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Herbs & Plants

Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

Botanical Name ; Capsella bursa-pastoris
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Capsella
Species: C. bursa-pastoris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms :  Thlaspi bursa-pastoris. Bursa abscissa. Bursa druceana. Capsella concava.

Common Name ; Shepherd’s-purse

Habitat: is native to eastern Europe and Asia minor but is naturalized and considered a common weed in many parts of the world, especially in colder climates,including Britain, where it is regarded as an archaeophyte, North America and China but also in the Mediterranean and North Africa.  It grows in Arable land, gardens, waste places etc, it is a common weed of cultivated soil.

Description:
Shepherd’s-purse  is a small (up to 0.5m) annual and ruderal species, and a member of the Brassicaceae or mustard family. Capsella bursa-pastoris is closely related to the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana and is also used as a model organism due to the variety of genes expressed throughout its life cycle that can be compared to genes that are well studied in A. thaliana. Unlike most flowering plants, it flowers almost all year round. Like many other annual ruderals exploiting disturbed ground, C. bursa-pastoris reproduces entirely from seed, has a long soil seed bank, and short generation time and is capable of producing several generations each year.

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Shepherd’s-purse plants grow from a rosette of lobed leaves at the base. From the base emerges a stem about 0.2 to 0.5 meters tall, which bears a few pointed leaves which partly grasp the stem. The flowers are white and small, in loose racemes, and produce seed pods which are heart-shaped.

Like a number of other plants in several plant families, its seeds contain a substance known as mucilage, a condition known as myxospermy. The adaptive value of myxospermy is unknown, although the fact that mucilage becomes sticky when wet has led some to propose that C. bursa-pastoris traps insects which then provide nutrients to the seedling, which would make it protocarnivorous.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Oil; Seed.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Oil.

Leaves – raw or cooked. The young leaves, used before the plant comes into flower, make a fine addition to salads. The leaves are a cress and cabbage substitute, becoming peppery with age. Leaves are usually available all year round, though they can also be dried for later use. The leaves contain about 2.9% protein, 0.2% fat, 3.4% carbohydrate, 1% ash. They are rich in iron, calcium and vitamin C. A zero moisture basis analysis is available. The young flowering shoots can be eaten raw or cooked. They are rather thin and fiddly but the taste is quite acceptable. They can be available at most times of the year. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used in soups etc. It is very fiddly to harvest and utilize, the seed is very small. The seed contains 35% of a fatty oil. This oil can be extracted and is edible. The seedpods can be used as a peppery seasoning for soups and stews. The fresh or dried root is a ginger substitute

Constituents: choline, acetylcholine and tyramine, saponins, mustard oil, flavonoids

Fumaric acid is one active substance that has been isolated.. Although Fumaric acid and its derivatives are used with success in many conditions there is no direct evidence that plant extract has been used with similar success.

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)

*280 Calories per 100g
*Water : 0%
*Protein: 35.6g; Fat: 4.2g; Carbohydrate: 44.1g; Fibre: 10.2g; Ash: 16.1g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 1763mg; Phosphorus: 729mg; Iron: 40.7mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 3939mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 21949mg; Thiamine (B1): 2.12mg; Riboflavin (B2): 1.44mg; Niacin: 3.4mg; B6: 0mg; C: 305mg;

Parasites
*Capsella bursa-pastoris
*Traditional Chinese

Medicinal Uses:
Common Uses: Abrasions/Cuts * Bladder Infection (UTI) Cystitis * Childbirth * Heart Tonics/Cordials * Menorrhagia *
Properties:  Antiscorbutic* Diuretic* Styptic* Astringent* Febrifuge* Refrigerant*
Parts Used: whole herb.

Shepherd’s purse is one of the important herbs to stop bleeding an effect due to the tyramine and other amines it contains. This property leads to its use is a number of condidtions such as heavy menstrual bleeding, nosebleeds, and as a post-partum herb. The herb is both a vasodilator, and also hastens coagulation and constrict blood vessels.

Shepherd’s purse contains a protein that acts in the same way in the body as the hormone oxytocin, constricting the smooth muscles that support and surround blood vessels, especially those in the uterus. Other chemicals in the herb may accelerate clotting. Still other compounds in the herb help the uterus contact, explaining the long-time use of the herb to help the womb return to normal size after childbirth. Mountain Rose Herbs (2008-07-09)

Herbally, it is primarily used to stop vaginal bleeding, an action which may be attributable to the common parasitic fungus found with it, which is related to the vasoconstrictor ergot.

Other Uses
Shepherd’s-purse is gathered from the wild or grown for food to supplement animal feed, for cosmetics, and for medicinal purposes. It is commonly used as food in Shanghai and the surrounding Jiangnan region as food, where they are stir-fried with rice cakes and other ingredients or as part of the filling in wontons. It is one of the ingredients of the symbolic dish consumed in the Japanese spring-time festival, Nanakusa-no-sekku.

Known Hazards :  Signs of toxicity are sedation, pupil enlargement and breathing difficulty. Avoid if on treatments for high blood pressure. Avoid with thyroid gland disorders or heart disease. Possible addictive sedative effects with other depressants (e.g. Alcohol). Avoid during pregnancy

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/Capsella_bursa-pastoris
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail112.php

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Capsella+bursa-pastoris

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Herbs & Plants

Meadowsweet (Spriea Ulmaria)

Botanical Name : Spriea Ulmaria
Family : ROSACEAE Rose Family
Genus: Filipendula
Synonyme : Spirea ulmaria L.
Common Names : Meadowsweet , Queen of the Meadow,  Quaker Lady , Pride of the Meadow, Meadow-Wort, Meadow Queen, Lady of the Meadow, Dollof, Meadsweet and Bridewort.
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: F. ulmaria

Habitat :  It is found in the North Temperate and Arctic regions of Arctic Europe, Asia Minor, and North Asia,  grows in damp meadows.
The Meadow-sweet is found in all parts of Great Britain as far north as the Shetland Islands, up to 1200 ft. in Yorkshire. It is found in the West of Ireland.

Description :

Meadowsweet  is a perennial herb .The stems are 1–2 m (3-7 ft) tall, erect and furrowed, reddish to sometimes purple. The leaves  are dark green on the upper side and whitish and downy underneath, much divided, interruptedly pinnate, having a few large serrate leaflets and small intermediate ones. Terminal leaflets are large, 4–8 cm long and three to five-lobed.

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Meadowsweet has delicate, graceful, creamy-white flowers clustered close together in handsome irregularly-branched cymes, having a very strong, sweet smell. They flower from June to early September.

 

Meadowsweet leaves are commonly galled by the bright orange rust fungus Triphragmium ulmariae which creates swellings and distortions on the stalk and / or midrib.

Meadowsweet is known in Irish as Airgead Luachra meaning Rush Silver. Perhaps it derives its name from its leaves which are a silvery green underneath and the fact that the herb grows in damp areas. Meadowsweet was considered a sacred herb in ancient Celtic rituals. Few of its medicinal uses were known in the past when it was used mainly for scouring milk churns in Co Mayo and strewing on floors. At the same time in parts of Ireland country people tended to be wary of the plant and some wouldn’t allow it into the home believing it induced sleep from which they could not awake. In Co Kerry a black dye was obtained and used from the roots.

Its medicinal properties have only been used in recent times, possibly since it was discovered that the plant contained salicylic acid, one of the main ingredients for Aspirin. The old name of the plant was Spirea (Ulmaria) from which Aspirin derives is name.

Properities & Constituents :

Active ingredients: compounds of salicylic acid, flavone-glycosides, essential oils and tannins.
Astringent* Diuretic* Tonic* Depurative* Febrifuge* . Meadowsweet contains chemicals called tannins. Since tannins have a drying effect on mucous membranes, meadowsweet is helpful in decreasing the congestion and mucus associated with a cold. Meadowsweet has also been used for heartburn, stomach ulcers, diarrhea, infections and to ease the pain of sore joints and muscles.


Medicinal Uses:

Common Uses: Colds * Congestion/Chest & Sinus * Diarrhea * Gout * Influenza * Lupus * Rheumatoid Arthritis *

Like Aspirin, Meadowsweet is used mainly to relieve pain. It is suitable as a diuretic, being useful for kidney and bladder complaints such as cystitis. Since it contains mucilage, it is ideal for problems concerning the stomach lining – gastritis, ulcers, hiatus hernia etc. It also reduces stomach acidity and is good for rheumatic conditions, as it rids the body of excess uric acid.

To prepare Meadowsweet add 1 pint of almost boiling water to 1 oz. of the flowers. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes and take 3-4 cups per day between meals. This can be taken regularly for three weeks. Compresses soaked in the above infusion or poultices made from the flowers will relieve pain when applied directly to joints affected by rheumatism and neuralgia.

The whole herb possesses a pleasant taste and flavour, the green parts having a similar aromatic character to the flowers, leading to the use of the plant as a strewing herb, strewn on floors to give the rooms a pleasant aroma, and its use to flavour wine, beer and many vinegars. The flowers can be added to stewed fruit and jams, giving them a subtle almond flavor. It has many medicinal properties. The whole plant is a traditional remedy for an acidic stomach and the fresh root is often used in infinitesimal quantities in homeopathic preparations. It is effective on its own as a treatment for diarrhea. The flowers, when made into a tea, are a comfort to flu sufferers. Dried, the flowers make lovely pot pourri.

In 1897 Felix Hoffmann created a synthetically altered version of salicin, derived from the species, which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally Acetylsalicylic acid, was named aspirin by Hoffman’s employer Bayer AG after the old botanical name for meadowsweet, Spiraea ulmaria. This gave rise to the hugely important class of drugs known as NonSteroidal AntiInflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs.

This plant contains the chemicals used to make aspirin, a small section of root, when peeled and crushed smells like Germolene, and when chewed is a good natural remedy for relieving headaches. A natural black dye can be obtained from the roots by using a copper mordant.

About one in five people with asthma has Samter’s triad, in which aspirin induces asthma symptoms. Therefore, asthmatics should be aware of the possibility that meadowsweet, with its similar biochemistry, could theoretically also induce symptoms of asthma.


Precautions:

Should not be used by anyone who has asthma or is allergic to aspirin.
Can cause stomach upset or kidney damage if used too much or for too long

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.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/environment-geography/flora-fauna/selected-wild-flowers-of/meadowsweet-(filipendula-/
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail134.php
http://chestofbooks.com/flora-plants/flowers/British-Wild-Flowers-1/Meadow-sweet-Spiraea-Ulmaria-L.html
http://organizedwisdom.com/Meadowsweet
http://fr.academic.ru/dic.nsf/frwiki/1562560

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filipendula_ulmaria

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Featured

Humans Make Their Own Aspirin Compoun

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Humans form their own version of aspirin‘s active principle, known as salicylic acid, when the drug breaks down in the body.

.Salicylic acid->
.Salicyclic acid or SA, which is responsible for aspirin’s renowned effects in relieving pain and inflammation, may be the first in a new class of bioregulators, according to a new study.
Gwendoline Baxter and her British colleagues said their past research revealed that SA exists in the blood of people who have not recently taken aspirin.
Vegetarians had much higher levels, almost matching those in patients taking low doses of aspirin.
Based on those findings, the researchers previously concluded that this endogenous SA came from the diet, since SA is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables.
Now the group reports on studies of changes in SA levels in volunteers who took benzoic acid, a substance also found naturally in fruits and vegetables that the body could potentially use to make SA.
Their goal was to determine whether the SA found in humans (and other animals) results solely from consumption of fruits and vegetables, or whether humans produce their own SA as a natural agent to fight inflammation and disease. The results reported in the study suggest that people do manufacture SA, according to a release of American Chemical Society.
“It is, we suspect, increasingly likely that SA is a biopharmaceutical with a central, broadly defensive role in animals as well as plants,” they state. “This simple organic chemical is, we propose, likely to become increasingly recognized as an animal bioregulator, perhaps in a class of its own.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Corn

What are corns?
Corns are annoying and sometimes painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas that are being pressed on by underlying bones. They occur on parts of the feet and sometimes the fingers. Corns can be painful to walk on even when they are small. Common locations are:

* On the sole, over the metatarsal arch (the “ball” of the foot);

* On the outside of the fifth (pinky) toe, where it rubs against the shoe; and

* Between the 4th and 5th toes. Unlike other corns which are firm and flesh-colored, corns between the toes are often whitish and messy; they are sometimes called “soft corns.”

It’s usually hard to know where finger corns come from since they often don’t appear at sites of obvious pressure.

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How can corns be prevented?
Generally speaking, corns are a disease of civilization. If we didn’t wear shoes, we wouldn’t have them. Potential preventive measures therefore include:

1. Moving to Tahiti to stroll on the sand in your bare tootsies! This is a pleasant approach, as long as you never have to go back home and walk in shoes again.
2. For the incurably civilized, wearing comfortable shoes is useful. The idea is to avoid having footgear press on the outside of the 5th toe, or pressing the 4th and 5th toes together.
3. Another approach is to pad the potentially affected area. You can buy many sorts of padding at the drugstore:

* Cushions to put between the toes;
* Foam or moleskin pads to put over the places where corns form;
* Foam pads with holes in the center (like doughnuts or bagels), which redistribute pressure around the corn instead of right over it; and
* Cushioned insoles to pad your feet and alleviate mechanical pressure.

How can corns be treated?
You can buy many types of medicated products to chemically pare down the thickened, dead skin overlying the corn. These products are share the same active ingredient –salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid is a keratolytic, which means it dissolves the protein (keratin) that makes up most of both your corn and the thick layer of dead skin which often tops it. Used once a day as indicated on the package directions, these products are gentle and safe. Salicylic acid treatments are available in different forms including:

* Applicators
* Drops
* Pads
* Plasters

All of these treatment will turn the top of the skin white and allow you to trim or peel away dead tissue, making the corn protrude and hurt less.

It generally is recommended that salicylic acid not be used in diabetics or when there is poor circulation (because of concern about how normally the skin can heal); however, in practice, salicylic acid is withheld only when there are clear signs of ongoing inflammation of the skin.

When should you seek professional treatment for corns?
If the corn bothers you and doesn’t respond to salicylic acid and trimming, you might consider seeing a physician or podiatrist who can physically pare corns with scalpels. (It’s better not to do this yourself, especially if you’re elderly or diabetic.) Podiatrists also can measure and fit you with orthotic devices to redistribute your weight on your feet while you walk so that pressure from the foot bones doesn’t focus on your corns. (Off-the-shelf cushioned insoles are one-size-fits-all and may not be effective.)

Surgery for corns is rarely necessary. There is never a point to cutting out a corn. The pressure that caused it to form in the first place will just make it come back. When necessary, surgery for corns involves shaving the underlying bone that is pressing on the skin to reduce the pressure.

This link may show some natural remedy for corns.

Source:www.medicinenet.com