Categories
Herbs & Plants

Viburnum lentago

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Botanical Name : Viburnum lentago
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Viburnum
Species:V. lentago
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms: Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;

Common Names: Nannyberry, Sheepberry, or Sweet viburnum

Habitat :Viburnum lentago is native to northern N. AmericaNew Brunswick to Saskatchewan, south to Virginia and Nebraska It grows on rich soils along woodland borders, edges of streams etc, it is also found on rocky hillsides etc.

Description:
Viburnum lentago is a large shrub or small tree growing upwards to 30 ft (9 m) tall with a trunk up to ~10 inches (25 cm) diameter and a short trunk, round-topped head, pendulous, flexible branches. The bark is reddish- to grayish-brown, and broken into small scales. The twigs are pale green and covered with rusty down at first, later becoming dark reddish brown, sometimes glaucous, smooth, tough, flexible, and produce an offensive odor when crushed or bruised. The winter buds are light red, covered with pale scurfy down, protected by a pair of opposing scales. Flower-bearing buds are ~3/4 in (2 cm) long, obovate, long pointed; other terminal buds are acute, ~1/3 to 1/2 in (10–15 mm) long, while lateral buds are much smaller. The bud scales enlarge with the growing shoot and often become leaf-like.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Like all viburnums, the leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on the twigs; they are oval, ~2 – 4 in (5–10 cm) long and ~3/4 in – 2 in (2–5 cm) broad, wedge-shaped, rounded or subcordate at base, with an acuminate apex and a finely serrated margin, and a winged petiole. They open from the bud involute, bronze green and shining, hairy and downy; when full grown are bright green and shining above, pale green and marked with tiny black dots beneath. In autumn they turn a deep red, or red and orange.

The flowers are small, 5–6 mm diameter, with five whitish petals, arranged in large round terminal cymes 5–12 cm diameter; flowering is in late spring. The calyx is tubular, equally five-toothed, persistent; the corolla is equally five-lobed, imbricate in the bud, cream-white, one-quarter of an inch across; lobes acute, and slightly erose. There are five stamens, inserted on the base of the corolla, alternate with its lobes, exserted; filaments slender; anthers bright yellow, oblong, introrse, versatile, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally. The pistil has a one-celled inferior ovary, the style thick, short, light green, and the stigma broad; there is one ovule in each cell. The fruit is a small round blue-black drupe, 8–16 mm long on a reddish stem; it is thick skinned, sweet and rather juicy, and edible. The stone is oblong oval, flattened.

The roots are fibrous, wood is ill-smelling. It grows in wet soil along the borders of the forest, often found in fence corners and along roadsides. The wood is dark orange brown, heavy, hard, close-grained, with a density of 0.7303
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Screen, Specimen. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations. It prefers a deep rich loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. A fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild. It readily sprouts from the roots and forms thickets, a habit that is undesirable in small gardens. The plants grow well, but do not usually fruit well in Britain. This is probably because they are self-incompatible and need to grow close to a genetically distinct plant in the same species in order to produce fruit and fertile seed. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring[80]. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame[200]. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring – pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. It can also be dried for winter use. The fruit is variable in size and quality, the best being about 15mm long, pulpy, very sweet, somewhat juicy and pleasant tasting but with a thick skin and a single large seed. The fruit is said to be best after a frost but it is sometimes dry.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is antispasmodic. A decoction of the roots has been used to treat irregular menstruation and the spitting of blood. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of measles. An infusion of the leaves has been drunk, or a poultice of leaves applied, in the treatment of dysuria.

Other Uses:
Hedge; Hedge; Wood.

The plant is grown as a hedge in N. America. Wood – heavy, hard, close grained, malodorous. Of no commercial value due to the small size of the trees.

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/Viburnum_lentago
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Viburnum+lentago

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Black Cohos

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Botanical Name : Actaea racemosa
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Actaea
Species: A. racemosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names: Black cohosh, Black bugbane, Black snakeroot, Fairy candle
Other Names: Actaea macrotys, Actaea racemosa, Actée à Grappes, Actée à Grappes Noires, Actée Noire, Aristolochiaceae Noire, Baie d’actée, Baneberry, Black Aristolochiaceae, Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Bugwort, Cimicaire à Grappes, Cimicifuga

Habitat :Black cohosh  is native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Ontario to central Georgia, and west to Missouri and Arkansas. It grows in a variety of woodland habitats, and is often found in small woodland openings.

Description:
Black cohosh is a smooth (glabrous) herbaceous perennial plant that produces large, compound leaves from an underground rhizome, reaching a height of 25–60 centimetres (9.8–23.6 in). The basal leaves are up to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) long and broad, forming repeated sets of three leaflets (tripinnately compound) having a coarsely toothed (serrated) margin. The flowers are produced in late spring and early summer on a tall stem, 75–250 centimetres (30–98 in) tall, forming racemes up to 50 centimetres (20 in) long. The flowers have no petals or sepals, and consist of tight clusters of 55-110 white, 5–10 mm long stamens surrounding a white stigma. The flowers have a distinctly sweet, fetid smell that attracts flies, gnats, and beetles. The fruit is a dry follicle 5–10 mm long, with one carpel, containing several seeds……..click & see the pictures of black cohos:

Do not confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh or white cohosh. These are unrelated plants. The blue and white cohosh plants do not have the same effects as black cohosh, and may not be safe.

Cultivation:
Black cohosh grows in dependably moist, fairly heavy soil. It bears tall tapering racemes of white midsummer flowers on wiry black-purple stems, whose mildly unpleasant, medicinal smell at close range gives it the common name “Bugbane”. The drying seed heads stay handsome in the garden for many weeks. Its deeply cut leaves, burgundy colored in the variety “atropurpurea”, add interest to gardens, wherever summer heat and drought do not make it die back, which make it a popular garden perennial. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit

Edible Uses:
Black cohosh is used today mainly as a dietary supplement marketed to women as remedies for the symptoms of premenstrual tension, menopause and other gynecological problems. Recent meta-analysis of contemporary evidence supports these claims.  Study design and dosage of black cohosh preparations play a role in clinical outcome,  and recent investigations with pure compounds found in black cohosh have identified some beneficial effects of these compounds on physiological pathways underlying age-related disorders like osteoporosis.

Medicinal Uses:
The root of black cohosh is used for medicinal purposes. Black cohosh root contains several chemicals that might have effects in the body. Some of these chemicals work on the immune system and might affect the body’s defenses against diseases. Some might help the body to reduce inflammation. Other chemicals in black cohosh root might work in nerves and in the brain. These chemicals might work similar to another chemical in the brain called serotonin. Scientists call this type of chemical a neurotransmitter because it helps the brain send messages to other parts of the body.

Black cohosh root also seems to have some effects similar to the female hormone, estrogen. In some parts of the body, black cohosh might increase the effects of estrogen. In other parts of the body, black cohosh might decrease the effects of estrogen. Estrogen itself has various effects in different parts of the body. Estrogen also has different effects in people at different stages of life. Black cohosh should not be thought of as an “herbal estrogen” or a substitute for estrogen. It is more accurate to think of it as an herb that acts similar to estrogen in some people.

Native Americans used black cohosh to treat gynecological and other disorders, including sore throats, kidney problems, and depression.   Following the arrival of European settlers in the U.S. who continued the medicinal usage of black cohosh, the plant appeared in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1830 under the name “black snakeroot”. In 1844 A. racemosa gained popularity when Dr. John King, an eclectic physician, used it to treat rheumatism and nervous disorders. Other eclectic physicians of the mid-nineteenth century used black cohosh for a variety of maladies, including endometritis, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, sterility, severe after-birth pains, and for increased breast milk production.

Side effects:
According to Cancer Research UK: “Doctors are worried that using black cohosh long term may cause thickening of the womb lining. This could lead to an increased risk of womb cancer.” They also caution that people with liver problems should not take it as it can damage the liver, although a 2011 meta-analysis of research evidence suggested this concern may be unfounded.

Studies on human subjects who were administered two commercially available black cohosh preparations did not detect estrogenic effects on the breast.

No studies exist on long-term safety of black cohosh use in humans.  In a transgenic mouse model of cancer, black cohosh did not increase incidence of primary breast cancer, but increased metastasis of pre-existing breast cancer to the lungs.

Liver damage has been reported in a few individuals using black cohosh,  but many women have taken the herb without reporting adverse health effects,  and a meta-analysis of several well-controlled clinical trials found no evidence that black cohosh preparations have any adverse effect on liver function.  Although evidence for a link between black cohosh and liver damage is not conclusive, Australia has added a warning to the label of all black cohosh-containing products, stating that it may cause harm to the liver in some individuals and should not be used without medical supervision.  Other studies conclude that liver damage from use of black cohosh is unlikely,  and that the main concern over its safe use is lack of proper authentication of plant materials and adulteration of commercial preparations with other plant species.

Reported direct side-effects also include dizziness, headaches, and seizures; diarrhea; nausea and vomiting; sweating; constipation; low blood pressure and slow heartbeats; and weight problems.

Because the vast majority of black cohosh materials are harvested from plants growing in the wild,  a recurring concern regarding the safety of black cohosh-containing dietary supplements is mis-identification of plants causing unintentional mixing-in (adulteration) of potentially harmful materials from other plant sources.

Bioactive compounds:
Like most plants, black cohosh tissues and organs contain many organic compounds with biological activity.  Estrogen-like compounds had originally been implicated in effects of black cohosh extracts on vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women. Several other studies, however, have indicated absence of estrogenic effects  and compounds  in black cohosh-containing materials. Recent findings suggest that some of the clinically relevant physiological effects of black cohosh may be due to compounds that bind and activate serotonin receptors,  and a derivative of serotonin with high affinity to serotonin receptors, N?-methylserotonin, has been identified in black cohosh. Complex biological molecules, such as triterpene glycosides (e.g. cycloartanes), have been shown to reduce cytokine-induced bone loss (osteoporosis) by blocking osteoclastogenesis in in vitro and in vivo models. 23-O-acetylshengmanol-3-O-?-d-xylopyranoside, a cycloartane glycoside from Actaea racemosa, has been identified as a novel efficacious modulator of GABAA receptors with sedative activity in mice

Click & see:..> Fact sheet of Black Cohos

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/Actaea_racemosa
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-857-black%20cohosh.aspx?activeingredientid=857&activeingredientname=black%20cohosh

Categories
Herbs & Plants

St. John’s Wort

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Botanical Name: Hypericum perforatum
Family: Clusiaceae

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Hypericum
Species: H. perforatum

Common Names: St. John’s wort, hypericum, Klamath weed, goat weed

Other Names: Spotted St. John’s wort, Hypericum, Klamath Weed, Touch-and-heal, Goat weed, Rosin Rose

Habitat:
St. John’s Wort is a perennial herb native to North America and Canada from Nova Scotia, Ontario Quebec south to the United States, eastern states. Found growing in open sunny or partial shady areas, along roadsides in dry, gravelly soils.

Description:
St John’s wort is a perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its stems are erect, branched in the upper section, and can grow to 1 m high. It has opposing, stalkless, narrow, oblong leaves which are 12 mm long or slightly larger. The leaves are yellow-green in color, with transparent dots throughout the tissue and occasionally with a few black dots on the lower surface. Its flowers measure up to 2.5 cm across, have five petals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots. The flowers appear in broad cymes at the ends of the upper branches. The sepals are pointed, with glandular dots in the tissue. There are many stamens, which are united at the base into three bundles.

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Identification
St John’s wort can be visually recognized by leaf and flower type. Yellow, five petaled flowers approximately 20 mm across occur between late Spring and early to mid Summer. Leaves exhibit obvious translucent dots when held up to the light, giving them a ‘perforated’ appearance, hence the plant’s Latin name. When flowers or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.

Cultivation
St. John’s Wort is easy to grow from seed or root division in spring or autumn, in any well-drained but moisture retentive soil. Succeeds in dry soils, prefers sun or semi-shade.

.Seedlings of St John’s wort-

Chemical Composition:
Herb and flowers contain different flavonoids (rutin, hyperoside, isoquercetin, quercitrin, quercetin, I3,II8-biapigenin, amentoflavone, astilbin, miquelianin). Phenolic acids (chlorogenic acid, 3-O-coumaroylquinic acid). Different naphtodianthrones (hypericin, pseudohypericin, protohypericin, protopseudohypericin), phloroglucinols (hyperforin, adhyperforin). And also essential oils (composed mainly of sesquiterpenes). The naphthodianthrones hypericin and pseudohypericin along with the Phloroglucinol derivative hyperforin are thought to be the active components.

Herbal Use and Medicinal Properties:-
There are 400 species of St. John’s Wort found throughout the world, it has been used as a medicinal for thousands of years, but has only recently been studied for its medicinal value. Now proven to have many highly active compounds including rutin, pectin, choline, sitosterol, hypericin and pseudohypericin. The flowers and leaves are medicinal as analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, resolvent, sedative, stimulant, vermifuge and vulnerary. Some compounds of the plant have been shown to have potent anti-retroviral activity without serious side effects and they are being researched in the treatment of AIDS.Hypericum perforatum is thought to be a mild antidepressant of the class “MAO inhibitor.” The mechanism by which St. John’s Wort acts as an antidepressant is not fully understood. Early research indicated that this it mildly inhibits the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO). MAO is responsible for the breakdown of two brain chemicals – serotonin and nor epinephrine. By inhibiting MAO and increasing nor epinephrine, it may exert a mild anti-depressive action. The antidepressant or mood elevating effects of Hypericum perforatum were originally thought to be due solely to hypericin, but hypericin does not act alone, it relies on the complex interplay of many constituents such as xanthones and flavonoids for its antidepressant actions. Hypericum perforatum may also block the receptors that bind serotonin and so maintain normal mood and emotional stability.

Hypericum perforatum is used in treating a wide range of disorders, including pulmonary complaints, bladder problems, diarrhea and nervous depression. It is also very effectual in treating bed wetting in children. It has a sedative and pain reducing effect, it is especially regarded as an herb to use where there are menopausal changes triggering irritability and anxiety. In addition to neuralgic pain, it will ease fibrosistis, sciatica and rheumatic pain. The oil extract of the plant can be taken for stomach ache, colic, intestinal problems, and as an expectorant for the congestion in the lungs. Externally, a medicinal infusion of the flowers in olive oil is applied to wounds, sores, burns, ulcers, swellings, cramps, rheumatism, tumors, caked breasts, and other skin problems. It is also valued in the treatment of sunburn and as a cosmetic preparation to the skin. Persons with fair skin should avoid exposure to strong sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light, such as tanning beds, while taking St. John’s Wort. These individuals may suffer a dermatitis, severe burning, and possibly blistering of the skin. The severity of these effects will depend on the amount of the plant consumed and the length of exposure to sunlight.

Folklore
There are many ancient superstitions regarding this plant, its name Hypericum is derived from the Greek and means ‘over an apparition,’ a reference to the belief that it smelled so obnoxious to evil spirits that a whiff of it would cause them to fly. The plant was given to have magical powers. In ancient Greece, the herb was used to treat many ailments, including sciatica and poisonous reptile bites.

Recipes:-
For depression the usual dose is 300 mg 3 times a day. Timed release capsules are now on the market as well.One should remember to take it once a day. Effects should be felt within a few weeks.

“Medicinal” tea: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and steep for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Oil: Fill a pint jar loosely with dried herb, poor olive oil to top, seal tightly and allow to infuse for 4 to 5 weeks, shaking the jar occasionally.

What the Science Says:-
*There is some scientific evidence that St. John’s wort is useful for treating mild to moderate depression. However, two large studies, one sponsored by NCCAM, showed that the herb was no more effective than placebo in treating major depression of moderate severity.

*NCCAM is studying the use of St. John’s wort in a wider spectrum of mood disorders, including minor depression.

Side Effects and Cautions:-
*St. John’s wort may cause increased sensitivity to sunlight. Other side effects can include anxiety, dry mouth, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, headache, or sexual dysfunction.

*Research shows that St. John’s wort interacts with some drugs. The herb affects the way the body processes or breaks down many drugs; in some cases, it may speed or slow a drug’s breakdown. Drugs that can be affected include:

*Antidepressants

*Birth control pills

*Cyclosporine, which prevents the body from rejecting transplanted organs

*Digoxin, which strengthens heart muscle contractions

*Indinavir and possibly other drugs used to control HIV infection

*Irinotecan and possibly other drugs used to treat cancer

*Warfarin and related anticoagulants

*When combined with certain antidepressants, St. John’s wort may increase side effects such as nausea, anxiety, headache, and confusion.

*St. John’s wort is not a proven therapy for depression. If depression is not adequately treated, it can become severe. Anyone who may have depression should see a health care provider. There are effective proven therapies available.

*Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

You may click to learn more about St. John’s Wort

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://nccam.nih.gov/health/stjohnswort/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_John’s_Wort

 

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Cornsilk (Zea mays)

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Other names: Maize, mais

Description: Corn is a grass which can grow up to 3 meter. Corn forms thick stems with long leaves. The flowers of corn are monoecious: each corn plant forms male and female flowers. The male flowers form the tassel at the top and produce yellow pollen. The female flowers are situated in leave axils and form stigmas or corn silk (yellow soft threads). The purpose of the cornsilk is to catch the pollen. The cornsilk is normally light green but can have other colours such as yellow, yellow or light brown.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES.>....(01).……....(1).…….…(2)...…………………..

The yellowish thread-like strands found inside the husks of corn. The stigmas are found on the female flower of corn, a grain that is also known as maize and is a member of the grass family (Gramineae or Poaceae). The stigmas measure 4–8 in (10–20 cm) long and are collected for medicinal use before the plant is pollinated. Cornsilk can also be removed from corn cobs for use as a remedy.

If fertilized, the stigmas dry and become brown. Then yellow corn kernels develop. Corn is native to North America and now grows around the world in warm climates.

Cornsilk is also known as mother’s hair, Indian corn, maize jagnog, Turkish corn, yu mi xu, and stigmata maydis.

Parts used: Only cornsilk (styles and stigmas) is harvested for medicinal properties. Cornsilk should be harvested just before pollination occurs. Cornsilk can be used fresh or dried. The corn kernels (or corn) are a well known food.

Phytochemicals: Maysin, Carvacrol, Flavonoids, Polyphenols

Medicinal properties: Cornsilk has detoxifying, relaxing and diuretic activity. Cornsilk is used to treat infections of the urinary and genital system, such as cystitis, prostatitis and urethritis. Cornsilk helps to reduce frequent urination caused by irritation of the bladder and is used to treat bed wetting problems.

Some historians believe that corn has grown for more than 7,000 years in North America. About the time that Christopher Columbus brought the first corn to Europe, the grain grew throughout North and South America. The venerable plant’s stigmas have long been used in folk medicine to treat urinary conditions including inflammation of the bladder and painful urination.

Cornsilk also served as a remedy for heart trouble, jaundice, malaria, and obesity. Cornsilk is rich in vitamin K, making it useful in controlling bleeding during childbirth. It has also been used to treat gonorrhea.

For more than a century, cornsilk has been a remedy for urinary conditions such as acute and inflamed bladders and painful urination. It was also used to treat the prostate. Some of those uses have continued into modern times; cornsilk is a contemporary remedy for all conditions of the urinary passage.

Drinking cornsilk tea is a remedy to help children stop wetting their beds, a condition known as enuresis. It is also a remedy for urinary conditions experienced by the elderly.

Cornsilk is used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones in adults. Cornsilk is regarded as a soothing diuretic and useful for irritation in the urinary system. This gives it added importance, since today, physicians are more concerned about the increased use of antibiotics to treat infections, especially in children. Eventually, overuse can lead to drug-resistant bacteria. Also, these drugs can cause complications in children.

Furthermore, cornsilk is used in combination with other herbs to treat conditions such as cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), and parostitis (mumps).

Cornsilk is said to prevent and remedy infections of the bladder and kidney. The tea is also believed to diminish prostate inflammation and the accompanying pain when urinating.

Since cornsilk is used as a kidney remedy and in the regulation of fluids, the herb is believed to be helpful in treating high blood pressure and water retention. Corn-silk is also used as a remedy for edema (the abnormal accumulation of fluids).

Cornsilk is used to treat urinary conditions in countries including the United Sates, China, Haiti, Turkey, and Trinidad. Furthermore, in China, cornsilk as a component in an herbal formula is used to treat diabetes.

In addition, cornsilk has some nonmedical uses. Cornsilk is an ingredient in cosmetic face powder. The herb used for centuries to treat urinary conditions acquired another modern-day use. Cornsilk is among the ingredients in a product advertised to help people pass their drug tests.

In China, cornsilk is traditionally used to treat oedema and jaundice. Studies indicate that cornsilk can reduces blood clotting time and reduce high blood pressure.

Preparations:
Some herbalists say that cornsilk is best used when fresh, but it is also available in dried form. Cornsilk can be collected from the female flower or from corn cobs. In addition, cornsilk is available commercially in powdered and capsule form and as an extract. Cornsilk is usually brewed as a tea, a beverage that is said to be soothing.

Cornsilk tea or infusion can be made by pouring 1 cup (240 ml) of boiling water over 2 tsp (2.5 g) of dried cornsilk. The mixture is covered and steeped for 10–15 minutes. The tea should be consumed three times daily.

In addition, a tincture of 1 tsp (3-6 ml) of cornsilk can be taken three times daily. Tincture can be purchased over the counter, or made at home by mixing the herb with water or alcohol at a ratio of 1:5 or 1:10.

Cornsilk is also available in capsule form. The usual dosage for 400-mg capsules is two capsules. These are taken with meals three times daily.

A Remedy for Bedwetting:
Herbal remedies can be part of the treatment when children wet their beds. Methods of stopping this behavior include having the child exercise during the day, drink fewer beverages in the evening, and drink a cup of cornsilk tea one hour before bedtime. Cornsilk could be the only ingredient in the tea. However, cornsilk can be part of an herbal combination if bedwetting is caused by lack of nervous control of the bladder.

Cornsilk Combinations:
Cornsilk combines well with other herbs to remedy a range of urinary conditions. One remedy for a bed-wetting tea is to combine one part of cornsilk, St. John’s wort, horsetail, wild oat, and lemon balm.

An herbal practitioner can recommend other combination remedies to treat more complicated conditions. For example, when a person has cystitis, cornsilk can be combined with yarrow, buchu, couchgrass, or bearberry.

Furthermore, cornsilk may be an ingredient in a commercial remedy taken to maintain the urinary tract system. Other ingredients could include yarrow and marsh mallow.

Other facts: Corn originates from Central America but is cultivated in many countries as a food crop and as fodder. In countries with colder climate the whole corn plant is used a cattle feed.

Precautions:
Cornsilk is safe when taken in proper dosages, according to sources including PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) for Herbal Medicines,, the 1998 book based on the findings of Germany’s Commission E. The commission published its findings about herbal remedies in a 1997 monograph.

If a person decides to collect fresh cornsilk, attention should be paid to whether the plants were sprayed with pesticides.

Side Effects:
There are no known side effects when cornsilk is taken in designated therapeutic dosages.

Interactions:
Information is not available about whether there is an interaction when cornsilk is taken with medication. People taking medications should first check with their doctor or health practitioner before using cornsilk.

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.phytochemicals.info/plants/cornsilk.php
http://www.answers.com/topic/cornsilk

 

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Ginkgo Biloba Protects Your Memory

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Taking the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba may delay the onset of cognitive impairment in elderly adults. However, the study also showed a higher incidence of strokes and “mini-strokes” in ginkgo users.

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In a three-year study of more than 100 people age 85 and older with no memory problems, half took ginkgo biloba extract three times a day, and half took a placebo.

During the course of the study, 14 of those who took the placebo developed memory problems, but only 7 of those who took the ginkgo extract did. When the researchers took into account whether people followed directions in taking the study pills, they found that people who reliably took ginkgo had a 68 percent lower risk of developing memory problems.

Seven people taking ginkgo had strokes, while none of those taking placebo did.

Sources:
Reuters February 27, 2008
Neurology February 27, 2008 [Epub ahead of print]

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