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Prunus arabica

Botanical Name: Prunus arabica
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribes: Amygdaleae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: P. subg. Amygdalus
Species: Prunus arabica

Synonyms: Amygdalus arabica Oliv.; A. spartioides Spach; Prunus spartioides (Spach) Schneid.

Common Name:

Habitat :Prunus arabica is native to W. Asia – Iran. It grows on the dry steppe and open oak woodland.

Description:
Prunus arabica an unarmed deciduous shrub of broom-like habit 3 to 6 ft high, with green, glabrous, angled branches, leafless in the hot season. Leaves linear-lanceolate, up to 15?8 in. long, 1?8 to 3?16 in. wide, shortly stalked. It is in flower in May.

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Flowers solitary, sessile, borne in spring, each from a bud with numerous brown imbricating scales, 1?2 to 3?4 in. wide, white or pinkish; receptacle partly concealed by the bud-scales, broad campanulate, glabrous or almost so. Ovary densely hairy. Fruits ovoid, slightly flattened, about 1 in. long; stone smooth.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Judging by its native habitat this plant should succeed in dry soils. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit contains a single large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses:...Dye; Gum……A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. A gum obtained from the plant is sold in local markets. It is probably obtained from the trunk and branches.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Prunus_arabica
http://www.beanstreesandshrubs.org/browse/prunus/prunus-arabica-oliv-meikle/
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+arabica

How to Combat the Latest Supergerms

As more and more bugs, including some truly nasty bacteria, become impervious to the effects of drugs it’s necessary to come up with effective alternatives.
Fortunately, while some germs may be outpacing our ability to kill them, we’re not completely defenseless. In fact, there are plenty of things we can do to slow their spread.

Here are some of Health.com’s better suggestions:

•Fight the flu with vitamin D. 1,500 to 2,000 I.U. of vitamin D not only bolsters the immune system but also may help prevent infection. (PLEASE NOTE: this is NOT my recommendation, but abstracted from the article on Health.com. I believe most adults need 5,000-8,000 units of vitamin D per day)

•Wash your hands. The flu virus can live for up to 72 hours on surfaces. That makes hand-washing the most effective daily defense. Wash briskly with soap and water for 30 seconds.

•Cover up. Bandage all cuts, even paper cuts and blisters.

•Stay clean at the hospital. If you’re visiting a hospital, wash yourself and your clothes right after. Don’t use bar soap in any hospital bathroom or set your purse on the floor. And researchers recently found that one in three stethoscopes used by emergency-medical-service providers was contaminated with MRSA — ask your doctor to swab his scope with alcohol.

•De-germ the gym.
Use a disinfectant wipe to swab the handlebars of equipment, and drape a clean towel over shared yoga mats and sauna and locker room benches.

•Don’t share. You’re at increased risk of MRSA if you share razors, soap, towels, or other personal items.

•Be proactive. If you have to take an antibiotic, take a probiotic at the same time to build up the healthy bacteria in your gut.

Source: Health.com July 15, 2009

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Soap Berry (Sapindus)

Botanical Name:Sapindusmukorossi Gaertn
Family: Sapindaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Sapindus
Common names:soapberry and soapnut, both names referring to the use of the crushed seeds to make soap.
Other Names:Sapindus,
Chinese Soapberry: “Wu Huan Zi”
Habitat: Native to warm temperate to tropical regions in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

Description:
The genus includes both deciduous and evergreen species. The leaves are alternate, 15-40 cm long, pinnate, with 14-30 leaflets, the terminal leaflet often absent. The flowers form in large panicles, each flower small, creamy white. The fruit, called a soap nut, is a small leathery-skinned drupe 1-2 cm diameter, yellow ripening blackish, containing one to three seeds.

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General Uses:
Soap nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent which is used to clean clothes. Soap nuts have become popular as an environmentally friendly alternative to manufactured, chemical detergents . A few nuts can be placed in a cotton drawstring bag in with a washload and reused several times. Soap nuts are safe for washing silk, woolens and other delicate fabrics.

Soapberry are among the list of herbs and minerals in Ayurveda. They are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers.

Medicinal Uses:
Soap nuts, especially are used medically as an expectorant, emetic, contraceptive, and for treatment of excessive salivation, epilepsy, chlorosis, and migraines. Studies show that saponin from soap nuts inhibits tumor cell growth. Soap nuts are among the list of herbs and minerals in Ayurveda. They are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers. They are used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and for removing freckles. Soap nuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp.

They are used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and for removing freckles. Soapberry have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp.

Soapberry are antimicrobial and are beneficial for septic systems and greywater. Soapberry are used in the remediation of contaminated soil.

Soapberry are used by Indian and Indonesian jewelers to remove the tarnish from gold, silver, and other precious metals.

Soap nuts are antimicrobial and are beneficial for septic systems and greywater. Soap nuts are used in the remediation of contaminated soil.

Sapindus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) species including Endoclita malabaricus.

Species :-
The number of species is disputed between different authors, particularly in North America where between one and three species are accepted.

*Sapindus delavayi. China, India.
*Sapindus drummondii (syn. S. saponaria var. drummondii) Western Soapberry. Southern United *States, Mexico.
*Sapindus emarginatus. Southern Asia.
*Sapindus marginatus Florida Soapberry. Florida to South Carolina; included in S. saponaria by some authors.
*Sapindus mukorossi. India Chinese Soapberry. Southern China west to the Himalayas.
*Sapindus oahuensis Hawaii Soapberry or Lonomea. Hawaii (endemic).
*Sapindus rarak. Southeast Asia.
*Sapindus saponaria Wingleaf Soapberry. Florida Keys, Caribbean, Central America.
*Sapindus tomentosus. China.
*Sapindus trifoliatus South India Soapnut or Three-leaf Soapberry. Southern India, Pakistan.

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Sapindus drummondii Western Soapberry -1

Soapberry, Western (Sapindus drummondii-2
FAR OUT ASIAN FRUIT

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/Sapindus
http://www.soapberry.org/

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Soap For Your Skin Type

How to choose the right soap for different skin types.
Are soaps with high pH level harmful?
The skin’s pH level is a major factor contributing to skin problems. The normal pH is slightly acidic, maintained between 4.5 and 5.5, a level at which bacteria like the propionibacterium acnes on the skin surface have minimal activity.
However, any change in alkaline pH levels causes infection. Ordinary commercial soaps have pH levels between nine to 11, which increases the skin pH level leading to problems.

How is one soap different from the other?
The original objective of soap still remains to keep skin dirt and germ free. But in recent years, there has been a plethora of soap brands in the market.
Though most soap brands use the same fundamental ingredients consisting of a fat and an alkali, the basic formula is modified to create thousands of products .
Some soaps help to moisturise dry skin, others aid in maintaining oily skin, and there are some that are designed to make bath time pleasurable .

How can one choose the right soap to suit their skin type?
People with dry skin hardly have any secretion of natural skin oils and should opt for superfatted and emollientrich soaps like Dove or Olay.
Natural soaps that contain aloe vera, cocoa butter, avocado or vegetable oils are best for dry skin. On the other hand, people with oily skin should use antibacterial soaps or specific face cleansers.
Soaps containing lavender, chamomile and thyme are very effective for oily skin. Glycerin-based soaps like Pears suits people with a combination skin type.

Are medicated soaps good for the skin?
Medicated soaps are specially designed to prevent and treat skin infections. These soaps contain antiseptic agents which can clean, disinfect and deodorise the skin.
Medicated soaps that contain sulphur or salicylic acid are usually recommended for widespread fungal infections. Certain soaps with exfoliating properties are prescribed for skin problems like acne and pigmentation .
Other soaps with Vitamin E, jojoba oil are good for dry skin diseases like ichthyosis, eczema and psoriasis. The right soap and a right skin care regimen helps prevent skin problems.

Source:The Times Of India

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