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Herbs & Plants

Convolvulus arvensis

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Botanical Name :Convolvulus arvensis
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Convolvulus
Species: C. arvensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Synonyms : Cornbind. Ropebind. Withywind. Bearwind. Jack-run’-in’-the-Country. Devil’s Garters. Hedge Bells.

Common Names: Field bindweed

Habitat :Convolvulus arvensis is native to Europe and Asia.

Description:
Convolvulus arvensis is a climbing or creeping herbaceous perennial plant growing to 0.5–2 m high. The leaves are spirally arranged, linear to arrowhead-shaped, 2–5 cm long and alternate, with a 1–3 cm petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 1-2.5 cm diameter, white or pale pink, with five slightly darker pink radial stripes. Flowering occurs in the mid-summer, when white to pale pink, funnel-shaped flowers develop. Flowers are approximately 0.75-1 in. (1.9-2.5 cm) across and are subtended by small bracts. Fruit are light brown, rounded and 1/8 in. (0.3 cm) wide. Each fruit contains 2 seeds that are eaten by birds and can remain viable in the soil for decades.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

There are two varieties:

1. Convolvulus arvensis var. arvensis. Leaves broader.
2. Convolvulus arvensis var. linearifolius. Leaves narrower

Although  Convolvulus arvensis  produces attractive flowers, it is often unwelcome in gardens as a nuisance weed due to its rapid growth and choking of cultivated plants. It was most likely introduced into North America as a contaminant in crop seed as early as 1739, as an invasive species. Plants typically inhabit roadsides, grasslands and also along streams. Its dense mats invade agricultural fields and reduce crop yields; it is estimated that crop losses due to this plant in the United States exceeded US$377 million in the year 1998 alone.

Cultivation:        
Prefers a lighter basic soil of low to medium fertility. Bindweed is a very deep-rooting plant with a vigorous root system that extends to a considerable distance and is very hard to eradicate from the soil. Even a small piece of the root will grow into a new plant if it is left in the ground. Once established this plant soon becomes a pernicious weed. It is a climbing plant that supports itself by twining around any support it can find and can soon swamp and strangle other plants. The flowers close at night and also during rainy weather. Although visited by numerous insects, the flowers seldom set fertile seed. On sunny days the flowers diffuse a scent of heliotrope. The plant harbours tobacco mosaic virus of the Solanaceae and so should not be grown near potatoes, tomatoes and other members of that family.

Propagation: 
Seed – best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe, it germinates in the autumn[164]. This species can become a real pest in the garden so it is unwise to encourage it.

Edible Uses:  
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The plant has been used as a flavouring in a liqueur called ‘Noyeau’. No details are given as to which part of the plant is used.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used:  Root, root resin

Cholagogue;  Diuretic;  Laxative;  Purgative;  Stings;  Women’s complaints.

The root, and also a resin made from the root, is cholagogue, diuretic, laxative and strongly purgative. The dried root contains 4.9% resin. The juice of the root is used in the treatment of fevers. A tea made from the flowers is laxative and is also used in the treatment of fevers and wounds. A cold tea made from the leaves is laxative and is also used as a wash for spider bites or taken internally to reduce excessive menstrual flow.

Other Uses:  
Dye;  String.

The stem is used as a twine for tying up plants etc. It is fairly flexible and strong but not long-lasting. A green dye is obtained from the whole plant.

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.

Resourcesa:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/convol96.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convolvulus_arvensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Convolvulus+arvensis

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Herbs & Plants

Solanum carolinense

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Botanical Name: Solanum carolinense
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus:     Solanum
Species: S. carolinense

Synonyms:
Solanum pumilum (as described by Michel Félix Dunal) was considered a variety hirsutum of the Carolina Horsenettle by D’Arcy and A. Gray. Several other varieties and forms of S. carolinense are not considered taxonomically distinct nowadays:

*Solanum carolinense f. albiflorum (Kuntze) Benke
*Solanum carolinense var. albiflorum Kuntze
*Solanum carolinense var. floridanum (Dunal) Chapm.
*Solanum carolinense var. pohlianum Dunal

Finally, there are some other junior synonyms used for this plant:

*Solanum floridanum Raf.
*Solanum floridanum Shuttlew. ex Dunal (non Raf.: preoccupied)
*Solanum godfreyi Shinners
*Solanum pleei Dunal

Common names: Horsenettle, Radical weed, Sand brier or Briar, Bull nettle, Tread-softly, Apple of Sodom, Devil’s tomato and Wild tomato.”Horsenettle” is also written “horse nettle” or “horse-nettle”, though USDA publications usually use the one-word form. Though there are other horsenettle nightshades, S. carolinense is the species most commonly called “the horsenettle”.

Habitat:Solanum carolinense is native to the southeastern United States that has spread widely throughout North America.  This weed is a hardy, coarse perennial, found growing in waste sandy ground as far west as Iowa and south to Florida. These plants can be found growing in pastures, roadsides, railroad margins, and in disturbed areas and waste ground. They grow to about 1 m tall, but are typically shorter, existing as sub  shrubs. They prefer sandy or loamy soils.

Description:
Solanum carolinense, Carolina horsenettle is not a true nettle, but a member of the Solanaceae, or nightshade family. It is a perennial herbaceous plant.
Leaves are alternate, elliptic-oblong to oval, 2.5 to 4.5 inches long, and each is irregularly lobed or coarsely toothed. Both surfaces are covered with fine hairs. Leaves smell like potatoes when crushed. The flowers have five petals and are usually white or purple with yellow centers, though there is a blue variant that resembles the tomato flower. The fruits also resemble tomatoes. The immature fruit is dark green with light green stripes, turning yellow and wrinkled as it matures. Each fruit contains around 60 seeds. It flowers throughout the summer, from April to October. The plant grows to 3 feet tall, is perennial, and spreads by both seeds and underground rhizome. Stems of older plants are woody.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation: Succeeds in most soils.

Propagation: Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used:  Air-dried ripe berries & root.

Constituents:  Probably Solanine and Solanidine and an organic acid.

The berries and the root are anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac and diuretic. They have been used in the treatment of epilepsy. They have been recommended in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other convulsive disorders. The berries should be harvested when fully ripe and carefully air-dried. An infusion of the seeds has been gargled as a treatment for sore throats and drunk in the treatment of goitre. A tea made from the wilted leaves has been gargled in the treatment of sore throats and the tea has been drunk in the treatment of worms. A poultice made from the leaves has been applied to poison ivy rash.

Known Hazards : All parts of the plant are poisonous to varying degrees due to the presence of solanine which is a toxic alkaloid and one of the plant’s natural defenses. While ingesting any part of the plant can cause fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, ingesting the fruit can cause abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death. Fatalities have been reported with children.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hornet37.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_carolinense
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Solanum+carolinense

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Herbs & Plants

Solanum centrale

Botanical Name :Solanum centrale
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. centrale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Name:Kutjera, or Australian desert raisin.
Some other names:In english it is called English Bush raisin, bush tomato, bush sultana. In Alyawarr  it is called Akatjurra. In
Arrernte it is called  Merne akatyerre and in Pitjantjatjara it is called  Kampurarpa.

Habitat :Solanum centrale is  native to the more arid parts of Australia. Like other “bush tomatoes“, it has been used as a food source by Central Australian Aboriginal groups for millennia.

Description:
Like many plants of the Solanum genus, desert raisin is a small bush and has a thorny aspect. It is a fast growing shrub that fruits prolifically the year after fire or good rains. It can also grow back after being dormant as root stock for years after drought years. The vitamin C-rich fruit are 1–3 cm in diameter and yellow in color when fully ripe. They dry on the bush and look like raisins. These fruits have a strong, pungent taste of tamarillo and caramel that makes them popular for use in sauces and condiments. They can be obtained either whole or ground, with the ground product (sold as “kutjera powder”) easily added to bread mixes, salads, sauces, cheese dishes, chutneys, stews or mixed into butter.

Click to see the pictures….….>….(01)...(1)..…..(2)(3)...(4)-   (5)...

Mardu people would skewer bush tomatoes and dry them so the food was readily transportable.

Cultivation:
Traditionally, the dried fruit are collected from the small bushes in late autumn and early winter. In the wild, they fruit for only two months. These days they are grown commercially by Aboriginal communities in the deserts of central Australia. Using irrigation, they have extended the fruiting season to eight months. The fruit are grown by Amata and Mimili communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands, by the Dinahline community near Ceduna, by the Nepabunna community in the northern Flinders Ranges, and on the Tangglun Piltengi Yunti farm in Murray Bridge, and are marketed by Outback Pride.

Desert Garden Produce is the only fully commercial Solanum centrale producer in the Northern Territory. It is the major commercial supplier to Robins Foods Pty Ltd under the Outback Spirit label

Edible Uses:
The ripe fruit has a delicious sun-dried tomato flavour and can be used in any dishes where tomatoes are used. Also called Desert Raisin or Desert Tomato.

Medicinal Uses:
Not found

Known Hazards:Green unripe fruits contain the toxin solanine (the same as that present in green potatoes) and must be fully ripened before consumption. There are many other Solanum species that resemble Solanum centrale, only some of which produce edible 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/Solanum_centrale
http://herbalistics.com.au/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=485
http://inglewoodbushtuckergardens.webs.com/plantprofiles.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Datura stramonium

Botanical Name : Datura stramonium
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Datura
Species: D. stramonium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names:Jimson weed or datura

Habitat : Original habitat is obscure,but is believed to have originated in the Americas, it is found in many areas of the world, occasionally in S. Britain.Grows in  dry waste ground and amongst rubble or the ruins of old buildings.

(The native range of Datura stramonium is unclear. It was scientifically described and named by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753, although it was earlier described by many herbalists, such as Nicholas Culpeper. Today, it grows wild in all the world’s warm and moderate regions, where it is found along roadsides and in dung heaps. In Europe, it is found as a weed on wastelands and in garbage dumps.

The seed is thought to be carried by birds and spread in their droppings. It can lie dormant underground for years and germinate when the soil is disturbed. People who discover it growing in their gardens, and are worried about its toxicity, have been advised to dig it up or have it otherwise removed)

Description:
Datura stramonium is a foul-smelling, erect annual, freely-branching herb that forms a bush up to 2–5 ft (1–1.5 m) tall.

The root is long, thick, fibrous and white. The stem is stout, erect, leafy, smooth, and pale yellow-green. The stem forks off repeatedly into branches, and at each fork forms a leaf and a single, erect flower.

The leaves are approximately 3-8 inches long, smooth, toothed, soft, irregularly undulate. The upper surface of the leaves is a darker green, and the bottom is a light green. The leaves have a bitter and nauseating taste, which is imparted to extracts of the herb, and remains even after the leaves have been dried.

click to see the pictures

Datura stramonium generally flowers throughout the summer. The fragrant flowers are trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet, and 2.5 to 3.5 in. long, and grow on short stems from either the axils of the leaves or the places where the branches fork. The calyx is long and tubular, swollen at the bottom, and sharply angled, surmounted by 5 sharp teeth. The corolla, which is folded and only partially open, is white, funnel-shaped, and has six prominent ribs. The flowers open at night, emitting a pleasant fragrance and providing food for nocturnal moths.

The egg-shaped seed capsule is walnut-sized and either covered with spines or bald. At maturity it splits into four chambers, each with dozens of small black seeds.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender.

Cultivation: 
Succeeds in most moderately good soils but prefers a rich light sandy soil or a calcareous loam, and an open sunny position. Plants often self-sow when well sited. The thornapple is cultivated commercially as a medicinal plant. It can become a weed in suitable conditions and is subject to statutory control in some countries. This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes. Grows well with pumpkins. The whole plant gives off a nauseating stench.

Propagation: 
Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse. Put 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and thin if necessary to the best plant. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 6 weeks at 15°c. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Especially in areas with hot summers, it is worthwhile trying a sowing outdoors in situ in mid to late spring…..click & see

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne;  Anthelmintic;  Antiasthmatic;  Antidandruff;  Antiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Hallucinogenic;  Hypnotic;  Mydriatic;  Narcotic.

The thornapple is a bitter narcotic plant that relieves pain and encourages healing. It has a long history of use as a herbal medicine, though it is very poisonous and should be used with extreme caution. The leaves, flowering tops and seeds are anodyne, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, hallucinogenic, hypnotic, mydriatic and narcotic. The seeds are the most active medicinally. The plant is used internally in the treatment of asthma and Parkinson’s disease, excess causes giddiness, dry mouth, hallucinations and coma. Externally, it is used as a poultice or wash in the treatment of fistulas, abscesses wounds and severe neuralgia. The use of this plant is subject to legal restrictions in some countries. It should be used with extreme caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner since all parts of the plant are very poisonous and the difference between a medicinal dose and a toxic dose is very small. The leaves should be harvested when the plant is in full flower, they are then dried for later use. The leaves can be used as a very powerful mind-altering drug, they contain hyoscyamine and atropine. There are also traces of scopolamine, a potent cholinergic-blocking hallucinogen, which has been used to calm schizoid patients. Atropine dilates the pupils and is used in eye surgery. The leaves have been smoked as an antispasmodic in the treatment for asthma, though this practice is extremely dangerous. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter and acrid taste with a cooling and very poisonous potency. Analgesic, anthelmintic and anti-inflammatory, they are used in the treatment of stomach and intestinal pain due to worm infestation, toothache and fever from inflammations. The juice of the fruit is applied to the scalp to treat dandruff.

It is anti-asthmatic, antispasmodic, good for swellings and healing wounds  Traditional medicinal uses include placing a folded leaf behind the ear to allay motion-sickness, or applying a fresh leaf poultice externally to allay the pain of rheumatic or glandular swellings. Leaves and seeds were once smoked with Mullein for treating asthma.

Specifics: Body pain: Grind the roots and leaves of Datura stramonium into a paste. Add the latex of Jatropha gossyifolia in it. Then fry this paste with mustard oil. Massage this oil an all over the body only once before going to bed at night.  Earache: Pound a fruit of Datura stramonium and extract the juice. Warm this juice gently and put 2 to 3 drops of this juice inside the aching ear only once.  Elephantiasis: Grind all the following into a paste: the roots of Datura stramonium, the seeds of Brassia juncea and the bark of Morangia oleifera. Smear this paste locally on legs once daily for one month and bandage by a cloth.  Rheumatism: Boil all the followings in mustard oil: the young branch of Datura stramonium, the bark of Vitex negundo, few pieces of Ginger and garlic. Massage this oil on joints twice daily for a week.

Other Uses:
Hair;  Repellent.: The growing plant is said to protect neighbouring plants from insects. The juice of the fruits is applied to the scalp to cure dandruff and falling hair.

Spiritual Uses:
For centuries, Datura stramonium has been used as a mystical sacrament which brings about powerful visions (lasting for days) and opens the user to communication with spirit world.

The ancient inhabitants of what is today central and southern California used to ingest the small black seeds of datura to “commune with deities through visions”. Across the Americas, other indigenous peoples such as the Algonquin, Cherokee, Marie Galente and Luiseño also utilized this plant in sacred ceremonies for its hallucinogenic properties. In Ethiopia, some students and debtrawoch (lay priests), use D. stramonium to “open the mind” to be more receptive to learning, and creative and imaginative thinking.

The common name “datura” has its roots in ancient India, where the plant was considered particularly sacred — believed to be a favorite of the Hindu god Shiva Nataraja

Known Hazards: All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. There is a high risk of fatal overdose amongst uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects.

The amount of toxins varies widely from plant to plant. There can be as much as a 5:1 variation across plants, and a given plant’s toxicity depends on its age, where it is growing, and the local weather conditions. Additionally, within a given datura plant, concentrations of toxins are higher in certain parts of the plant than others, and can vary from leaf to leaf. When the plant is younger, the ratio of scopolamine to atropine is approximately 3:1; after flowering, this ratio is reversed, with the amount of scopolamine continuing to decrease as the plant gets older.  This variation makes Datura exceptionally hazardous as a drug. In traditional cultures, a great deal of experience with and detailed knowledge of Datura was critical in order to minimize harm. An individual datura seed contains about 0.1 mg of atropine, and the approximate fatal dose for adult humans is >10mg atropine or >2-4mg scopolamine.

Datura intoxication typically produces delirium (as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect. The onset of symptoms generally occurs approximately 30 minutes to an hour after smoking the herb. These symptoms generally last from 24 to 48 hours, but have been reported in some cases to last as long as 2 weeks.

As with other cases of anticholinergic poisoning, intravenous physostigmine can be administered in severe cases as an antidote

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/Datura_stramonium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Datura+stramonium
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

http://www.thoughtscreatereality.com/shiva.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Lycium pallidum

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Botanical Name ; Lycium pallidum
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Lycium
Species: L. pallidum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names:Pale Desert-thorn, Pale Wolfberry, Pale Lycium, Rabbit Thorn

Habitat :  Lycium pallidum is native to northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. In Mexico it can be found in Sonora, Chihuahua, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosi. In the United States it occurs from California to Texas and as far north as Utah and Colorado.Grows in  Desert, Upland, Riparian. This plant grows in sunny locations in riparian areas, higher elevation deserts, chaparral, grasslands, and juniper woodlands.

Description;
Lycium pallidum is Perennial, Deciduous flowering plant.This shrub grows 1 to 3 meters tall. It is a dense tangle of spiny spreading or erect branches. It can form bushy thickets. The leaves are pale, giving the plant its name. The flowers are solitary or borne in pairs. They are funnel-shaped and “creamy-yellow to yellowish-green” or “greenish cream, sometimes tinged with purple”. They are fragrant and pollinated by insects. The fruit is a juicy, oval-shaped, shiny red berry containing up to 50 seeds. The plant reproduces by seed and it can also spread via cuttings, and by suckering and layering.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES.> ....(1).…..(2)......(3).…....(4)...(5)..
This plant grows in many types of desert habitat. It occurs in pinyon-juniper woodland, sagebrush, shrubsteppe, savanna, and other ecosystems. It can grow in high-salinity soils. It is characteristic of the flora of the Mojave Desert, and it also occurs in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts. In the Mojave Desert it grows alongside plants such as winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata), range ratany (Krameria parvifolia), spiny hopsage (Grayia spinosa), Shockley goldenhead (Acamptopappus shockleyi), Fremont dalea (Dalea fremontii), spiny menodora (Menodora spinescens), and species of ephedra, prickly pear, and yucca. In Arizona it grows in riparian habitat with sycamore (Platanus wrightii), willows (Salix spp.), Arizona walnut (Juglans major), Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii), alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana), Arizona white oak (Quercus arizonica), and velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina). This plant is common around Anasazi ruins; they may have simply collected it and dropped the seeds, but it is possible they cultivated it.

Edible Uses: The ripe red berries are edible raw, cooked, or dried and were a food source for Native Americans.Many types of animals consume the fruits. Phainopepla especially favor it. Woodrats like the foliage.

Medicinal Uses;
Native Americans utilized the plant for a number of medicinal and other purposes. The Navajo used it for toothache. They considered it a sacred plant and sacrificed it to the gods. Several groups used the fruit for food by eating it fresh, cooked, or dried, eating it mixed with clay, boiling it into a syrup, and making it into beverages

Wolfberry is used when there is excessive eye and nose discharge in allergic situations.  In addition, when lower respiratory tract tissues are congested and there are accompanying feelings of bronchial tightness Wolfberry can prove opening to this area.  Wolfberry’s moderately anti-cholinergic activity shifts constrictive emphasis away from these affected respiratory tissues.  This effect is most useful when this area is deemed over active, from an array of causes, but mostly because of an allergic-immune mediated response of some sort; Wolfberry shrinks tissues and allays hyper-secretion.

Wolfberry’s effect is also noticeable in gut and intestinal centered distresses.  Nausea, intestinal spasms and general over-excitability of these areas respond well to Wolfberry.  The plant acts well to quell chills, sweating and nausea (much like the drunken juice of 1 or 2 raw potatoes) from over-exposure to chemical herbicides, fertilizers and other conventional agricultural productions. Wolfberry is a mild drug plant, meaning it suppresses symptoms and does not have much underlying value beyond temporally diminishing distresses, albeit in a limited way.  In chronic issues, Wolfberry works well in formula with other more supportive herbs.  It thereby can diminish surfaces distresses while deeper issues, possibly exaggerated immune responses or stress patterns can be addressed.

Topically the freshly poulticed plant or liniment can be applied to acute stings, swellings, contusions and other injuries where the skin is not broken.  In this respect, Wolfberry acts like other Nightshade family plants applied externally.  It moderately reduces pain and inflammation similarly to, although weaker than Datura or Tobacco.  The Navajo use the ground root for toothache.

The ground up root has been placed in a tooth cavity to bring relief from toothache. The bark and the dried berries have been used as a ‘life medicine’. The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers. A feeble, useful and safe anticholinergic for hay fever, colds and diarrhea

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/Lycium_pallidum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

Lycium pallidum – Pale Desert-thorn