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Polyganum aviculare

Botanical Name: Polyganum aviculare
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Polygonum
Species: P. aviculare
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Knotgrass. Centinode. Ninety-knot. Nine-joints. Allseed. Bird’s Tongue. Sparrow Tongue. Red Robin. Armstrong. Cowgrass. Hogweed. Pigweed. Pigrush. Swynel Grass. Swine’s Grass.

Common Names :  Knotweed, Prostrate knotweed, Birdweed, Pigweed and lowgrass.

Part Used: Whole herb.

Habitat: Polyganum aviculare occurs throughout the world. It is mostly found in fields and wasteland.

Description:
Common knotgrass is an annual herb with a semi-erect stem that may grow to 10 to 40 cm (4 to 16 in) high. The leaves are hairless and short-stalked. They are longish-elliptical with short stalks and rounded bases; the upper ones are few and are linear and stalkless. The stipules are fused into a stem-enclosing, translucent sheath known as an ochrea that is membranous and silvery. The flowers are regular, green with white or pink margins. Each has five perianth segments, overlapping at the base, five to eight stamens and three fused carpels. The fruit is a dark brown, three-edged nut. The seeds need light to germinate which is why this plant appears in disturbed soil in locations where its seeds may have lain dormant for years. It is noted for attracting wildlife……..CLICK  & SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation :
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade. Repays generous treatment, in good soils the plant will cover an area up to a metre in diameter. Prefers an acid soil. Dislikes shade. Knotweed is a common and invasive weed of cultivated ground. It is an important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies. It also produces an abundance of seeds and these are a favourite food for many species of birds. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The flowers have little or no scent or honey and are rarely visited by pollinating insects. Self-fertilization is the usual method of reproduction, though cross-fertilization by insects does sometimes occur. The plant also produces cleistogomous flowers – these never open and therefore are always self-fertilized. The plant is very variable and is seen by most botanists as an aggregate species of 4 very variable species, viz. – P. aviculare. L.; P. boreale. (Lange.)Small.; P. rurivacum. Jord. ex Box.; and P. arenastrum. Box.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Young leaves and plants – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb, they are very rich in zinc. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly to utilize, they can be used in all the ways that buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is used, either whole or dried and ground into a powder for use in pancakes, biscuits and piñole. The leaves are a tea substitute
Chemical Compositions: Polyganum aviculare contains the flavonols avicularin, myricitrin, juglanin, astragalin, betmidin and the lignan aviculin.
*Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
*Leaves (Fresh weight)
*0 Calories per 100g
*Water : 81.6%
*Protein: 1.9g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 10.2g; Fibre: 3.5g; Ash: 3.5g;
*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:
Anthelmintic; Antiphlogistic; Astringent; Cardiotonic; Cholagogue; Diuretic; Emetic; Emollient; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Haemostatic;
Lithontripic; Purgative; TB; Vasoconstrictor; Vulnerary.

Polyganum aviculare is a safe and effective astringent and diuretic herb that is used mainly in the treatment of complaints such as dysentery and haemorrhoids. It is also taken in the treatment of pulmonary complaints because the silicic acid it contains strengthens connective tissue in the lungs. The whole plant is anthelmintic, astringent, cardiotonic, cholagogue, diuretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, lithontripic and vulnerary. It was formerly widely used as an astringent both internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, bleeding, piles and diarrhoea. Its diuretic properties make it useful in removing stones. An alcohol-based preparation has been used with success to treat varicose veins of recent origin. The plant is harvested in the summer and early autumn and is dried for later use. The leaves are anthelmintic, diuretic and emollient. The whole plant is anthelmintic, antiphlogistic and diuretic. The juice of the plant is weakly diuretic, expectorant and vasoconstrictor. Applied externally, it is an excellent remedy to stay bleeding of the nose and to treat sores. The seeds are emetic and purgative. Recent research has shown that the plant is a useful medicine for bacterial dysentery. Of 108 people with this disease, 104 recovered within 5 days when treated internally with a paste of knotweed
The plant has astringent properties, rendering an infusion of it useful in diarrhoea, bleeding piles and all haemorrhages; it was formerly employed considerably as a vulnerary and styptic.

It has also diuretic properties, for which it has found employment in strangury and as an expellant of stone, the dose recommended in old herbals being 1 drachm of the herb, powdered in wine, taken twice a day.

The decoction was also administered to kill worms.

The fresh juice has been found effectual to stay bleeding of the nose, squirted up the nose and applied to the temples, and made into an ointment it has proved an excellent remedy for sores.

Salmon stated:
‘Knotgrass is peculiar against spilling of blood, strangury and other kidney affections, cools inflammations, heals wounds and cleanses and heals old filthy ulcers. The Essence for tertians and quartan. The decoction for colick; the Balsam strengthens weak joints, comforts the nerves and tendons, and is prevalent against the gout, being duly and rightly applied morning and evening.’

The fruit is emetic and purgative.

Other Uses:..Dye…….Yields a blue dye that is not much inferior to indigo. The part used is not specified, but it is likely to be the leaves. Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the whole plant. The roots contain tannins, but the quantity was not given

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) – whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their 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

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/Polygonum_aviculare
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/k/knogra08.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygonum+aviculare

Prunus mahaleb

Botanical Name : Prunus mahaleb
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. mahaleb
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names :Prunus mahaleb, aka mahaleb cherry, aka St Lucie cherry

Habitat :Prunus mahaleb  is native in the Mediterranean region, Iran and parts of central Asia. It is adjudged to be native in northwestern Europe or at  least it is naturalized there.The tree occurs in thickets and open woodland on dry slopes; in central Europe at altitudes up to 1,700 m, and in highlands at  1,200-2,000 m in southern Europe. It has become naturalised in some temperate areas, including Europe north of its native range (north to Great Britain and  Sweden), and locally in Australia and the United States.

Description:
Prunus mahaleb is a deciduous tree or large shrub, growing to 2–10 m (rarely up to 12 m) tall with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter.The tree’s bark is  grey-brown, with conspicuous lenticels on young stems, and shallowly fissured on old trunks. The leaves are 1.5-5 cm long, 1-4 cm. wide, alternate, clustered at the end of alternately arranged twigs, ovate to cordate, pointed, have serrate edges, longitudinal venation and are glabrous and green. The petiole is  5-20 mm, and may or may not have two glands. The flowers are fragrant, pure white, small, 8-20 mm diameter, with an 8-15 mm pedicel; they are arranged 3-10  together on a 3-4 cm long raceme. The flower pollination is mainly by bees. The fruit is a small thin-fleshed cherry-like drupe 8–10 mm in diameter, green at  first, turning red then dark purple to black when mature, with a very bitter flavour; flowering is in mid spring with the fruit ripening in mid to late  summer……....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES.

Cultivation:  
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing best in a poor soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:       
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
The fruit might be edible. The fruits of all members of this genus are more or less edible, may not be always of very good quality. However, if the fruit is bitter it should not be eaten in any quantity due to the presence of toxic compounds. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seeds are eaten  raw or cooked. The dried seed kernels are used as a flavouring in breads, sweet pastries, confectionery etc. They impart an intriguing flavour. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The seed is tonic. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Known Hazards:      Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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/Prunus_mahaleb
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+mahaleb

Piper kadsura

Botanical Name : Piper kadsura
Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Piper
Species: P. kadsura
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Common Name :Japanese Pepper

Habitat :Piper kadsura is native to  Eastern Asiati countries

Description:
This is an evergreen vine capable of growing straight up a tree trunk. It is reported to be dioecious so a single plant will not produce seeds. It grows well in shade in a well-drained soil and responds to irrigation. Catalogs guess that it will be cold hardy in zone 8b and south.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

English: Piper kadsura – Japanese Pepper, f?t?...

English: Piper kadsura – Japanese Pepper, futokazura (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stems rooting at nodes, ridged, sparsely pubescent when young. Petiole 1-1.5 cm, sometimes pubescent, sheathed at base only; leaf blade ovate or long ovate, 6-12 × 3.5-7 cm, ± leathery, abaxially usually pubescent on veins, adaxially glabrous, with uniformly scattered raised white glands, base cordate to rounded, ± symmetric, apex acute or obtuse; veins 5, apical pair arising up to 1.5 cm above base, others basal; reticulate veins conspicuous. Spikes leaf-opposed. Male spikes yellow, ascending, 3-5.5(-12) cm × ca. 2.5 mm; peduncle 0.6-1.5 cm; rachis hispidulous; bracts yellow, orbicular, ca. 1 mm wide, peltate, margin irregular, abaxially roughly white pubescent, ± sessile. Stamens 2 or 3; filaments short. Female spikes shorter than leaf blades; peduncle ca. as long as petioles; rachis and bracts as in male spikes. Ovary globose, distinct; stigmas 3 or 4, linear, pubescent. Drupe brownish yellow, globose, 3-4 mm in diam. Fl. May-Aug.

Medicinal Uses:
This pepper is used as a stomachic, expectorant, and stimulant.

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.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200005569
http://southeastgarden.com/piper.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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Nectandra rodioei

Botanical Name :Nectandra rodioei
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Nectandra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Laurales

Common Names : Bebeeru, Bebeeru-bark, Greenheart-bark, Bibiru, Sipiri (Cortex beberu, or bibiru, Nectandra cortex

Habitat :Nectandra rodioei is a native of British Guiana.

Description:
Nectandra rodioei is a magnificent forest tree, growing from 60 to 80 feet in height, branching near the summit, and covered with a smooth, ash-gray bark. The leaves are nearly opposite, smooth, shining, coriaceous, 5 or 6 inches long, and 2 or 3 broad. The flowers are obscure, whitish-yellow, cordate, and disposed in axillary panicles. The fruit is a globular berry, about 6 inches in circumference, having a woody, grayish-brown, speckled pericarp, and a seed with 2 large, plano-convex cotyledons, which is yellow when freshly cut, and possesses an acid reaction and an intensely bitter taste. The fruit abounds in bitter starch (Schomburgk).

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Its bark was introduced by Dr. Rodie as an energetic tonic and febrifuge. It is in flat pieces of 1 or 2 feet in length, from 2 to 6 inches broad, and about 4 lines in thickness, dark, heavy, brittle, with a rough, fibrous fracture, dark cinnamon-brown, and rather smooth internally, and covered externally with a brittle, grayish-brown epidermis. It has little or no odor, but a strong, persistent, bitter taste, with considerable astringency. The fruit is about the size of a small peach, somewhat heart-shaped, or inversely ovate, slightly flattened, the outside coat being frangible, and the kernel pulpy. It is exceedingly bitter. The sulphate of beberine is obtained from the bark and seeds.

Chemical Constituents:
.—The bark of nectandra contains starch, iron-greening tannin, deliquescent bebiric acid, melting at 150° C. (302° F.), subliming at 200° C. (392° F.), and has two alkaloids—bebeerine (bibirine or beberine) and nectandrine (sipeerine or sipirine of Maclagan, 1845). The British Pharmacopoeias of 1867 and 1885, indicate an elaborate process for the preparation of beberine sulphate from nectandra bark. The product is probably a mixture of sulphates of beberine (C36H42N2O6), nectandrine (C40H46N2O8), and other alkaloids (Maclagan and Gamgee, Pharm. Jour. Trans., 1869, Vol. XI, p. 19).

Medicinal Uses:
Plants from this genus have been used in the treatment of several clinical disorders in humans. It has been demonstrated that Nectandra plants have potential analgesic, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, energetic and hypotensive activities. Nectandra also has been investigated as a possible antitumoral agent and the presence of neolignans was suggested as potential chemotherapeutics. Crude extracts of Nectandra contain alkaloids and lignans, berberine and sipirine. Some authors have postulated that tannins play important roles as antioxidant compounds in the scavenging of free radicals. It is reported that an extract of N. salicifolia has potent relaxant activity on vascular smooth muscle. Researchers of the entire world agree that pre-clinical large studies on herbal medicine are important and urgent, specially high-quality clinical and pre-clinical trials
The alkaloids are strong tonics, promoting digestion, sustaining the circulation, and mildly stimulating the nervous system. Many persons compare it to quinine; but it is not such an intense nerve stimulant as that article, and is more distinctly favorable to digestion, and to the improvement of the general tone of the system. It has been used in agues. In cases where the nervous system is sensitive, and quinine is likely to cause excitement, bebeerin is a preferable agent. As a tonic in periodical neuralgia, atonic prolapsus and dyspepsia, and low forms of periodical hysteria, it can be used to much advantage. It relieves passive menorrhagia and has been used in some cases of exhaustive discharges, as colliquative diarrhea, and hectic from excessive suppuration. Rarely used now.

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.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/nectandra.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nectandra

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Artemisia afra

Botanical Name ; Artemisia afra
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: Artemisia afra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names:wild wormwood, African wormwood (Eng.); wilde-als (Afr.); umhlonyane (Xhosa); mhlonyane (Zulu); lengana (Tswana); zengana (Southern Sotho)

Habitat :Artemisia afra has a  wide distribution from South Africa, to areas reaching to the North and East, as far north as Ethiopia. Artemisia afra is the only indigenous species in this genus.

Description:
Artemisia afra grows in thick, bushy, slightly untidy clumps, usually with tall stems up to 2 m high, but sometimes as low as 0.6 m. The stems are thick and woody at the base, becoming thinner and softer towards the top. Many smaller side branches shoot from the main stems. The stems are ribbed with strong swollen lines that run all the way up. The soft leaves are finely divided, almost fern-like. The upper surface of the leaves is dark green whereas the undersides and the stems are covered with small white hairs, which give the shrub the characteristic overall grey colour. A. afra flowers in late summer, from March to May. The individual creamy yellow flowers are small (3-4 mm in diameter), nodding and crowded at the tips of the branches. Very typical of A. afra is the strong, sticky sweet smell that it exudes when touched or cut.

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Medicinal Uses;
Artemisia afra is a well-known medicinal plant in Africa, and is still used effectively by people of many cultures. Uses range from treating cough, fever, colic, headache, to intestinal parasites and malaria. In addition, Artemisia afra is frequently used as a moth repellent, and in organic insecticidal sprays.

The roots, stems and leaves are used as enemas, poultices, infusions, lotions, inhaled (e.g. smoked or snuffed), or as an essential oil.

Artemisia afra is used in many different ways and one of the most common practices is to insert fresh leaves into the nostrils to clear blocked nasal passages. Another maybe not so common use is to place leaves in socks for sweaty feet. The roots, stems and leaves are used in many different ways and taken as enemas, poultices, infusions, body washes, lotions, smoked, snuffed or drunk as a tea. A. afra has a very bitter taste and is usually sweetened with sugar or honey when drunk. Wilde-als brandy is a very popular medicine still made and sold today. Margaret Roberts lists many other interesting uses which includes the use in natural insecticidal sprays and as a moth repellent.

Used mainly as an aqueous decoction or infusion applied externally or taken orally, the extremely bitter taste being masked by the addition of sugar or honey. Fresh leaf may be added to boiling water and the vapors inhaled.  For the treatment of cough, croup, whooping cough, influenza, fever, diabetes, gastro-intestinal disorders and intestinal worms.  As an inhalation for the relief of headache and nasal congestion or a lotion to treat hemorrhoids. In traditional practice, fresh leaf is inserted into the nostrils to relieve nasal congestion or placed in boiling water as a steam bath for menstrual pain or after childbirth. Warmed leaves may be applied externally as a poultice to relieve inflammation and aqueous infusions administered per rectum or applied as a lotion to treat hemorrhoids.  African Artemisia afra foliage was smoked by many Indian tribes to induce visionary states during religious ceremonies. It is a strong narcotic, analgesic and antihistamine. It is an excellent smoke or smoke-mix, reputed for its hallucinogenic effects and psychoactive properties. In Central America and the Caribbean Islands, it is dried and smoked along with Cannabis sativa as an aphrodisiac.  Volatile oils from the plant resulted in significant activity against Aspergillus ochraceus, A. niger, A. parasiticus, Candida albicans, Alternaria alternata, Geotrichum candidum, and Penicillium citrium

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_afra
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/artemisafra.htm
http://www.herbgarden.co.za/mountainherb/article_wildeals.htm