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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Guava

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Botanical Name :Psidium guajava
Family: Myrtaceae
Subfamily: Myrtoideae
Tribe: Myrteae
Genus: Psidium
Species: P. guajava
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Common Name :Guava,known as Goiaba in Brazil and Guayava in parts of The Americas.

The term “guava” appears to derive from Arawak guayabo “guava tree”, via the Spanish guayaba. It has been adapted in many European languages: goiaba (Portuguese), guava (Romanian, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, also Greek  and Russian , Guave (Dutch and German), goyave (French), gujawa (Polish), koejawel (Afrikaans).

Outside Europe, the Arabic  j(a)wafa~gawafa, the Japanese guaba , the Tamil “koiyaa” , the Tongan kuava and probably also the Tagalog bayabas are ultimately derived from the Arawak term.

Another term for guavas is pera or variants thereof. It is common around the western Indian Ocean and probably derives from Spanish or Portuguese, which means “pear”, or from some language of southern India, though it is so widespread in the region that its origin cannot be clearly discerned any more. Pera itself is used in Malayalam, Sinhala and Swahili. In Marathi it is peru , in Bengali pearah , in Assamese “Madhuriam”,in Kannada it is pearaley  or seebe kaayi  and in Dhivehi feyru. In Telugu language it is “Jama kaya”. It is called pijuli in Oriya language in eastern India.

Guava is also called Amrood  in North India and Pakistan, which is possibly a variant of Armoot meaning “pear” in Arabic and Turkish languages, and possibly linked to the Moghul occupation of this region.

Additional terms for guavas from their native range are, for example, sawintu (Quechua) and x?lxocotl (N?huatl) Another term for guavas (Ethiopian, Amharic) is “Zeytuna”.

Habitat :Guava plants have 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Guavas are now cultivated and naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, subtropical regions of North America, and Australia.

Widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, guava fruits can range in size from as small as an apricot to as large as a grapefruit. Various cultivars have white, pink, or red flesh, and a few also feature red (instead of green) skin.

Description:

Psidium guajava is a tropical evergreen shrubs or a small tree. The bark, smooth and greenish, naturally peels away in strips to reveal a bone-like inner trunk. The leaves are 2 to 6 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide, with very noticeable veins and a down on the underside. The white flowers have four to five petals, are aromatic, and quickly fall off, leaving a tuft of stamen and anthers. Guava blooms throughout the year but especially at the beginning of spring….

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Plant..…...flower….leaf & bud…fruit….……….

Guava fruit, usually 4 to 12 centimetres (1.6 to 4.7 in) long, are round or oval depending on the species. The outer skin may be rough, often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet. Varying between species, the skin can be any thickness, is usually green before maturity, but becomes yellow, maroon, or green when ripe.

Guava fruit generally have a pronounced and typical fragrance, similar to lemon rind but less sharp. Guava pulp may be sweet or sour, tasting something between pear and strawberry, off-white (“white” guavas) to deep pink (“red” guavas), with the seeds in the central pulp of variable number and hardness, depending on species.

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained sandy loam with leafmold. Requires cool greenhouse treatment in Britain. Tolerates short-lived light frosts  and cool summers so it might succeed outdoors in the mildest areas of the country. Dislikes much humidity. Sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a warm greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying the plants outdoors, plant them out in the summer and give them some protection from winter cold for at least their first two winters. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.

Edible Uses:
In Hawaii, guava is eaten with soy sauce and vinegar. Occasionally, a pinch of sugar and black pepper are added to the mixture. The fruit is cut up and dipped into the sauce.

In Mexico, the Agua fresca beverage is popularly made with Guava. The entire fruit is a key ingredient in punch, and the juice extract is often used in culinary sauces (hot or cold), as well as artisan candies, dried snacks, fruit bars, desserts, or dipped in Chamoy. Pulque de Guava is a popular blend of the native alcoholic beverage.

In Pakistan and India, guava is often eaten raw, typically cut into quarters with a pinch of salt and pepper and sometimes cayenne powder/masala. Street vendors often sell guava fruit for a few rupees each.

In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang.

Guava juice is very popular in Cuba, Costa Rica, Egypt, Mexico, Colombia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Malaysia,Indonesia and South Africa.

The fruit is also often prepared as a dessert, in fruit salads. In Asia, fresh guava slices are often dipped in preserved prune powder or salt. In India it is often sprinkled with red rock salt, which is very tart.

Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalades (such as Brazilian goiabada and Colombian and Venezuelan bocadillo), and also for juices and aguas frescas.

“Red” guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomatoes, especially for those sensitive to the latter’s acidity. In Asia, a drink is made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves. In Brazil, the infusion made with guava tree leaves (chá-de-goiabeira, i.e. “tea” of guava tree leaves) is considered medicinal.

Medicinal Uses:
Guava has been widely used in Latin American traditional medicine as a treatment for diarrhea and stomachaches due to indigestion.  Treatment usually involves drinking a decoction of the leaf, roots, and bark of the plant.  It also has been used for dysentery in Panama and as an astringent in Venezuela.  A decoction of the plant’s bark and leaves is also reported to be used as a bath to treat skin ailments. Chinese and Caribbean traditional medicine have used guava in the control of diabetes, but a study in Mexico found that guava did not lower blood sugar levels in rabbits.

In the Philippines the astringent, unripe fruit, the leaves, the cortex of the bark and roots – through more often the leaves only – in the form of a decoction, are used for washing ulcers and wounds. Guerrero states that the bark and leaves are astringent, vulnerary, and when decocted, antidiarhetic. The bark is used in the chronic diarrhea of children and sometimes adults; half an ounce of the bark is boiled down with six ounces of water to 3 ounces; the dose (for children) is one teaspoonful 3 to 4 times a day. The root-bark has been recommended for chronic diarrhea. In a decoction of ½ oz. in 6 oz. of water, boiled down to 3 oz. and given in teaspoonful doses; and also recommended as a local application in prolapsus and of children. A decoction of the root-bark is recommended as a mouthwash for swollen gums.

Guava leaves are used in folk medicine as a remedy for diarrhea and, as well as the bark, for their supposed antimicrobial properties and as an astringent. Guava leaves or bark are used in traditional treatments against diabetes.The leaves, when chewed, are said to be remedy for toothache. In Trinidad, a tea made from young leaves is used for diarrhea, dysentery and fever The decocted leaves are used in Mexico for cleansing ulcers. The ground leaves make an excellent poultice. A decoction of the young leaves and shoots is prescribed in the West Indies for febrifuge and antispasmodic baths, and an infusion of the leaves for cerebral affections, nephritis, and cachexia; the pounded leaves are applied locally for rheumatism; an extract is used for epilepsy and chorea; and the tincture is rubbed into the spine of children suffering from convulsions. The leaves have also been used successfully as an astringent in diarrhea. In Mexico the leaves are said to be a remedy for itches. In Uruguay, a decoction of the leaves is used as a vaginal and uterine wash, especially in leucorrhoea.

In Costa Rica, a decoction of the flower buds is considered an effective remedy for diarrhea and flow of blood. The fruit is astringent and has a tendency to cause constipation. The fruit is  anthelmintic in Mexico. The guava jelly is tonic to the heart and good for constipation. The ripe fruit is good aperient, and should be eaten with the skin, for without it, costiveness results. The unripe fruit is said to be indigestible, causing vomiting and feverishness, but it is sometimes employed in diarrhea. Water in which the fruit is soaked is good for diabetes.

Since the 1950s, guavas – particularly the leaves – have been the subject for diverse research on their constituents, pharmacological properties and history in folk medicine. Most research, however, has been conducted on apple guava (P. guajava), with other species remaining unstudied. From preliminary medical research in laboratory models, extracts from apple guava leaves or bark are implicated in therapeutic mechanisms against cancer, bacterial infections, inflammation and pain. Essential oils from guava leaves display anti-cancer activity in vitro.

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Psidium+cattleianum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guava
http://www.ehow.com/about_6098971_guava-trees.html
http://media.photobucket.com/image/guava%20tree/wrimulanchibinjong/guava_tree.jpg?o=1

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Herbs & Plants

Castela erecta

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Botanical Name : Castela erecta
Family : Simaroubaceae – Quassia family
Genus : Castela Turp. – castela
Species:  Castela erecta Turp. – goatbush
Kingdom:  Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom:  Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Castela nicholsoni Hook, Castelaria micholsoni (Hook.) Small

Common Names :Cockspur, Amargosa,Goat-bush, Retama, and Urupagüita

Habitat :Castela erecta is native to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Curacao, Aruba, northern Venezuela and northern Colombia (Howard 1988, Little and others 1974).  It is not known to have been planted or naturalized  elsewhere.

Castela erecta is a coastal species. It grows in beach strand vegetation, in sandy soils behind it, and on rocky escarpments and hills somewhat inland (Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales 2002), a dominant to minor part of local xeric scrub communities (Locklin 2002). It occurs to an elevation of about 100 m in Puerto Rico (Little and others 1974).

Description:
Castela erecta is an evergreen, spiny shrub 1 to 4 m in height and up to 10 cm onstem diameter. The plant is multi-stemmed and branchy. The twigs are stiff, sometimes zig-zag, whitish from fine hairs, and end in spines. There are also short spines at the leaf bases. The foliage is sometimes dense, composed of alternate simple oblong to elliptic, almost sessile leaves, 0.6 to 2.5 cm long by 0.3 to 1.2 cm broad, dark green and glabrous above, and hairy below. The foliage and twigs are bitter. Flowers are tiny, whitish to red and tightly clustered in the leaf axils. The fruits are 6- to 10-mm, red, fleshy drupes, one to four developing from a flower. Each fruit contains one hard seed.

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Medicinal Uses:
Internally it is used as a tea for amebic dysentery, possibly hepatic amebiasis and for loss of appetite and nonulcer dyspepsia with fullness, flatulence

Other Uses:
Castela erecta  helps protect the soil and furnishes food and cover for wildlife. The sister species C. texana (T.&G.) Rose, once considered a part of cockspur as C. erectas subsp. texana (T. & G.) Cronq., is considered an important browse species (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. 2002). The common name, goat-bush, suggests that it is browsed by goats.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/shrubs/Castela%20erecta.pdf
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CAER3
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/8598577v5315713-amargosa-goatbush-castela-erecta-blossom-starr-county
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/204731/

http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=26929

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Herbs & Plants

Waltheria indica

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Botanical Name : Waltheria indica
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Waltheria
Species: W. indica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names: Sleepy Morning, Basora Prieta, Hierba de Soldado, Guimauve, Mauve-gris, Moto-branco, Fulutafu, Kafaki, and Uhaloa (Hawaii).

Habitat :  It is most common in dry, disturbed or well-drained, moist habitats. In Puerto Rico, it grows in areas that receive 750–1,800 mm (30–71 in) of annual rainfall and at elevations from sea level to more 400 m (1,300 ft)

Description:
Waltheria indica is a species of flowering plant.It  is a short-lived subshrub or shrub, reaching a height of 2 m (6.6 ft) and a stem diameter of 2 cm (0.79 in). Stems rather rigid, erect to sometimes decumbent, velvety tomentose throughout, the hairs stellate.  Leaves rugose, broadly ovate to oblong-ovate, 2-15.5 cm long, 1-6 cm wide, tomentose with stellate hairs, lower surface paler, apex rounded, sometimes obtuse, base rounded to subcordate, petioles 0.5-4.5 cm long.  Flowers fragrant, in axillary, sessile or pedunculate glomerules, bracts linear; calyx strongly ribbed, ca. 3-5 mm long, villous; petals yellow, spatulate, 4-6 mm long; style bearded.  Capsules obliquely globose, 2.5-3 mm long” (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1280).
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Medicinal Uses:
It is frequently used to treat asthma and painful coughs, only the Hawaiians are known to use it for sore throats by chewing  the root bark and gargleing the juice.  In Hawaii it  is a very effective treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes. The remedy is made by pounding a bundle of the root bark, stems and leaves with a little lemongrass and ginger for flavoring, then brewing the material into a strong decoction that is consumed over five days.  A traditional plant of the Hawaiian medica, Uhaloa is used for sore throat, common cold, cough, bronchial phlegm or mucous.
In Polynesia the root bark (cortex) is chewed upon for sore throat, while in Hawaii it is used internally for arthritis, neuralgia and chronic cases of asthma.  An infusion of stem and leaves is also used.   Used against the diarrhea, unwanted pregnancy, painful menstruation and fatigue. Also used for dry itchy cough, mucous, chest colds or chest congestion. It is used as a poultice for minor infections.   Root and leaves used as anti-spasmodic, in treating abdominal disorders, as an analgesic in toothache, tonic, in treating joints affections, diarrhea, and ulcers.  The flowers of the ‘uhaloa are considered “good medicine for children” (more than 10 days old).

You may click to read more: http://www.staradvertiser.com/columnists/theurbangardener/20110110_uhaloa_is_a_treasure_of_traditional_medicine.html

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/Waltheria_indica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.hear.org/starr/images/image/?q=010818-0026&o=plants

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Herbs & Plants

Kapok

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Botanical Name :Ceiba pentandra
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Ceiba
Species: C. pentandra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Name :Kapok,Silk Cotton Tree, Simal, Red Cotton Tree

Habitat :Ceiba pentandra is native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and (as the variety C. pentandra var. guineensis) to tropical west Africa.

Description:
The tree grows to 60-70 m (200-230 ft) tall and has a very substantial trunk up to 3 m (10 ft) in diameter with buttresses. The trunk and many of the larger branches are often (but not always) crowded with very large, robust simple thorns. The leaves are compound of 5 to 9 leaflets, each up to 20 cm (8 in) and palm like. Adult trees produce several hundred 15 cm (6 in) seed pods. The pods contain seeds surrounded by a fluffy, yellowish fibre that is a mix of lignin and cellulose.

Click to see the pictures —>…...(01)..…….(1)……..(2)…...(3)…….…(4)…………..(5)..………………

Medicinal Uses;
The seed, leaves, bark and resin havebeen used to treat dysentery,asthma and kidney disease. Internally it also used for abnormal utrine bleeding,diarrhea in children(gum),bronchial cong (bark,leaves) Externally in bath  , for fevers and headaches (bark,leaves) and wounds(bark). The claim by  Nigerian tradional herbal medicine practiones that the silk cotton tree, barks has antibiotic  properities was investigated. Diabetes mellitus was induced with  streptozotocin and graded dose of the aqueous bark extract caused a statically significant reduction in plasma glucose level in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats.The extract appeared non toxic as evidance by normal serum levels at AST,ALT andbilirubin. The data appear to support the hypoglycemic effects of C. pentandra.
Ceiba pentandra bark decoction has been used as a diuretic, aphrodisiac, and to treat headache, as well as type II diabetes.

Ceiba pentandra is used as an additive to some versions of the hallucinogenic drink Ayahuasca.

Other Uses:
The fibre is light, very buoyant, resilient and resistant to water. The process of harvesting and separating the fibre is labour-intensive and manual. It is difficult to spin but is used as an alternative to down as filling in mattresses, pillows, upholstery, zafus, and stuffed toys such as teddy bears, and for insulation. It was previously much used in life jackets and similar devices until synthetic materials largely replaced the fibre. The seeds produce an oil used locally in soap and that can be used as fertilizer.

Native tribes along the Amazon River harvest the kapok fibre to wrap around their blowgun darts. The fibres create a seal that allows the pressure to force the dart through the tube.

The commercial tree is most heavily cultivated in the rainforests of Asia, notably in Java (hence its nicknames), Philippines, Malaysia, Hainan Island in China as well as in South America.

The flowers are an important source of nectar and pollen for honeybees.

This tree is the official national tree of Puerto Rico and Guatemala.

Ceiba pentandra is used as an additive to some versions of the hallucinogenic drink Ayahuasca.

Kapok seed oil
A pressed seed oil can be derived from from the seeds of the kapok tree. The oil has a yellow color and a pleasant, mild odor and taste.[1]. It has similar characteristics to cottonseed oil. It becomes rancid quickly when exposed to air. Kapok oil is produced in India, Indonesia and Malaysia. It has an iodine value of 85-100, which makes it a nondrying oil. This means that it does not dry out significantly when exposed to the air.[1]. Kapok oil has some potential as a biofuel and in paint preparation.

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/Ceiba_pentandra
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Dracunculus vulgaris

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Botanical Name:Dracunculus vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Areae
Genus: Dracunculus
Species: D. vulgaris

Common Names: Dragon Arum, the Black Arum, the Voodoo Lily, the Snake Lily, the Stink Lily, the Black Dragon, the Black Lily, Dragonwort, and Ragons.

Habitat:Dracunculus vulgaris is native to the Balkans, extending as far as Greece, Crete and the Aegean Islands, and also to the south-western parts of Anatolia.. It has been introduced to the United States and is currently present in the states of Oregon, California, Camano Island, Washington and Tennessee as well as the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

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Description:

Dragon arum is a tuberous herbaceous perennial plant that is native to rocky areas and hillsides in the central to eastern Mediterranean areas from Greece to the Balkans to Turkey. It typically grows to 3′ tall and features large, erect, fan-shaped, palmately-divided, dark green leaves (to 12″ long) that are often streaked with white. Each leaf has 9-15 finger-like lobes reportedly resembling in appearance the claw of a dragon, hence the common name. Leaves appear in clusters on a stalk-like, black/purple-spotted pseudostem. Large, foul-smelling, maroon-purple spathes (each to as much as 20″ long and 8″ wide) appear above the leaves in late spring/early summer. The foul odor of the spathes, sometimes described as akin to the nauseous aroma of rotten meat, attracts flies for pollinating the flowers. Each spathe envelops a central, upright, nearly black, tail-like spike (spadix) which is nearly as long as the spathe, but sometimes longer, with a diameter of only 1/2 to 3/4″. The spathe contains inconspicuous, hidden, unisexual flowers. Flowers are followed by green berries which mature to orange-red in fall. This plant is synonymous with and formerly called Arum dracunculus.
The species is characterised by a large purple spathe and spadix has a very unpleasant smell reminiscent of a carcass. That is because the pollinators of this aroid are flies (Lucilia and others).

Cultivation:
Dracunculus vulgaris has been introduced to northern Europe, and North America, both to the United States, where it is present in the states of Kansas, Oregon, California, Washington, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and to Canada, where it has been grown in the province of Ontario.The plant can tolerate some shade but prefers full sun; it can also withstand drought but benefits from a little watering. The plant prefers a humus-rich, well-drained soil.

The plant can be easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, rich soils. Spreads by self-seeding and bulb offsets. Plants are not reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where mulch should be applied in winter to help protect them from cold temperatures. In cold winter areas north of USDA Zone 6, tubers may be dug up in autumn, overwintered indoors and replanted in spring in somewhat the same manner as dahlias.

Medicinal Uses:
Dioscorides thought it resembled a dragon. In ancient medicine it was used for the eyes and ears, for ruptures, convulsions and coughs.  Dioscorides says, “But being beaten small with honey, and applied, it takes away the malignancie of ulcers.”

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/Dracunculus_vulgaris
http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/species/drvu.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=d513

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