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Herbs & Plants

Boesenbergia rotunda

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Botanical Name : Boesenbergia rotunda
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Boesenbergia
Species: B. rotunda
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms:Boesenbergia pandurata,Kaempferia pandurata

Common Names: Chinese keys, Fingerroot, Lesser galangal or Chinese ginger

(In English, the root has traditionally been called fingerroot, because the shape of the rhizome resembles that of fingers growing out of a center piece.)

It is known as temu kunci in Indonesian  and in Manipuri, it is called Yai-macha .

Habitat :Boesenbergia rotunda is native to China and Southeast Asia.(Cambodia; China (Yunnan); Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Thailand)

This species is a rhizome geophyte which grows in humid forest and deciduous forest. It is cultivated throughout Indo-China. Zingiberaceae species grow naturally in damp, shaded parts of the low-land or on hill slopes, as scattered plants or thickets.

Description:
Boesenbergia rotunda is a small perennial plant of about 15–40 cm in height. Its leaves are broad and light green while the leaf sheath is red. Each shoot consists of 3–5 elliptic-oblong-red sheathed leaves of about 7–9 cm in width and 10–20cm in length. The underground portion of the plant consists of a small globular shaped central subterraneous rhizome (1.5–2.0?cm in diameter) from which several slender and long tubers sprout all in the same direction like the fingers of a hand, thus the common name fingerroot. The tubers are about 1.0–1.5cm thick in diameter and 5–10cm long. The tissue of the tuber is looser, softer, and more watery than the central rhizome. Both the colour of the central rhizome and the tubers are dependent on the variety of B. rotunda. The yellow variety produces bright yellow rhizomes, while other varieties produce red and black rhizomes. They are strongly aromatic although different from each other. The flowers are scarlet and bloom throughout the year in tropical countries. These beautiful flowers are usually hidden at the base of the foliage, making them unnoticeable....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:  Boesenbergia rotunda is very easy  to grow. It is found it to be just as successful in the ground as it is in containers. The plant prefers rich, well drained soil. Simply plant the rhizome 1″ deep, and keep evenly moist. It will emerge in approximately two weeks.

Edible Uses:
It is widely used in Javanese cuisine in Indonesia. In Thai cooking it is called krachai  and is an ingredient of dishes such as kaeng tai pla. It is used in some kroeung pastes of Cambodian cuisine and is known as k’cheay (Khmer). In the west it is usually found pickled or frozen. It is sometimes confused with Alpinia officinarum, another plant in the family Zingiberaceae which is also known as lesser galangal.

Medicinal Uses:
Boesenbergia rotunda root is used  to treat colic and diarrhoea  in China.

Advancement in drug design and discovery research has led to the development of synthetic drugs from B. rotunda metabolites via bioinformatics and medicinal chemistry studies. Furthermore, with the advent of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, new insights on the biosynthetic pathways of B. rotunda metabolites can be elucidated, enabling researchers to predict the potential bioactive compounds responsible for the medicinal properties of the plant. The vast biological activities exhibited by the compounds obtained from B. rotunda warrant further investigation through studies such as drug  discovery, polypharmacology, and drug delivery using nanotechnology.

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/Fingerroot
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/49521/
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44392164/0
http://www.randys-tropicalplants.com/Boesenbergia-rotunda.html
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/473637/
http://www.allrareherbs.com.au/products/Chinese-Keys%2C-500ml-pot.html

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Herbs & Plants

Alpinia nutans

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Botanical Name : Alpinia nutans
Family: Zingiberaceae
Subfamily: Alpinioideae
Tribe: Alpinieae
Genus: Alpinia
Species: A. nutans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms :
*Alpinia speciosa K.Schum.
*Amomum compactum Roem. & Schult.
*Catimbium nutans Juss.
*Costus zerumbet Pers.
*Languas speciosa Small
*Renealmia nutans Andrews
*Zerumbet speciosum H.Wendl

Common Names: Shellflower, Dwarf cardamom,False cardamom

Habitat : Alpinia nutans is a Southeast Asian plant.

Description:
Alpinia Nutans is mostly  an evergreen rhizomatous soft-wooded perennial plant.It Can grow 5 to 6 feet tall and tolerate winter temperatures down to 20F. Grows best in some shade but can tolerate full sun in hardiness zone  10-13.   Its flowers have a porcelain look, are shell-like and bloom prolifically on a 30-cm stalk. The flower’s single fertile stamen has a massive anther. The globose white stigma of the pistil extends beyond the tip of the anther. The foliage of Alpinia nutans is evergreen in areas that do not have a hard freeze. It has a very distinctive cardamom fragrance when brushed or rubbed, but this is not the plant that produces the spice by that name.

click to see the pictures

Chemical Constituents:
The rhizome oil of Alpinia speciosa K. Schum. contains some fatty acids with an odd number of carbon atoms, which are less common in nature than fatty acids with even numbers of carbon atoms. The major one is pentadecanoic acid (C-15, 21.9%) and others are tricosylic acid (C-23, 5.7%), tridecylic acid (C-13, 1.9%), undecylic acid (C-11, 3.1%) and pelargonic acid (C-9, 0.1%). Among the fatty acids containing even number of carbon atoms, the main constituents are linolenic acid (C-18:3, 27.4%) and arachidic acid (C-20, 22.4%). The total saturated fatty acids constitute 65.7% and unsaturated 34.3%

Medicinal Uses:
In Asian medicinal practices, the alpinia nutans fruits   are used to expel gas, prevent vomiting and stimulate stomach secretions.

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/Alpinia_nutans
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.floridahillnursery.com/ginger-alipinia-c-5/alpinia-nutans-narrow-leaf-live-plant-p-238
http://www.plantthis.com.au/plant-information.asp?gardener=8702&tabview=photos&plantSpot=
http://www.floridahillnursery.com/popup_image/pID/238

http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/81600/81619/81619_alpinia_nuta.htm

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.

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Elettaria(Cardomum, Lesser cardamum)

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Botanical Name :Elettaria cardamomum
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus:     Elettaria
Species: E. cardamomum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Zingiberales

Syn : Cardamum officinale Salisb.; (non-Ammomum cardamum L. 1753); Alpinia cardamum Roxb.

English names: Cardomum, Lesser cardamum.

Sanskrit names: Ela, Trutih.

Vernacular names: Ben: Chhoto elach; Guj : Elachi; Hin : Chhoti elaichi; Kan :Mal: Yellaki; Cittelum, Elam; Mar: Elachi veldodi; Tam: Elam; Tel: Yelakkayalu.

Trade name: Chhoti elaichi.

Habitat: Elettaria is a genus of one or two species of cardamoms, native to southeastern Asia from India south to Sri Lanka and east to Malaysia and western Indonesia, where it grows in tropical rainforests.

Some authorities treat the genus as containing only one species Elettaria cardamomum, while others separate Sri Lankan plants out as a separate species Elettaria repens Sonner. Common names include Green Cardamom, True Cardamom, and (E. repens) Ceylon Cardamom;

As well as in its native range, it is also grown in Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, and Central America. In India, the states of Sikkim and Kerala are the main producers of cardamom; they rank highest both in cultivated area and in production. It was first imported into Europe c.1200 CE.

Description:
Perennial leafy herb, 1.5-3.0 m high; rootstock thick, horizontal; leaves 30-65 cm by 5-10 cm, distichous, elliptic or elliptic-Ianceolate, glabrous above, softly pubescent below, acuminate at apex, narrowed or obtuse at base; flowers white, striped with violet, in elongated, flexuous, bracts, panicles arising from the rootstock; capsules oblong or subindehiscent, marked with fine vertical ribs; seeds black, arillate.

.click to see the pictures>…….(01)…..(1)…...(2)..……..(3).………..(4)……..(5)…...

The leaves are alternate in two ranks, linear-lanceolate, 40-60 cm long, with a long pointed tip. The flowers are white to lilac or pale violet, produced in a loose spike 30-60 cm long. The fruit is a three-sided yellow-green pod 1-2 cm long, containing several black seeds.

Flowering and Fruiting: throughout the year, mainly in late autumn and winter.

Click to learn more about Lesser cardamom plant……(1)…….(2)

Uses:
The green seed pods of the plant are dried and the seeds inside the pod are used in Indian and other Asian cuisines either whole or in a ground form. It is the most widely cultivated species of cardamom; for other types and uses, see cardamom.

Ground cardamom is an ingredient in many Indian curries, and is a primary contributor to the flavour of masala chai. In the Middle East and Iran, cardamom is used to flavour coffee and tea. In Turkey, it is used to flavor the black Turkish tea (Kakakule in Turkish).

Aroma and flavour
The cardamom seeds have a warm, slightly pungent and highly aromatic flavour. They are popular seasoning in Oriental dishes, particularly curries and in Scandinavian pasteries. In Middle East countries it is used mostly in the preparation of ‘Gahwa’, a strong cardamom-coffee concoction.
Chemical contents: Seed : essential oil, terpenoids.

Medicinal Uses:
Cardamom is particularly helpful for the digestive system. It works as a laxative and soothes colic, wind, dyspepsia and nausea, even nausea caused by pregnancy. It warms the stomach and helps with heartburn. As a massage oil or diluted in the bath, Cardamom oil can assist with: digestive system, coughs and a general tonic.

The cardamom oil is a precious ingredient in food preparations, perfumery, health foods, medicine and beverages. A good portion is consumed for chewing or as a masticatory item. In medicine, it is used as powerful aromatic, stimulant, carminative, stomachic and diuretic, but rarely used alone. It also checks nausea and vomiting, helps in combating digestive ailments. Herbal lores on this spice suggest it can be used to freshen your breath and support smooth digestion.

Its digestive properties have made it popular as an after-dinner infusion, and it acts as a breath freshener when chewed. It is used in India for many conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, kidney stones, anorexia, debility and weakened Vata. The herb has a long-lasting reputation as an aphrodisiac. Cardamom treats gastralgia, enuresis (involuntary urination), warming, antimucus stimulant to add to lung tonics.

Cardamom is very high in cineole, a potent expectorant compound and a central nervous system stimulant. In cases of emphysema, add a teaspoon or two of powdered cardamom to fruit juice or tea.

In Chinese medicine it: 1) increases the Qi and replenishes deficiency; restores the lungs, spleen and nerve and generates strength; lifts the spirit and rids depression; 2) Warms and invigorates the stomach and intestines; frees spasms and dries mucous damp; awakens the appetite, settles the stomach and quells vomiting; 3) Stimulates the lungs, expels phlegm and clears the head; 4) antidotes poison and resolves contusion.

AYURVEDA : seeds abortifacient, alexiteric, aromatic, acrid, sweet, cooling, carminative, cardiac tonic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant,stimulant, and tonic, beneficial in asthma, bronchitis, strangury, haemorrhoids, renal and vesical calculi, halitosis, anorexia, dyspepsia, gastropathy and burning sensation.

SIDDHA : dried fruit, seed and stem-bark are used to prepare drugs cell ‘Elam’, ‘Elarici’ .

UNANI:
preparations used as antidote to poison, astringent, exhilarant and in nausea.

Modern use: Essential oil from seed: antimicrobial; oil is used in several pharmaceutical preparations.

History: Cardamom was well known in ancient times. The Egyptians used it in perfumes and incense and chewed it to whiten their teeth. The Romans used it for their stomachs when they over-indulged. The Arabs used it grounded in their coffee and It is an important ingredient in Asian cooking.

Cautions:
Non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing.

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.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Dolichos%20biflorus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elettaria
http://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/cardamom-essential-oil-p-198.html
http://www.spicesvalley.com/spices/cardamom.asp

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

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Turmeric or Indian Haldi

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Botanical Name: Curcuma longa
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Curcuma
Species: C. longa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Turmeric root
Image via Wikipedi

Syn : Curcuma domestica Val.

English name: Turmeric.

Sanskrit name: Haridra.

Vernacular names: Asm : Holodhi; Ben: Halud; Guj : Halada; Hin : Haldi; Kan : Arisina; Kon : Holldi, Ghor hollad; Mal: Manjella-kua; Mar: Halede; Mun : Hatu sasang, Sasang; Orn: Balka; Ori : Haladi; Sad: Haldi; San: Oerel sasan; Tam: Manjal; Tel: Pasupu.
Trade name: Haldi.
Termaric is also known as :Haridra, Rajani, Nisha, Haldi, Halada, Curcuma Longa.

Habitat:Indigenous to Paresnath (Bihar); widely cultivated in West Bengal and other parts of India; Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.

Description:Herb with large ovoid rootstock, sessile tubers thick, cylindric, bright yellow inside; petiole 60 cm long, leav.es green, 30-45 cm by 10-20 cm; peduncle 15 cm or more long, hidden by sheathing petiole, spikes 10-15 cm, about 5 cm in diameter; bracts pale green, ovate, about 3.7 cm long, those of the coma pale pink; flowers yellow, as long as the bracts. Flowering: Autumn.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES.>..(001),.....(01)...(1)....(2).…….(3)..…(4).…………………..

Ecology and cultivation: Tropical plant; cultivated throughout the tropics. Chemical contents: Essential oil from rhizome: curcumin.

Uses:
Turmeric,an essential ingredient of most Indian curries, the spice was paid tribute by Marco Polo; he compared it favorably to saffron, and noted its importance in traditional medicines. Indeed, Indian doctors have long reached for the knobby yellow root to treat a variety of ailments from skin disease to stomachache and infection.

CLICK TO SEE

Turmeric has been a traditional household item for centuries and is often used in conjunction with Neem as a purifying herb that promotes healthy skin through systemic blood purification. Its effect in wound healing has been well documented.

Curcuma longa is a rhizomatus, perennial herb with tufted leaves. Its rhizome contains Curcumin. It is an auspicious article in all religious observances in Hindu households. The antioxidant properties of the powder are probably due to the phenolic character of Curcumin. It also has anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activity. It reduces cholesterol levels and helps control blood sugar

 

Medicinal Uses and indications:

In Indian systems of medicine, turmeric is used as a stomachic, tonic and blood purifier. It is also prescribed as an antiperiodic alterative. Mixed with warm milk it is said to be beneficial in common cold. The juice of the fresh rhizome is used as an anti parasitic for many skin affections. Externally, it is applied to ulcers, and a paste made from the powdered rhizome with lime is a remedy for inflamed joints. A decoction of the rhizome relieves the pain of purulent ophthalmia. Oil of turmeric, distilled from the dried rhizomes, has mild antiseptic properties. It is an antacid and, in small doses, acts as a carminative, appetizer and tonic. In large doses, however, it appears to act as an antispasmodic inhibiting excessive peristaltic movements of the intestines.”

In Hawaii, rhizome is used against growth of nostrils, for cleaning blood and as gargle; green rhizome is given for whooping and other coughs. In Sri Lanka, Rhizome paste is used in skeletal fracture. Extensive research is being carried out on the nutritional and medicinal value of this plant.

Traditional use: ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH AND ASSAM: Rhizome: in migrain; SANTALS : (i) Rhizome: in hazy vision, inflammation of eye, night blindness, subnormal temperature after fever, spleen consumption, Basli rog (pain similar to rheumatism), rheumatism due to draught, lock-jaw, Rosbi (stealth convulsions with indistinct speech), chronic scabies, sores and curbuncles, infantile atrophy, indigestion, prolapsus ani and fistula ani, bronchitis, cough and cold, puerperal fever; (ii) Extract of Rhizome: in rhagades; (iii) Bulb: in drying up of lactation; (iv) Flower: in cholera, sores in throat, syphilis; (v) Dried Flower: in icterus; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF RANCHI and HAZARIBAGH(Bihar): (i) Leaf: in cold, fever, pneumonia; GARHWALI: Rhizome: in pimples and feckles on face, wounds, leprosy; KUMAONI : Rhizome: in cough, insect stings, wounds; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF KURUKSHETRA (Haryana) : Rhizome: in body pain, headache; TRIBES OF ARAKU VALLEY (Andhra Pradesh) : Rhizome: as anthelmintic..

Modern use: Rhizome: ingredient of ‘Geriforte’-effective in senile pruritis, Vitafix -useful in premature ejaculation, insect repellent against houseflies, insecticide, antifungal; EtOH (50%) extract of rhizome: antiprotozoal, spasmolytic, hypotensive, Central Nervous System depressant; daily consumption of 1 gm raw rhizome helps to fight decaying metabolism and thus prevents cancer; Essential oil from rhizome: anti­arthritic, antifungal,. anti-inflammatory, antibacterial.

RIGVEDA : Rhizome: improves body complexion and apetite; YAJURVEDA : Rhizome: is a blood-purifier, improves body complexion; CHARAKA SAMHITA : laxative, useful in leprosyand against contaminuos microbes; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : digestive; AYURVEDA : Rhizome: effective against bacterial infection, skin diseases, intestinal worms, liver complaints, stammering, filaria, asthma, sprain, boils, wounds, conjuctivitis, thirst due to phlegm, allergic reactions, against leeches, .minor ingredient of a drug for malarial fever.

SIDDHA : Rhizome: ingredient of Kappu mancal, Manchal.

UNANI : ingredient of ‘Majnoor-e-falsfa’, useful in gastrointestinal complaints; Powder of rhizome: used as antifertility agent.

While turmeric has a long history of use by herbalists, most studies to date have been conducted in the laboratory or in animals and it is not clear that these results apply to people. Nevertheless, research suggests that turmeric may be helpful for the following conditions.

.Digestive Disorder.stomach upset, gas, abdominal cramps): The German Commission E (an authoritative body that determined which herbs could be safely prescribed in that country and for which purpose[s]) approved turmeric for a variety of digestive disorders. Curcumin, for example, one of the active ingredients in turmeric, induces the flow of bile, which helps break down fats. In an animal study, extracts of turmeric root reduced secretion of acid from the stomach and protected against injuries such as inflammation along the stomach (gastritis) or intestinal walls and ulcers from certain medications, stress, or alcohol. Further studies are needed to know to what extent these protective effects apply to people as well.

Osteoarthritis:
Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, turmeric may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A study of people using an Ayurvedic formula of herbs and minerals containing turmeric as well as Withinia somnifera (winter cherry), Boswellia serrata (Boswellia), and zinc significantly reduced pain and disability. While encouraging for the value of this Ayurvedic combination therapy to help with osteoarthritis, it is difficult to know how much of this success is from turmeric alone, one of the other individual herbs, or the combination of herbs working in tandem.

Atherosclerosis:
Early studies suggest that turmeric may prove helpful in preventing the build up of atherosclerosis (blockage of arteries that can eventually cause a heart attack or stroke) in one of two ways. First, in animal studies an extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and inhibited the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Oxidized LDL deposits in the walls of blood vessels and contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. Turmeric may also prevent platelet build up along the walls of an injured blood vessel. Platelets collecting at the site of a damaged blood vessel cause blood clots to form and blockage of the artery as well. Studies of the use of turmeric to prevent or treat heart disease in people would be interesting in terms of determining if these mechanisms discovered in animals apply to people at risk for this condition
.

Cancer
There has been a substantial amount of research on turmeric’s anti-cancer potential. Evidence from laboratory and animal studies suggests that curcumin has potential in the treatment of various forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon. Human studies will be necessary before it is known to what extent these results may apply to people.

Roundworms and Intestinal worms:
Laboratory studies suggest that curcuminoids, the active components of turmeric, may reduce the destructive activity of parasites or roundworms.

Liver Disease:
Animal studies provide evidence that turmeric can protect the liver from a number of damaging substances such as carbon tetrachloride and acetominophen (also called paracetamol, this medication, used commonly for headache and pain, can cause liver damage if taken in large quantities or in someone who drinks alcohol regularly.) Turmeric accomplishes this, in part, by helping to clear such toxins from the body and by protecting the liver from damage.

Bacterial Infection
Turmeric’s volatile oil functions as an external antibiotic, preventing bacterial infection in wounds.

Wounds
In animal studies, turmeric applied to wounds hastens the healing process.

Mosquito Repellent
A mixture of the volatile oils of turmeric, citronella, and hairy basil, with the addition of vanillin (an extract of vanilla bean that is generally used for flavoring or perfumes), may be an alternative to D.E.E.T., one of the most common chemical repellents commercially available.

Eye Disorder
One study of 32 people with uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye between the sclera [white outer coat of the eye] and the retina [the back of the eye]) suggests that curcumin may prove to be as effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication generally prescribed for this eye disorder. The uvea contains many of the blood vessels that nourish the eye. Inflammation of this area, therefore, can affect the cornea, the retina, the sclera, and other important parts of the eye. More research is needed to best understand whether curcumin may help treat this eye inflammation.

You may click to see:->Turmeric ingredient could help with heart failure

CLICK & READ ALSO:——>Golden spice, but not everything nice 

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

Help taken from:
www.wikipedia.com
http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Butea%20monosperma
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