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Herbs & Plants

Porphyra

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Botanical Name : Porphyra umbilicalis
Family: Bangiaceae
Genus: Porphyra
Domain: Eukaryota
Phylum: Rhodophyta
Class: Rhodophyceae
Order: Bangiales

Common Name :Laver

Habitat :It grows in the intertidal zone, typically between the upper intertidal zone and the splash zone in cold waters of temperate oceans. In East Asia, it is used to produce the sea vegetable products nori (in Japan) and gim (in Korea), the most commonly eaten seaweed. There are considered to be 60 to 70 species of Porphyra worldwide and seven in the British Isles.

Description:
Porphyra is a foliose red algal genus of laver, comprising approximately 70 species.Porphyra displays a heteromorphic alternation of generations. The thallus we see is the haploid generation; it can reproduce asexually by forming spores which grow to replicate the original thallus. It can also reproduce sexually. Both male and female gametes are formed on the one thallus. The female gametes while still on the thallus are fertilized by the released male gametes, which are non-motile. The fertilised, now diploid, carposporangia after mitosis produce spores (carpospores) which settle, then bore into shells, germinate and form a filamentous stage. This stage was originally thought to be a different species of alga, and was referred to as Conchocelis rosea. The fact that Conchocelis was the diploid stage of Porphyra was discovered by the British phycologist Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker in 1949 for the European species Porphyra umbilicalis. It was later shown for species from other regions as well.
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You may click to see  :The Seaweed Site: information on marine algae

Species
*Porphyra abbottae V.Krishnam., Red laver
*Porphyra leucosticta Thur.
*Porphyra linearis Grev.
*Porphyra miniata (C.Agardh)
*Porphyra purpurea (Roth)
*Porphyra tenera
*Porphyra umbilicalis (L.) J.Agardh.
*Porphyra yezoensis Ueda

Food Use:
Most human cultures with access to Porphyra use it as a food or somehow in the diet, making it perhaps the most domesticated of the marine algae, known as laver, nori (Japanese), amanori (Japanese), zakai, gim (Korean),[8] zicai (Chinese), karengo, sloke or slukos. The marine red alga Porphyra has been cultivated extensively in many Asian countries as an edible seaweed used to wrap the rice and fish that compose the Japanese food sushi, and the Korean food gimbap. In Japan, the annual production of Porphyra spp. is valued at 100 billion yen (US$ 1 billion).

Medicinal Uses:
Sloke gives off a green liquid, thought to be rich in iron (used as a dietary supplement). There is a story of one woman having had a case of dropsy cured by drinking two bottles of sloke water.  In Scotland, the natives ate the laver boiled, and dissolved into oil. It was said that if a little butter was added to it one might live many years on this alone, without bread or any other food, and at the same time undergo any laborious exercise.

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/Porphyra
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Dulse

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Botanical Name : Rhodymenia palmata
Family: Palmariaceae
Genus: Palmaria
Species: P. palmata
Domain: Eukaryota
Division: Rhodophyta
Class: Florideophyceae
Order: Palmariales

Synonym:Palmaria palmata (Linnaeus) Kuntze

Common Name ;Dulse, dillisk, dilsk, red dulse, sea lettuce flakes or creathnach

Habitat : Dulse is the only species of Palmaria found on the coast of Atlantic Europe. It is to be found from Portugal to the B altic coasts also on the coasts of Iceland and the Faroe Islands. It also grows on the shores of Arctic Russia, Arctic Canada, Atlantic Canada, Alaska, Japan and Korea. The records from California are of Palmaria mollis which is considered a different species.

It grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a well-known snack food, and in Iceland, where it is known as söl, it has been an important source of fiber throughout the centuries.

Description:
Dulse  grows attached by its discoid holdfast to the stipes of Laminaria or to rocks. It has a short stipe, the fronds are variable and vary in colour from deep-rose to reddish-purple and are rather leathery in texture. The flat foliose blade gradually expands and divides into broad segments ranging in size to 50 cm long and 30 – 8 cm in width which can bear flat wedge-shaped proliferations from the edge.

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Reddish brown, membranous or leathery, flattened fronds, 50-300 (rarely –1000) mm long, arising from a discoid base, usually with a small stipe expanding gradually to form simple or dichotomously and palmately divided fronds, often with characteristic marginal leaflets. Blade very variable in shape, having broadly ovate to narrowly linear segments.

The reference to Rhodymenia palmata var.mollis in Abbott & Hollenberg (1976), is now considered to refer to a different species: Palmaria mollis (Setchel et Gardner) van der Meer et Bird.

Dulse is similar to another seaweed Dilsea carnosa (Schmidel) Kuntze, Dilsea, however, is more leathery with blades up to 30 cm long and 20 cm wide. Unlike Palmaria palmata it is not branched and does not have proliferations or branches from the edge of the frond. The older blades may split however

Edible Uses;
Dulse is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables, contains all trace elements needed by humans, and has a high protein content.

It is commonly found from June to September and can be picked by hand when the tide is out. When picked, small snails, shell pieces and other small particles can be washed or shaken off and the plant then spread to dry. Some gatherers may turn it once and roll it into large bales to be packaged later. It is also used as fodder for animals in some countries.

Dulse is commonly used in Ireland, Iceland, Atlantic Canada and the Northeast United States both as food and medicine. It can be found in many health food stores or fish markets and can be ordered directly from local distributors. In Ballycastle, Ireland, it is traditionally sold at the Ould Lammas Fair. It is particularly popular along the Causeway Coast. Although a fast-dying tradition,[citation needed] there are many who still gather their own dulse. In South West Ireland, as in County Antrim, it is eaten dried and uncooked in a manner similar to that in which one would eat snacks at a drinks party. It is also used in cooking. (Its properties are similar to those of a flavor-enhancer). It is commonly referred to as dillisk on the west coast of Ireland. Dillisk is usually dried and sold as a snack food from stalls in seaside towns by periwinkle-sellers.

Waste pipes have spoiled some sites.

Fresh dulse can be eaten directly off the rocks before sun-drying. Sun-dried dulse is eaten as is or is ground to flakes or a powder. In Iceland the tradition is to eat it with butter. It can also be pan fried quickly into chips, baked in the oven covered with cheese, with salsa, or simply microwaved briefly. It can also be used in soups, chowders, sandwiches and salads, or added to bread/pizza dough. Finely diced, it can also be used as a flavour enhancer in meat dishes, such as chili, in place of monosodium glutamate.

Medicinal Uses:

Dulse contains iodine, which prevents goiter.

In several traditions of European herbal medicine, dulse was used to remove parasites, to relieve constipation, and as a treatment for scurvy. It is a superior source of the iodine the body needs to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine which affect weight and metabolic rate.  The complex polysaccharides in the herb make it a gentle alternative to psyllium or senna in the treatment of constipation.

Externally, the fresh blades can be used to treat skin diseases, headaches, and to help expel placenta. It is used as a gentle laxative. Dulse has also been used to help prevent fibroid tumors of the breasts, the uterus or the ovaries and in cases of swollen lumps or enlargements of the intestinal area. Natural, organically-bond iodine extracts from Dulse are used for the treatment and prevention of thyroid disease, and clinical trials on daily molecular iodine supplementation have shown that cyclical breast lumps and cysts are completely resolved within two months. The iodine in Dulse can also prevent goiter.

Dulse has an alkalizing effect on the blood that neutralizes wastes that build up in the body and also aids in removing radioactive and heavy metals from the body. It also prevents the absorption from the gut by binding these elements, which include radioactive strontium, barium, and cadmium. This is done by transforming them into harmless salts (via a substance called alginic acid) that are easily eliminated. Dulse has elements to eliminate excess uric acid from the system and has been used for genitourinary problems such as kidney, bladder, prostrate, and uterus.  Clinical documentation shows that taking some each day can reduce enlarged prostrates in older men and urination can become painless.

Seaweeds may reduce the risk of poisoning from environmental pollution by providing fiber that increases fecal bulk and also reduces cholesterol levels through the retardation of bile acid absorption. Recent research has suggested that Dulse may help reverse hardening of the arteries, reduce high blood pressure, regress and prevent tumors  Research has shown that Dulse extracts inhibited HeLa cell proliferation that is found in human cervical adenocarcinoma and has also been found in animal studies to reduce the risk of intestinal and mammary cancer.

It has been used to treat the problems associated with thyroid malfunction. Liquid Dulse can help to soothe an irritated throat and mucous membranes. It has been used for enlarged thyroid and lymph nodes, swollen and painful testes and to reduce edema. Seaweeds are used to promote wound healing. New generation dressings such as the hydrocolloid dressings are seaweed base as they provide optimal conditions for healing to begin.  It is known to prevent seasickness. Thus it should be of value in other conditions where motion sickness is the cause such as vertigo and labrynthitis or Meniere’s Disease.

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/Palmaria_palmata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

http://www.horta.uac.pt/species/Algae/Palmaria_palmata/Palmaria_palmata.htm

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A Gel to ‘Mend a Damaged Heart’

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A bowl of hot seaweeds soup may be a sought-after dish, but the marine plants are more than a gourmet’s delight — they could mend a damaged heart.

Scientists for decades have grappled with various ways to block further tissue damage in patients who suffer a heart attack. Now, an Israeli team has developed a gel from seaweeds which could stave off the risk of an additional damage.

According to researchers, the gel when injected into the area of the heart, where the tissue has been damaged by an attack, solidifies — this allows a thick layer of scar tissue to grow, helping the heart to continue working normally.

The gel is made from ordinary brown seaweed and can be injected into the heart using a catheter fed through a vein in the groin.

“What it does is quite remarkable,” British newspaper Daily Mail quoted professor Smedar Cohen, who led the team which developed the gel at Israel‘s Ben Gurion University, as saying.

In trials, 90% of animals injected with the gel survived a heart attack compared to just 40% who received no treatment at all. Trials have started in Germany, Belgium and Israel on people who have suffered a major heart attack. If successful, the substance could hit the market by 2011.

Sources: The Times Of India

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