Herbs & Plants

Cirsium Setosum

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Botanical Name : Cirsium setosum
Family : Compositae
Genus  : Cirsium

Synonyms : Breea segetum – (Bunge.)Kitam.,Breea setosum – (M.Bieb.)Kitam.,Cirsium segetum – Bunge.,Serratula setosa – Willd.Breea arvensis,  Cirsium incanum, Cirsium arvense var. vestitum, Cirsium arvense var. mite, Cirsium arvense var. integrifolium, Cirsium arvense var. horridum, Cirsium arvense var. argenteum, Carduus arvensis, Breea incana, Serratula arvensis
Species :  Cirsium arvense

Habitat : E. Asia – China, S. Japan, Korea, Manchuria. Edges of fields and streams. Mountain slopes, by rivers, water lands and farmlands at elevations of 100 – 2700 metres throughout


Perennial growing to 0.5m.
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies), beetles. The plant is self-fertile.


The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.


There is a difference amongst botanists as to how this species should best be treated. In the Flora of China it is treated as one aggregate species, but in the Flora of Japan it is split into two distinct species and moved to a different genus as Breea segetum and Breea setosum. The plant has wide-ranging roots that send up adventitious shoots and so it has the potential to become an invasive plant in areas to which it is introduced. This species is dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. An easily grown plant, succeeding in any ordinary garden soil in a sunny position.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young leaves – cooked.

Medicinal Uses
The whole plant is antipyretic, depurative and haemostatic. It resolves clots and is used in the treatment of haemoptysis, haematemesis, metrorrhagia, boils and carbuncles and traumatic bleeding .

Other Uses

The seed of all species of thistles yields a good oil by expression. No details of potential yields etc are given.

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.


Herbs & Plants

China Jute (Abutilon theophrasti – Medik.)

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Botanical Name : Abutilon theophrasti – Medik.
Family :  Malvaceae
Genus :  Abutilon
Synonyms: Abutilon avicennae – Gaertn., Sida abutilon – L.

Common Names:Indian Mallow. Abutilon Theophrasti, Medic. (Abutilon Avicennoe, Gaertn.). Velvet Leaf, American Jute, Butter Print

Habitat: Asia – tropical. Naturalised in S.E. Europe and the Mediterranean.  Cultivated ground and waste places in the Mediterranean.Cultivated Beds.
Range: Maine to South Dakota, southward to Florida and Texas.

Annual growing to 1m.
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in leaf from May to October, in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Time of bloom: July to October.  Seed-time: August to November.


Stem stout, erect, round, softly hairy, three to six feet in height, and branching widely. Leaves alternate, pointed-heart-shaped, three inches to nearly a foot broad, velvety above and below with a dense coat of exceedingly fine, soft hair; petioles slender and nearly as long as the blades. Flowers solitary in the axils, each about a half-inch broad, with five yellow petals and a velvety green, five-lobed calyx, many stamens, united in a ring around the several pistils which are also united at the base, but distinct above, projecting beyond the stamens. The compound seed-vessel is much larger than the flower, being about an inch broad, composed of a ring of twelve to fifteen awn-tipped carpels, splitting at the top when ripe and each containing three to nine seeds, which are rounded kidney-shaped, grayish brown, slightly rough, about one-eighth of an inch long. These seeds are shaken from the carpels by winter winds and blown for long distances over crusted snow.

Requires full sun or part day shade and a fertile well-drained soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 5 to 8.2. This species is cultivated for its fibre in China and Russia where it succeeds as far north as latitude 56°n in W. Siberia. It is hardier and more disease-resistant than Jute (Corchorus spp.). Introduced to N. America in the eighteenth century, it has become a pestilential weed in many parts of the country.

Seed – sow early April in a greenhouse. Germination should take place within 2 – 3 weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in May or June, after the last expected frosts. An outdoor sowing in April to early May in situ could also be tried, especially in those areas with warm summers.

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Seeds – raw or cooked. They can be eaten raw when they are under-ripe. The ripe seed is dried and ground into a powder then used in soups, bread etc. It is washed first to remove any bitterness. The seed contains about 17.4% protein, 16% fat, 33.8% carbohydrate, 4.4% ash. Unripe fruit – raw. This is really more of a seedpod[K].

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Seed (Fresh weight)
0 Calories per 100g
*Water: 0%
*Protein: 17.4g; Fat: 16g; Carbohydrate: 33.8g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 4.4g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Medicinal Uses:-
Astringent; Demulcent; Diuretic; Emollient; Laxative; Ophthalmic; Poultice; Stomachic.

Ophthalmic. Used in the treatment of dysentery and opacity of the cornea. The leaves contain 0.01% rutin and are used as a demulcent. A tea made from the dried leaves is used in the treatment of dysentery and fevers. A poultice of the leaves is applied to ulcers. The bark is astringent and diuretic. A tea made from the dried root is used in the treatment of dysentery and urinary incontinence. It is also used to treat fevers. The seed is powdered and eaten in the treatment of dysentery, stomach-aches etc. It is demulcent, diuretic, emollient, laxative and stomachic.

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.

Other Uses:-
Fibre; Oil; Paper.

A fibre obtained from the stems is used as a jute substitute. It is coarse but flexible and strong. It is also used in rope-making. It takes dyes well. The fibre is also used for making paper, the stems are harvested in the summer, the leaves removed and the stems steamed in order to remove the fibres. The seeds contain about 19% of a semi-drying oil.



Healthy Tips

Tips To Prevent Cold & Flu

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Keeping the Germs Away:
Chances are, when you’re burrowed under the covers with a box of tissues by your bedside, you turn even greener with envy thinking of those people who seem to never get sick. Want to be one of them?

We can’t promise you’ll never get hit with another cold or suffer another bout of the flu, but you can increase your odds of staying well with these strategies. If you do get sick, we’ve also included some tips for getting better faster.

While colds won’t kill you, they can weaken your immune system to the point that other, more serious, germs can take hold in your body. Just think how many times your cold turned into bronchitis or a sinus infection. And given that the average American adult suffers two to three colds a year, that’s a lot of opportunities for serious illness — and just as many to prevent one! There’s even more incentive to prevent the flu: Every year in the United States about 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die from the flu or its complications.

1. Wash your hands and wash them often. The Naval Health Research Center conducted a study of 40,000 recruits who were ordered to wash their hands five times a day. The recruits cut their incidence of respiratory illnesses by 45 percent.

2. Wash your hands twice every time you wash them. When Columbia University researchers looked for germs on volunteers’ hands, they found one handwashing had little effect, even when using antibacterial soap. So wash twice if you’re serious about fending off colds.

3. Use this hand-drying strategy in public restrooms. Studies find a shockingly large percentage of people fail to wash their hands after using a public restroom. And every single one of them touches the door handle on the way out. So after washing your hands, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet. Use another paper towel to dry your hands, then open the door with that paper towel as a barrier between you and the handle. It sounds nuts, but it’s an actual recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control to protect you from infectious diseases like cold and flu.

4. Carry hand sanitizer with you. Colds are typically passed not from coughing or kissing (although those are two modes of transmission) but from hand-to-hand or hand-to-object contact, since most cold viruses can live for hours on objects. You then put your hand in or near your mouth or nose, and voilà! You’re sick. Carry hand sanitizer gel or sanitizing towelettes with you and you can clean your hands anytime, even if the closest water supply is 100 miles away. It works. One study of absenteeism due to infection in elementary schools found schools using the gel sanitizer had absentee rates from infection nearly 20 percent lower than those using other hand-cleaning methods.

5. Use your knuckle to rub your eyes. It’s less likely to be contaminated with viruses than your fingertip. This is particularly important given that the eye provides a perfect entry point for germs, and the average person rubs his eyes or nose or scratches his face 20-50 times a day, notes Jordan Rubin, Ph.D., author of the book The Maker’s Diet.

6. Run your toothbrush through the microwave on high for 10 seconds to kill germs that can cause colds and other illnesses. You think it gets your teeth clean — and it does. But once you’re done brushing, your toothbrush is a breeding ground for germs. Sterilize it in the microwave before you use it, or store it in hydrogen peroxide (rinse well before using), or simply replace it every month when you change the page on your calendar and after you’ve had a cold.

Prevention Is Key
7. Get a flu shot every fall. The Centers for Disease Control recommends flu shots for anyone 50 years old or older, residents of long-term care facilities, people of any age who have chronic medical problems (heart or lung disease, asthma, diabetes, etc.), pregnant women, and people whose immune systems have been weakened (by cancer, AIDS, or other causes). Also, people who work or live with a high-risk person should get a flu shot so they don’t spread the flu. Of course, anyone who just wants to avoid the flu should also get one. Hate shots? Ask for the nasal spray vaccine.

8. Stop blaming yourself when things go wrong at work. Believe it or not, blaming yourself makes you more likely to catch a cold! At least, that’s what researchers found when they studied more than 200 workers over three months. Even those who had control over their work were more likely to begin sneezing if they lacked confidence or tended to blame themselves when things went wrong. Researchers expect such attitudes make people more stressed on the job, and stress, as you know, can challenge your immune system.

9. Put a box of tissues wherever people sit. Come October, buy a 6- or 12-pack of tissue boxes and strategically place them around the house, your workplace, your car. Don’t let aesthetics thwart you. You need tissues widely available so that anyone who has to cough or sneeze or blow his nose will do so in the way least likely to spread germs.

10. Leave the windows in your house open a crack in winter. Not all of them, but one or two in the rooms in which you spend the most time. This is particularly important if you live in a newer home, where fresh circulating air has been the victim of energy efficiency. A bit of fresh air will do wonders for chasing out germs.

11. Lower the heat in your house 5 degrees. The dry air of an overheated home provides the perfect environment for cold viruses to thrive. And when your mucous membranes (i.e., nose, mouth, and tonsils) dry out, they can’t trap those germs very well. Lowering the temperature and using a room humidifier helps maintain a healthier level of humidity in the winter.

12. Speaking of which, buy a hygrometer. These little tools measure humidity. You want your home to measure around 50 percent. A consistent measure higher than 60 percent means mold and mildew may start to set in your walls, fabrics, and kitchen; lower than 40 percent and the dry air makes you more susceptible to germs.

13. Sit in a sauna once a week. Why? Because an Austrian study published in 1990 found that volunteers who frequently used a sauna had half the rate of colds during the six-month study period than those who didn’t use a sauna at all. It’s possible that the hot air you inhale kills cold viruses. Most gyms have saunas these days.

14. Inhale air from your blow-dryer. It sounds nuts, we know. But one study conducted at Harvard Hospital in England found that people who breathed heated air had half the cold symptoms of people who inhaled air at room temperature. Set the dryer on warm, not hot, and hold it at least 18 inches from your face. Breathe in the air through your nose for as long as you can — 20 minutes is best.

15. Take a garlic supplement every day. When 146 volunteers received either one garlic supplement a day or a placebo for 12 weeks between November and February, those taking the garlic were not only less likely to get a cold, but if they did catch one, their symptoms were less intense and they recovered faster.

Sneeze Brigade
16. Eat a container of yogurt every day. A study from the University of California-Davis found that people who ate one cup of yogurt — whether live culture or pasteurized — had 25 percent fewer colds than non-yogurt eaters. Start your yogurt eating in the summer to build up your immunity before cold and flu season starts.

17. Once a day, sit in a quiet, dim room, close your eyes, and focus on one word. You’re meditating, a proven way to reduce stress. And stress, studies find, increases your susceptibility to colds. In fact, stressed people have up to twice the number of colds as non-stressed people.

18. Scrub under your fingernails every night. They’re a great hiding place for germs.

19. Change or wash your hand towels every three or four days during cold and flu season. When you wash them, use hot water in order to kill the germs.

20. At the very first hint of a cold, launch the following preventive blitz. Here’s how:

Suck on a zinc lozenge until it melts away. Then suck another every two waking hours. Or use a zinc-based nasal spray such as Zicam.

Take one 250-milligram capsule of the herb astragalus twice a day until you are better.

Cook up a pot of chicken soup.

Roast garlic in the oven (drizzle whole clove with olive oil, wrap in tinfoil, roast for an hour at 400°F), then spread the soft garlic on toast and eat.

Studies find that all either reduce the length of time you suffer with a cold or help prevent a full-blown cold from occurring.

21. Wipe your nose — don’t blow. Your cold won’t hang around as long, according to a University of Virginia study. Turns out that the force of blowing not only sends the gunk out of your nose into a tissue, but propels some back into your sinuses. And, in case you’re curious, they discovered this using dye and X rays. If you need to blow, blow gently, and blow one nostril at a time.

22. Sneeze and cough into your arm or a tissue. Whoever taught us to cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze got it wrong. That just puts the germs right on our hands, where you can spread them to objects — and other people. Instead, hold the crook of your elbow over your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough if a tissue isn’t handy. It’s pretty rare that you shake someone’s elbow or scratch your eye with an elbow, after all.

23. Don’t pressure your doctor for antibiotics. Colds and flu (along with most common infections) are caused by viruses, so antibiotics — designed to kill bacteria — won’t do a thing. They can hurt, however, by killing off the friendly bacteria that are part of our immune defenses. If you’ve used antibiotics a lot lately, consider a course of probiotics — replacement troops for friendly bacteria.

From: Stealth Health

Healthy Tips

Don’t Invite Food-Poisoning to Dinner

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Nothing can ruin the Thanksgiving holiday more than a bout of food poisoning. Because the health of everyone eating a meal depends on the actions of the cook, sloppy food preparation can result in a serious medical problem – twenty-five Americans will die today–and another 16,000 will become ill–from something they ate.

While the cause of some food borne illnesses is never found, more than 95% of diagnosable food poisonings can be traced to eating food that contains large numbers of tiny microorganisms called bacteria. Children are probably more susceptible to these agents for a variety of reasons, including lack of immunity and poor hygiene.

Like other living things, bacteria need food (they prefer dairy products, egg products, meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish), warmth, water to grow (a moist environment), and time to multiply (under ideal conditions, one bacterium can duplicate itself 2,097,152 times in seven hours.)

Only 3% of reported cases of food poisonings are caused by manufacturing errors. That means that most food borne illness comes from our own kitchen and restaurants.

Parents can think of food poisoning as a chain of events: there must be bacteria on the food, the microorganisms must have the right conditions to grow (warmth and moisture) and they must have the time to multiply.The Partnership for Food Safety Education has listed four steps to help break this chain of events and prevent food poisoning:

Keep Foods Clean

  1. Discourage anyone with an infectious disease from handling, preparing, or serving food.
  2. Work with clean hands, clean hair, clean fingernails, and wear clean clothing.
  3. Wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet, assisting anyone using the toilet, or changing diapers.
  4. Handle raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs as if they were contaminated. Even if they don’t start out with enough bacteria to make you sick, mishandling them could get you and your family in trouble. Wash hands with soap and water after touching raw meat, poultry, sea foods or eggs, before working with other food.
  5. Avoid using hands to mix foods when clean utensils can be used.
  6. Keep hands away from your mouth, nose, and hair.
  7. Avoid using the same spoon more than once for tasting food while preparing, cooking, or serving.
  8. Thoroughly clean all dishes, utensils, and work surfaces with soap and water after each use
  9. Thinking of becoming a vegetarian to avoid food poisoning? Think again. Food poisoning bacteria are also found in vegetables and fruits. Advice: wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly – even the part you will peel away
  10. Microwave your sponges on high for 30 to 60 seconds. That will keep them clean

Keep Food Separate

  1. Keep raw meat, eggs, poultry, or seafood and their juices away from ready to eat foods.
  2. Never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood.
  3. Use a different cutting board for fruits and vegetables.

Cook Food Adequately

  1. Cook all meat and poultry using a meat thermometer to insure proper temperature.
  2. Keep hot foods HOT (above 140 degrees F) and cold foods COLD (below 40 degrees F). Food may become unsafe if held for more than 2-3 hours at 60-125 degrees F, the zone where bacteria grow rapidly.
  3. Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm.
  4. Bad news for rare meat lovers: When cooking burgers, the center of patties and meat loaf should not be pink and the juices should run clear.
  5. Cook fish until it is opaque and flakes easily.
  6. Make sure leftovers are steaming hot before serving
  7. Never eat shellfish like oysters, clams, or mussels, unless they’ve been thoroughly cooked.
  8. Stuff raw poultry just before cooking it. Better yet, cook your poultry and stuffing separately.

Chill food Properly

  1. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within two hours.
  2. The colder food is kept, the less chance bacteria have to grow. Use a thermometer to make sure your refrigerator is giving you good protection against bacterial growth. The refrigerator should register 40 degrees F or lower.
  3. Do not defrost food or marinate on the counter. Juices drip and bacterial multiply faster at room temperature. Defrost food and marinate in the refrigerator instead (and do not taste your food with the uncooked marinade unless you’ve cooked it). If microwave defrosting, cook food immediately.
  4. Keep uncooked ground meat and poultry in the refrigerator and cook or freeze within one or two days. Use or freeze meat and poultry stored in the refrigerator within three to four days.

It used to be that parents worried whether their dinner was going to taste good. Now they are wondering whether their dinner is going to be safe. Just like the security of everyone in the car depends on the performance of the driver, the health of everyone eating a meal depends on the actions of the parent or grandparent in the kitchen!