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Apocynum androsaemifolium

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Botanical Name: Apocynum androsaemifolium
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Apocynum
Species: A. androsaemifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms: Milkweed. Dogsbane. Fly-Trap.
Common Names: Fly-trap dogbane, Spreading dogbane,Bitter Root

Habitat: Apocynum androsaemifolium is native to North America.It grows in   open woodland, woodland edges etc, usually on drier soils
Description:
The genus Apocynum contains only four species, two of which Apocynum androsaemifolium and A. cannabinum, or Black Indian Hemp, resemble each other very closely, the roots being distinguished by the thick-walled stone cells, which in the former are found in an interrupted circle near the middle of the bark, and in the latter are absent.
A. a. ndrosaemifolium is a perennial herb, 5 or 6 feet in height, branching, and, in common with the other three members of the genus, yielding on incision a milky juice resembling indiarubber when dry.

The leaves are dark green above, paler and downy beneath, ovate, and from 2 to 3 inches long. The flowers are white, tinged with red, having five scales in the throat of the corolla which secrete a sweet liquid, attractive to flies. These scales are very sensitive, and when touched bend inward, imprisoning the insects…..click & see the pictures

The milky root is found in commerce in cylindrical, branched pieces, about a quarter of an inch thick, reddish or greyish brown outside, longitudinally wrinkled, and having a short fracture and small pith. There is scarcely any odour, and the taste is starchy, afterwards bitter and acrid.

Subspecies and varieties:
*Apocynum androsaemifolium subsp. androsaemifolium – E Canada, W United States
*Apocynum androsaemifolium var. griseum (Greene) Bég. & Belosersky – Ontario, British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan
*Apocynum androsaemifolium var. incanum A.DC. – widespread in Canada, United States, NE Mexico
*Apocynum androsaemifolium var. intermedium Woodson – Colorado
*Apocynum androsaemifolium subsp. pumilum (A.Gray) B.Boivin – British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, California, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada
*Apocynum androsaemifolium var. tomentellum (Greene) B.Boivin – British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada
*Apocynum androsaemifolium var. woodsonii B.Boivin – Alberta, British Columbia, Washington State, Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho

Parts Used for medicine: The dried rhizome, roots.

Constituents: The nature of the active principle is uncertain. A glucoside, Apocynamarin, was separated, but the activity is thought to be due not to the glucoside, but to an intensely bitter principle, Cymarin.
Medicinal Uses:
Apocynum androsaemifolium   is an unpleasantly bitter stimulant irritant herb that acts on the heart, respiratory and urinary systems, and also on the uterus. It was widely employed by the native North American Indians who used it to treat a wide variety of complaints including headaches, convulsions, earache, heart palpitations, colds, insanity and dizziness. It should be used with great caution, and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner if taking this plant internally. The root contains cymarin, a cardioactive glycoside that is toxic to ruminants. The root is cardiotonic, cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic and expectorant. It has a powerful action in slowing the pulse and also has a very strong action on the vaso-motor system, it is rather an irritant to the mucous membranes though, so some people cannot tolerate it. The juice of the fresh root has been used in the treatment of syphilis. The sap of the plant has been applied externally to get rid of warts. The roots were boiled in water and the water drunk once a week in order to prevent conception. The green fruits were boiled and the decoction used in the treatment of heart and kidney problems and for the treatment of dropsy. This preparation can irritate the intestines and cause unpleasant side-effects. It is used as an alterative in rheumatism, syphilis and scrofula.

Other  Uses:The bark yields a good quality fibre that is used for making twine, bags, linen etc. It is inferior to A. cannabinum. The fibre is finer and stronger than cotton. It can be harvested after the leaves fall in the autumn but is probably at its best as the seed pods are forming. The plant yields a latex, which is a possible source of rubber. It is obtained by making incisions on the stem and resembles indiarubber when dry.

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous, due to the cardiac glycosides it contains.

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/Apocynum_androsaemifolium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bitroo47.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Apocynum+androsaemifolium
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Agave Americana

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Botanical Name: Agave americana
Family : Agavaceae/Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus : Agave
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Agave
Species: A. americana

Synonym(s) : Agave cantula, Agave cantala

Sanskrit Synonyms : Kandala

Common Names: Centuryplant,  Maguey, or American aloe

Local Indian  name: Kithanara
English Name : Century plant, Maguey, American Aloe
Hindi : Bharakhawar, Rakshpattah
Malayalam : Ageve, Anakaita, Eropakaita, Kandalachedi

Habitat : Agavaceae, originally native to Mexico, and the United States in Arizona and Texas. Today it cultivated worldwide as an ornamental plant. It has become naturalized in many regions including the West Indies, parts of South America, the southern Mediterranean Basin, parts of Africa, India, China, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia. It grows on  sandy places in desert scrub at elevations around 200 metres in Texas and eastern Mexico.


Description:

An evergreen Perennial growing to 7.5m by 2.5m at a slow rate.It has a spreading rosette (about 4 m/13 ft wide) of gray-green leaves up to 2 m (6.6 ft) long, each with a spiny margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce to the bone. Its common name derives from its habit of only occasionally flowering, but when it does, the spike with a cyme of big yellow flowers may reach up to 8 m (26 ft) in height. The plant dies after flowering, but produces suckers or adventitious shoots from the base, which continue its growth.

Although it is called the century plant, it typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spread of about 6–10 ft (1.8–3.0 m) with gray-green leaves of 3–5 ft (0.9–1.5 m) long, each with a prickly margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce to the bone. Near the end of its life, the plant sends up a tall, branched stalk, laden with yellow blossoms, that may reach a total height of up to 25–30 ft (8–9 m) tall….....CLICK & SEE

Its common name derives from its semelparous nature of flowering only once at the end of its long life. The plant dies after flowering, but produces suckers or adventitious shoots from the base, which continue its growth

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>…..(01).…...…(1)....(2).……..(3)....…(4).……....(5)..……(6)...

The average lifespan is around 10 years.

Cultivated varieties include the “marginata” with yellow stripes along the margins of each leaf, “medio-picta” with a central white band, “striata” with multiple yellow to white stripes along the leaves, and “variegata” with white edges on the leaves

It is hardy to zone 9 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies), bats.

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


Cultivation
:-
Requires a very well-drained soil and a sunny position. The agave is not very hardy in Britain tolerating temperatures down to about -3°c if conditions are not wet. It succeeds outdoors on the south coast of England from Torbay westwards. Plants survived lower temperatures during the very cold winters from 1985/1987 and were unharmed at Glendurgan gardens in West Cornwall. A monocarpic species, the plant lives for a number of years without flowering but dies once it does flower. However, it normally produces plenty of suckers during its life and these continue growing, taking about 10 – 15 years in a warm climate, considerably longer in colder ones, before flowering. This plant is widely used by the native people in its wild habitat, it has a wide range of uses. In a warm climate suckers take 10 – 15 years to come into flower. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:-

Seed surface sow in a light position, April in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse until they are at least 20cm tall. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give some protection from the cold for at least their first few winters. Offsets can be potted up at any time they are available. Keep in a warm greenhouse until they are well established

Different Uses:
If the flower stem is cut without flowering, a sweet liquid called agua miel (“honey water”) gathers in the heart of the plant. This may be fermented to produce the drink called pulque. The leaves also yield fibers, known as pita, which are suitable for making rope, matting, coarse cloth and are used for embroidery of leather in a technique known as piteado. Both pulque and maguey fibre were important to the economy of pre-Columbian Mexico. Production continues today to a much lesser extent. Agave nectar (also called agave syrup) has recently been marketed as a healthful natural sugar substitute…....CLICK  &   SEE
The sap is quite acidic and can be quite painful if it comes in contact with the skin. It can form small blisters.

Tequila is made from a different species, the Blue Agave (A. tequilana).

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Leaves; Sap; Seed; Stem.

The heart of the plant is very rich in saccharine matter and can be eaten when baked. Sweet and nutritious, but rather fibrous. It is partly below ground. Seed – ground into a flour and used as a thickener in soups or used with cereal flours when making bread. Flower stalk – roasted. Used like asparagus. Sap from the cut flowering stems is used as a syrup  or fermented into pulque or mescal. The sap can also be tapped by boring a hole into the middle of the plant at the base of the flowering stem.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Antiseptic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Laxative; Miscellany; Odontalgic; VD.

The sap of agaves has long been used in Central America as a binding agent for various powders used as poultices on wounds. The sap can also be taken internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery etc. The sap is antiseptic, diaphoretic, diuretic and laxative. An infusion of the chopped leaf is purgative and the juice of the leaves is applied to bruises. The plant is used internally in the treatment of indigestion, flatulence, constipation, jaundice and dysentery. The sap has disinfectant properties and can be taken internally to check the growth of putrefactive bacteria in the stomach and intestines. Water in which agave fibre has been soaked for a day can be used as a scalp disinfectant and tonic in cases of falling hair.

Steroid drug precursors are obtained from the leaves. A gum from the root and leaf is used in the treatment of toothache. The root is diaphoretic and diuretic.  It is used in the treatment of syphilis. All parts of the plant can be harvested for use as required, they can also be dried for later use. The dried leaves and roots store well.

leaves used medicinally by Indians of the Southwestern US.  Also a modern source of steroids.  A demulcent, laxative and antiseptic, agave sap is a soothing and restorative remedy for many digestive ailments. It is used to treat ulcers and inflammatory conditions affecting the stomach and intestines, protecting these parts from infection and irritation and encouraging healing. Agave has also been employed to treat a wide range of other conditions, including syphilis, tuberculosis, jaundice, and liver disease.  Agave sap has very soothing properties and can be used interchangeably with aloe vera on topical wounds and burns.  The sisal agave is a source of hecogenin, the substance that is the starting point in the production of corticosteroids.  Water in which agave fiber has been soaked for a day can be used as a scalp disinfectant and tonic in cases of falling hair.

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.

Other Uses:-
Fibre; Insecticide; Miscellany; Needles; Paper; Pins; Soap; Soil reclamation; Thatching.

The plant contains saponins. An extract of the leaves is used as a soap. The roots are used according to another report. It is likely that the root is the best source of the saponins that are used to make a soap.

Chop up the leaves or the roots into small pieces and then simmer them in water to extract the saponins.

Do not over boil or you will start to break down the saponins. There is a report that the plant has insecticidal properties, but further details are not given. A very strong fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making rope, coarse fabrics etc. A paper can also be made from the leaves. The thorns on the leaves are used as pins and needles. The dried flowering stems are used as a waterproof thatch and as a razor strop. The plants are used in land-reclamation schemes in arid areas of the world.

The leaves also yield fibers, known as pita, which are suitable for making rope, matting, coarse cloth and are used for embroidery of leather in a technique known as piteado. Both pulque and maguey fibre were important to the economy of pre-Columbian Mexico. Production continues today to a much lesser extent.

Agave nectar (also called agave syrup) has recently been marketed as a healthful natural sugar substitute


Known Hazards
:    Contact with the fresh sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. The plants have a   very sharp and tough spine at the tip of each leaf. They need to be carefully sited in the garden.

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Agave+americana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agave_americana

http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1102&context=eblhttp://www.impgc.com/plantinfo_A.php?id=514&bc=http://ayurvedicmedicinalplants.com/plants/1269.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm