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Herbs & Plants

Convolvulus Scammonia

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Botanical Name: Convolvulus Scammonia
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Convolvulus
Species: C. scammonia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names: Syrian Bindweed, Scammony

Habitat:Convolvulus Scammonia is native to the countries of the eastern part of the Mediterranean basin; it grows in bushy waste places, from Syria in the south to the Crimea in the north, its range extending westward to the Greek islands, but not to northern Africa or Italy.

Description:
Convolvulus Scammonia is a twining perennial plant,growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in). It bears flowers like those of Convolvulus arvensis, and having irregularly arrow-shaped leaves and a thick fleshy root. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen in September. It has flowers of a very delicate tint of sulphur yellow and leaves of a similar shape to some native species.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

The roots are 3 to 4 feet long and from 9 to 12 inches in circumference; tapering, covered with a light grey bark and containing a milky juice. Scammony is a gummy resin, obtained from this milky juice of the root by clearing away the earth from the upper part of the root and cutting off the top obliquely, about 2 inches below where the stalks spring. Then a vessel is fixed in such a position as to receive the exuding juice, which gradually hardens and becomes the Scammony of commerce. The best Scammony is black, resinous and shining when in the lump, but of a whitish-ash colour when powdered, with a strong cheesy smell and a somewhat acrid taste, turning milky when touched by the tongue. It occurs in commerce in irregular pieces 1 to 2 inches or more in diameter.
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Cultivation:
Prefers a light basic sharply drained soil of low to medium fertility. Prefers a sunny sheltered position. Thrives in dry soils and succeeds in ordinary garden soils. The root can be up to 1.2 metres long, so for best results a deep soil is required.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Germination can be slow and erratic, a period of cold stratification might help reduce the germination period. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Cuttings of young shoots, August in a frame in sand
Medicinal Uses:
The dried juice, virgin scammony, obtained by incision of the living root, has been used in medicine as scammonium, but the variable quality of the drug has led to the employment of scammoniae resina, which is obtained from the dried root by digestion with alcohol.

It is a drastic cathartic, closely allied in its operation to Jalap; though not so nauseous, it is more active and irritating, and in inflammatory conditions of the alimentary canal should not be used.

The root itself is seldom used: the resin prepared from it is generally combined with other cathartics to diminish its action and prevent griping.

The active principle is the glucoside scammonin or jalapin, C34H114O6. The dose of scammonium is 5 to 10 grains, of scammony resin 3 to 8 grains. Like certain other resins, scammony is inert until it has passed from the stomach into the duodenum, where it meets the bile, a chemical reaction occurring between it and the taurocholate and glycocholate of sodium, whereby it is converted into a powerful purgative. Its action is essentially that of a hydragogue, and is exercised upon practically the entire length of the alimentary canal. The drug is not a cholagogue, nor does it markedly affect the muscular coat of the bowel, but it causes a great increase of secretion from the intestinal glands. It acts in about four hours. In large doses it is a violent gastrointestinal irritant. In consonance with the statement that scammony acts only after admixture with the bile, is the fact that hypodermic or intravenous injection of the drug produces no purgation, or indeed any other result. The drug frequently kills both roundworm and tapeworm, especially the former, and is therefore an anthelmintic. It is not largely used, but is very effective in the treatment of severe constipation, especially in children

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.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convolvulus_scammonia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/binwsy42.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Convolvulus+scammonia

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Herbs & Plants

Euphorbia resinifera

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Botanical Name: Euphorbia resinifera
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. resinifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Euphorbia officinarum. Poisonous Gum-Thistle. Dergmuse. Darkmous. Euphorbium Bush. Gun Euphorbium.

Habitat:  Euphorbia resinifera grows in the slopes of the Great Atlas range in Morocco.

Description:    Euphorbia resinifera is a leafless perennel shrub growing about 4 feet in height, resembling a cactus in appearance forming multi-stemmed cushion-shaped clumps up . It has many branches. The stems are erect, succulent, four-angled, with short but sharp pairs of 6 mm spines on the angles, spaced about 1 cm apart up the stem..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are small, simple, and bright yellow, and the fruit a small capsule with one seed in each cell. Specimens sent to Kew in 1870 have never flowered, but others have done so in Paris. Both Pliny and Dioscorides knew the drug, and its name is classical.

The milky juice is collected from incisions made in the fleshy branches, and is so acrid that it burns the fingers. It flows down the stems and encrusts them as it hardens in the sun. Poor Arabs bring in the resinous masses for sale in Morocco, whence it is chiefly exported from Mogador. The dust is so intensely irritant to the mucous membrane that the mouth and nose of those handling it must be covered by a cloth.

In commerce the drug is found in yellowish-brown ‘tears’ that have a waxy appearance. They are almost transparent, slightly aromatic only when heated, and often pierced with holes made by the prickles of the plant while drying. The taste is slight, but becomes very acrid.

It is said to be employed as an ingredient of paint used for preserving ships’ bottoms.

Part Used in medicines: Concrete resinous juice.

Constituents: The chief constituent is resin, and it also contains wax, calcium malate, potassium malate, lignin, bassorin, volatile oil, and water, with no soluble gum. Another analysis gives euphorbone, euphorbo-resene, euphorbic acid, calcium malate, a very acrid substance not yet isolated, and vegetable debris.

The acrid resin is soluble in alcohol, and will burn brilliantly, becoming very aromatic.

The powder is yellowish, and violently sternatatory.

Medicinal Uses:
The internal use of the drug has been abandoned, owing to the severity of its action. It is an irritant emetic and cathartic. Its chief use is as a vesicant, and principally in veterinary practice. It has been used in dropsy; mixed with cantharides as a ‘gout plaister’; and as an errhine in chronic brain, ear, or eye complaints, sometimes mitigated with the powder of Convallaria maialis, but accidents have led to its use being discontinued.

In commerce the drug is found in yellowish-brown ‘tears’ that have a waxy appearance. They are almost transparent, slightly aromatic only when heated, and often pierced with holes made by the prickles of the plant while drying. The taste is slight, but becomes very acrid.

Other Uses:  

It is said to be employed as an ingredient of paint used for preserving ships’ bottoms.

At Mogador, the branches are used for tanning leather.
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/Euphorbia_resinifera
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/spurge84.html

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Herbs & Plants

Operculina turpethum

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Botanical Name :Operculina turpethum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Solanales
Family:    Convolvulaceae
Genus:    Operculina
Species :Operculina turpethum

Synonyms:Ipomoea turpethum,  Turpeth Root. Indian Jalap. Trivrit. Nisoth. Operculina Turpethum.

Common Names: Turpeth, Fue vao, and St. Thomas lidpod.

Vernacular Names: Indian Jalap, St. Thomas lidpod, transparent wood rose, turpeth root, white day glory • Hindi: nisoth, panila, pitohri • Kannada: aluthi gida, bangada balli, bilitigade, devadanti, nagadanti • Malayalam: tigade • Marathi: or  nisottar • Sanskrit: nishotra,triputa,trivrutt, trivrutha • Tamil: adimbu, caralam, civatai, kumpncan, paganrai • Telugu: tegada, trivrut tellatega • Bengali: tevudi • Arabic: turbuth.

Parts Used: Dried root, stem.

Habitat:  India. Ceylon, Pacific Islands, China, Australia

Description:
:Operculina turpethum is perennial herbaceous, hairy vines growing 4 to 5 meter in length, endemic to India. It is commonly found in North Circars and Deccan region up to 3000 ft. The leaves are alternate, very variable in shape, ovate, oblong and truncate or cordate at the base. The flowers are large, axillary and solitary. Fruit is a capsule with conspicuous enlarged sepals and thickened pedicles….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Constituents:
Resin, a fatty substance, volatile oil, albumen, starch, a yellow colouring matter, lignin, salts, and ferric oxide. The root contains 10 per cent of resin, which is a glucoside, Turpethin, insoluble in ether, but soluble in alcohol, to which it gives a brown colour not removable by animal charcoal. To obtain pure, the alcoholic solution is concentrated; the resin is precipitated by, and afterwards boiled with, water, then dried, reduced to powder, digested with ether, and finally redissolved by absolute alcohol and deposited by ether. After being treated several times in this way, it is obtained in the state of a brownish resin, yielding on pulverization a grey powder, which irritates the mucous membrane of the nostrils and mouth. It is inflammable, burning with a smoky flame and emitting irritant vapours. With strong bases it acts like jalapin, takes up water, and is transferred into a soluble acid, while with dilute acids it is decomposed into turpetholic acid, and glucose.

Medicinal  Uses: Cathartic and purgative. It is rather slow in its action, less powerful and less unpleasant than jalap.

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/Operculina_turpethum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/turpet31.html

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Herbs & Plants

Opoponax chironium

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Botanical Name : Opoponax chironium
Family: Apiaceae
Genus:     Opopanax
Species: O. chironium.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:    Apiales

Synonym: Pastinaca Opoponax.

Common Names:Sweet myrrh or Bisabol myrrh

Habitat; Opoponax chironium  thrives in warm climates like Iran, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Somalia, but also grows in cooler climates. Some view opopanax grown in cooler climates as being of inferior quality.

Description:
Opoponax chironium is a perennial herb, with a thick, fleshy root, yellowish in colour. It has a branching stem growing about 1 to 3 feet high, thick and rough near the base. Leaves pinnate, with long petioles and large serrate leaflets, the terminal one cordate, the rest deficient at the base, hairy underneath. The flowers, yellowish, are in large, flat umbels at the top of the branches. The oleo resin is procured by cutting into the stem at the base. The juice that exudes, when sun-dried, forms the Opoponax of commerce. A warm climate is necessary to produce an oleo gum resin of the first quality; that from France is inferior, for this reason. In commerce it is sometimes found in tears, but usually in small, irregular pieces. Colour, reddish-yellow, with whitish specks on the outside, paler inside. Odour, peculiar, strongly unpleasant. Taste, acrid and bitter. It is inflammable, burning brightly.
CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Concrete juice from the base of stem.

Constituents:  Gum-resin, starch, wax, gum, lignin, volatile oil, malic acid, a slight trace of caoutchouc.

Antispasmodic, deobstruent. The resin has been used in the treatment of spasms, and, before that, as an emmenagogue, in the treatment of asthma, chronic visceral infections, hysteria and hypochondria. Opopanax resin is most frequently sold in dried irregular pieces, though tear-shaped gems are not uncommon.

Other Uses:
A consumable resin can be extracted from opopanax by cutting the plant at the base of a stem and sun-drying the juice that flows out. Though people often find the taste acrid and bitter, the highly flammable resin can be burned as incense to produce a scent somewhat like balsam or lavender.
It is employed in perfumery.

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/o/opopon10.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opopanax_chironium

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Herbs & Plants

Myroxylon Pereiræ

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Botanical Name :Myroxylon Pereiræ
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Amburaneae
Genus: Myroxylon
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Toluifera Pereira. Myrosperum Pereira.

Common Names :Balsam of Peru, Quina or Balsamo.

Other names:  Tolu in Colombia, Quina quina in Argentina; in lumber trade, sometimes named Santos Mahogany.

Habitat:Myroxylon Pereiræ is native to Central America in the forests of San Salvado.

Description:
Myroxylon Pereiræ is a large tree growing to 40 metres (130 ft) tall, with evergreen pinnate leaves 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long with 5-13 leaflets.
It is a beautiful tree with a valuable wood like mahogany, and a straight smooth trunk; the last is coarse grey, compact, heavy granulated and a pale straw colour, containing a resin which changes from citron to dark brown; smell and taste balsamic and aromatic. Leaves alternately, abruptly pinnate, leaflets two pairs mostly opposite, ovate, lanceolate with the end blunt emarginate; every part of the tree including the leaves abounds in a resinous juice. The flowers are white with yellow stamens, produced in racemes. The fruit is a pod 7–11 centimetres (2.8–4.3 in) long, containing a single seed.The mesocarp of the fruit is fibrous, and the balsamic juice which is abundant is contained in two distinct receptacles, one on each side. The beans contain Coumarin, the husks an extremely acrid bitter resin, and a volatile oil; a gum resin, quite distinct from the proper balsam, exudes from the trunk of the tree and contains gum resin and a volatile oil; the tree commences to be productive after five or six years, and continues to yield for thirty years; the flower has a fragrance which can be smelt a hundred yards away.
click to see the pictures
The wood is dark brown with a deep red heartwood. Natural oils grant it excellent decay resistance. In fact, it is also resistant to preservative treatment. Its specific gravity is 0.74 to 0.81.

As regards woodworking, this tree is regarded as moderately difficult to work but can be finished with a high natural polish; it tends to cause some tool dulling.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Oleoresinous liquid.

Constituents: A colourless, aromatic, oily liquid, termed cinnamein, dark resin peruviol, small quantity of vanillin and cinnamic acid.

Uses: Stimulant, expectorant, parasiticide. Used in scabies and skin diseases; it destroys the itch acarus and its eggs, and is much to be preferred to sulphur ointment, also of value in prurigo, pruritis and in later stages of acute eczema. It is a good antiseptic expectorant and a stimulant to the heart, increasing blood pressure; its action resembles benzoic acid. It is applied externally to sore nipples and discharges from the ear. Given internally, it lessens mucous secretions, and is of value in bronchorrhoea gleet, leucorrhoea and chronic bronchitis, and asthma. It is also used in soap manufacturing, for its fragrance, and because it makes a soft creamy lather, useful for chapped hands. Balsam of Peru can be applied alone or as an ointment made by melting it with an equal weight of tallow.

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/Myroxylon
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/balofp06.html

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