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Populus balsamifera

Botanical Name : Populus balsamifera
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Populus
Section: Tacamahaca
Species: P. balsamifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Common Names : Balsam Poplar, Black cottonwood, Bam, Bamtree, Eastern balsam poplar, Hackmatack, Tacamahac poplar, Tacamahaca

Other common names :    Heartleaf balsam poplar, and Ontario balsam poplar.

The black cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa, is sometimes considered a subspecies of P. balsamifera and may lend its common name to this species, although the black poplars and cottonwoods of Populus sect. Aigeiros are not closely related.

Habitat : Populus balsamifera is native to northern N. America – Newfoundland to Alaska, south to New England, Iowa and Colorado. It grows in deep moist sandy soils of river bottomlands, stream banks, borders of lakes and swamps.

Description:
Populus balsamifera is a deciduous medium to large-sized, averaging 23 – 30 m (75 – 100 ft) high, broadleaved hardwood. Crown narrow, pyramidal with thick, ascending branches. Branchlets moderately stout, round, shiny reddy-brown, orange lenticels, buds are reddish-brown to brown, 2.5 cm (1 inch) long, curved, resinous and fragrant. Twig has a bitter aspirin taste. Trunk bark greenish gray with lighter lenticels when young, later becoming darker and furrowed with long, scaly ridges.

Leaves – alternate, simple, ovate, finely serrated, shiny dark green, paler and often blotchy orange below, petiole long with glands at the leaf base.

Flowers – dioecious, male and female as hanging, long pale yellow green catkins, appearing in May.

Fruit – small, 2-valved, dry capsule containing numerous small seeds. Capsules are a lustrous green during development but turn dull green at time of dispersal. Male flowers are shed promptly and decay; female catkins are shed shortly after dispersal is completed but remain identifiable for the remainder of the summer.

CLICK &  SEE  THE  PICTURES
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it does well in a heavy cold damp soil, though it prefers a deep rich well-drained circumneutral soil, growing best in the south and east of Britain. Growth is much less on wet soils, on poor acid soils and on thin dry soils. Does not do well in exposed upland sites. Dislikes shade, it is intolerant of root or branch competition A fast-growing and generally short-lived tree, though specimens 150 – 200 years old have occasionally been recorded. This is a pioneer species, invading cleared land, old fields etc, but unable to tolerate shade competition and eventually being out-competed by other trees. It is not fully satisfactory in Britain. In spring and early summer the buds and young leaves have a strong fragrance of balsam. Poplars have very extensive and aggressive root systems that can invade and damage drainage systems. Especially when grown on clay soils, they should not be planted within 12 metres of buildings since the root system can damage the building’s foundations by drying out the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – must be sown as soon as it is ripe in spring. Poplar seed has an extremely short period of viability and needs to be sown within a few days of ripening. Surface sow or just lightly cover the seed in trays in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the old frame. If sufficient growth is made, it might be possible to plant them out in late summer into their permanent positions, otherwise keep them in the cold frame until the following late spring and then plant them out. Most poplar species hybridize freely with each other, so the seed may not come true unless it is collected from the wild in areas with no other poplar species growing. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 20 – 40cm long, November/December in a sheltered outdoor bed or direct into their permanent positions. Very easy. Suckers in early spring[

Edible Uses:…The inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. Catkins – raw or cooked. A bitter flavour. It is best used in spring.
Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antiinflammatory; Antiscorbutic; Antiseptic; Cathartic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Stimulant; Tonic.

Balsam poplar has a long history of medicinal use. It was valued by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially to treat skin problems and lung ailments. In modern herbalism it is valued as an expectorant and antiseptic tonic. The buds are used as a stimulating expectorant for all conditions affecting the respiratory functions when congested. In tincture they have been beneficially employed in affections of the stomach and kidneys and in scurvy and rheumatism, also for chest complaints.

The leaf buds are covered with a resinous sap that has a strong turpentine odor and a bitter taste. They are boiled in order to separate the resin and the resin is then dissolved in alcohol. The resin is a folk remedy, used as a salve and wash for sores, rheumatism, wounds etc. It is made into a tea and used as a wash for sprains, inflammation, muscle pains etc.

The bark is cathartic and tonic. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the bark of most, if not all members of the genus contain salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body. The bark is therefore anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge. It is used especially in treating rheumatism and fevers, and also to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. A tea made from the inner bark is used as an eye wash and in the treatment of scurvy.

It is an excellent hemorrhoid treatment. For burns it lessens pain, keeps the surface antiseptic and also stimulates skin regeneration. The tincture is a very effective therapy for chest colds, increasing protective mucus secretions in the beginning, when the tissues are hot, dry and painful. Later, it increases te softening expectorant secretions when the mucus is hard and impacted on the bronchial walls, and coughing is painful. Are aromatics are secreted as volatile gases in expiration. This helps to inhibit microorganisms and lessen the likelihood of secondary, often more serious, infections.

Other Uses:
Pioneer; Repellent; Resin; Rooting hormone; Wood.

An extract of the shoots can be used as a rooting hormone for all types of cuttings. It is extracted by soaking the chopped up shoots in cold water for a day. The resin obtained from the buds was used by various native North American Indian tribes to waterproof the seams on their canoes. The resin on the buds has been used as an insect repellent. The bark has been burnt to repel mosquitoes. A pioneer species, capable of invading cleared land and paving the way for other woodland trees. It is not very shade tolerant and so it is eventually out-competed by the woodland trees. Wood – soft, light, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion. It weighs 23lb per cubic foot, and is used for pulp, boxes etc. The wood is also used as a fuel, it gives off a pleasant odour when burning.
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/Populus_balsamifera
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+balsamifera
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/volume_2/populus/balsamifera.htm

http://www.borealforest.org/trees/tree11.htm

15 Simple Ways To Cut 50 Calories

A little here, a little there. Cutting calories is easier than you think!

Think small! Trimming even just a small percentage of your body weight can do wonders for your health.

And eating just a bit less is the way to do it. Shaving calories here and there is easier than you think.

All it takes are a few no-sweat efforts like the ones that follow. Pick two a day and you’ll cut 100 calories. Burn 100 more calories a day (a 15- to 20-minute walk will do the trick) and you’ll lose almost half a pound a week. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to 20 pounds a year!

1. Leave the cheese off your sandwich.

2. Use 1 cup skim milk instead of 1 cup whole milk.

3. Use a nonstick spray instead of 2 teaspoons oil.

4. Drink seltzer or diet soda instead of regular soda.

5. Have an English muffin instead of a doughnut

6. Use 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise instead of 1 tablespoon regular mayo.

7. Eat 2 tablespoons less ice cream.

8. Drink 4 ounces less juice.

9. Use 1 tablespoon less cream cheese.

10. Order small fries instead of large fries.

11. Use 1 tablespoon less salad dressing.

12. Use one less pat of margarine

13. Substitute 4 ounces ground turkey for 4 ounces ground beef.

14. Have 1 ounce of pretzels instead of 1 ounce of potato chips.

15. Substitute 1 tablespoon jam for 1 tablespoon butter.

Source:Raeader’s Digest

Sesame seeds

Chung Po MookImage by Pabo76 via Flickr

 

Botanical name: Sesamum Indicum, Sesamum Orientale.
Family: Pedaliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Sesamum
Species: S. indicum

Other names: Benne, Bene, Oil Plant, Vangloe, Tilseed, Teel, Teel-seed, gingili.

Habitat : Sesamum Indicum is possibly native to Africa

Description:
Magnified image of white sesame seedsIt is an annual plant growing 50 to 100 cm (1.6 to 3.3 ft) tall, with opposite leaves 4 to 14 cm (1.6 to 5.5 in) long with an entire margin; they are broad lanceolate, to 5 cm (2 in) broad, at the base of the plant, narrowing to just 1 cm (0.4 in) broad on the flowering stem……..click  & see the pictures

The flowers are yellow, tubular, 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long, with a four-lobed mouth. The flowers may vary in colour with some being white, blue or purple.

Sesame fruit is a capsule, normally pubescent, rectangular in section and typically grooved with a short triangular beak. The length of the fruit capsule varies from 2 to 8 cm, its width varies between 0.5 to 2 cm, and the number of loculi from 4 to 12. The fruit naturally splits opens (dehisces) to release the seeds by splitting along the septa from top to bottom or by means of two apical pores, depending on the varietal cultivar. The degree of dehiscence is of importance in breeding for mechanised harvesting as is the insertion height of the first capsule.

Sesame seeds are small. The size, form and colours vary with the thousands of varieties now known. Typically, the seeds are about 3 to 4 millimeters long by 2 millimeters wide and 1 millimeter thick. The seeds are ovate, slightly flattened and somewhat thinner at the eye of the seed (hilum) than at the opposite end. The weight of the seeds are between 20 and 40 milligrams. The seed coat (testa) may be smooth or ribbed. CLICK & SEE

Sesame seeds come in many colours depending on the cultivar harvested. The most traded variety of sesame is off-white coloured. Other common colours are buff, tan, gold, brown, reddish, gray and black.

Sesame seed is sometimes sold with its seed coat removed (decorticated). This is the variety often present on top of buns in developed economies

African slaves brought sesame seeds, which they called benné seeds, to America, where they became a popular ingredient in Southern dishes.

Sesame seeds can be sprinkled on breads or on main dishes and vegetables to add a mild nutty flavor.
Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds which is used in many Near and Far East recipes. You can purchase it prepared in most markets, or make your own.

Sesame seed oil is still the main source of fat used in cooking in the Near and Far East.
.Sesame plant

Plants in the field

Sesame Seeds is neither a herb or a spice but one of the oldest annual plants grown for its seeds and oil. It is native to Africa and Asia but today is grown in China, India, Mexico and southwest United States as a commercial crop.

Sesame seeds come in a variety of colors depending on the plant variety, including shades of brown, red, black, yellow, and most commonly, a pale grayish ivory. The darker seeds are said to be more flavorful.

Cultivation:
Sesame is grown in many parts of the world on over 5 million acres (20,000 km²). The largest producer of the crop in 2007 was China, followed by India, Myanmar, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria. Seventy percent of the world’s sesame crop is grown in Asia, with Africa growing 26%.

Beginning in the 1950s, U.S. production of the crop has been largely centered in Texas, with acerage fluctuating between 10,000 to 20,000 acres (40 to 80 km²) in recent years. The country’s crop does not make up a significant global source; indeed imports have now outstripped domestic production

Aroma and Flavour: In spite of their high oil content, sesame seeds have little aroma, but when they are dry-fried their nutty aroma is very pronounced and their flavor heightened.

Culinary Use: Sesame oil is used in margarines and as a cooking medium and a flavouring ingredient. The seeds are ground to an oily, beige-coloured paste known as tahini, which is used in hummus, a Middle Eastern dip. Sometimes the tahini is mixed with lemon juice and gralic and used as a dip with hot pitta bread as starter or picnic food.

The Chinese are fond of sesame; sesame oil is widely used in Chinese cooking as a flavouring. The seeds are also used, for example sesame prawn toasts are scattered with seeds before they are deep-fried. They are also sprinkled over Chinese toffee apples, pieces of apple fried in a light batter and coated in caramel. Both oil and seeds are sued in the cooking of other Far Eastern countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Gomasio is a Japanese specialty using sesame seeds: s mixture of the ground seeds and salt sued as a seasoning.

The seeds are popular scattered on bread, sweet and savoury biscuits, particularly in Greece and Turkey.

white sesame seeds

Medicinal and Other Use: Sesame is used in laxatives, as an emollient and in poultices. Sesame oil, also called gingelly oil, is highly stable and it does not become rancid quickly in hot humid conditions; it is used in lubricants, soap, cosmetics and ointments. The mixture or ‘cake’ that remains after the pressing of the oil is full of protein and eaten as a subsistence food.
Sesame is a member of the Pedaliaceae family. It is native to tropical Asian countries. The sesame plant can grow to a height of three feet and is an annual herb. It is an erect plant covered in fine hair and has a square stem. The leaves are flat, lanceolate in shape and grow in clusters of twos and threes. The flowers are pinkish purple in color or white and are bell shaped. Sesame is planted in the month of May and is harvested by fall or autumn. The name sesame is derived from Middle English sisame and from the Latin sesamum.

Interestingly, nutrients from one seed to another vary, but they all contain protein, oils (oleic acid, liuoleic acid, palmitoleic acid, araehidic acid and tetracosanoic acid) lecithin, minerals (Ca, P, K, Fe) saccharide, cellulose, VB2, VE, niacin, folic acid, sterol, sesamd, sesamin and cytochrome C. Unhulled seeds contain more calcium then hulled seeds.

Sesame seeds may be the oldest condiment known to man dating back to as early as 1600 BC. They are highly valued for their oil which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity. “Open sesame,” the famous phrase from the Arabian Nights, reflects the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity. The scientific name for sesame seeds is Sesamun indicum.

Copper Provides Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Magnesium Supports Vascular and Respiratory Health,

Calcium Helps Prevent Colon Cancer, Osteoporosis, Migraine and PMS, Zinc for Bone Health and Sesame Seeds’ Phytosterols Lower Cholesterol

Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.
The oils extracted from pressed seeds are used as cooking oil, as a salad oil and in making margarine. The seeds are sprinkled on top of breads and other baked goods. Dried sesame powder is mixed with hot water and sugar to from a congee that is eaten as a dessert.Sesame oil is also used as a pharmaceutic solvent, and sesamolin is also used as a synergist for pyrethrum insecticides

Sesame is supposed to tonify kidney, liver and relax the bowel. It is used for the treatment of constipation due to hard stools, tinnitus, anaemia, clizziness and poor vision. Mix powdered toasted sesame seeds with ground tuckahoe. Stir one to two teaspoonful into warm water and take in the mornings.

Infuse the leaves in some hot boiling water and use this to gargle and treat inflamed membranes of the mouth. Use only after tea has cooled down.

In traditional Chinese medicine, black sesame seeds have sweet and neutral properties, and are associated with the Kidney and Liver meridians. They function to tonify yin jing and blood, moisten the intestines, and help build the spirit, or shen.

Women of ancient Babylon would eat halva, a mixture of honey and sesame seeds to prolong youth and beauty, while Roman soldiers ate the mixture for strength and energy .

Sesame seeds produce an allergic reaction in a small percentage of the general population (5-13 per 100).

There have been erroneous claims that sesame seeds also contain THC which may be detectable on random screening. This error stems from a misunderstanding of the commercial drug Dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC. The normal delivery mechanism for synthetic Dronabinol is via infusion into sesame oil and encapsulation into soft gelatin capsules. As a result some people are under the mistaken assumption that sesame oil naturally contains THC. In fact, THC, CBD, CBN and the other cannibinoids are unique to the Cannabis genus.

Sesame oil is used for massage and health treatments of the body in the ancient Indian ayurvedic system with the types of massage called abhyanga and shirodhara. Ayurveda views sesame oil as the most viscous of the plant oils and believes it may pacify the health problems associated with Vata aggravation.

Black sesame seeds are an extremely good source of calcium; studies have shown that one gram of seeds contains approximately 85 milligrams of calcium. Black sesame seeds also have high amounts of protein, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. In some patients, black sesame seeds are used to help patients recover from serious illnesses and fevers, treat constipation and promote regular bowel movements. Some practitioners recommend using black sesame seeds with polygonum to keep a person’s hair looking rich and dark.

You may click & read : The sesame wonder

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
http://www.hungrymonster.com/FoodFacts/Food_Facts.cfm?Phrase_vch=Herbs&fid=5905,
http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/herbcentral/blacksesameseeds.html and
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84
http://www.hotel-club-thailand.com/thai-cooking/thai-spices.htm
http://www.lowfatlifestyle.com/flavoring/herbs_spices/sesame.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame_seed

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