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Herbs & Plants

Coyote Bush

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Botanical Name : Baccharis pilularis
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Baccharis
Species: pilularis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:  Baccharis consanguinea

Common Names:Dwarf Chaparral Broom, Coyotebrush , Chaparral Broom, Coyote Bush, Bush Baccharis

Habitat : Coyote brush is a common chaparral plant in California and Oregon. It can be found all over California from San Diego County to Oregon, coastal sage scrub and chaparral, hillsides and in canyons below 2500 feet. But like the coyote of legends, it has some pretty ingenious tricks up its s(leaves) as far as survival is concerned.

Description:
Coyote brush is a wiry and woody perennial evergreen that looks like a bush. This shrub is generally smaller than 3 meters in height. It is glabrous and generally sticky. The stems are prostrate to erect which branches spreading or ascending. The leaves are 8–55 mm long and are entire to toothed and oblanceolate to obovate, with three principal veins. The heads are in a leafy panicle. The involucres are hemispheric to bell shaped. This species is dioecious (pistillate and staminate flowers occur on separate plants). Both staminate and pistillate heads are 3.5–5 mm long. Phyllaries are in 4–6 series, ovate, and glabrous. The receptacles are convex to conic and honeycombed. The staminate flowers range from 20–30 and there are 19–43 pistillate flowers. They are found in a variety of habitats, from coastal bluffs to oak woodlands. Erect plants are generally mixed (and intergrade completely) with prostrate plants.

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Coyote brush is dioecious, meaning that it produces male and female flowers on different plants. Blooming between August and December, the white fluffy female and yellowish male flowers grow on separate shrubs. The male flowers are stubbier, short, flattish, with a creamy white color. The yellow pollen on the male flowers smells like shaving soap. The female flowers are long, whitish green and glistening. The many flowering heads bloom in clusters on leafy branches. Seeds are small black nuts and hang off a fluffy tuft of hair called a pappus. From October to January the pappus catches the wind and blows away, like dandelions, helping Coyote brush spread its seeds.

It is known as a secondary pioneer plant in communities such as coastal sage scrub and chaparral. In California grasslands, it comes in late and invades and increases in the absence of fire or grazing. Coyote bush invasion of grasslands is important because it helps the establishment of other coastal sage species. Coyote bush is common in coastal sage scrub, but it does not regenerate under a closed shrub canopy because seedling growth is poor in the shade. Coast live oak, California bay, or other shade tolerant species replace coastal sage scrub and other coyote bush-dominated areas, particularly when there hasn’t been fire and grazing.

Cultivation:
Coyote bush is used frequently in cultivation, with the cultivar ground cover selections having various qualities of height, leaf color, and texture. It requires good drainage and moderate summer watering. Coyote brush is also drought tolerant, very useful for hedges or fence lines and for ground cover. It is rather deer-proof. It requires watering once a week until established and then about once per month during the first summer. It can mature in one to two years.

The Jepson Manual calls the erect plants just Baccharis pilularis, the same name as the ground cover form. They are considered the same species, because the short and tall plants intergrade completely. Yet only male plants are utilized in landscaping for Baccharis pilularis. If these are substituted for B. pilularis consanguinea in ecological restoration, there will not be as much seed set and recruitment of new individuals. Baccharis species are nectar sources for most of the predatory wasps, native small butterflies and native flies.

Medicinal Uses:
Coast Miwok Indians used the heated leaves to reduce swelling.An infusion of the plant has been used as a general remedy or panacea.

Other uses:
Native Indians used the wood from this bush to make arrow shafts and for building houses. Early pioneers called it “fuzzy wuzzy” because of its silky-haired seeds.

Coyote shrubs provide shelter for wildlife and nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects. It is a nurse plant for degraded soil. It is called a pioneer species because it is one of the first shrubs to appear after other plants have been removed by cultivation or fire.

An effective ground-cover plant for sunny banks.  The plant has an extensive root system and is very useful for stabilizing sand dunes etc

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/Baccharis_pilularis
http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/coyote_brush.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/baccharis-pilularis-consanguinea

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Baccharis+pilularis

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Alligator pepper

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Botanical Name :Alligator pepper
Family :Zingerberaceae (Ginger family).
Synonym :Amomum melegueta.

Common Names: Grains of paradise, nengrekondre pepre, alligator pepper, guinea grains, graines de paradis, atar, paradies kõrner, grani de Meleguetta, paradijs korrels, Grana paradise, poivre de Guinée, malaguette, Malagettapfeffer, grani de paradiso.

Parts Used: Dried ripe seeds and oil. In commerce the pods and seeds are found whole, shelled, and ground (green or roasted).

Habitat :Alligator pepper is  native to West Africa; brought over to Surinam by the slaves to swampy habitats along the West African coast.

Description:
A herbaceous plant reaching 1-4 m in height. The stem is short and marked with scars of fallen leaves. The leaves are lanceolate and  about 30 cm long and 12 cm wide, with close nerves below. The flowers are handsome, aromatic and with orange-coloured lip and a rich pinkish-orange upper part. The fruits are fleshy and indehiscent, and contains numerous small golden- or red-brown seeds. USES The cardemom-flavored seeds are used as a spice and carminative and the can also be used to spice wine and beer. Fruit, seed, leaf and rhizome have medicinal properties.

You may click to see the pictures..

The plants which provide alligator pepper are herbaceous perennials  flowering plants  reaching 1-4 m in height.The stem is short and marked with scars of fallen leaves. The leaves are about 30 cm long and 12 cm wide, with close nerves below. The flowers are handsome, aromatic and with orange-coloured lip and a rich pinkish-orange upper part. Once the pod is open and the seeds are revealed the reason for this spice’s common English name becomes apparent as the seeds have a papery skin enclosing them and the bumps of the seeds within this skin is reminiscent of an alligator’s back.

The trumpet-shaped, purple flowers develop into 5 – 7 cm long grayish – brown, wrinkled dried pods (capsules) containing the numerous very small seeds.
These are almost oval in shape, hard, shiny, and have a reddish-brown color.

CLICK & SEE

The numerous seeds are borne in grayish – brown capsules.
The important part of this plant is the seed; the small (3-4 mm =1/8″) reddish – brown seeds have a pungent aroma with a pepper – like heat.
This much sought after spice is tempered with, among others, flavors reminiscing of hazelnut, butter and citrus.
The essential oil from grains of paradise consists of two sesquiterpenes, humelene and caryophyllene and the oxides of these.
It has an exotic tropical scent and flavor and is used for the production of beer, wine and spirits, and the flavoring of vinegar.
It is used in the Surinam cuisine to flavor dishes such as vegetables (okra and tomatoes recipes), soups (lentil and chicken) and fish recipes.
The rhizome of the plant is used medicinally and is also is an important part from the diet of Western lowland gorillas in Africa.

As mbongo spice the seeds of alligator pepper is often sold as the grains themselves, isolated from the pod and with the outer skin removed. Mbongo spice is most commonly either Aframomum danielli or Aframomum citratum and has a more floral aroma than Aframomum exscapum (which is the commonest source of the entire pod).

It is a common ingredient in West African cuisine where it imparts both ‘heat’, ‘pungency‘ and a spicy aroma to classic West African ‘soups’ (stews).

Use in cuisine:
Even in West Africa, alligator pepper is an expensive spice and is used sparingly. Often a single whole pod is pounded in a pestle and mortar before half of it is added (along with black pepper) as a flavouring to West African ‘soups’ (stews) or to boiled rice. The spice can also be substituted in any recipe using grains of paradise or black cardamom to provide a hotter and more pungent flavour.

When a baby is born in Yoruba culture, they are given a small taste of alligator pepper shortly after birth as part of the routine baby welcoming process and it is also used as an ingredient at traditional meet-and-greets.

In Igbo land, alligator pepper with kola nuts are used in naming ceremonies, as presentation to visiting guests and for other social events.

Click to see :Water leaf, alligator pepper treats hypertension – survey ….

Medicinal Uses:
As a purgative, galactogogue (to increase production of breast milk), anthelmintic- and hemostatic agent (purifies the blood). It is also effective against schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
Further is it used against intestinal infections, infestations, to calm indigestion and heartburn.
The seeds of Aframomum melegueta possess potent anti-inflammatory activity with a favorable gastric tolerability profile.
Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, triterpenes, and oils, while the methanol fraction contains alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, and resins.
The pungent, peppery taste of the seeds is caused by aromatic ketones such as (6)-paradol; essential oils occur only in traces.

Some of the known areas of application are to cure Arthritis, boil, pimples, and any inflammatory disease. Alligator pepper is used in combination of one or two other components to cure different sicknesses. For information on different application go to web site: http://www.free-est.com.

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/Alligator_pepper
http://www.tropilab.com/nengrekondrepepre.html
http://finimanaturepark.org/capacity-building/community-capacity/
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=2872
http://hubpages.com/hub/Alligator-pepper

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Herbs & Plants

Nishinda (Vitex Negundo)

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Botanical Name : Vitex negundo
Family Name :Verbenacae/Lamiaceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Lamiales
Genus:    Vitex
Species:V. negundo

Common Name : CHASTE TREE, HUANG PING, GATTILIER INCISE, HUANG CHING, LENGGUNDI, MAN CHING, NEGUNDO CHASTETREE

Vernacular Names:
Bengali Name : Nishinda, Nirgundi, Samalu
Chinese Name : Huang ping
English Name : Five-Leaved Chaste Tree
French Name : Gattilier incise
German Name : Mönchspfeffer
Gujarati Name : Nagod, Nagad
Hindi Name : Sambhalu, Sawbhalu, Samhalu, Nirgandi, Nisinda, Mewri
Kannada Name : Belenekki
Latin name : Vitex negundo Linn.
Marathi Name : Lingad, Nigad, Nirgundi
Persian Name : Banjangasht, Sisban
Punjabi Name : Bharwan, Maura, Banni, Swanjan
Sanskrit Name : Nirgundi, Nirgumdo
Urdu Name : Tukhme Sambhalu

Habitat: Vitex negundo is native to tropical Eastern and Southern Africa and Asia. It is widely cultivated and naturalized elsewhere.
Countries it is indigenous to include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Vietnam.This plant is commonly found near bodies of water, recently disturbed land, grasslands, and mixed open forests

Part Used : Whole plant (Parts Offered : Fruits, Seeds, Leaves, Roots)

Description:
Vitex negundo is an erect shrub or small deciduous tree growing from 2 to 8 m (6.6 to 26.2 ft) in height. The bark is reddish-brown. Its leaves are digitate, with five lanceolate leaflets, sometimes three. Each leaflet is around 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in) in length, with the central leaflet being the largest and possessing a stalk. The leaf edges are toothed or serrated and the bottom surface is covered in hair. The numerous flowers are borne in panicles 10 to 20 cm (3.9 to 7.9 in) in length. Each is around 6 to 7 cm (2.4 to 2.8 in) long and are white to blue in color. The petals are of different lengths, with the middle lower lobe being the longest. Both the corolla and calyx are covered in dense hairs.

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The fruit is a succulent drupe, 4 mm (0.16 in) in diameter, rounded to egg-shaped. It is black or purple when ripe.

Cultivation method: It is raised through seeds and cutting. After harvesting of mature seeds sown in nursery beds. Normally germination commences within 2-3 weeks. Four to six months old seedlings are used to transplant in the field.

Uses : The leaves are astringent, febrifuge, sedative, tonic and vermifuge. They are useful in dispersing swellings of the joints from acute rheumatism and of the testes from suppressed gonorrhoea. The juice of the leaves is used for removing foetid discharges and worms from ulcers, whilst an oil prepared with the leaf juice is applied to sinuses and scrofulous sores. A decoction of the stems is used in the treatment of burns and scalds.

The dried fruit is vermifuge and is also used in the treatment of angina, colds, coughs, rheumatic difficulties etc. The fresh berries are pounded to a pulp and used in the form of a tincture for the relief of paralysis, pains in the limbs, weakness etc. The root is expectorant, febrifuge and tonic. It is used in the treatment of colds and rheumatic ailments. The plant is said to be a malarial preventative and is also used in the treatment of bacterial dysentery – extracts of the leaves have shown bactericidal and antitumor activity. The leaves are used to repel insects in grain stores. Extracts of the leaves have insecticidal activity. The fresh leaves are burnt with grass as a fumigant against mosquitoes.
It is one of the ten herbal medicines endorsed by the Philippine Department of Health as an effective herbal medicine with proven therapeutic value. Lagundi has been clinically tested to be effective in the treatment of colds, flu, bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and pharyngitis. Studies have shown that Lagundi can prevent the body’s production of leukotrienes which are released during an asthma attack. Lagundi contains Chrysoplenol D. A substance with anti-histamine properties and muscle relaxant.

The leaves, flowers, seeds and root of Lagundi can all be used as herbal medicine. A decoction is made by boiling the parts of the plant and taken orally. Today, Lagundi is available in capsule form and syrup for cough.

Nirgundi is an important herb in Ayurveda. This herb pacifies the kapha and vata doshas of the body. The roots, seeds and leaves part of this herb are used to prepare medicines.

Nirgundi herb has various properties such as bitter, acrid, astringent, heating, anthelmintic and cephalic. It is used to cure various diseases such as leucoderma, inflammations, spleen enlargement, eye diseases, bronchitis and various other diseases. Some Ayurvedic properties and other benefits of nirgundi herb are discussed in this article.

Medicinal uses: As medicine its leaf, root, flower and fruits are used. Boiled water from its leaves is used to cure chronic pain. Its is a also used for swelling, rheumatism, sores, fever and headache. Leaves and branches are insect repellent so village people are used for preserving stored grains (especially in rice) against insect attacks.
Benefits:
1.  Relief of asthma & pharyngitis

2.  Recommended relief of rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, diarrhea

3.  Treatment of cough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders

4.   Alleviate symptoms of Chicken Pox

5.   Removal of worms, and boils

Preparation:
For 1. For boil half cup of chopped fresh or dried leaves in 1 cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink half cup three times a day.

For2.
The lagundi flowers are also good for diarrhea and fever. Boil as with the leaves.

For 3
. The root is specially good for treating dyspepsia, worms, boils, colic and rheumatism.

Other Uses:
It is mainly used as a natural insect repellent. Click for more knowledge…..(1)……..(1a) ……(1b)

Lagundi tablets (300 mg) are available from the Department of Health’s Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) Telephone # (632) 727-6199.
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/Vitex_negundo
http://www.mapbd.com/Mpdes.htm#nishinda
http://www.motherherbs.com/vitex-negundo.html
http://herbal-medicine.philsite.net/lagundi.htm

Vitex negundo Linn.