Tag Archives: South Africa

Allium dregeanum

Botanical Name: Allium dregeanum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. dregeanum
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Common Name : Wild Onion

Habitat :Allium dregeanum is native to South Africa. It grows on the dry stony slopes and flats, often along the sides of roads or in old cornfields, from Clanwilliam to Riversdale and Long Kloof.

Description:
Allium dregeanum is a bulb growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil
Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors at least in the milder parts of the country. This species is related to the wild leek of Europe (Allium ampeloprasum). The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.
Bulb – raw or cooked. Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a condiment. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses :...Repellent…The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles

Known Hazards: Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.
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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_dregeanum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+dregeanum

Pelargonium fragrans

Botanical Name : Pelargonium fragrans
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: Pelargonium × fragrans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Geraniales

Common Names: Nutmeg Geranium, Fragrans (Pelargonium comes from the Greek; Pelargos which means stork. Another name for pelargoniums is storksbills due the shape of their fruit. Fragrans refers to the fragrant leav)

Habitat : Pelargonium fragrans is native to South Africa. It is a naturally occurring hybrid, P. exstipulatum. x P. odoratissimum, found in the highlands of the Karoo.

Description:
Pelargonium fragrans is an evergreen shrub growing like its parent Pelargonium odoratissimum, is a small, spreading species which only grows up to 30 cm high and 60 cm wide. It has small white flowers and its leaves are waxy, green and ovate with slightly fringed edges. It has a sweet, slightly spicy, eucalyptus like scent. It is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan and is in flower from May to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs.)...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

This is perennial plant is a dwarf and glaucous shrub with small, rounded leaves and tiny, white flowers that grow in trailing clusters. And as the name indicates, this plant has a nutmeg fragrance. Most of the Pelargonium fragrans hybrids have a nutmeg fragrance as well, but not all of them.
Cultivation:
Requires a light well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny position. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, they generally require greenhouse protection but might succeed outdoors when grown in a very sheltered warm spot in the mildest parts of the country. They can also be grown in containers that are placed outdoors in the summer and then brought into the greenhouse or conservatory for the winter. The plants need to be kept fairly dry in the winter. Very tolerant of pruning, they can be cut right down to the base in the autumn when bringing them back indoors, or in the spring to encourage lots of fresh growth. The leaves have a strong scent of pine. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best with a minimum temperature of 13°c, germination usually taking place within 2 weeks though it sometimes takes some months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, plant them out in early summer and consider giving them extra protection during the winter. Cuttings succeed at almost any time in the growing season but early summer is the best time in order for the new plant to become established before winter.
Edible Uses:.... Condiment……The crushed leaves are used to flavour jellies, cakes, fruit dishes, vinegars etc. They give a spicy flavour to coffee.

Medicinal Uses :…….All parts of the plant are astringent. The leaves are used externally as a rub for aching feet or legs. They can be harvested as required and used fresh.

Other Uses : …..…Essential……..An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It has a nutmeg fragrance. The dried leaves are added to pot-pourri .

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonium_×_fragrans
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pelargonium+fragrans
http://www.plant-and-flower-guide.com/pelargonium-fragrans.html

Fumaria officinalis

Botanical Name: Fumaria officinalis
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Fumaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Synonyms: Earth Smoke. Beggary. Fumus. Vapor. Nidor. Fumus Terrae. Fumiterry, Scheiteregi. Taubenkropp. Kaphnos. Wax Dolls.

Common Names: Common fumitory, Drug fumitory or Earth smoke

Habitat: Fumaria officinalis occurs in Europe and America. Parts of Asia, Australia and South Africa. It grows on arable land and as a weed in gardens, usually on lighter soils. It is also found growing on old walls.

Description:
Fumaria officinalis is an herbaceous annual plant, which grows weakly erect and scrambling, with stalks about 10 to 50 cm long. Its pink 7 to 9 mm flowers appear from April to October in the northern hemis phere. They are two lipped and spurred, with sepals running a quarter the length of the petals. The fruit is an achene. It contains alkaloids, potassium salts, and tannins. It is also a major source of fumaric acid….CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES
Cultivation:
Prefers a light well-drained soil in a sunny position. This plant can be a common weed in some gardens, self-sowing freely, though it is fairly easy to control by hand weeding[K]. The flowers are seldom visited by insects, but they are self-fertile and usually set every seed.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. There is normally very little need to sow this seed, the plant normally self-sows freely and should manage quite nicely by itself.

Part Used in medicines: The Herb.

Constituents:
The plant contains isoquinoline alkaloids protopine and allocryptopine. Both protopine and allocryptopine increased CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 mRNA levels in human hepatocyte cells. The use of products containing protopine and/or allocryptopine may be considered safe in terms of possible induction of CYP1A enzymes.

The leaves yield by expression a juice which has medicinal properties. An extract, prepared by evaporating the expressed juice, or a decoction of the leaves, throws out upon its surface a copious saline efflorescence. Fumaric acid was early identified as present, and its isomerism with maleic acid was established later. The alkaloid Fumarine has been believed to be identical with corydaline, but it differs both in formula and in its reaction to sulphuric and nitric acids. It occurs in colourless, tasteless crystals, freely soluble in chloroform, less so in benzine, still less so in alcohol and ether, sparingly soluble in water.

Edible Uses: ……Curdling agent.

The fresh or dried herb can be added to sour plant milks. A few sprays are added to each litre of liquid and left until the liquid has soured thickly. The sprays are then removed. It gives a tangy taste to the milk, acts as a preservative and prevents the rancid taste that can accompany soured milk.

Medicinal Uses:
A weak tonic, slightly diaphoretic, diuretic, and aperient; valuable in all visceral obstructions, particularly those of the liver, in scorbutic affections, and in troublesome eruptive diseases, even those of the leprous order. A decoction makes a curative lotion for milk-crust on the scalp of an infant. Physicians and writers from Dioscorides to Chaucer, and from the fourteenth century to Cullen and to modern times value its purifying power. The Japanese make a tonic from it. Cows and sheep eat it, and the latter are said to derive great benefit from it. The leaves, in decoction or extract, may be used in almost any doses. The inspissated juice has also been employed, also a syrup, powder, cataplasm, distilled water, and several tinctures.

French and German physicians still preferit to most other medicines as a purifier of the blood; while sometimes the dried leaves are smoked in the manner of tobacco, for disorders of the head. Dr. Cullen, among its good effects in cutaneous disorders, mentions the following:
‘There is a disorder of the skin, which, though not attended with any alarming symptoms of danger to the life of the patient, is thought to place the empire of beauty in great jeopardy; the complaint is frequently brought on by neglecting to use a parasol, and may be known by sandy spots, vulgarly known as freckles, scattered over the face. Now, be it known to all whom it may concern, that the infusion of the leaves of the abovedescribed plant is said to be an excellent specific for removing these freckles and clearing the skin; and ought, we think, to be chiefly employed by those who have previously removed those moral blemishes which deform the mind, or degrade the dignity of a reasonable and an immortal being.’

The herb has a stimulant action on the liver and gallbladder and is chiefly used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and exanthema.  Its action is probably due to a general cleansing mediated via the kidneys and liver.   It is also diuretic and mildly laxative.  Taken over a long period, it helps to cure depression.  Also used internally for biliary colic and migraine with digestive disturbances.  Externally used for conjunctivitis.

Other Uses:
 Dye & Baby care;

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A decoction makes a curative lotion for ‘milk-crust’ on the scalps of babies.

Caution: It was traditionally thought to be good for the eyes, and to remove skin blemishes. In modern times herbalists use it to treat skin diseases, and conjunctivitis; as well as to cleanse the kidneys. However, Howard (1987) warns that fumitory is poisonous and should only be used “under the direction of a medical herbalist.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fumaria_officinalis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fumito36.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fumaria+officinalis

Araroba

Botanical Name:  Andira araroba
Family:Fabaceae/ Leguminosae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Genus:    Andira
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Fabales

Synonyms:  Goa Powder. Crude Chrysarobin. Bahia Powder. Brazil Powder. Ringworm Powder. Chrysatobine. Goa. Araroba Powder. Voucapoua Araroba,Vataireopsis araroba
Common Name :  Araroba
Habitat :  Andira araroba is  commonly found in Bahia, Brazil.

Description:
Andira Araroba, is large, smooth, and quite . It is met with in great abundance in certain forests in the province of Bahia, preferring as a rule low and humid spots. The tree is from 80 to 100 ft. high and has large imparipinnate leaves, the leaflets of which are oblong, about 12 in. long and 1 in. broad, and somewhat truncate at the apex. The flowers are papilionaceous, of a purple color and arranged in panicles.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The yellowish wood has longitudinal canals and interspaces in which the powder is deposited in increasing quantity as the tree ages. It is probably due to a pathological condition. It is scraped out with an axe, after felling, sawing, and splitting the trunk, and is thus inevitably mixed with splinters and debris, so that it needs sifting, and is sometimes ground, dried, boiled, and filtered.
It irritates the eyes and face of the woodmen.

As it darkens quickly, the crude chrysarobin is changed from primrose yellow to shades of dark brown before it is met with in commerce, when it often contains a large percentage of water, added to prevent the dust from rising.

An amber skin-varnish is made with 20 parts of amber to 1 of chrysarobin in turpentine.

Chemical Composition:  Araroba is remarkable for occasionally yielding from 80 to 85 per cent of chrysophanic acid, as shown by Attfield, in 1875, and, according to the same authority, the remainder of the powder examined consists of 7 per cent of a glucoside and bitter matter, 2 of a resinous substance, 5 ½ of a red woody fiber, and ½ per cent of ash. The ashes consist chiefly of silicate of aluminum, and sulphates of potassium and of sodium. Prof J. U. Lloyd examined several specimens upon the market, and, in all cases, obtained a much smaller proportion of chrysophanic acid than stated by Mr. Attfield. Therefore, he concluded that Attfield must have procured an unexceptionally rich specimen of araroba, or that which reached this country was very inferior. Araroba readily yields chrysophanic acid to benzin. When heated in a suitable vessel, a sublimate is obtained, which, doubtless, consists largely of the aforementioned acid, as it is colored red by alkalies in solution. Araroba is chiefly employed for the preparation of chrysophanic acid (which see). Liebermann and Siedler, are authority for the statement that chrysophanic acid does not exist ready-formed in araroba, but is formed by oxidation of a natural constituent, to which they give the formula C30H26O7, and the name Chrysarobin (previously applied to araroba).

The powder is insoluble in water, but yields up to 80 per cent. of its weight to solutions of caustic alkalies and to benzene. It contains 80 to 84 per cent. of chrysarobin (easily convertible into chrysophanic acid), resin, woody fibre, and bitter extractive. Goa Powder is usually regarded as crude chrysarobin, while the purified chrysarobin, or Araroba, is a mixture extracted by hot benzene, which melts when heated, and leaves not more than 1 per cent. of ash when it finally burns.

Chrysarobin is a reduced quinone, and chrysophanic acid (also found in rhubarb yellow lichen, Buckthorn Berries, Rumox Eckolianus, a South African dock, etc., etc.), is a dioxymethylanthraquinone.

Chrysarobin contains at least five substances, and owes its power to one of these, chrysophanol-anthranol.

Lenirobin, a tetracetate,, and eurobin, a triacetate, are recommended as substitutes for chrysarobin, as they do not stain linen indelibly. (Benzin helps to remove the stains of chrysarobin.)

The action of chrysarobin on the skin is not due to germicidal properties, but to its chemical affinity for the keratin elements of the skin. The oxygen for its oxidation is abstracted from the epithelium by the drug.

Oxidized chrysarobin, obtained by boiling chrysarobin in water with sodium peroxide, can be used as an ointment for forms of eczema which chrysarobin would irritate too much.

Medicinal Uses:
The internal dose in pill or powder is a gastro-intestinal irritant, producing large, watery stools and vomiting. It is used in eczema, psoriasis, aene, and other skin diseases.

In India and South Ameriea it has been esteemed for many years for ringworm, psoriasis, dhobi’s itch, etc., as ointment, or simply moistened with vinegar or saliva. The application causes the eruption to become whitish, while the skin around it is stained dark.

In the crude form it should never be applied to the head, as it may cause erythema and oedema of the face. The 2 per cent. ointment is good in ecezema (after exudation has ceased), fissured nipples, and tylosis of the palms and soles after the skin has been removed by salicylic acid plaster, etc.

A drachm of chrysarobin may be dissolved in a fluid ounce of official flexible collodion, painted over the parts with a camel’s-hair brush, and the part coated with plain collodion to avoid staining the clothing; or chrysarobin may be dissolved in chloroform and the solution painted on the skin. For haemorrhoids, an ointment mixed with iodoform, belladonna, and petrolatum is recommended.

It is said to have been used as a taenifuge.

Known Hazards:
Precautions – Adverse reactions
The drug is severely irritating to skin and mucous membranes (redness, swelling, pustules and conjunctivitis, even without eye contact).
External administration on large skin areas could cause resorptive poisonings.
Internal administration leads to vomiting, diarrhea and kidney inflammation (with as little as
0.01 g).

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:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/araro052.html
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/andira-arar.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araroba_powder
http://www.globalhealth.it/xwp1/piante-medicinali/andira-araroba/

 

Spartina maritima

Botanical Name : Spartina maritima
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Poales
Family:    Poaceae
Genus:    Spartina
Species:S. maritima

Common Name:Small Cordgrass,gadadhar, ajvain, ajmod, phillaur

Habitat :Spartina maritima is native to the coasts of western and southern Europe and western Africa, from the Netherlands west across southern England to southern Ireland, and south along the Atlantic coast to Morocco and also on the Mediterranean Sea coasts. There is also a disjunct population on the Atlantic coasts of Namibia and South Africa.

Description:
Spartina maritima is a herbaceous perennial plant growing 20-70 cm tall, green in spring and summer, and turning light brown in autumn and winter. The leaves are slender, 10-40 cm long, and 0.5-1 cm broad at the base, tapering to a point. It produces flowers and seeds on all sides of the stalk. The flowers are greenish, turning brown by the winter,are small in size, and mostly in little spikes....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
The drugs obtained by this plants through their dried leaves and flowers head.It has been suggested that the drug should be collected in near the beginning of spring by the time at which the flower heads have not completely developed. Main use of this drug is for throwing out of squirms from stomach. “The drug is also useful in fevers” .. and as a refreshment.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spartina_maritima
http://www.medicinal-plants.in/ajvain.php