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Coriander

Botanical Name : Coriandrum sativum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Coriandrum
Species: C. sativum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Names:cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania, coriander greens, coriander herb

Habitat :Cilantro is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia

Description:Coriander is an annual herb . It is a soft, hairless plant growing to 50 cm (20 in) tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in small umbels, white or very pale pink, asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the centre of the umbel longer (5–6 mm) than those pointing towards it (only 1–3 mm long). The fruit is a globular, dry schizocarp 3–5 mm (0.12–0.20 in) in diameter.

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First attestick to see ed in English late 14th century, the word coriander derives from the Old French coriandre, which comes from Latin coriandrum, in turn from Greek  (koriannon). The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek ko-ri-ja-da-na  (written in Linear B syllabic script, reconstructed as koriadnon), similar to the name of Minos’s daughter Ariadne, which later evolved to koriannon or koriandron.

Cilantro is the Spanish word for coriander, also deriving from coriandrum. It is the common term in North America for coriander leaves, due to their extensive use in Mexican cuisine.

Edible Uses:
All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking. Coriander is common in South Asian, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, Tex-Mex, Latin American, Portuguese, Chinese, African, and Scandinavian cuisine.

The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, fresh coriander, Chinese parsley, or cilantro (particularly in North America).

It should not be confused with culantro (Eryngium foetidum L.) which is a close relative to coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) but has a distinctly different appearance, a much more potent volatile leaf oi  and a stronger smell.

Leaves:
The leaves have a different taste from the seeds, with citrus overtones. However, many people experience an unpleasant “soapy” taste or a rank smell and avoid the leaves.[8][9] The flavours have also been compared to those of the stink bug, and similar chemical groups are involved (aldehydes). There appears to be a genetic component to the detection of “soapy” versus “herby” tastes.

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The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many South Asian foods (such as chutneys and salads), in Chinese dishes, in Mexican cooking, particularly in salsa and guacamole and as a garnish, and in salads in Russia and other CIS countries. Chopped coriander leaves are a garnish on Indian dishes such as dal. As heat diminishes their flavour, coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish immediately before serving. In Indian and Central Asian recipes, coriander leaves are used in large amounts and cooked until the flavour diminishes. The leaves spoil quickly when removed from the plant, and lose their aroma when dried

Fruits:
The dry fruits are known as coriander or coriandi seeds. In India they are called dhania. The word “coriander” in food preparation may refer solely to these seeds (as a spice), rather than to the plant. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed, due to terpenes linalool and pinene. It is described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured.
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The variety C. s. vulgare has a fruit diameter of 3–5 mm (0.12–0.20 in), while var. microcarpum fruits have a diameter of 1.5–3 mm (0.059–0.12 in). Large-fruited types are grown mainly by tropical and subtropical countries, e.g. Morocco, India and Australia, and contain a low volatile oil content (0.1-0.4%). They are used extensively for grinding and blending purposes in the spice trade. Types with smaller fruit are produced in temperate regions and usually have a volatile oil content of around 0.4-1.8%, so are highly valued as a raw material for the preparation of essential oil.

It is commonly found both as whole dried seeds and in ground form. Seeds can be roasted or heated on a dry pan briefly before grinding to enhance and alter the aroma. Ground coriander seed loses flavour quickly in storage and is best ground fresh.

Coriander seed is a spice in garam masala and Indian curries, which often employ the ground fruits in generous amounts together with cumin. It acts as a thickener. Roasted coriander seeds, called dhana dal, are eaten as a snack. It is the main ingredient of the two south Indian dishes: sambhar and rasam. Coriander seeds are boiled with water and drunk as indigenous medicine for colds.

Outside of Asia, coriander seed is used for pickling vegetables, and making sausages in Germany and South Africa (see boerewors). In Russia and Central Europe, coriander seed is an occasional ingredient in rye bread as an alternative to caraway. Coriander seeds are used in European cuisine today, though they were more important in former centuries.[citation needed] The Zuni people have adapted it into their cuisine, mixing the powdered seeds ground with chile and using it a condiment with meat, and eating leaves as a salad.

Coriander seeds are used in brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgian wheat beers.   The coriander seeds are used with orange peel to add a citrus character.

Roots: click to see
Coriander roots have a deeper, more intense flavour than the leaves. They are used in a variety of Asian cuisines. They are commonly used in Thai dishes, including soups and curry pastes.

Medicinal Uses:
* Digestion
Properties: * Anti-inflammatory * Depurative * Digestive * Emmenagogue * Febrifuge
Parts Used: seeds, essential oil
Constituents:  anethole, camphor, linalool, pinene, quercetin, rutin

Cilantro (leaves)and Coriander (seeds) and are names for different parts of the same plant, Coriandrum sativum, a naturally healing food in both forms. Cilantro is an excellent culinary herb that adds flavor to foods and improvse digestion. There are both scientific studies, and anecdotal evidence to support cilantro’s reputation as a powerful depurative.. The herb may also have a protective effect when cooked and eaten with fish and other foods that may be contaminated with heavy metals.

Coriander, like many spices, contains antioxidants, which can delay or prevent the spoilage of food seasoned with this spice. A study found both the leaves and seed to contain antioxidants, but the leaves were found to have a stronger effect.
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Chemicals derived from coriander leaves were found to have antibacterial activity against Salmonella choleraesuis, and this activity was found to be caused in part by these chemicals acting as nonionic surfactants.

Coriander has been used as a folk medicine for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iran.  Coriander seeds are used in traditional Indian medicine as a diuretic by boiling equal amounts of coriander seeds and cumin seeds, then cooling and consuming the resulting liquid. In holistic and traditional medicine, it is used as a carminative and as a digestive aid.

Coriander has been documented as a traditional treatment for type 2 diabetes. A study on mice found coriander extract had both insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity.

Coriander seeds were found in a study on rats to have a significant hypolipidaemic effect, resulting in lowering of levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides, and increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein. This effect appeared to be caused by increasing synthesis of bile by the liver and increasing the breakdown of cholesterol into other compounds.

Coriander leaf was found to prevent deposition of lead in mice, due to a presumptive chelation of lead by substances in the plant.

The essential oil produced from Coriandrum sativum has been shown to exhibit antimicrobial effects.

Known Hazards: Coriander can produce an allergic reaction in some people.

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

 

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Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriander
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail18.php

Oregano, Garlic Oils Can Prevent Bacteria Attack!

Essential oils from common spices like oregano, allspice and garlic can act as a natural barrier against bacteria like E-Coli, Salmonella and Oregano, garlic oils can prevent bacteria attack! (Getty Images)

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Listeria, according to a new US government study.

Oregano oil has been found to be the most effective antimicrobial, followed by allspice and garlic.

Researchers at Processed Foods Research and Produce Safety and Microbiology units of Western Regional Research Centre from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigated the effectiveness of the oils by incorporating them in thin, tomato-based antimicrobial coatings known as edible films.

In addition to its flavour properties, tomatoes are reported to possess numerous beneficial nutritional and bioactive components that may benefit human health.

Edible tomato films containing antimicrobials may protect food against contamination by pathogenic microorganisms.

The findings revealed that oregano oil consistently inhibited the growth of all three bacteria.

Although garlic oil was not effective against E. coli or Salmonella, but was effective against Listeria.

Vapour tests of oregano and allspice oils indicated that these two oils diffuse more efficiently through the air than through direct contact with the bacteria.

Listeria was less resistant to EO vapors while E. coli was more resistant.

“The results show that apple-based films with allspice, cinnamon or clove bud oils were effective against the three bacteria. The essential oils have the potential to provide multiple benefits to consumers,” said lead researcher R. J. Avena-Bustillos.

Source: The study appears in Journal of Food Science.

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White Leadwort

Botanical Name:Plumbago zeylanica
Family:Plumbaginaceae
Parts used: roots, leaves;
Common Names in English:Cape Leadwort, White Plumbago
Common Name: chitra or chitraka, Chitrak, Agnimatha, Chitawa,

Habitat :This herbal plant is found throughout India. It grows wild as a garden plant in East, North and Southern India.

Description:
A much-branched shrub with long and tuberous roots and a striate stem (Plate 48). The leaves are up to 8 cm long, simple, glabrous, alternate, ovate or oblong, with an entire or wavy margin, an acute apex and a short petiole. The flowers are white in terminal spikes, with a tubular calyx, a slender, glandular, hairy corolla tube, with five lobes and five stamens, a slender style and a stigma with five branches. The fruit is a membranous capsule enclosed within the persistent calyx. The dried roots occur as cylindrical pieces of varying length, less than 1.25 cm in width, reddish-brown in colour with a brittle, fairly thick, shrivelled, smooth or irregularly fissured bark. The roots have a short fracture, an acrid and biting taste and disagreeable odour.

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Uses: in Ayurveda, pacifies kapha dosha (pungent, light, dry, sharp), anticancer, antifertility, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, prevention of antibiotic resistance, immunomodulator, anti-coagulant, abortifacient, vesicant, rheumatism, diarrhea, diuretic, skin conditions; precautions: pregnancy.

Medicinal uses:-
in Ayurveda, pacifies kapha dosha (pungent, light, dry, sharp), anticancer, antifertility, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, prevention of antibiotic resistance, immunomodulator, anti-coagulant, abortifacient, vesicant, rheumatism, diarrhea, diuretic, skin conditions; precautions: pregnancy.

In Ayurveda Chitra is used in treatment of various diseases and disorders. The chitrak root contains an acrid crystalline principle called ‘Plumbagin’ that is a powerful irritant and has well marked antiseptic properties. In small doses, the drug is a sudorific;

large doses cause death from respiratory failure. It is suggested that the action is probably due to the direct effect of the drug on the muscles. Chitrak root is also said to increase the digestive power and promote appetite and used in cases of enlarged spleen. A paste made from root is applied to abscesses to open them. Ayurvedic doctors recommend the root of chitrak for dyspepsia, piles, anasarca, diarrhea, skin diseases etc. It is also useful in colic, inflammations, cough, bronchitis, helminthiasis, haemorrhoids, elephantiasis, chronic and intermittent fever, leprosy, leucaderma, ring-worm, scabies, hepatosplenomegaly, amenorrhoea, odontalgia, vitiated conditions of vata and kapha and anaemia. The herb is also used as part of many ayurvedic compound remedies for rubifacient applications.

Anticancer activity: Plumbagin has been reported as having anticancer activity against fibrosarcoma induced by methyl cholanthrene and P388 lymphocytic leukaemia, but not against L1210 lymphoid leukaemia in mice. It is thought to be an inhibitor of mitosis. It has also been evaluated against Dalton’s ascitic lymphoma, where an inhibition of tumour growth and a significant enhancement of mean survival time were observed for treated mice compared to the control group. Peritoneal cell counts were also enhanced. Plumbagin­treated groups were able to reverse the changes in various haematological parameters which are a consequence of tumour inoculation. Studies have shown that plumbagin, when administered orally at a dose of 4 mg/kg body weight, caused tumour regression in rats with 3-methyl-4­dimethyl aminoazobenzene (3MeDAB)-induced hepatoma. It reduced levels of glycolytic enzymes such as hexokinase, phosphoglucoisomerase and aldolase levels, which are increased in hepatoma-bearing rats, and increased levels of gluconeogenic enzymes such as glucose­.6-phosphatase and fructose-I ,6-diphosphatase which are decreased in tumour hosts.

Antifertility activity: In rats, treatment during the first week of pregnancy abolished certain uterine proteins resulting in both pre­implantationary loss and abortion of the foetus. Uterine endopeptidases (cathepsin D, remin and chymotrypsin) were studied after the root powder had induced these effects and cathepsin D and renin activities were found to be decreased whilst chymotrypsin activity was increased. The results indicated that cathepsin D and renin may playa role in maintenance of pregnancy and chymotrypsin may be involved in postabortive involution. Plumbagin, at a dose of I and 2 mg/IOO g body weight, prevented implantation and induced abortion in albino rats without any teratogenic effects, and produced a significant inhibitory effect on copper acetate-induced ovulation in rabbits.

Antiinflammatory activity: A phosphate buffered saline extract of the roots of P. zrylanica stabilised red blood cells subjected to both heat- and hypotonic-induced lyses,A biphasic response and a reduction in the enzymatic activities of alkaline and acid phosphatases were observed and adenosine triphosphate activity was stimulated in liver homogenates of formaldehyde-induced arthritic rats.

Antimicrobial activity: A chloroform extract from P. zeylanica showed significant activity against penicillin- and non-penicillin resistant strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It also showed antibacterial activity against Bacillus mycoides, B. pumilus, B. subtilis, Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus and others. Eye drops containing 50 llg/ml of plumbagin demonstrated significant antibacterial, antiviral and antichlamydial effects in eye diseases with few side effects. Aqueous, hexane and alcoholic extracts of the plant were found to show interesting antibacterial activity. The alcoholic extract was the most active and showed no toxicity when assayed using fresh sheep erythrocytes.

Antibiotic resistance modification: Plumbagin has been studied for its effect on the development of antibiotic resistance using sensitive strains of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. When the organisms were inoculated into the antibiotic (streptomycin/rifampicin) medium, some growth was observed due to development of resistance. However, it was completely prevented when plumbagin was added to the medium and this was attributed to prevention of antibiotic resistance.

Antioxidant activity: At a concentration of 1 mM, plumbagin prevented peroxidation in liver and heart homogenates. By a comparison with menadione (which has one hydroxyl group less) it was suggested that plumbagin may prevent NADPH and ascorbate-induced microsomal lipid peroxidation by forming hydroquinones. These may trap free radical species involved in catalysing lipid peroxidation.

Immunomodulatory activity: The effect of plumbagin was studied on peritoneal macro phages of BALB/c mice, evaluated by bactericidal activity, hydrogen peroxide production and superoxide anion release. The bactericidal activity in vivo of plumbagin-treated mouse macrophages was estimated using Staphylococcus aureus and in low doses plumbagin caused a constant increase in bactericidal activity. It was also seen to exert a similar response on oxygen radical release, showing a correlation between oxygen radical release and bactericidal activity. Plumbagin appeared to augment macrophage bactericidal activity at low concentrations by potentiating oxygen radical release, whereas at higher concentrations it had an inhibitory effect.

Hypolipidaemic activity: When administered to hyperlipidaemic rabbits, plumbagin reduced serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by 53-86% and 61-91 % respectively. It also lowered the cho/esteroV phospholipid ratio and elevated HDL cholesterol significantly. Furthermore, plumbagin treatment prevented the accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides in the liver and aorta and caused regression of atheromatous plaques of the thoracic and abdominal aorta. The animals treated with plumbagin excreted more faecal cholesterol and phospholipids.

Uterine stimulant activity: The juice extracted from the root was found to have potent activity when tested on rat uterus in vitro, as well as on isolated human
myometrial strips. This ecbolic effect was not blocked by either atropine sulphate or pentolinium bitartrate.

Anticoagulant activity: Plumbagin significantly increased prothrombin time, GPT, total protein and alkaline phosphatase levels in liver tissue and decreased GPT levels in serum. The anti-vitamin K activity was thought to be associated with the hydroxyl group attached to the naphthoquinone ring ofthe compound.

Digestive effects: The roots of Plumbago zeylanica were found to stimulate the proliferation of coliform bacteria in mice and act as an intestinal flora normaliser. This supports claims that the plant is a digestive stimulant.

Safety profile
The LDso of plumbagin is approximately 10 mg/kg body weight (oral and IP) in mice and a 50% alcoholic extract of the root or whole plant has an LD50 of 500 mg/kg body weight when given IP.26 In view of the documented abortifacient activity, it should be avoided at all stages of 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://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/white+leadwort
http://www.india-shopping.net/india-ayurveda-products/Chitrak%20_WhiteLeadwort.htm
http://www.divineremedies.com/plumbago_zeylanica.htm
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/P/Plumbago_auriculata_Alba/

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Bio-Sensor to Make Our Food Safer

A microscopic bio-sensor that detects Salmonella bacteria in lab tests has been developed by an agricultural scientist.
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This large bacterial colony of Salmonella enteritidis grew rapidly (62 millimeters in diameter in 16 hours) and readily contaminated eggs when given to chickens by injection but not when given by mouth.
People who eat Salmonella-infected food products can get salmonellosis, a disease characterised by nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhoea, and sometimes death.

The sensor could be adapted to detect other food-borne pathogens as well. It is part of an evolving science known as nanotechnology— the study and manipulation of materials on a molecular or even atomic level, measured in billionths of a metre.

There are examples of biosensors in nature. Insects detect tiny amounts of sex pheromones in the air and use them to find mates. And fish use natural bio-sensors to detect barely perceptible vibrations in the surrounding water.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Bosoon Park at the Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit in Athens, Georgia, and cooperators at the University of Georgia (U-G) used nanotechnology to develop the biosensor.

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The detection method may have great potential for food safety and security, according to Park, said an U-G release.

The biosensors include fluorescent organic dye particles attached to Salmonella antibodies. The antibodies hook on to Salmonella bacteria and the dye lights up like a beacon, making the bacteria easier to see.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Candy Canes Can Help Fight Germs

The traditional candy canes used for decorating Christmas trees can help fight germs and treat digestive disorders, according to a new study.

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A study led by McMaster University researcher Alex Ford had found that peppermint oil, found in most candy canes, can act as the first line of defence against irritable bowel syndrome.

“Most of the (effective) species are really from the family Lamiaceae, or mint family,” Discovery News quoted Pavel Kloucek, a scientist at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, as saying.

The researchers hope that peppermint oil, and other potent essential oils, may soon be wafted in vapour form over food to inhibit bacterial growth.

For the new study, Kloucek and his team looked at several essential oils to determine how well they could, in vapour form, kill the bacteria responsible for Listeria, Staph, E. coli, and Salmonella infections, and more.

The new study is the first to bring forth the antimicrobial activity of two other mint family members –Mentha villosa and Faassen’s catnip -along with another non-mint herb, bluebeard.Moreover, essential oils for horseradish, garlic, hyssop, basil, marjoram, oregano, winter savory, and three types of thyme also showed potent bacteria-busting abilities.

Kloucek said that plant essential oils are lipophilic, i.e. they gravitate towards fat.

“And luckily, in the cell membrane of bacteria, there is plenty of fat, which serves as a seal,” he said.

“Essential oils are attracted to this fat and, as their molecules squeeze in between the fat molecules, they cause leakage of the membrane,” he added.

If foods were treated with essential oils to prevent illness, the obvious problem to overcome is the oils’ potent taste. While strong mint flavour is desirable in a candy cane, it might not work well with other foods. The solution, according to Kloucek and his team, is to carefully match the oil with the food.

The findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Food Control.

Sources: The Times Of India

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