Categories
Herbs & Plants

Rumex aquaticus

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Botanical Name: Rumex aquaticus
Family: Polygonaceae
Subfamily: Polygonoideae
Tribes: Rumiceae
Species: Rumex aquaticus
Genus: Rumex
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonym: Water Dock
Common Names: Red Dock, Western dock

Habitat : Rumex aquaticus is native to Europe, including Britain but absent from Italy and the Balkans, to N. Asia. It grows in shallow water at the margins of swamps. Fields, meadows and ditches.

Description:
Rumex aquaticus is a perennial plant. The stem is 1 to 3 feet high, very stout; the leaves similar to those of the Yellow Dock, having also crisped edges, but being broader, 3 to 4 inches across. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It has properties very similar to those of the Yellow Dock. It is frequent in fields, meadows and ditches. Its rootstock is top-shaped, the outer surface blackish or dark brown, the bark porous and the pith composed of honeycomb-like cells, with a short zone of woody bundles separated by rays. It has an astringent and somewhat sweet taste, but no odour.
Cultivation: A plant of shallow water.
Propagation : Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ. Division in spring.

Edible Uses: Leaves are cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
The root of this and all other Docks is dried in the same manner as the Yellow Dock.

The root is alterative, astringent, cholagogue, deobstruent, depurative, detergent, laxative and mildly tonic. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present. It is used internally in the treatment of piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases. Externally, it is applied to various skin diseases, ulcers etc. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis.

Other Uses: …Dye; Teeth…….Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots of many species in this genus, They do not need a mordant. The dried and powdered root has a cleansing and detergent affect on the teeth

Known Hazards : Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Rumex_aquaticus
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/docks-15.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+aquaticus

Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Quince

Botanical Name : Pyrus cydonia
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribe: Maleae
Subtribe: Malinae
Genus: Cydonia
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonym: Cydonia vulgaris (PERS.).

Common Names: Quince

Habitat :. The quince tree is native to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan and was introduced to Poland, Syria, Lebanon, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Turkey, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria.

It grows on  rocky slopes and woodland margins in South-west Asia, Turkey and Iran  although it can be grown successfully at latitudes as far north as Scotland. It should not be confused with its relative, the Flowering Quince, (Chaenomeles).

Description:
Quince  is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES……..TREE.…..BUSH…...RED FLOWERS..…...BlOOMING  QUINCE…….QUINCE FRUIT
The tree grows 5 to 8 metres (16 and a half feet to 26 feet) high and 4 to 6 metres (13 feet to 19 and a half feet) wide. The fruit is 7 to 12 centimetres (3 to 5 inches) long and 6 to 9 centimetres (2 to 3 and a half inches) across.

Edible Uses:
Most varieties of quince are too hard, astringent and sour to eat raw unless ‘bletted’ (softened by frost and subsequent decay). High in pectin, they are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed. The Pectin level diminishes as they ripen. The flesh of the fruit turns red after a long cooking time. The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavour. Adding a diced quince to apple sauce will enhance the taste of the apple sauce with the chunks of relatively firm, tart quince. The term “marmalade”, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from “marmelo,” the Portuguese word for this fruit.

The fruit, like so many others, can be used to make a type of wine. Because of its often high acidity, which is mainly due to its malic acid content, these wines are usually sweet dessert wines that are high in alcohol. In the Balkans and elsewhere, quince brandy and quince liqueur are made. In Carolina in 1709, John Lawson allowed that he was “not a fair judge of the different sorts of Quinces, which they call Brunswick, Portugal and Barbary”, but he noted “of this fruit they make a wine or liquor which they call Quince-Drink, and which I approve of beyond any that their country affords, though a great deal of cider and perry is there made, The Quince-Drink most commonly purges.

Varieties of quince, such as ‘Kuganskaya,’ have been developed that do not require cooking and are eaten raw.

In Iran, quince, called beh , is used raw or in stews and some regional soups. It is also made into jam or preserve. The extra syrup in the jam-making process is saved and made into a refreshing Summer drink by adding cold water and a few drops of lime to it. It can also be found pickled.

In Italy it is used as the main ingredient of some local variants of a traditional food called mostarda (not to be confused with mustard), in which quince fruit jam is mixed with candied fruit, spices and flavorings to produce a spread that is used on boiled meat, mixed with cheese etc. Examples are “mostarda vicentina” or “mostarda di Vicenza” and “mostarda veneta.” Quinces are also used in Parma to produce a typical liqueur called sburlone, word coming from the local dialect and meaning the necessary high stress to squeeze those hard fruits to obtain their juice.

In Albania, Kosovo and Bulgaria quince are eaten raw during the winter.

In Lebanon and Syria, it is called sfarjel and also used to make jam- Mrabba sfarjal. In Syria, quince is cooked in pomegranate paste (dibs rouman) with shank meat and kibbeh (a Middle Eastern meat pie with burghul and mince meat) and is called kibbeh safarjalieh. In Pakistan, quinces are stewed with sugar until they turn bright red. The resulting stewed quince, called muraba is then preserved in jars and eaten like jam. In Morocco, when the fruit is available, it is a popular ingredient in a seasonal lamb tajine and is cooked together with the meat and flavoured with cinnamon and other herbs and spices.

In Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela the membrillo, as the quince is called in Spanish, is cooked into a reddish, jelly-like block or firm, reddish paste known as dulce de membrillo. It is then eaten in sandwiches and with cheese, traditionally manchego cheese, or accompanying fresh curds. In Portugal, a similar sweet is called marmelada, hence marmalade in English. It is also produced and consumed in Hungary, where it is called birsalmasajt, “quince cheese”. The sweet and floral notes of carne de membrillo (quince meat) contrast nicely with the tanginess of the cheese.   Boiled quince is also popular in desserts such as the murta con membrillo that combines Ugni molinae with quince. Similar dishes exist in Dalmatia and other parts of Croatia.

In the Alsace region of France and the Valais region of Switzerland, liqueur de coing made from quince is used as a digestif.

In Morocco green quince is cooked in a tajine with beef or lamb,sweetened slightly with sugar and flavored with cinnamon.

Quince can also be used as a tea additive to mainly green tea, giving it a rather sweetish taste.

In Kashmir quince is cooked with lamb and served in weddings to guests.

In Taiwan yellow quinces are often confused with pomelos

In Tajikistan, quince is used in cooking oshi palov. Quince jam is known as murabboi bihigi and also made in many parts of the country.

Medicinal Uses:

Chemical Constituents: The cotyledons contain about 15 per cent fixed oil and protein, together with small proportions of amygdalin and emulsion or some allied ferment. The chief constituent of the seed is about 10 per cent mucilage, contained in the seed-coat. The pulp of the fruit contains 3 to 3.5 per cent of malic acid.

The phytochemistry of quince is under study for several possible medical uses.

A syrup prepared from the fruit may be used as agrateful addition to drinks in sickness, especially in looseness of the bowels, which it is said to restrain by its astringency.

The seeds may be used medicinally for the sake of the mucilage they yield. When soaked in water they swell up and form a mucilaginous mass. This mucilage is analogous to, and has the same properties as, that which is formed from the seeds of the flax – linseed.

The seeds somewhat resemble apple-pips in size and appearance. They are of a dark brown colour, flattened on two sides, owing to mutual pressure and frequently adhere to one another by a white mucilage, which is derived from the epidermal cells of the seedcoats. The seed contains two firm, yellowishwhite cotyledons, which have a faintly bitter taste resembling that of bitter almonds.

In subcontinental Indo-Pakistan, quince seeds are known as Bihi Dana. They are used by herbalists for mucus rashes and ulcerations. A gel prepared from the seeds soaked in water is used for throat and vocal cord inflammation as well as for skin rashes and allergies.

In Malta, a jam is made from the fruit. According to local tradition, a teaspoon of the jam dissolved in a cup of boiling water relieves intestinal discomfort.

In Iran and parts of Afghanistan, the quince seeds are collected and boiled and then ingested to combat pneumonia.

Other Uses:
Quince is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including brown-tail, Bucculatrix bechsteinella, Bucculatrix pomifoliella, Coleophora cerasivorella, Coleophora malivorella, green pug and winter moth.

Cultural associations:

*In Turkey, the expression  yemek (literally “to eat the quince”) is used as a derogatory term indicating any unpleasant situation or a malevolent incident to avoid. This usage is likened to the rather bitter aftertaste of a quince fruit inside the mouth.

*When a baby is born in Slavonia (Croatia), a quince tree is planted as a symbol of fertility, love and life.

*Ancient Greek poets (Ibycus, Aristophanes, e.g.) used quinces (kydonia) as a mildly ribald term for teenage breasts.

*Although the book of Genesis does not name the specific type of the fruit that Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden, some ancient texts suggest Eve’s fruit of temptation might have been a quince.

*In Plutarch’s Lives, Solon is said to have decreed that “bride and bridegroom shall be shut into a chamber, and eat a quince together.

Known Hazards:
The seeds contain nitriles, which are common in seeds of the rose family. In the stomach, enzymes or stomach acid or both cause some of the nitriles to be hydrolyzed and produce hydrogen cyanide, which is a volatile gas. The seeds are only likely to be toxic if a large quantity is eaten.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/q/quince04.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cydonia_%28plant%29

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Asarum Europeaum, European Ginger

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Botanical  Name: Asarum europaeum
Family:Aristolochiaceae
Common Plant Family: Birthwort
Kingdom: Plantae
Genus: Asarum
Species:A. europaeum

Synonym:Hexastylis europaea

Common Name: European Wild Ginger,       Asarabacca,   Hazelwort, and Wild spikenard

Hasbitat:Asarum europaeum has a wide distribution in Europe. It ranges from southern Finland and northern Russia south to southern France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. It is absent from the British Isles and Scandinavia with the exception of southern Finland, and also from northwestern Germany and the Netherlands. Within Europe, the plant is grown outside of its range in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.The plant grows in open woodland and waterside thickets, especially in beech woodlands.

Description:
.Asarum europaeum (European Ginger)is not a flashy plant, but it always holds its own in the garden.The plant is an evergreen  perennial  one  and has prostrate stems that each bear 2 reniform (i.e. kidney-shaped) leaves with long petioles. The upper surface of the leaves is shiny and they have a pepper-like taste and smell. There are also 2 to 3 stipules present that occur in two rows opposite each other on the stem. the flowers are solitary, terminal and nodding. The flower tube is composed of fused tepals that ends with 3 petal-like projections that are brownish towards their ends and dark purple toward the centre. There are 12 stamens present. The flowers emerge in the late winter and spring.. Unlike American wild ginger, European ginger has glossy, shiny(heart shaped) leaves.Leaves are thick and extra glossy. It grows as a low, slow creeping ground cover that sweeps around other plants, catches the light and reflects it up. The leaves are so shiny, everyone wants to reach down and touch it.
click to see the pictures.>……..(01).......(1).…...(2)……..(3).….……
The stems are 10-15 cm long. The leaves are petiolate and reniform and about 10 cm wide. It occurs mostly in deciduous woodland or coniferous forests, especially in calcareous soils. There are two recognised subspecies other than the type, including A. europaeum ssp. caucasicum, which is confined to the southwestern Alps, and A. europaeum ssp. italicum, which is found in central and northern Italy as well as in the Crna Gora mountains in former Jugoslavia. In former days, it was used in snuff and also medicinally as an emetic and cathartic. It is quite shade-tolerant and is often employed as a ground cover in gardens where little else will grow.
click to see
The newly emerging perennial  leaves are folded tightly in half and are a fresh green colour. The large, flat leaf in front is from last year. About half of the leaves remain on the plant from last season, some in good shape, and some not.

The purplish  brown flowers are usually hidden by the leaves and so are  not considered to be ornamental. Provide a moist soil with a pH in the 5.5 to 6.5 range.

Plant Height: 4-8 inches,
Environment: prefers full shade to partial shade or partial sun; soil should be moist
Bloom Colors: Purple

A handsome groundcover for shaded areas. Prefers rich organic soil that is slightly acidic.
Propagation: Propagation is by division in the spring.

Medicinal Uses:

Asarabacca has a long history of herbal use dating back at least to the time of the ancient Greeks, though it is little used in modern herbalism. The root, leaves and stems are cathartic, diaphoretic, emetic, errhine, sternutatory, stimulant and tonic. The plant has a strong peppery taste and smell. It is used in the treatment of affections of the brain, eyes, throat and mouth. When taken as a snuff, it produces a copious flow of mucous. The root is harvested in the spring and dried for later use. It is to be used with caution considering it’s toxicity. An essential oil in the root contains 50% asarone and is 65% more toxic than peppermint oil. This essential oil is the emetic and expectorant principle of the plant and is of value in the treatment of digestive tract lesions, silicosis, dry pharyngeal and laryngeal catarrh etc.

It has been substituted for Ipecac to produce vomiting. The French use it for this purpose after drinking too much wine. A little sniffed up the nostrils induces violent sneezing and a heavy flow of mucus. This has caused it to be used to remedy headache, drowsiness, giddiness, catarrhs, and other conditions caused by congestion. Asarabacca has been a component in many popular commercial medicinal snuffs.

Asarabacca has been extensively investigated, both chemically and pharmacologically. It is rich in flavonoids. The leaves contain a highly aromatic essential oil that contains constituents that verify the value of extracts as an errhine (for promotion of nasal secretion). Based on human experiments, the expectorant properties of both the roots and the leaves are quite good. In Rumania, human experiments where infusions of asarabacca were administered to people suffering pulmonary insufficiency, the preparations were said to have a beneficial effect on the heart condition, including a diuretic effect. From the types of irritant chemical compound known to be present in this plant, one would expect that catharsis would result from ingestion of extracts prepared from asarabacca. However, it is violent in its action.

Other Uses:....Dye.… A vibrant apple-green dye is obtained from plant. A useful ground cover for a shady position so long as it is not dry, spreading by its roots

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous in large doses, the toxin is neutralized by drying.

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.aboutgardenplants.com/Asarum_europaeum.shtml
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=503939
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/10291/
http://northernshade.ca/2009/05/27/asarum-europaeum-with-glossy-foliage/
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://web1.msue.msu.edu/imp/modzz/00000156.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asarum_europaeum

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