is eaten as snacks or alongside a dessert after a meal.[citation needed]

In Persian cuisine, the dried drupes are known as annab, while in neighboring Azerbaijan it is commonly eaten as a snack, and are known as innab. These names are related, and the Turks use a similarly related name, “hünnap”. Ziziphus jujuba grows in northern Pakistan and is known as Innab, commonly used in the Tibb Unani system of medicine. There seems to be quite a widespread confusion in the common name. The Innab is Z. jujuba: the local name Ber is not used for Innab. Rather Ber is used for three other cultivated or wild species i.e. Z. spina-christi, Z. mauritiana and Z. nummularia in Pakistan and parts of India and is eaten both fresh and dried. Often the dry fruit (Ber) was used as a padding in leather horse-saddles in parts of Baluchistan in Pakistan.[citation needed]The Arabic names Sidr is used for Ziziphus species other than Z. jujuba.

Traditionally in India, the fruits are dried in the sun and the hard nuts are removed. Then, it is pounded with tamarind, red chillies, salt, and jaggery. In some parts of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, fresh whole ripe fruit is crushed with the above ingredients and dried under the sun to make cakes called ilanthai vadai or “Regi Vadiyalu” (Telugu).
In Madagascar, jujube fruits are eaten fresh or dried. People also use those fruits to make jam.

In Italy there is an alcoholic syrup called brodo di giuggiole.

In Vietnam, the jujube fruit is eaten freshly picked from the tree as a snack. It is also dried and used in desserts, such as sâm b? l??ng, a cold beverage that includes the dried jujube, longan, fresh seaweed, barley, and lotus seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Constituents:  A full analysis has not yet been made, but the berries are valued for their mucilage and sugar.

Jujube paste, or ‘Pâte de Jujubes,’ is made of gum-arabic and sugar. It may be dissolved in a decoction of jujubes and evaporated, but is considered as good a demulcentwithout their addition. It is frequently merely mixed with orange-flower water.

A decoction of the roots has been used in fevers.

An astringent decoction of leaves and branchlets is made in large quantities in Algeria, and seems likely to replace the cachou.

In Europe the fruit was made into a cough medicine and tisane for medicinal reasons in times past.

The fruit has been used in traditional medicine as an emollient, expectorant, coolant, anodyne and tonic and has been used as an antidote for aconite poisoning. It is given to relieve abdominal pains during pregnancy and can be applied to wounds when used in a poultice.

The leaves can be used as a laxative and for throat problems as a decoction and the same liquid can also be used for skin problems. The roots have wound healing properties too.

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/Ziziphus
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/j/jujube10.html
http://www.organicfoodproducts.co.in/zizyphus-vulgaris-908957.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jujube

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Herbs & Plants

Artichoke

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Botanical Name:Cynara Scolymus
Family:Asteraceae
Tribe:Cynareae
Genus:Cynara
Species: C. scolymus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Asterales

Common Name : Artichoke, Globe Artichoke

Habitat: Artichoke native to the Mediterranean region. Both wild forms and cultivated varieties (cultivars) exist.

Description:  The Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 1.5-2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery glaucous-green leaves 50  to 80 cm long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8 to 15 cm diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the “heart”; the mass of inedible immature florets in the center of the bud are called the “choke.”

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A globe artichoke is a partially edible perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean.

Artichoke may also refer to:

Jerusalem artichoke, a species of sunflower
Chinese artichoke, a species of woundwort
Project ARTICHOKE, a CIA operation
PH Artichoke, a designer Light fixture

Artichoke, Cardoon

Cultivation:
Globe Artichokes were first cultivated at Naples around the middle of the 9th century, and are said to have been introduced to France by Catherine de’ Medici, Dutch introduced artichokes to England, where they were growing in Henry VIII’s garden at Newhall in 1530. They were introduced to the United States in the 19th century, to Louisiana by French immigrants and to California by Spanish immigrants. The name has originated from ardi shauki , which is Arabic for ground-thorn, through the Italian, articiocco.

An artichoke flower.Today, the Globe Artichoke cultivation is concentrated in the contries bordering the Mediterranean basin. The main producers are Italy, Spain, and France. In the United States, California provides nearly 100% of the U.S. crop, and approximately 80 percent of that is grown in Monterey County; there, Castroville proclaims itself to be “The Artichoke Center of the World”. The cultivar ‘Green Globe‘ is virtually the only kind grown commercially in the U.S.

Artichokes can be produced from seeds or from perennials. Perennials produce the edible flower only during the second and subsequent year, while varieties from seeds can be annual. Commercial culture is limited to warm areas in USDA hardiness zone 7 and above. It requires good soil, regular watering and feeding plus frost protection in winter. Rooted suckers can be planted each year so that mature specimens can be disposed of after a few years, as each individual plant only lives a few years. The peak season for artichoke harvesting is the spring, but they continue to be harvested throughout the summer, with another peak period in mid autumn.

When harvesting, if they are cut from the ground so as to leave an inch or two of stem, artichokes possess good keeping qualities, frequently remaining quite fresh for two weeks or longer under average retail conditions.

The recently introduced hybrid cultivar ‘Imperial Star’ has been bred to produce in the first year without such measures. An even newer cultivar, ‘Northern Star’, is said to be able to overwinter in more northerly climates, and readily survive sub-zero temperatures. A second generation of new hybrid cultivars were bred during the last decade, much more homogeneous and stable than the former and more suitable for professional growers.

Apart from food use, the Globe Artichoke is also an attractive plant for its bright floral display, sometimes grown in herbaceous borders for its bold foliage and large purple flowerheads.

Varieties
Traditionally, globe artichoke has been grown by vegetative propagation of suckers, although seed planted cultivars has been introduced in the latest years.

Traditional cultivars (Vegetative multiplication):
Green color, large size: Camus de Bretagne, Castel, Blanc Hyerois (France), Green globe (USA).
Green color, medium size: Blanca de Tudela (Spain), Argentina, Española (Chile), Blanc d’Oran (Algeria), Sakiz, Bayrampsha (Turkey).
Purple color, large size: Romanesco, C3 (Italy).
Purple color, medium size: Violet de Provence (France), Brindisino, Catanese (Italy), Violet d’Algerie (Algeria), Baladi (Egypt).
Spined: Spinoso sardo (Italy), Criolla (Peru).
Varieties multipled by seeds:

Edible  Uses:

Cooking
Whole Globe Artichokes are prepared for cooking by removing all but 5-10 mm or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender, about 15-45 minutes. If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so that the acids will boil out into the air. Covered artichokes can turn brown due to the acids and chlorophyll oxidation.

The leaves are often removed and eaten one at a time, sometimes dipped in butter, mayonnaise, aioli, or other sauces.


Tea

Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea; artichoke tea is produced as a commercial product in the Dalat region of Vietnam.photo.

Liquor
Artichoke is the primary flavor of the Italian liquor Cynar.

Medical uses:
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarine is a chemical constituent in Cynara. The majority of the cynarine found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. It inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet.

Studies have shown artichoke to aid digestion, liver function and gallbladder function, and raise the ratio of HDL to LDL. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. C. scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Its effect in arresting pathogenic bacteria may be attributed to the notable presence of phenolic compounds. Both are higher in the baby anzio artichoke (Cyrnara scolymus). Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Artichoke leaves contain a wide number of active constituents, including cynarin,1,3 dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoylquinic acid, and scolymoside. The choleretic (bile stimulating) action of the plant has been well documented.In an un controll clinical trial it is observed that 320 -640 mg of stadardized artichoke extract taken three times per day can reduce nausea,abdominal pain, constipation,and flatulence .

The standard extract has been used to treat high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Studies have shown that blood cholesterol levels dropped after eating artichoke.  An anticholesterol drug called cynara is derived from this plant.  In 1940, a study in Japan showed that artichoke not only reduced cholesterol but it also increased bile production by the liver and worked as a good diuretic.  This make artichoke useful for gallbladder problems, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal distension.     It has been found that globe artichoke contains the extract cymarin, which is similar to silymarin.  Researchers discovered that this extract promotes liver regeneration and causes hyperaemia.  It was also found that an artichoke extract caused dyspeptic symptoms to disappear.  The researchers interpreted the reduction in cholinesterase levels to mean that the extract effected fatty degeneration of the liver.  In 1969 a team of French researchers patented an artichoke extract as a treatment for kidney and liver ailments.   Although the leaves are particularly effective, all parts of the plant are bitter.  A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver tonic.  It is also taken during the early stages of late-onset diabetes.  It is a good food for diabetics, since it significantly lowers blood sugar.  In France it has been used to treat rheumatic conditions.

Ethnomedical Uses
Dried or fresh leaves and/or stems of Cynara are used as a choleretic (to increase bile production), to treat gallstones, and as a tonic for convalescence.

Cynarin is the principal active constituent in Cynara; research in 2005 found that cynarin causes an increase in bile flow.

You may click to learn more about Artichoke

Known Hazards: Can cause allergic reactions (dermatitis) due to lactones. . Use with caution in cases of biliary obstruction. May hinder breast feeding (lactation)

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/Artichoke
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/artic066.html
http://www.prevention.com/cda/vendorarticle/artichoke/HN2038002/health/herb.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cynara+scolymus

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

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