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Herbs & Plants

Spinach

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Botanical Name : Spinacia oleracea
Family:
Amaranthaceae,(formerly Chenopodiaceae)
Genus: Spinacia
Species:
S. oleracea
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Caryophyllales

Common Name :Spinach

Habitat: The Spinach is native to central and southwestern Asia, probably of Persian origin, being introduced into Europe about the fifteenth century.

Description:
Spinach is an edible flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae. It is native to central and southwestern Asia. It is an annual plant (rarely biennial), which grows to a height of up to 30 cm. Spinach may survive over winter in temperate regions. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to triangular-based, very variable in size from about 2–30 cm long and 1–15 cm broad, with larger leaves at the base of the plant and small leaves higher on the flowering stem. The flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green, 3–4 mm diameter, maturing into a small, hard, dry, lumpy fruit cluster 5–10 mm across containing several seeds.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Common spinach, Spinacia oleracea, was long considered to be in the Chenopodiaceae family, but in 2003, the Chenopodiaceae family was combined with the Amaranthaceae family under the family name ‘Amaranthaceae’ in the order Caryophyllales. Within the Amaranthaceae family, Amaranthoideae and Chenopodioideae are now subfamilies, for the amaranths and the chenopods, respectively.

Types of spinach;
A distinction can be made between older varieties of spinach and more modern ones. Older varieties tend to bolt too early in warm conditions. Newer varieties tend to grow more rapidly, but have less of an inclination to run up to seed. The older varieties have narrower leaves and tend to have a stronger and more bitter taste. Most newer varieties have broader leaves and round seeds.

There are  three basic types of spinach and they  are:

1.Savoy has dark green, crinkly and curly leaves. It is the type sold in fresh bunches in most supermarkets in the United States. One heirloom variety of savoy is Bloomsdale, which is somewhat resistant to bolting. Other common heirloom varieties are Merlo Nero (a mild variety from Italy) and Viroflay (a very large spinach with great yields).

2.Flat- or smooth-leaf spinach has broad, smooth leaves that are easier to clean than Savoy. This type is often grown for canned and frozen spinach, as well as soups, baby foods, and processed foods. Giant Noble is an example variety.

3.Semi-savoy is a hybrid variety with slightly crinkled leaves. It has the same texture as Savoy, but it is not as difficult to clean. It is grown for both fresh market and processing. Tyee Hybrid is a common semi-savoy.

Cultivation:
Plants grow best and produce their heaviest crop of leaves on a nitrogen-rich soil. They dislike very heavy or very light soils. They also dislike acid soils, preferring a neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Plants require plenty of moisture in the growing season, dry summers causing the plants to quickly run to seed. Summer crops do best in light shade to encourage more leaf production before the plant goes to seed, winter crops require a warm dry sunny position. Young plants are hardy to about -9°c. Spinach is often cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. These varieties can be grouped into two main types as detailed below:- Forms with prickly seeds. These are the more primitive forms. Their leaves are more lobed and they are in general more cold tolerant and also more resistant of summer heat. They were more often used to produce a crop in the winter. Forms with round seeds have been developed in cultivation, These have broader leaves, tend to be less cold hardy and were also more prone to bolt in hot weather. They were used mainly for the summer crop. Most new cultivars are of the round seeded variety and these have been developed to be more resistant to bolting in hot weather, more cold tolerant, to produce more leaves and also to be lower in calcium oxalate which causes bitterness and also has negative nutritional effects upon the body. Some modern varieties have been developed that are low in oxalic acid. Edible leaves can be obtained all year round from successional sowings. The summer varieties tend to run to seed fairly quickly, especially in hot dry summers and so you need to make successional sowings every few weeks if a constant supply is required. Winter varieties provide leaves for a longer period, though they soon run to seed when the weather warms up. Spinach grows well with strawberries. It also grows well with cabbages, onions, peas and celery. A fast-growing plant, the summer crop can be interplanted between rows of slower growing plants such as Brussels sprouts. The spinach would have been harvested before the other crop needs the extra space. Spinach is a bad companion for grapes and hyssop.

Propagation :
Seed to be sown from March to June for a summer crop. Make successional sowings, perhaps once a month, to ensure a continuity of supply. The seed germinates within about 2 weeks and the first leaves can be harvested about 6 weeks later. Seed is sown during August and September for a winter crop

Edible Uses:
It is eaten as very delicius green leafy vegetables.Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach.

Polyglutamyl folate (vitamin B9 or folic acid) is a vital constituent of cells, and spinach is a good source of folic acid. Boiling spinach can more than halve the level of folate left in the spinach, but microwaving does not affect folate content. Vitamin B9 was first isolated from spinach in 1941.

Spinach, along with other green leafy vegetables, is considered to be rich in iron. It also has a high calcium content. However, the oxalate content in spinach also binds with calcium, decreasing its absorption. Calcium and zinc also limit iron absorption. The calcium in spinach is the least bioavailable of calcium sources. By way of comparison, the human body can absorb about half of the calcium present in broccoli, yet only around 5% of the calcium in spinach

Medicinal Uses:
Appetizer;  Carminative;  Febrifuge;  Hypoglycaemic;  Laxative.

The plant is carminative and laxative. In experiments it has been shown to have hypoglycaemic properties. It has been used in the treatment of urinary calculi. The leaves have been used in the treatment of febrile conditions, inflammation of the lungs and the bowels. The seeds are laxative and cooling. They have been used in the treatment of difficult breathing, inflammation of the liver and jaundice.

Known Hazards:  The leaves of most varieties of spinach are high in oxalic acid. Although not toxic, this substance does lock up certain minerals in a meal, especially calcium, making them unavailable to the body. Therefore mineral deficiencies can result from eating too much of any leaf that contains oxalic acid. However, the mineral content of spinach leaves is quite high so the disbenifits are to a large extent outweighed by the benefits. There are also special low-oxalic varieties of spinach that have been developed. Cooking the leaves will also reduce the content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition. Possible methaemoglobinaemia from nitrates in children under 4 months. Anticoagulant patients should avoid excessive intake due to vitamin K content.

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/s/spinac80.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinacia_oleracea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Spinacia+oleracea

 

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Herbs & Plants

Raphanus sativus caudatus(Rat-Tail Radish)

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Botanical Name : Raphanus sativus caudatus
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Raphanus
Species: R. caudatus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonmous name:Raphanus sativus var. caudatus (Linn.) Vilmorin , Raphanus sativus var. mougri Helm , Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. caudatus (Linn.) Thell.

Common Name : Rat-Tail Radish

Habitat :Raphanus sativus caudatus is native to Java.( It is found primarily in India and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in China. It was first known in the West no later than 1815, when introduced into England from Java)

Description:
Raphanus sativus caudatus is an annual growing herbaceous plant growing erect when young and turning prostrate when well-grown. The basal leaves are lyrately pinnate while cauline leaves are simple and linear. The species produces purplish veined flowers and long pods containing many seeds in it. The species is cultivated in some regions for its pods which are eaten raw or cooked as vegetable.

You may click to see the pictures

It is hardy to zone 8 and is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Prefers a rich soil with ample moisture. Dislikes very heavy or acid soils. Plants are susceptible to drought and require irrigation during dry spells in the summer or the root quality will rapidly deteriorate and the plant will go to seed. The rat-tailed radishes are sometimes cultivated for their large edible seedpods, there are some named varieties. This group of radishes does not produce roots of good quality, it is cultivated mainly for the edible young seedpods which are harvested in the summer. Radishes are a good companion plant for lettuces, nasturtiums, peas and chervil, tomatoes and cucumbers. They are said to repel cucumber beetles if planted near cucumber plants and they also repel the vine borers which attack squashes, marrows and courgettes. They grow badly with hyssop and with grape vines

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Seedpod.

Young leaves – raw or cooked. A somewhat hot taste. Flowers – raw. A nice spicy addition to salads. Young seedpods – raw. Crisp and juicy, they must be eaten when young because they quickly become tough and fibrous. They can grow more than 60cm long, but they tend to become tough and fibrous when more than 30cm long.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Antibacterial; Antifungal; Antiscorbutic; Antispasmodic; Astringent; Cancer; Carminative; Cholagogue; Digestive; Diuretic; Expectorant; Laxative; Poultice; Stomachic.

Radishes have long been grown as a food crop, but they also have various medicinal actions. The roots stimulate the appetite and digestion, having a tonic and laxative effect upon the intestines and indirectly stimulating the flow of bile. Consuming radish generally results in improved digestion, but some people are sensitive to its acridity and robust action. The plant is used in the treatment of intestinal parasites, though the part of the plant used is not specified. The leaves, seeds and old roots are used in the treatment of asthma and other chest complaints. The juice of the fresh leaves is diuretic and laxative. The seed is carminative, diuretic, expectorant, laxative and stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of indigestion, abdominal bloating, wind, acid regurgitation, diarrhoea and bronchitis. The root is antiscorbutic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, digestive and diuretic. It is crushed and used as a poultice for burns, bruises and smelly feet. Radishes are also an excellent food remedy for stone, gravel and scorbutic conditions. The root is best harvested before the plant flowers. Its use is not recommended if the stomach or intestines are inflamed. The plant contains raphanin, which is antibacterial and antifungal. It inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, streptococci, Pneumococci etc. The plant also shows anti-tumour activity.

Other Uses:
Green manure; Repellent.

The growing plant repels beetles from tomatoes and cucumbers. It is also useful for repelling various other insect pests such as carrot root fly. There is a fodder variety that grows more vigorously and is used as a green manure.

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.floracafe.com/Search_PhotoDetails.aspx?Photo=All&Id=2129
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Raphanus+sativus+caudatus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphanus_caudatus

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Herbs & Plants

Indian Spinach (Basella alba)

Botanical Name :Basella alba
Family : Basellaceae
Genus : Basella
Synonyms :   Basella rubra – L.

Common Names:   Malabar spinach, white stem Malabar spinach, Ceylon spinach, Indian spinach, white vine spinach, vine spinach, Malabar nightshade, country spinach, bertalha vermelha, Malabarspinat, basela branca, bertalha branca, basela vermelha, melao de soldado, sabao de soldado.
Vernacular Names:
English:
Malabar-, Malabar climbing-, Ceylon-, Indian-, East-Indian-, Surinam-, Chinese-, Vietnamese- or buffalo spinach (although it is not closely related to spinach), as well as Malabar nightshade or broad bologi.
Bengali: Pui shak
Oriya: Poi saaga
Konkani: Valchi bhaji
Kannada: Basale soppu
Telugu: Bachhali
Tamil: Kodip pasaLi .
Marathi: Mayalu
Filipino: Alugbati
Vietnamese: Mong toi
Other:
Poi baagi, calaloo, alugbati

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Species: B. alba


Habitat :
Range E. Asia. Africa.   Moist places in hedges to elevations of about 500 metres in Nepal .Cultivated Beds;

Description:

A coarse, trailing or twining vine with short-petioled, cordate, and succulent leaves. It has black berries. USES Boiled as a green vegetable. The berries are dried, the pulp ground and used as food coloring.It is a  Short-lived fast-growing, soft-stemmed  Perennial  vine , reaching 10 m in length. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. The stem of the cultivar Basella alba ‘Rubra’ is reddish-purple. it is widely used as a leaf vegetable. Harvest period 55-180 days after transplanting.

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

It is hardy to zone 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

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

Cultivation :
Requires a well-drained moisture-retentive soil rich in organic matter and a warm sunny sheltered position. Prefers a sandy loam. Tolerates fairly poor soils but does much better in rich soils. Tolerates high rainfall. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 7. A frost-tender perennial, it is not hardy outdoors in Britain but can be grown as a spring-sown annual.   A fast growing plant, capable of producing a crop within 70 days from seed in a warm climate, though it requires a minimum daytime temperature of 15°c if it is to keep growing vigorously so it seldom does well outdoors in Britain. It does tolerate low light levels plus night temperatures occasionally falling below 10°c, and so can do well in a cold greenhouse. Plants do not flower if the length of daylight is more than 13 hours per day.   Widely cultivated for its edible leaves in the tropics, there are some named varieties. It is an excellent hot weather substitute for spinach. Some authorities recognize three different species, B. alba, B. rubra and B. cordifolia, they are all treated here as being part of one species.

Propagation
Seed – sow March or April in a warm greenhouse. The seed requires a minimum temperature of 18 – 21°c in order to germinate, it germinates within 10 – 21 days at 20°c, pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water shortens the germination time. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots of fairly rich compost and grow them on fast, planting them out after the last expected frosts. Stem cuttings.  These can be taken in the late summer, overwintered in a greenhouse and then be planted out in late spring or early summer.

Cultivars
‘Eclipse’
Producing a crop in 55 – 60 days in warm areas, this is a very early cultivar producing small and compact plants that can be planted close together. The leaves are thick and medium to deep green in colour.   Yields very well under warm humid conditions.
‘Red’
The leaves, stems and flowers are tinged with red. The colour is lost when the plant is cooked and so it is best used in salads.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Edible Uses: Colouring; Tea.

Leaves and stem tips – raw or cooked. A pleasant mild spinach flavour, the leaves can be used as a spinach or added to salads. Do not overcook the leaves or they will become slimy. The mucilaginous qualities of the plant make it an excellent thickening agent in soups, stews etc where it can be used as a substitute for okra, Abelmoschatus esculentus. A nutritional analysis of the leaves is available. An infusion of the leaves is a tea substitute. The purplish sap from the fruit is used as a food colouring in pastries and sweets. The colour is enhanced by adding some lemon juice.

Typical of leaf vegetables, Malabar spinach is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. It is low in calories by volume, but high in protein per calorie. The succulent mucilage is a particularly rich source of soluble fiber. Among many other possibilities, Malabar spinach may be used to thicken soups or stir-fries with garlic and chili peppers.

In Bangladesh it is widely used to cook with Hilsa fish.

The vegetable is used in Chinese cuisine. Its many names include flowing water vegetable.

In Vietnam, particularly the north, it is cooked with crab meat, luffa and jute to make soup.

In Orissa, India, it is used to make Curries and Saaga (Any type of dish made from green leafy vegetables is called as Saaga in Orissa). In Maharashtra, India, it is used to make bhaji.

In Africa, the mucilaginous cooked shoots are most commonly used.

Malabar spinach can be found at many Chinese/Vietnamese/Korean/Indian grocery stores, as well as farmers’ markets

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

Leaves (Dry weight)
275 Calories per 100g
Water: 0%
Protein: 20g; Fat: 3.5g; Carbohydrate: 54g; Fibre: 9g; Ash: 19g;
Minerals – Calcium: 3000mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
Vitamins – A: 50mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.7mg; Riboflavin (B2): 1.8mg; Niacin: 7.5mg; B6: 0mg; C: 1200mg;
:
Medicinal Actions &  Uses

Antidote; Aperient; Astringent; Demulcent; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Laxative; Rubefacient.

Astringent – the cooked roots are used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Laxative – the cooked leaves and stems are used. The flowers are used as an antidote to poisons . A paste of the root is applied to swellings and is also used as a rubefacient. The plant is febrifuge, its juice is a safe aperient for pregnant women and a decoction has been used to alleviate labour. The leaf juice is a demulcent, used in cases of dysentery. It is also diuretic, febrifuge and laxative. The leaf juice is used in Nepal to treat catarrh. A paste of the leaves is applied externally to treat boils.

Other Uses
Dye.

A red dye is obtained from the juice of the fruits. It has been used as a rouge and also as a dye for official seals.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Basella+alba
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basella_alba
http://www.greenchem.biz/Images/ProductImages/pageproducts.php?no=17
http://www.friendsschoolplantsale.com/archives/date/2009/03/

http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=504

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Herbs & Plants

Kalmi (Ipomoea reptans)

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N Ipoa D1600.
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Ipomoea reptans
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Ipomoea subgenus
Genus:    Ipomoea
Species:    I. aquatica
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Solanales
Vernacular names: Kangkong, kangkung, water convolvulus, water spinach, swamp spinach, swamp morning glory (En). Kangkong, liseron d’eau, patate aquatique (Fr). Cancon, batata aquática (Po). Mriba wa ziwa (Sw).

In Bengal  it is called Kalmi

Habitat :Ipomoea aquatica is widespread as a swamp weed in all tropical and many subtropical lowland areas. It is a declared aquatic or terrestrial noxious weed in the south-eastern United States. It occurs in nearly all countries of tropical Africa, from Mauritania and Senegal, east to Eritrea and Somalia, and south to South Africa, and also in the Indian Ocean islands. It is a popular cultivated vegetable in South-East Asia and southern China, but is rare in India. It is known as a leafy vegetable in tropical America, where people of Asian origin cultivate it. It is grown on a small scale under protected cultivation in France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands for Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian clients. In tropical Africa it is reported as a collected wild vegetable in Benin, DR Congo, Kenya and Tanzania. Asian cultivars are occasionally grown on a small scale for the Asian clientele near big cities. Kangkong can be found in market gardens, e.g. in Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

DESCRIPTION: Water spinach is an herbaceous trailing vine that dwells in muddy stream banks, freshwater ponds, and marshes. This perennial aquatic vine is confined to the tropics and subtropics zones because it is susceptible to frosts and does not grow well when temperatures are below 23.9 C. Water spinach can reproduce sexually by producing one to four seeds in fruiting capsules or vegetatively by stem fragmentation. It is a member of the “morning-glory” family.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>….(01)...(1).....(2).…....(3).…..(4)....(5).
Flowers: Funnel shaped, solitary or in few flowered clusters at leaf axils, two inches wide, pink to white in color, and darker in the throat (rarely nearly white).

Leaves: Arrowhead shaped, alternate, one to six inches long, and one to three inches wide

Stems: Vine like, trailing, with milky sap and roots at the nodes; usually to 9 ft. long but can be much longer.

Fruit: An oval or spherical capsule, woody at maturity, 1 cm long, holding 1 to 4 grayish seeds.

History:
The first historical record of W ater spinach is of its cultivation as a vegetable during the Chin Dynasty around 300 A.D. Native to India and Southeast Asia, but widely cultivated and naturalized in Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Islands, and South America. This aquatic vine is rich in iron, making it an ancient remedy for anemia. So people emigrating from Asian regions understandably wanted to take this nutritious vegetable along for use in traditional recipes. It is unclear when this plant was introduced in the United States, but this invasive and aggressive plant poses a serious threat to waterways in the Southern United States. W ater spinach has been introduced repeatedly to Florida waters since 1973, despite its state and federal listing as a prohibited plant and noxious weed.

Uses:-
Young shoots and leaves of water spinach are collected for use as a leafy vegetable. Often the whole above-ground plant part of cultivated water spinach , including the tender hollow stems, is consumed. Water spinatch can be stir-fried, steamed, boiled for a few minutes or lightly fried in oil and eaten in various dishes. It is often mixed with hot peppers and garlic, and prepared with meat or fish. In Asia the leaves are sometimes separated from the stems, and the stems are cooked a bit longer. In Africa only the leaves of wild plants are consumed, the stems are removed. The roots are occasionally eaten. Wild kangkong is often collected as fodder for cattle and pigs.

In Indonesia, kangkong or water spinach  is traditionally given at dinner to young children to make them quiet and help them sleep well. In Asia it is used in traditional medicine. The sap is used as an emetic, purgative and sedative, and flower buds are applied to ringworm. In Sri Lanka kangkong is used to treat diabetes mellitus.

Properties:
The nutritional composition of raw kangkong per 100 g edible portion is: water 92.5 g, energy 80 kJ (19 kcal), protein 2.6 g, fat 0.2 g, carbohydrate 3.1 g, dietary fibre 2.1 g, Ca 77 mg, Mg 71 mg, P 39 mg, Fe 1.7 mg, Zn 0.2 mg, vitamin A 6300 IU, thiamin 0.03 mg, riboflavin 0.10 mg, niacin 0.90 mg, folate 57 ?g, ascorbic acid 55 mg (USDA, 2002). The nutritional value of leaf-blades is higher than that of petioles and stems; unfortunately, sources do not state whether stems and leaves or leaves only were analysed. Accumulation of heavy metals in kangkong has been reported for Asia because the plants often grow in polluted water.

Medicinal Uses:
Kangkong showed oral hypoglycaemic activity in tests with diabetic humans and rats; it was shown that an aqueous leaf extract can be as effective as tolbutamide in reducing blood glucose levels.

Health risk:
If harvested from contaminated areas, and eaten raw, I. aquatica may transmit Fasciolopsis buski, an intestinal fluke parasite of humans and pigs, causing fasciolopsiasis.

Study in animals;
Studies conducted with pregnant diabetes-induced rats have shown a blood sugar-lowering effect of Ipomoea aquatica by inhibiting the intestinal absorption of glucose.

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.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?20218
http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20o?search=Ipomoea+aquatica&guide=North_American_Invasives
http://database.prota.org/PROTAhtml/Ipomoea%20aquatica_En.htm
.

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Eat Spinach for Better Health.

[amazon_link asins=’B014DSIWCW,B0047NSHBK,B00M1XH4IA,B015EX7GLS,B00FQRD7WA,B00DX5D8CQ,B0742JRBRL,B0039QORNS,B0005ZWVRU’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’db75fbac-f2a4-11e7-b3c1-732dc9149539′]If you want bulging biceps like Popeye the sailor, then all you have to do is eat his favourite food – spinach.

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And, saying this are scientists from Rutgers University who have found that the green vegetable really does boost strength. The secret behind this, they reveal, is that spinach contains phytoecdysteroids, a type of steroid that increases the development of muscles.

As a part of their study the researchers used extracts of phytoecdysteriods on lab samples of human muscle, and found that it speeded up muscle growth by 20%. According to the New Scientist, on conducting trials on rats, the researchers found that spinach extracts made the rodents stronger within a month, the Daily Express reported on Thursday.

Researchers state that eating spinach is not only a good idea if you want strong muscles, but also if you want to keep eye disease, teeth, gum problems and anaemia at bay. But it does suggest the US creators of the famous nautical hero were ahead of their time.

It is said they toyed with the idea of making garlic Popeye’s strength enhancer when they devised the original comic strip in 1919 – but by 1932 he was eating spinach to give him almost superhuman powers.

Spinach was chosen because it was known to be extremely healthy. It was used as a cure for scurvy because it was rich in iron, although it actually contains less iron than many other vegetables. But since then more and more health-giving properties of spinach have been discovered.

Apart from this, it has also been found to have heart benefits. Research has shown that the vegetable can strengthen hearts, reduce the risk of a heart attack and boost survival rates by a third for attack victims.

However, getting biceps like Popeye will not be an easy task for the researchers also stated that to do so, you would need to eat at least a kilo of spinach a day.

Spinach became one of trendiest foods in Britain and sales soared by 30% in 2006 after TV chefs and health gurus backed it as something essential for health.

“Spinach is the broom of the stomach.” French Proverb

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Sources: The Times Of India

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