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Artemisia biennis

Botanical Name : Artemisia biennis
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species:A. biennis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Artemisia armeniaca Willd. ex Ledeb.
*Artemisia australis Ehrh. ex DC.
*Artemisia canescens Willd.
*Artemisia cernua Dufour ex Willk. & Lange
*Artemisia cernuiflora Dufour ex Willk. & Lange
*Artemisia eschscholtziana Besser
*Artemisia hispanica Jacq. 1786 not Lam. 1783 nor Weber ex Stechmann 1775 nor Stechm. ex Besser 1836
*Artemisia inconspicua Spreng.
*Artemisia jacquinii Raeusch.
*Artemisia microcephala Hillebr.
*Artemisia pinnatifida Jacquem. ex DC.
*Artemisia pyromacha Viv.
*Artemisia ramosa Lag. ex Willk. & Lange
*Artemisia seriphium Pourr. ex Willk. & Lange

Common Names: Biennial Wormwood

Habitat :Artemisia biennis is native to N. America – Quebec to British Columbia and south to New England, Indiana etc. It grows on open ground, clearings, burns, roadsides and waste places.

Description:
Artemisia biennis is an annual or biennial herb producing a single erect green to reddish stem up to 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) in maximum height. It is generally hairless and unscented. The frilly leaves are up to 13 centimetres (5.1 in) long and divided into thin, lance-shaped segments with long teeth. Leaves are alternate, 1-3 inches long, deeply divided into long, narrow lobes with coarsely toothed edges. Lower leaves can be double divided. Leaves and stems are hairless throughout. Stems can be simple or much branched at the base. Plants typically have a narrow, spire-like profile The inflorescence is a dense rod of clusters of flower heads interspersed with leaves. Flowers are numerous, yellow to green and globe like, 1/8 inch across in densely packed, short columnar clusters in the leaf axils, forming leafy, compound spikes on the upper stems and branches, several feet long on large specimens. The fruit is a tiny achene less than a millimeter wide.

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Cultivation:
The plant can be easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow spring in a greenhouse. Do not allow the compost to dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ during late spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Parasiticide; Poultice; Skin.

The plant as been used in the treatment of stomach cramps, colic and painful menstruation. Externally, it has been used for treating sores and wounds. The report does not specify which part of the plant is used. The seeds, mixed with molasses, have been used as a parasiticide in getting rid of worms

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_biennis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+biennis
https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/biennial-wormwood

Arum maculatum

Botanical Name : Arum maculatum
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe:     Areae
Genus:     Arum
Species: A. maculatum
Kingdom:     Plantae
Order:     Alismatales

Synonyms: Lords and Ladies. Arum. Starchwort. Adder’s Root. Bobbins. Friar’s Cowl. Kings and Queens. Parson and Clerk. Ramp. Quaker. Wake Robin.

Common Names : snakeshead, adder’s root, arum, wild arum, arum lily, lords and ladies, devils and angels, cows and bulls, cuckoo-pint, Adam and Eve, bobbins, naked boys, starch-root, wake robin, friar’s cowl and jack in the pulpit. The name “lords and ladies” and other gender related names refer to the plant’s likeness to male ? and female ? genitalia symbolising copulation.

Arum maculatum is also known as Cuckoo Pint or Cuckoo-pint in the British Isles and is named thus in Nicholas Culpepers’ famous 16th Century herbal. This is a name it shares with Arum italicum (Italian Lords-and-Ladies) – the other native British Arum. “Pint” is a shortening of the word “pintle”, meaning penis, derived from the shape of the spadix. The euphemistic shortening has been traced to Turner in 1551.

Habitat :Arum maculatum is widespread across most of Europe, south and east of Sweden, including Britain, south to N. Africa.It grows in hedges, woodlands, copses etc, especially on base-rich substrata

The Arum family, Aroidae, which numbers nearly 1,000 members, mostly tropical, and many of them marsh or water plants, is represented in this country by a sole species, Arum maculatum (Linn.), familiarly known as Lords and Ladies, or Cuckoo-pint.

Description:

Arum maculatum is a perennial plant growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Flies.

The purple spotted leaves of Arum maculatum appear in the spring (April–May) followed by the flowers borne on a poker shaped inflorescence called a spadix. The purple spadix is partially enclosed in a pale green spathe or leaf-like hood. The flowers are hidden from sight, clustered at the base of the spadix with a ring of female flowers at the bottom and a ring of male flowers above them.

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Above the male flowers is a ring of hairs forming an insect trap. Insects, especially owl-midges Psychoda phalaenoides, are attracted to the spadix by its faecal odour and a temperature up to 15 degrees celsius warmer than the ambient temperature. The insects are trapped beneath the ring of hairs and are dusted with pollen by the male flowers before escaping and carrying the pollen to the spadices of other plants, where they pollinate the female flowers. The spadix may also  be yellow, but purple is the more common.

All parts of the plant can produce allergic reactions in many people and the plant should be handled with care. Many small rodents appear to find the spadix particularly attractive and it is common to find examples of the plant with much of the spadix eaten away. The spadix produces heat and probably scent as the flowers mature and it may be this that attracts the rodents.

Cultivation:
Prefers a humus rich soil and abundant water in the growing season. Prefers a shady damp calcareous soil. Succeeds in sun or shade. Plants are very shade tolerant  and grow well in woodland conditions. The inflorescence has the remarkable ability to heat itself above the ambient air temperature to such a degree that it is quite noticeable to the touch. Temperature rises of 11°c have been recorded. At the same time, the flowers emit a foul and urinous smell in order to attract midges for pollination. The smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse or cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Stored seed should be sown in the spring in a greenhouse and can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking a year or more. A period of cold stratification might help to speed up the process. Sow the seed thinly, and allow the seedlings to grow on without disturbance for their first year, giving occasional liquid feeds to ensure that they do not become mineral deficient. When the plants are dormant in the autumn, divide up the small corms, planting 2 – 3 in each pot, and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year, planting out when dormant in the autumn. Division of the corms in summer after flowering. Larger corms can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up the smaller corms and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out.

Edible Uses:
Tuber is cooked and used as a vegetable. A mild flavour, the root contains about 25% starch. A farina can be extracted from the root. Roots can be harvested at any time of the year, though they are best when the plant is dormant. At one time, the tubers of this plant were commonly harvested and used for food, but they are very rarely used nowadays. The root must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten. (see the Known Hazards below) . Leaves – must be well cooked. Available from late winter. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Root.

Antirheumatic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Homeopathy; Purgative; Vermifuge.

Arum maculatum  has been little used in herbal medicine and is generally not recommended for internal use. The shape of the flowering spadix has a distinct sexual symbolism and the plant did have a reputation as an aphrodisiac, though there is no evidence to support this. The root is diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, strongly purgative and vermifuge. It should be harvested in the autumn or before the leaves are produced in the spring. It can be stored fresh in a cellar in sand for up to a year or can be dried for later use. The plant should be used with caution. The bruised fresh plant has been applied externally in the treatment of rheumatic pain. A liquid from the boiled bark of the stem has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the root and leaves. It has been used in the treatment of sore throats.

Other Uses:
Arum maculatum is cultivated as an ornamental plant in traditional and woodland shade gardens. The cluster of bright red berries standing alone without foliage can be a striking landscape accent. The mottled and variegated leaf patterns can add bright interest in darker habitats.

Starch from the root has been used as a laundry starch for stiffening clothes. Its use is said to be very harsh on the skin, producing sores and blisters on the hands of the laundresses who have to use it, though another report says that the powdered root makes a good and innocent cosmetic that can be used to remove freckles.

Known Hazards: In autumn the lower ring of (female) flowers forms a cluster of bright red berries which remain after the spathe and other leaves have withered away. These attractive red to orange berries are extremely poisonous. The berries contain oxalates of saponins which have needle-shaped crystals which irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, and result in swelling of throat, difficulty breathing, burning pain, and upset stomach. However, their acrid taste coupled with the almost immediate tingling sensation in the mouth when consumed mean that large amounts are rarely taken and serious harm is unusual. It is one of the most common causes of accidental plant poisoning based on attendance at hospital A & E departments.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cucko122.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arum_maculatum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Arum+maculatum

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Does More Frequent Meals Really Rev Up Your Metabolism?

You’ve probably heard that eating smaller meals, several times a day will stimulate your metabolism, and keep it revved to burn more calories throughout your day.
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The New York Times points out that although some studies have found modest health benefits to eating smaller meals, the research usually involved extremes.

Many weight-loss books and fad diets claim six meals a day is a more realistic approach.

But will it really make a difference?

The New York Times states:

“As long as total caloric and nutrient intake stays the same, then metabolism, at the end of the day, should stay the same as well. One study that carefully demonstrated this, published in 2009 in The British Journal of Nutrition, involved groups of overweight men and women who were randomly assigned to very strict low-calorie diets and followed for eight weeks. Each subject consumed the same number of calories per day, but one group took in three meals a day and the other six.

Both groups lost significant and equivalent amounts of weight. There was no difference between them in fat loss, appetite control or measurements of hormones that signal hunger and satiety. Other studies have had similar results.”

Exercise, on the other hand, seems to effectively increase metabolism according to studies.


Reources:

New York Times March 21, 2010
The British Journal of Nutrition November 30, 2009; 1-4. [Epub ahead of print]

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Talk Deeply & Be Happy

Would you be happier if you spent more time discussing the state of the world and the meaning of life — and less time talking about the weather?

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Deep conversations made people happier than small talk, one study found.
It may sound counterintuitive, but people who spend more of their day having deep discussions and less time engaging in small talk seem to be happier, said Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who published a study on the subject.

“We found this so interesting, because it could have gone the other way — it could have been, ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ — as long as you surf on the shallow level of life you’re happy, and if you go into the existential depths you’ll be unhappy,” Dr. Mehl said.

But, he proposed, substantive conversation seemed to hold the key to happiness for two main reasons: both because human beings are driven to find and create meaning in their lives, and because we are social animals who want and need to connect with other people.

“By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world,” Dr. Mehl said. “And interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner, and we know that interpersonal connection and integration is a core fundamental foundation of happiness.”

Dr. Mehl’s study was small and doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the kind of conversations one has and one’s happiness. But that’s the planned next step, when he will ask people to increase the number of substantive conversations they have each day and cut back on small talk, and vice versa.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, involved 79 college students — 32 men and 47 women — who agreed to wear an electronically activated recorder with a microphone on their lapel that recorded 30-second snippets of conversation every 12.5 minutes for four days, creating what Dr. Mehl called “an acoustic diary of their day.”

Researchers then went through the tapes and classified the conversation snippets as either small talk about the weather or having watched a TV show, and more substantive talk about current affairs, philosophy, the difference between Baptists and Catholics or the role of education. A conversation about a TV show wasn’t always considered small talk; it could be categorized as substantive if the speakers analyzed the characters and their motivations, for example.

Many conversations were more practical and did not fit in either category, including questions about homework or who was taking out the trash, for example, Dr. Mehl said. Over all, about a third of all conversation was ranked as substantive, and about a fifth consisted of small talk.

But the happiest person in the study, based on self-reports about satisfaction with life and other happiness measures as well as reports from people who knew the subject, had twice as many substantive conversations, and only one-third of the amount of small talk as the unhappiest, Dr. Mehl said. Almost every other conversation the happiest person had — 45.9 percent of the day’s conversations — were substantive, while only 21.8 percent of the unhappiest person’s conversations were substantive.

Small talk made up only 10 percent of the happiest person’s conversations, while it made up almost three times as much –- or 28.3 percent –- of the unhappiest person’s conversations.

Next, Dr. Mehl wants to see if people can actually make themselves happier by having more substantive conversations.

“It’s not that easy, like taking a pill once a day,” Dr. Mehl said. “But this has always intrigued me. Can we make people happier, by asking them, for the next five days, to have one extra substantive conversation every day?”

Source: The New York Times. (Health, March 17,2010)

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Omega-3 fatty acids For Heart Disease

Learn the numerous benefits of fish oil for good cardiovascular health.
Consider, for a moment, the Eskimos of Alaska and their indigenous cousins in Canada and Russia. These hardy souls survive on diets of nearly pure fat, and yet they tend to be completely free of heart disease. How in the world is this possible? The answer is fish oil….click & see

Every medical journal on heart health brings, it seems, another study demonstrating the cardiovascular benefits of the oil — specifically, its omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat found in few foods other than fish and flaxseed. A primary reason it’s so healthy: omega-3s are a natural anti-inflammatory. In recent years, scientists have discovered that inflammation within our arteries — triggered in response to damage done by plaque, high blood pressure, and free radicals — is a major cause of heart disease. While inflammation is a healing response, in your blood vessels it only causes further damage, leaving them stiffer and working at far less then optimal capacity. Omega-3s cause this type of inflammation to recede.

There’s more. Omega-3 fatty acids also seem to make blood less sticky so it’s less likely to form clots that can block blood flow and trigger a heart attack. They also seem to affect heart rhythm, keeping it more regular and reducing your risk of sudden death caused by arrhythmia, or erratic heartbeat, a major cause of death from coronary artery disease. And they lower levels of triglycerides, blood fats linked with heart disease.

Bottom line: Get more omega-3 fatty acids into your body, either through foods or supplements. Plus, here are the fish with the largest amounts of this crucial nutrient (amounts are per 3.5 ounces of fish):

Mackerel: 2.6 grams

Atlantic herring: 1.7 grams

Chinook salmon: 1.5 grams

Fresh albacore tuna: 1.5 grams

Anchovies: 1.4 grams

From : Stealth Health