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Sorbus aucuparia

Botanical Name : Sorbus aucuparia
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Sorbus
Subgenus:Sorbus
Section:Sorbus
Species:S. aucuparia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Pyrus aucuparia

Common Names: Mountain-ash, European mountain ash, Amur mountain-ash, Quick beam, Quickbeam, Rowan or Rowan-berry

Habitat :Sorbus aucuparia is native to Europe, including Britain, south and east from Iceland to Spain, Macedonia and the Caucasus. It grows in the woods, scrub and mountain rocks, mainly on lighter soil, rare or absent on clays or soft limestones. It is found at higher elevations than any other native tree.

Description:

Sorbus aucuparia occurs as a deciduous tree or shrub that grows up to between 5 and 15 m in height. The crown is loose and roundish or irregularly shaped but wide and the plant often grows multiple trunks. A trunk is slender and cylindrical and reaches up to 40 cm in diameter, and the branches stick out and are slanted upwards.The bark of a young S. aucuparia is yellowish gray and gleaming and becomes gray-black with lengthwise cracks in advanced age; it descales in small flakes. Lenticels in the bark are elongated and colored a bright ocher. The plant does not often grow older than 80 years and is one of the shortest-lived trees in temperate climate. Wood of S. aucuparia has a wide reddish white sapwood and a light brown to reddish brown heartwood. It is diffuse-porous, flexible, elastic, and tough, but not durable, with a density of 600 to 700 kg/m3 in a dried state. The roots of S. aucuparia grow wide and deep, and the plant is capable of root sprouting and can regenerate after coppicing.

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The compound leaves are pinnate with 4 to 9 pairs of leaflets on either side of a terete central vein and with a terminal leaflet. There are paired leaf-like stipules at the base of the petiole. The leaves are up to 20 cm long, 8 to 12 cm wide, and arranged in an alternate leaf pattern on a branch., distinguishing them from those of ash, Fraxinus excelsior, which are opposite and without stipules. The leaflets are elongated-lanceolate in shape, 2 to 6 cm long, and 1 to 2.5 cm wide with a sharply serrated edge, and have short stems or sit close to the central vein except for the outermost leaflet. Leaflets are covered in gray-silvery hairs after sprouting but become mostly bare after they unfold. Their uppers side is dark green and their underside is a grayish green and felted. Young leaflets smell like marzipan when brayed. The leaflets are asymmetrical at the bottom. S. aucuparia foliage grows in May and turns yellow in autumn or a dark red in dry locations.

Buds of S. aucuparia are often longer than 1 cm and have flossy to felted hairs. These hairs, which disappear over time, cover dark brown to black bud scales. The terminal buds are oval and pointed and larger than axillary buds, which are narrow, oval and pointed, close to the twig, and often curved towards it.

S. aucuparia is monoecious. It reaches maturity at age 10 and carries ample fruit almost every year. The plant flowers from May to June (on occasion again in September) in many yellowish white corymbs that contain about 250 flowers. The corymbs are large, upright, and bulging. The flowers are between 8 and 10 mm in diameter and have five small, yellowish green, and triangular sepals that are covered in hairs or bare. The five round or oval petals are yellowish white and the flower has up to 25 stamens fused with the corolla to form a hypanthium and an ovary with two to five styles; the style is fused with the receptacle. Flowers of S. aucuparia have an unpleasant trimethylamine smell. Their nectar is high in fructose and glucose.

Its fruit are round pomes between 8 and 10 mm in diameter that ripen from August to October. The fruit are green before they ripen and then typically turn from orange or scarlet in color. The sepals persist as a black, five-pointed star on the ripe fruit. A corymb carries 80 to 100 pomes. A pome contains a star-shaped ovary with two to five locules each containing one or two flat, narrow, and pointed reddish seeds. The flesh of the fruit contains carotenoids, citric acid, malic acid, parasorbic acid, pectin, provitamin A, sorbitol, tannin, and vitamin C. The seeds contain glycoside....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
The plant succeeds in most reasonably good soils in an open sunny position. It grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates some shade, though it fruits better in a sunny position. Prefers a cool moist position and a lighter neutral to slightly acid soil. Dislikes shallow soils or drought. Succeeds on chalk or acid peats[98, 186]. A very wind firm tree tolerating very exposed and maritime positions. Tolerates atmospheric pollution. Some named varieties have been developed for their improved fruits which are larger and sweeter than the type. Plants, and especially young seedlings, are quite fast growing. The fruit is very attractive to birds. 28 species of insects are associated with this tree. Responds well to coppicing. Plants are susceptible to fireblight. Special Features:Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed. Stored seed germinates better if given 2 weeks warm then 14 – 16 weeks cold stratification[98], so sow it as early in the year as possible. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Seedlings are very slow to put on top-growth for their first year or two, but they are busy building up a good root system. It is best to keep them in pots in a cold frame for their first winter and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring.

Edible Uses:
Fruit are eaten raw or cooked. The fruit is very acid and large quantities of the raw fruit can cause stomach upsets. It can be used to make delicious, if slightly acidulous, jams and preserves, the fruit can also be dried and used as a flour mixed with cereals. The fruit is about 7.5mm in diameter and is produced in quite large bunches making harvest easy. The leaves and flowers are used as a tea substitute. Young leaves are said to be a famine food but they contain a cyanogenic glycoside so you should be very hungry before even thinking of eating them. A coffee substitute. The report was referring to the fruit, it probably means the roasted seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is astringent, it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and as a vaginal injection for leucorrhoea etc. The fruit is antiscorbutic and astringent. It is normally used as a jam or an infusion to treat diarrhoea and haemorrhoids. An infusion can also be used as a gargle for sore throats and as a wash to treat haemorrhoids and excessive vaginal discharge. The seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides which, in reaction with water, produce the extremely toxic prussic acid. In small quantities this acts as a stimulant to the respiratory system but in larger doses can cause respiratory failure and death. It is therefore best to remove the seeds when using the fruit medicinally or as a food. Both the flowers and the fruit are aperient, mildly diuretic, laxative and emmenagogue. An infusion is used in the treatment of painful menstruation, constipation and kidney disorders.

Rowan berries are astringent and rather acidic. The juice has been used medicinally as a gargle for sore throats and laryngitis, and its astringency was useful in treating hemorrhoids and excessive vaginal discharge. The fruit contains vitamin C and was formerly employed in the prevention of scurvy. The fruit is antiscorbutic and astringent. It is normally used as a jam or an infusion to treat diarrhea and hemorrhoids. An infusion can also be used as a gargle for sore throats and as a wash to treat hemorrhoids and excessive vaginal discharge. The seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides which, in reaction with water, produce the extremely toxic prussic acid. In small quantities this acts as a stimulant to the respiratory system but in larger doses can cause respiratory failure and death. It is therefore best to remove the seeds when using the fruit medicinally or as a food. Both the flowers and the fruit are aperient, mildly diuretic, laxative and emmenagogue. An infusion is used in the treatment of painful menstruation, constipation and kidney disorders.

Other Uses:
Landscape Uses:Specimen.
An oil is obtained from the seed. A cosmetic face-mask is made from the fruits and is used to combat wrinkled skin. A black dye is obtained from the young branches. All parts of the plant contain tannin and can be used as a black dye. Trees are very wind resistant and can be used in shelterbelt plantings. Wood – hard, fine grained, compact and elastic. It is highly recommended by wood turners and is also used to make hoops for barrels, cogs and furniture.

Known Hazards : Large quantities of the raw fruit can cause vomiting, especially if people are not used to the fruit. Seeds probably contain hydrogen cyanide. this is the ingredient that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. Unless the seed is very bitter it should be perfectly safe in reasonable quantities. 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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sorbus+aucuparia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorbus_aucuparia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

Antennaria Margaritaceum

Botanical Name : Antennaria Margaritaceum
Family: Compositae/Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Gnaphalieae
Genus: Anaphalis
Species: A. margaritacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: American Everlasting.Antennaria dioica, Antennaria plantaginifolia,Helichrysum arenarium

Common Names :  Cudweed. Pearly everlasting, Pearl-flowered, life everlasting

Habitat:Antennaria Margaritaceum is native to North America, Kamschatka and in English gardens. Grows wild in Essex, near Bocking, and in Wales. Cultivated in Whin’s Cottage garden by the writer. It grows in dry hills and woods of various parts of the United States

Description:
Antennaria margaritacea is a perennial plant, with a simple, erect stem, corymbosely branched above. The leaves are linear-lanceolate, acute, 3-veined, sessile, and beneath the stem woolly; the corymbs are many-flowered and fastigiate; the scales of the hemispheric involucre are elliptic, obtuse, opaque, pearl-white, the outer ones only tomentose at the base; beads dioecious; the pistillate flowers are very slender; pappus simple, bristly, capillary in the fertile flowers, and in the sterile club-shaped, or barbellate at the summit. The corolla is yellowish (W. G.).The plant is slightly fragrant, ; it is from 1 to 2 feet in height, and bears yellow and white flowers in July. The leaves are the parts used. They contain a bitter principle and an essential oil.
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Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, stalks.
The name Antennaria is from the resemblance of the sterile pappus to the antennae of many insects (W.).Anodyne, astringent, and pectoral. A decoction has proved beneficial in diarrhoea and dysentery, and in pulmonary affections. Externally, it forms an excellent poultice in sprains, bruises, boils, painful swellings, etc., and is said to produce sleep when applied externally to the head, even in cases where a poultice of hops has failed. Rafinesque is authority for the statement that the Indians, for a trifle, would allow rattlesnakes to bite them, to show that they could cure the bite at once with this plant.

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/l/lifeve18.html
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/antennaria.html

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Daffodil

Botanical Name : Narcissus Pseudo-narcissus
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Narcissus
Species: N. pseudonarcissus
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Narcissus. Porillon. Daffy-down-dilly. Fleur de coucou.

Common Names :Daffodil, Common daffodil, Wild daffodil, Easter lily, Lent lily, Downdilly.

Habitat :Daffodil is native to Western Europe from Spain and Portugal east to Germany and north to England and Wales. It is commonly grown in gardens and populations have become established in many other parts of Europe. Wild plants grow in woods, grassland and on rocky ground. In Britain native populations have decreased substantially since the 19th century due to intensification of agriculture, clearance of woodland and uprooting of the bulbs for use in gardens. In Germany it was a subject of a national awareness campaign for the protection of wildflowers in 1981.

In England, in the North York Moors National Park, the Farndale valley hosts a large population of the species, along the banks of the River Dove.

In England, in Gloucestershire, there are several nature reserves supporting large populations of the species near Dymock Woods SSSI. There is a Daffodil Walk Trail around several reserves in the spring.

Description:
Daffodil is a bulbous perennial flowering plant  with upright, strap-like, grey-green leaves. The leaves arise from the base of the stem and are up to 35 cm long and 12 mm wide, with rounded tips. A single flower is produced at the tip of the flattened flower-stalk. The flower consists of a dark yellow ‘trumpet’ (corona) surrounded by a ring of 3 sepals and 3 petals (perianth), which are a lighter yellow. The flowers are up to 60 mm long and the ‘trumpet’ and ring of petals are roughly the same length. Flowers are usually produced from March to April. The daffodil is clump-forming, but reproduction is primarily via seed production.

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The daffodil is the ‘golden’ flower that inspired the poetry of William Wordsworth.

Cultivation & propagation:
Propagation of daffodils at Kew is normally carried out by dividing clumps where drifts of plants have become dense. The bulbs taken out are used to bulk up areas where daffodils are thinly distributed, or to create new plantings.

Daffodils have also been propagated from seed at Kew. The seeds are collected from mature daffodils at Kew during early summer and sown on an open compost mix in pots and kept outside. The pots are then placed in a cold frame during the winter. The seeds germinate in autumn with emergence of seedlings the following spring; however it takes three to five years before daffodils are mature enough to be planted into the Gardens.

Commercially, daffodils are propagated by tissue culture or twin-scaling. In twin-scaling the bulbs are cut into longitudinal segments. These are separated into pairs of scales joined by a portion of basal plate. When planted in compost these develop bulbils on the basal plate and the bulbils can be grown on to form new plants.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Bulb, leaves, flowers.

Chemical Constituents:Professor Barger has given the following notes on the alkaloid of Narcissus Pseudo-narcissus. ‘In 1910 Ewins obtained from the bulbs a crystalline alkaloid, to which he gave the name of narcissine, and on analysis found the formula to be C16H17ON.’ He notes that the alkaloid is characterized by great stability and cannot easily be decomposed. Ringer and Morshead found the alkaloid from resting bulbs acted like pilocarpine, while that from the flowering bulbs resembled atropine. Laidlaw tested Ewins’ alkaloid on frogs and cats, but found no action similar to pilocarpine or atropine. 0.125 gram given by mouth to a cat caused vomiting, salivation and purgation. In 1920 Asahtna, Professor of Chemistry in the Tokyo College of Pharmacy, showed that narcissine is identical with Iycorine isolated from Lycoris radiata in 1899. The name narcissine has therefore been dropped. Lycorine is quite common in the N.O. Amaryllidaceae. It was found in Buphane disticha by Tutin in the Mellome Research Laboratory in 1911 (Journ. Chem. Soc. Transactions 99, page 1,240). It is generally present in quite small quantities, at most 0.1 to 0.18 per cent of the fresh material. Chemically, Iycorine or narcissine has some resemblance to hydrastine, and like it, contains a dioxymethylene group.

Uses:
The following is a quotation from Culpepper:
‘Yellow Daffodils are under the dominion of Mars, and the roots thereof are hot and dry in the third degree. The roots boiled and taken in posset drink cause vomiting and are used with good success at the appearance of approaching agues, especially the tertian ague, which is frequently caught in the springtime. A plaster made of the roots with parched barley meal dissolves hard swellings and imposthumes, being applied thereto; the juice mingled with honey, frankincense wine, and myrrh, and dropped into the ears is good against the corrupt and running matter of the ears, the roots made hollow and boiled in oil help raw ribed heels; the juice of the root is good for the morphew and the discolouring of the skin.’

It is said by Galen to have astringent properties. It has been used as an application to wounds. For hard imposthumes, for burns, for strained sinews, stiff or painful joints, and other local ailments, and for ‘drawing forth thorns or stubs from any part of the body’ it was highly esteemed.
The Daffodil was the basis of an ancient ointment called Narcissimum.

The powdered flowers have been used as an emetic in place of the bulbs, and in the form of infusion or syrup, in pulmonary catarrh.

Other Uses:
Modern daffodil cultivars are important ornamental crops; more daffodils are planted than any other perennial ornamental plant. Britain is the major grower of daffodils for both flowers and bulbs, which are also grown commercially in the Netherlands, United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Wild daffodils were picked in great numbers in Britain in the past, and in the 1930s there was even a ‘Daffodil Special’ train service run by the Great Western Railway to take Londoners to the Gloucestershire-Herefordshire border to admire and buy the flowers.

The national flower of Wales, traditionally worn on St David’s Day (1 March), is a daffodil, although it is thought by some to be the Tenby daffodil (N. pseudonarcissus subspecies major, also known by the synonym N. obvallaris), which is native to South Wales, rather than N. pseudonarcissus subspecies pseudonarcissus. The Tenby daffodil has small, uniformly yellow flowers and short stiff stems.

Known hazards: The leaves, stems, seed pods and bulbs contain toxic alkaloids. If eaten they can cause dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and occasionally also convulsions. The toxins are usually most concentrated in the bulbs. Rather surprisingly, daffodil bulbs have been eaten on occasion after being mistaken for onions. The sap can cause dermatitis, and the leaves are poisonous to livestock.

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/d/daffod01.html
http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/Narcissus-pseudonarcissus.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_pseudonarcissus

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Folic Acid for Women Between 16 to 45

Women between 16 and 45 should take folic acid even if they don’t plan to become pregnant, say experts..

A pregnant woman takes folic acid. Now a spina bifida charity says ALL women of child bearing age should take the supplement just in case

All women of child-bearing age are being advised to take extra folic acid after a rise in spina bifida cases, a national charity said today.

The Scottish Spina Bifida Association (SSBA) issued the warning after it was revealed the number of new babies suffering from the disease born this year had doubled.

Research already suggests that folic acid supplements help prevent the condition. Women planning a pregnancy are recommended to take folic acid for three months prior to conception and during the first few months of pregnancy.

However the charity is warning that  unplanned pregnancies can mean the vitamin is taken too late.
‘Any sexually active woman of child bearing age should start taking folic acid now,’ a spokesman said.

Spina bifida causes vertebrae in the backbone to form incorrectly, often leading to paralysis from the waist down and other damage to the nervous system.

SSBA chairman Dr Margo Whiteford told the BBC: ‘This year we’ve had as many contacts from families in the first half of the year – a total of 15 – as we’d expect to see for the full year.

‘We don’t know if this is down to folic acid but we do know that most women don’t take enough folic acid at the right time.

‘Ladies do know about folic acid preventing spina bifida but they wait until they’ve missed a period before they start taking it.

‘The spinal cord develops within the first four weeks of pregnancy so by that stage it’s too late – if the baby’s going to have spina bifida it will already have developed it.’

It is not known whether there has been a similar rise in spina bifida cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Food Standards Agency currently recommends pregnant women take a daily 400 micrograms folic acid supplement until the 12th week of pregnancy.

This is as well as eating foods containing the natural form of folic acid such as green vegetables, brown rice, and breakfast cereals.

Currently, it is not mandatory in the UK to add the vitamin to food, although experts are assessing the evidence to make a decision.

Food that contain folate in high doses include leafy green vegetables, oranges, orange juice, dried beans and legumes. If  a food contains the sign ‘enriched’, it is likely it contains folic acid. In the US, grains such as flour, rice, pasta, cereals and bread are enriched with folic acid.

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You may click to learn more :->Women Needs 400 Micrograms of Folic Acid Every Day

Learn More About Folic Acid

Scottish Spina Bifida Association

Source: Mail Online. Sept.2 ,2009

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Myths About Asthma

For any type of asthma patient,  country living can be as bad for sufferers as the city.But the belief that they are cure-alls is just one of the myths surrounding the condition, which affects 5.4million people in the UK……..click & see

According to Joy Smith of Asthma UK, expensive measures may not be effective if you have not discovered exactly what has triggered the asthma. And this can be easily established by a simple skin prick test from your GP…………

Country air: But for some asthma sufferers it may be as bad as the city

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If plant pollen is the culprit rather than house-dust mites, for example, it would be better simply to close windows to keep out the pollen.
But if mites are the cause, the widely advertised, expensive measures may be useless anyway, according to the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, which reviewed 54 studies involving more than 3,000 asthma patients.

It concluded that none of the interventions believed to eradicate dust mites was effective, including the use of specialist cleaning products or washing bedding at temperatures higher than 60C.

A University of Michigan study found that only half of the 1,788 asthma-proofing steps taken by parents of 896 asthmatic children were likely to work.
The others were unproven, unlikely to help or even potentially harmful in a few cases, such as the use of a humidifier. Mites thrive in humid conditions.

Many asthmatics living in cities think their symptoms would be alleviated if they moved to green and traffic-free countryside. But Joy Smith says: ‘There is no best place to live for anyone with asthma, as it depends what your triggers are. There are studies comparing the Scottish Highlands to the city and finding the incidence of asthma the same.’

Asthma myths abound: there’s the belief that steroid treatments stunt growth in children (Asthma UK says that normal doses are fine and while strong doses can delay growth, patients catch up); and that asthmatics cannot exercise or play sports.

Yet exertion is fine as long as the asthma is well managed and a reliever inhaler always at hand. Olympians Lord Coe, Paula Radcliffe and Rebecca Adlington have asthma.
Nor is asthma contagious. ‘Asthma cannot be passed on from one person to another,’ says specialist Vikki Knowles from Asthma UK.

‘It is a condition that develops as a result of complex genetic and environmental factors, although as yet the exact causes remain unknown.’
She also debunks the myth that you can grow out of asthma.
‘A child diagnosed with asthma may no longer experience symptoms when they reach adulthood but the underlying tendency still remains and so symptoms can return in later life,’ she says.

Another widely held belief is that only children get asthma. Says Joy Smith: ‘Asthma can occur at any age – so you could get it for the first time in your 70s. It is often overlooked then.
‘Many people are under the impression that asthma is not a serious condition.
‘And while many people are fortunate enough not to experience severe symptoms, more than half-a-million people in the UK have difficulty controlling it, meaning some cannot do even simple things like running for a bus or dressing themselves.
‘The condition is responsible for 1,200 deaths a year in Great Britain.’

Source: Mail Online.29th.Aug.2009

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