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Bishop's weed

Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, April 12, 2012 0 comments



Trachyspermum ammi, commonly known as ajowan, bishop's weed, ajwain, ajowan caraway, carom seeds, or thymol seeds, is a plant of India and the Near East whose seeds are used as a spice.

The plant has a similarity to parsley. Because of their seed-like appearance, the fruit pods are sometimes called seeds; they are egg-shaped and grayish in colour. Ajwain is often confused with lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state ajwain comes from the lovage plant.

Raw ajwain smells almost exactly like thyme because it also contains thymol, but is more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as slightly bitter and pungent. Even a small amount of raw ajwain will completely dominate the flavor of a dish. In Indian cuisine, ajwain is almost never used raw, but either dry-roasted or fried in ghee or oil. This develops a much more subtle and complex aroma, somewhat similar to caraway but "brighter". Among other things, it is used for making a type of parantha, called ajwain ka parantha.

Medicinal uses: 
It is also traditionally known as a digestive aid, a relief for abdominal discomfort due to indigestion and an antiseptic. In southern parts of India, dry ajwain seeds are powdered and soaked in milk, which is then filtered and fed to babies. Many assume it relieves colic in babies, and for children it also improves digestion and appetite. Ajwain can be used as digestive mixture in large animals.In India, it is often added to heavy fried dishes to aid digestion. A study conducted using the essential oil suggests that it has some use in the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis. Its benefit comes from being able to inhibit the growth of undesired pathogens while not adversely affecting the beneficial flora.

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Yohimbe

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Pausinystalia yohimbe (Yohimbe), formerly known as Corynanthe yohimbe, is a psychoactive plant which contains the tryptamine alkaloid yohimbine. It is widely distributed over-the-counter as an herbal aphrodisiac.

Originated from a tree bark in Africa. Found to be helpful with erectile dysfunction (ED). This herbal medication is not recommended to patients because it may cause tachycardia and HTN. Pausinystalia Yohimbe (Yohimbe) doesn't contain just Yohimbine. It contains around 55 other alkaloids and Yohimbine accounts for 1% to 20% of total alkaloids. Among them Corynanthine is an alpha-1 adrenergic receptor blocker. Hence the use of Yohimbe extract in sufficient dosages may provide concomitant alpha-1 and alpha-2 adrenoceptors blockade and thus may better enhance erections than Yohimbine alone.

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Yerba santa

Posted by Bangzkie Sunday, April 8, 2012 0 comments



Eriodictyon crassifolium, or thick-leaved Yerba Santa, is a shrub in the borage family.Eriodictyon crassifolium is a hairy to woolly shrub growing one to three meters tall. The leaves are up to 17 centimeters long by 6 wide, gray-green with a coat of woolly hairs, and sometimes toothed along the edges. The inflorescence is a cluster of bell-shaped lavender flowers.It is endemic to California, where it grows in several types of habitat, including chaparral, in the coastal and inland hills and mountains, mainly in the Southern California part of the state.




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Salix alba (White Willow) is a species of willow native to Europe and western and central Asia. The name derives from the white tone to the undersides of the leaves. It is a medium-size to large deciduous tree growing up to 10–30 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter and an irregular, often-leaning crown. The bark is grey-brown, deeply fissured in older trees. The shoots in the typical species are grey-brown to green-brown. The leaves are paler than most other willows, due to a covering of very fine silky white hairs, in particular on the underside; they are 5–10 cm long and 0.5–1.5 cm wide. The flowers are produced in catkins in early spring, and pollinated by insects. It is dioecious, with male and female catkins on separate trees; the male catkins are 4–5 cm long, the female catkins 3–4 cm long at pollination, lengthening as the fruit matures. When mature in mid summer, the female catkins comprise numerous small (4 mm) capsules each containing numerous minute seeds embedded in white down, which aids wind dispersal.

White Willows are fast-growing, but relatively short-lived, being susceptible to several diseases, including watermark disease caused by the bacterium Brenneria salicis (named because of the characteristic 'watermark' staining in the wood; syn. Erwinia salicis) and willow anthracnose, caused by the fungus Marssonina salicicola. These diseases can be a serious problem on trees grown for timber or ornament. It readily forms natural hybrids with Crack Willow Salix fragilis, the hybrid being named Salix × rubens Schrank.

Uses:
The wood is tough, strong, and light in weight, but has minimal resistance to decay. The stems (withies) from coppiced and pollarded plants are used for basket-making. Charcoal made from the wood was important for gunpowder manufacture. The bark was used in the past for tanning leather.




Medicinal uses:
Hippocrates, Galen, Pliny the Elder and others knew that willow bark could ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. It has long been used in Europe and China for the treatment of these conditions. This remedy is also mentioned in texts from ancient Egypt, Sumer, and Assyria. The Reverend Edmund Stone, a vicar from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, England, noted in 1763 that willow bark was effective in reducing a fever. The bark is often macerated in ethanol to produce a tincture. The active extract of the bark, called salicin, after the Latin name Salix, was isolated to its crystalline form in 1828 by Henri Leroux, a French pharmacist, and Raffaele Piria, an Italian chemist, who then succeeded in separating out the acid in its pure state. Salicylic acid, like aspirin, is a chemical derivative of salicin.

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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers which bloom in the summer months. Valerian flower extracts were used as a perfume in the sixteenth century. Native to Europe and parts of Asia, valerian has been introduced into North America. It is consumed as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including Grey Pug. Other names used for this plant include garden valerian (to distinguish it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (although not related to Heliotropium) and all-heal. The garden flower red valerian is also sometimes referred to as "valerian", but is a different species from the same family and not very closely related. Valerian, in pharmacology and phytotherapic medicine, is the name of an herb or dietary supplement prepared from roots of the plant, which, after maceration, trituration and dehydration processes, are packaged, usually into capsules. Based on its pharmacological mode of action, valerian root has been demonstrated to possess sedative and anxiolytic effects.

Because of valerian's historical use as a sedative, anticonvulsant, migraine treatment and pain reliever, most basic science research has been directed at the interaction of valerian constituents with the GABA neurotransmitter receptor system. These studies remain inconclusive and all require independent replication. The mechanism of action of valerian in general, and as a mild sedative in particular, remains unknown. Valerian extracts appear to have some affinity for the GABAA receptor, a class of receptors on which benzodiazepines are known to act. Valerian also contains isovaltrate, which has been shown to be an inverse agonist for adenosine A1 receptor sites. This action likely does not contribute to the herb's sedative effects, which would be expected from an agonist, rather than an inverse agonist, at this particular binding site. Hydrophilic extractions of the herb commonly sold over-the-counter, however, probably do not contain significant amounts of isovaltrate.




Medicinal uses:
Valerian is used for insomnia and other disorders as an alternative to benzodiazepine drugs, and as a sedative for nervous tension, hysteria, excitability, stress and intestinal colic or cramps. In the United States, valerian is sold as a nutritional supplement. Therapeutic use has increased as dietary supplements have gained in popularity, especially after the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed in 1994. This law allowed the distribution of many agents as over-the-counter supplements, and therefore allowed them to bypass the regulatory requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Valerian is used for sleeping disorders, restlessness and anxiety, and as a muscle relaxant. Certain data suggests that Valerian has an effect that is calming but doesn't cause sleepiness the following day. When used as a sleeping aid, valerian appears to be most effective on users who have difficulty falling asleep. Also noteworthy is that valerian has been shown to have positive results on users who wake up during the night. Valerian often seems only to work when taken over longer periods (several weeks), though some users find that it takes effect immediately. Some studies have demonstrated that valerian extracts interact with the GABA receptors. Valerian is also used traditionally to treat gastrointestinal pain and irritable bowel syndrome. However, long term safety studies are absent. Valerian is sometimes recommended as a first-line treatment when risk-benefit analysis dictates. Valerian is often indicated as transition medication when discontinuing benzodiazepines. Valerian has uses in herbal medicine as a sedative. Results of investigations into its effectiveness have been mixed. It has been recommended for epilepsy, but that is not supported by research (although valproic acid—an analogue of one of valerian's constituents, valeric acid—is used as an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug). Valerian root generally does not lose effectiveness over time.

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Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C (68 °F and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season. When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian saffron, since it was widely used as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice. Nizamabad, a city in the south Indian state of Andhra pradesh, is the world's largest producer and most important trading center of turmeric in Asia. For these reasons, Nizamabad in history is also known as "Turmeric City". Sangli, a town in the southern part of the Indian western state of Maharashtra, is the second largest and most important trading center for turmeric in Asia. Kasur district of Pakistan is the largest producer of turmeric in Pakistan. Mayo cultivators introduced different varieties of turmeric in Kasur. Turmeric is commonly called Pasupu in Telugu, Kaha in Sinhala, Manjal in Tamil, Arisina in Kannada, Haridra in Sanskrit and Haldar or Haldi in Hindi. Attempts to patent turmeric have been defeated.

Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the key ingredient for many Indian, Persian and Thai dishes such as in curry and many more. Ancient Indian medicine, Ayurveda has recommended its use in food for its medicinal value, much of which is now being researched in the modern day. Its use as a coloring agent is not of primary value in South Asian cuisine. In Indonesia, the turmeric leaves are used for Minangese or Padangese curry base of Sumatra, such as rendang, sate padang and many other varieties. Although most usage of turmeric is in the form of root powder, in some regions (especially in Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan and Kanara), leaves of turmeric are used to wrap and cook food. This usually takes place in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. This imparts a distinct flavor. In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow color. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders. Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes, as well as some sweet dishes, such as the cake sfouf. Although usually used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, much like ginger. It has numerous uses in Far Eastern recipes, such as fresh turmeric pickle, which contains large chunks of soft turmeric.


Turmeric paste is traditionally used by Indian women to keep them free of superfluous hair and as an antimicrobial. Turmeric paste, as part of both home remedies and Ayurveda, is also said to improve the skin and is touted as an anti-aging agent. Turmeric figures prominently in the bridal beautification ceremonies of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Staining oneself with turmeric is believed to improve the skin tone and tan. Turmeric is currently used in the formulation of some sunscreens. The government of Thailand is funding a project to extract and isolate tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC) from turmeric. THCs are colorless compounds that might have antioxidant and skin-lightening properties, and might be used to treat skin inflammations, making these compounds useful in cosmetics formulations.


Turmeric is considered highly auspicious in India and has been used extensively in various Indian ceremonies for millennia. Even today it is used in every part of India during wedding ceremonies and religious ceremonies. It is used in Pujas to make a form of Hindu god Ganesha. Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, is invoked at the beginning of almost any ceremony and a form of Ganesha for this purpose is made by mixing turmeric with water and forming it into a cone-like shape. Gaye holud (literally "yellow on the body") is a ceremony observed mostly in the region of Bengal (comprising Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal). The gaye holud takes place one or two days prior to the religious and legal Bengali wedding ceremonies. The turmeric paste is applied by friends to the bodies of the couple. This is said to soften the skin, but also colors them with the distinctive yellow hue that gives its name to this ceremony. It may be a joint event for the bride and groom's families, or it may consist of separate events for the bride's family and the groom's family. During the south Indian festival Pongal, a whole turmeric plant with fresh rhizomes is offered as a thanksgiving offering to Surya, the Sun god. Also, the fresh plant sometimes is tied around the sacred Pongal pot in which an offering of pongal is prepared.

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Ocimum tenuiflorum, Holy Basil (also tulsi, tulasī), is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae which is native throughout the Old World tropics and widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed. It is an erect, much branched subshrub, 30–60 cm tall with hairy stems and simple, opposite, green leaves that are strongly scented. Leaves have petioles, and are ovate, up to 5 cm long, usually slightly toothed. The flowers are purplish in elongate racemes in close whorls. The two main morphotypes cultivated in India and Nepal are green-leaved (Sri or Lakshmi tulsi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulsi). Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely known across South Asia as a medicinal plant and an herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving tulsi plants or leaves.

Recent studies suggest tulsi may be a COX-2 inhibitor, like many modern painkillers, due to its high concentration of eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene). One small study showed it to reduce blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics when combined with hypoglycemic drugs. The same study showed significant reduction in total cholesterol levels with tulsi. Another study showed its beneficial effect on blood glucose levels is due to its antioxidant properties. Tulsi also shows some promise for protection from radiation poisoning and cataracts.It has anti-oxidant properties and can repair cells damaged by exposure to radiation. The fixed oil has demonstrated antihyperlipidemic and cardioprotective effects in rats fed a high fat diet. Experimental studies have shown an alcoholic extract of tulsi modulates immunity, thus promoting immune system function. Some of the main chemical constituents of tulsi are: oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, eugenol, carvacrol, linalool, β-caryophyllene, β-elemene (c.11.0%), β-caryophyllene (about 8%), and germacrene D (about 2%). β-Elemene has been studied for its potential anticancer properties, but human clinical trials have yet to confirm its effectiveness.


Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text. Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of "elixir of life" and believed to promote longevity. Tulsi extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Traditionally, tulsi is taken in many forms: as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics, and is widely used in skin preparations due to its antibacterial activity. For centuries, the dried leaves have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.

The leaves of holy basil, known as kraphao in the Thai language , are commonly used in Thai cuisine.
Kraphao should not be confused with horapha , which is normally known as Thai basil,
 or with Thai lemon basil . The best-known dish made with this herb is phat kraphao — beef, pork or chicken, stir-fried with Thai holy basil.

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Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) herbal plant

Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, April 5, 2012 0 comments



Thyme (Thymus mongolicus,Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming.
The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing it was a source of courage. The spread of thyme throughout Europe was thought to be due to the Romans, as they used it to purify their rooms and to "give an aromatic flavour to cheese and liqueurs". In the European Middle Ages, the herb was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares. In this period, women would also often give knights and warriors gifts that included thyme leaves, as it was believed to bring courage to the bearer. Thyme was also used as incense and placed on coffins during funerals, as it was supposed to assure passage into the next life. is a culinary and medicinal herb of the genus Thymus.

Thyme is widely cultivated for its strong flavour, which is due to its content of thymol. Thyme is best cultivated in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil. It is generally planted in the spring, and thereafter grows as a perennial. It can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or by dividing rooted sections of the plant. It tolerates drought well. The plants can take deep freezes and are found growing wild on mountain highlands.

Thyme is widely used in cooking. The herb is a basic ingredient in Levantine (Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, Jordanian, Israeli), Libyan, Armenian, Indian, Italian, French, Albanian, Persian, Portuguese, Assyrian, Spanish, Greek, Nigerian, Caribbean, and Turkish cuisines, and in those derived from them. Thyme is often used to flavour meats, soups and stews. It has a particular affinity to and is often used as a primary flavour with lamb, tomatoes and eggs. Thyme, while flavourful, does not overpower and blends well with other herbs and spices. In some Levantine countries, and Assyrian, the condiment za'atar (Arabic for thyme) contains thyme as a vital ingredient. It is a common component of the bouquet garni, and of herbes de Provence. Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. The fresh form is more flavourful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. While summer-seasonal, fresh greenhouse thyme is often available year round.


Medicinal uses:
Oil of thyme, the essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), contains 20-54% thymol. Thyme essential oil also contains a range of additional compounds, such as p-Cymene, myrcene, borneol and linalool. Thymol, an antiseptic, is the main active ingredient in various mouthwashes such as Listerine.[8] Before the advent of modern antibiotics, oil of thyme was used to medicate bandages. Thymol has also been shown to be effective against various fungi that commonly infect toenails. Thymol can also be found as the active ingredient in some all-natural, alcohol-free hand sanitizers. A tea made by infusing the herb in water can be used for coughs and bronchitis. Medicinally, thyme is used for respiratory infections in the form of a tincture, tisane, salve, syrup, or by steam inhalation.Because it is antiseptic, thyme boiled in water and cooled is very effective against inflammation of the throat when gargled three times a day, with the inflammation normally disappearing in two to five days. The thymol and other volatile components in the leaf glands are excreted via the lungs, being highly lipid-soluble, where they reduce the viscosity of the mucus and exert their antimicrobial action. Other infections and wounds can be dripped with thyme that has been boiled in water and cooled. In traditional Jamaican childbirth practice, thyme tea is given to the mother after delivery of the baby. Its oxytocin-like effect causes uterine contractions and more rapid delivery of the placenta, but this was said by Sheila Kitzinger to cause an increased prevalence of retained placenta.

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Thunder God Vine (Tripterygium wilfordii)herbal plant

Posted by Bangzkie Wednesday, April 4, 2012 0 comments



Tripterygium wilfordii, or lei gong teng , sometimes called Thunder God Vine, is a vine used in traditional Chinese medicine for treatment of fever, chills, edema and carbuncle. Tripterygium wilfordii recently has been investigated as a treatment for a variety of disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic hepatitis, chronic nephritis, ankylosing spondylitis, as well as several skin disorders.

Medical uses:
Certain extracts from Tripterygium wilfordii, as well as from Tripterygium hypoglaucum (now considered identical to T. regelii) and Tripterygium regelii, were discovered in the 1980s to have temporary antifertility effects, which has led to research on its potential as a contraceptive. "Tripterygium wilfordii Hook.f., known as Leigongteng (Thunder God Vine) in traditional Chinese medicine, has attracted much attention for its applications in relieving autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, and for treating cancer. Molecular analyses of the ITS and 5S rDNA sequences indicate that T. hypoglaucum and T. doianum are not distinct from T. wilfordii, while T. regelii should be recognized as a separate species. The results also demonstrate potential value of rDNA sequence data in forensic detection of adulterants derived from Celastrus angulatus in commercial samples of Leigongteng." Not enough is known about T. wilfordii to actually test it as a contraceptive. Research thus far has dealt with establishing the mechanism by which the plant affects fertility, and investigating toxicity and side effects. What has been learned is encouraging, however: in both animals and humans, low doses of various Tripterygium extracts can produce significantly lowered sperm density and motility indices without major side effects. When the treatment was ended in the various trials, all indices returned to normal within months. The plant contains many active compounds, at least six of which have male anti-fertility effect (triptolide, tripdiolide, triptolidenol, tripchlorolide, 16-hydroxytriplide and a compound known as T7/19, whose structure is unpublished). The mechanism by which they affect fertility is not yet understood. What is known is that daily doses of these compounds reduce sperm counts and also severely affect the formation and maturation of sperm, causing them to be immotile.


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Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) herbal

Posted by Bangzkie Sunday, March 25, 2012 0 comments



Tea tree oil, or melaleuca oil, is a pale yellow colour to nearly colorless and clear essential oil with a fresh camphoraceous odor. It is taken from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to the northeast coast of New South Wales, Australia. Tea tree oil should not be confused with tea oil, the sweet seasoning and cooking oil from pressed seeds of the tea plant Camellia sinensis (beverage tea), or the tea oil plant Camellia oleifera.

The indigenous Bundjalung people of eastern Australia use “tea trees” as a traditional medicine by inhaling the oils from the crushed leaves to treat coughs and colds. They also sprinkle leaves on wounds, after which a poultice is applied. In addition, tea tree leaves are soaked to make an infusion to treat sore throats or skin ailments. Use of the oil itself, as opposed to the unextracted plant material, did not become common practice until researcher Arthur Penfold published the first reports of its antimicrobial activity in a series of papers in the 1920s and 1930s. In evaluating the antimicrobial activity of M. alternifolia, tea tree oil was rated as 11 times more active than phenol. The commercial tea tree oil industry was born after the medicinal properties of the oil were first reported by Penfold in the 1920s. It was produced from natural bush stands of M. alternifolia that produced oil with the appropriate chemotype. The plant material was hand cut and often distilled on the spot in makeshift, mobile, wood-fired bush stills.


Diluted solutions of tea tree oil are often used as a remedy to treat bacterial and fungal infections in aquarium fish. Common brand names are Melafix and Bettafix. Melafix is a stronger concentration and Bettafix is a lower concentration that makes it harder to overdose smaller fish, especially bettas. It is most commonly used to promote fin and tissue regrowth, but is also effective in treating other conditions, such as fin rot or velvet. The remedy is used mostly on betta fish, but can also be used with other aquarium fish, other than goldfish.


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Serenoa repens, commonly known as saw palmetto, is the sole species currently classified in the genus Serenoa. It has been known by a number of synonyms, including Sabal serrulatum, under which name it still often appears in alternative medicine. It is a small palm, normally reaching a height of around 2–4 m (3–6 ft). Its trunk is sprawling, and it grows in clumps or dense thickets in sandy coastal lands or as undergrowth in pine woods or hardwood hammocks. Erect stems or trunks are rarely produced but are found in some populations. It is endemic to the southeastern United States, most commonly along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal plains, but also as far inland as southern Arkansas. It is a hearty plant; extremely slow growing, and long lived, with some plants, especially in Florida where it is known as simply the palmetto, possibly being as old as 500–700 years. Saw palmetto is a fan palm, with the leaves that have a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 leaflets. The petiole is armed with fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. The teeth or spines are easily capable of breaking the skin, and protection should be worn when working around a Saw Palmetto. The leaves are light green inland, and silvery-white in coastal regions. The leaves are 1–2 m in length, the leaflets 50–100 cm long. They are similar to the leaves of the palmettos of genus Sabal. The flowers are yellowish-white, about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound panicles up to 60 cm long. The fruit is a large reddish-black drupe and is an important food source for wildlife and historically for humans. The plant is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species such as Batrachedra decoctor, which feeds exclusively on the plant. This plant is also edible to human beings, but the more green it is the more bitter tasting it would be.



Medicinal uses:
The fruits of the saw palmetto are highly enriched with fatty acids and phytosterols, and extracts of the fruits have been the subject of intensive research for the symptomatic treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This extract is also commonly used for other medical conditions, such as baldness, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and other hyperandrogen conditions, though research on such uses is preliminary at best. Numerous meta-analyses of clinical trials S. repens extract in the treatment of BPH have found it safe and effective for mild-to-moderate BPH compared to placebo, finasteride, and tamsulosin Two larger trials found the extract no different from placebo. An updated meta-analysis including these trials found that saw palmetto extract "was not more effective than placebo for treatment of urinary symptoms consistent with BPH". However, saw palmetto extract was comparable to tamsulosin and finasteride in this meta-analysis. Longer-term (2 years; most clinical trials have been 1 yr) open studies suggest that saw palmetto reduces the risk of men with BPH ultimately needing to have surgery.



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Saint John's wort  is the plant species Hypericum perforatum, and is also known as Tipton's weed, chase-devil, or Klamath weed. With qualifiers, St John's wort is used to refer to any species of the genus Hypericum. Therefore, H. perforatum is sometimes called common St John's wort to differentiate it. The species of Hypericum are classified in the Hypericaceae family, having previously been classified as Guttiferae or Clusiaceae. Approximately 370 species of the genus Hypericum exist worldwide with a native geographical distribution including temperate and subtropical regions of North America, Europe, Turkey, Russia, India, China and Brazil.

Hypericum perforatum is a yellow-flowering, stoloniferous or sarmentose, perennial herb indigenous to Europe, which has been introduced to many temperate areas of the world and grows wild in many meadows. The common name comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting on Saint John's day, 24 June. The genus name Hypericum is derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the traditional use of the plant to ward off evil, by hanging plants over a religious icon in the house during Saint John's day. The species name perforatum refers to the presence of small oil glands in the leaves that look like windows, which can be seen when they are held against the light. St John's wort is a perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its stems are erect, branched in the upper section, and can grow to 1 m high. It has opposing, stalkless, narrow, oblong leaves that are 12 mm long or slightly larger. The leaves are yellow-green in color, with transparent dots throughout the tissue and occasionally with a few black dots on the lower surface. Leaves exhibit obvious translucent dots when held up to the light, giving them a ‘perforated’ appearance, hence the plant's Latin name. Its flowers measure up to 2.5 cm across, have five petals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots. The flowers appear in broad cymes at the ends of the upper branches, between late spring and early to mid summer. The sepals are pointed, with glandular dots in the tissue. There are many stamens, which are united at the base into three bundles. When flower buds (not the flowers themselves) or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.



Medicinal uses:
St John's wort is widely known as an herbal treatment for depression. In some countries, such as Germany, it is commonly prescribed for mild depression, especially in children and adolescents. A report from the Cochrane Review states: The available evidence suggests that the Hypericum extracts tested in the included trials a) are superior to placebo in patients with major depression; b) are similarly effective as standard antidepressants; and c) have fewer side-effects than standard antidepressants. There are two issues that complicate the interpretation of our findings: 1) While the influence of precision on study results in placebo-controlled trials is less pronounced in this updated version of our review compared to the previous version (Linde 2005a), results from more precise trials still show smaller effects over placebo than less precise trials. 2) Results from German-language countries are considerably more favourable for hypericum than trials from other countries. In one study, St John's wort was not found to be effective for patients suffering from dysthymia, a less severe and more chronic variety of depression.However, the distinction between mild depression and dysthymia is hazy, and St John's wort has been shown to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression in many studies. Standardized extracts are generally available over the counter, though in some countries (such as the Republic of Ireland) a prescription is required. Extracts are usually in tablet or capsule form, and also in teabags and tinctures. Herbalists are more likely to use a fluid extract than a tincture. Hypericum was prescribed in ancient Greece, and it has been used ever since.

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Salvia officinalis (garden sage, common sage) is a perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the family Lamiaceae and is native to the Mediterranean region, though it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times as an ornamental garden plant. The common name "sage" is also used for a number of related and unrelated species.

Cultivars are quite variable in size, leaf and flower color, and foliage pattern, with many variegated leaf types. The Old World type grows to approximately 2 ft (0.61 m) tall and wide, with lavender flowers most common, though they can also be white, pink, or purple. The plant flowers in late spring or summer. The leaves are oblong, ranging in size up to 2.5 in (6.4 cm) long by 1 in (2.5 cm) wide. Leaves are grey-green, rugose on the upper side, and nearly white underneath due to the many short soft hairs. Modern cultivars include leaves with purple, rose, cream, and yellow in many variegated combinations.




Uses:
Common sage is grown in parts of Europe for distillation of an essential oil, though other species, such as Salvia fruticosa may also be harvested and distilled with it. As a kitchen herb, sage has a slight peppery flavor. In British cooking, it is used for flavoring fatty meats, Sage Derby cheese, poultry or pork stuffing, Lincolnshire sausage, and in sauces. Sage is also used in Italian cooking, in the Balkans, and the Middle East. It is one of the major herbs used in the traditional turkey stuffing for the Thanksgiving Day dinner in the United States. Despite the common use of traditional and available herbs in French cuisine, sage never found favour there. Salvia and "sage" are derived from the Latin salvere (to save), referring to the healing properties long attributed to the various Salvia species. It has been recommended at one time or another for virtually every ailment by various herbals. Modern evidence shows possible uses as an antisweating agent, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic. In a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial, sage was found to be effective in the management of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The strongest active constituents of sage are within its essential oil, which contains cineole, borneol, and thujone. Sage leaf contains tannic acid, oleic acid, ursonic acid, ursolic acid, cornsole, cornsolic acid, fumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, niacin, nicotinamide, flavones, flavonoid glycosides, and estrogenic substances. Investigations have taken place into using sage as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease patients.Sage leaf extract may be effective and safe in the treatment of hyperlipidemia.

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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Posted by Bangzkie Friday, March 23, 2012 0 comments



Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs, and is one of two species in the genus Rosmarinus. The name "rosemary" derives from the Latin name rosmarinus, derived from "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea" because in many locations it needs no water other than the humidity carried by the sea breeze to live. The plant is also sometimes called Anthos, from the ancient Greek word , meaning "flower". Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medical uses. The plant is said to improve the memory and is used as a symbol of remembrance, especially in Australia and New Zealand to commemorate ANZAC Day. The leaves are used to flavor various foods, like stuffings and roast meats. Rosemary contains the antioxidants carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, and other bioactive compounds including camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, rosmaridiphenol, and rosmanol. Some of these may be useful in preventing or treating cancers, strokes and Alzheimer's Disease.

Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub that has leaves similar to pine needles. The leaves are used as a flavouring in foods like stuffings and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. Rosemary can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods. Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, rarely 2 m (6 ft 7 in). The leaves are evergreen, 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) long and 2–5 mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense short woolly hair. The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates but the plants can be in constant bloom in warm climates; flowers are white, pink, purple or deep blue




Culinary use 
The leaves, both fresh and dried, are used in traditional Mediterranean cuisine. They have a bitter, astringent taste and are highly aromatic, which complements a wide variety of foods. A tisane can be made from the leaves. When burnt, they give off a mustard-like smell and a smell similar to burning wood, which can be used to flavor foods while barbecuing. Rosemary is high in iron, calcium and vitamin B6, 317 mg, 6.65 mg and 0.336 mg per 100 g, respectively.Rosemary extract has been shown to improve the shelf life and heat stability of omega 3-rich oils, which are prone to rancidity.

Medicinal uses:
Hungary water was first prepared for the Queen of Hungary to " ... renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs ... " and to treat gout. It was used externally and prepared by mixing fresh rosemary tops into spirits of wine. Don Quixote (Chapter XVII, 1st volume) mixes it in his recipe of the miraculous balm of Fierabras. Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory and has been used as a symbol for remembrance during weddings, war commemorations and funerals in Europe and Australia. Mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." (Hamlet, iv. 5.) A modern study lends some credence to this reputation. When the smell of rosemary was pumped into cubicles where people were working, they showed improved memory, though with slower recall. 1,8-cineole (1,3,3-trimethyl-2-oxabicyclo[2,2,2]octane), one of rosemary's main chemical components was found to improve speed and accuracy in cognitive performance in a study in 2012.

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Trifolium pratense (red clover) is a species of clover, native to Europe, Western Asia and northwest Africa, but planted and naturalised in many other regions. It is an herbaceous, short-lived perennial plant, variable in size, growing to 20–80 cm tall. The leaves are alternate, trifoliate (with three leaflets), each leaflet 15–30 mm long and 8–15 mm broad, green with a characteristic pale crescent in the outer half of the leaf; the petiole is 1–4 cm long, with two basal stipules. The flowers are dark pink with a paler base, 12–15 mm long, produced in a dense inflorescence.

Uses:
It is widely grown as a fodder crop, valued for its nitrogen fixation, which increases soil fertility. For these reasons it is used as a green manure crop. Several cultivar groups have been selected for agricultural use, mostly derived from var. sativum. It has become naturalised in many temperate areas, including the Americas and Australasia as an escape from cultivation. Red clover contains isoflavones (estrogen-like compounds) which can mimic the effect of endogenous estrogen. The use of red clover to relieve menopausal symptoms has been shown to be sometimes ineffective, but safe. The isoflavones (like irilone and pratensein) from red clover have been used to treat the symptoms of menopause. A large, well-controlled study of high-isoflavone red clover extract supplements showed a modest reduction of hot flashes with Promensil, but not Rimostil, compared to placebo. Traditionally, red clover has been administered to help restore irregular menses and to balance the acid-alkaline level of the vagina to promote conception. Red clover has been reported to be used for a variety of medicinal purposes, such as the treatment of bronchitis, burns, cancers, ulcers, sedation, asthma, and syphilis. It is an ingredient in eight-herb essiac tea.


Due to its activity on estrogen receptors, it is contraindicated in people with a history of breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, or other estrogen-sensitive conditions, but others have suggested the high isoflavone content counteracts this, and even provides benefits in these conditions. Due to its coumarin derivatives, it should be used in caution in individuals with coagulation disorders or currently undergoing anticoagulation therapy. It is metabolized by CYP3A4 and therefore caution should be used when taking it with other drugs using this metabolic pathway.

Red clover is subject to bacterial as well as fungal diseases. Other problems include parasitic nematodes (roundworms) and viruses.

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Echinacea is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family, Asteraceae. The nine species it contains are commonly called purple coneflowers. They are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. The generic name is derived from the Greek word (echino), meaning "sea urchin," due to the spiny central disk. Some species are used in herbal medicines and some are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers. A few species are of conservation concern.

Echinacea species are herbaceous, drought-tolerant perennial plants growing up to 140 cm in height. They grow from taproots, except E. purpurea, which grows from a short caudex with fibrous roots. They have erect stems that in most species are unbranched. Both the basal and cauline leaves are arranged alternately. The leaves are normally hairy with a rough texture, having uniseriate trichomes (1-4 rings of cells) but sometimes they lack hairs. The basal leaves and the lower stem leaves have petioles, and as the leaves progress up the stem the petioles often decrease in length. The leaf blades in different species may have one, three or five nerves. Some species have linear to lanceolate shaped leaves, and others have elliptic- to ovate-shaped leaves; often the leaves decrease in size as they progress up the stems. Leaf bases gradually increase in width away from the petioles or the bases are rounded to heart shaped. Most species have leaf margins that are entire, but sometimes they are dentate or serrate. The flowers are collected together into single rounded heads that terminate long peduncles. The inflorescences have crateriform to hemispheric shaped involucres which are 12–40 mm wide. The phyllaries, or bracts below the flower head, are persistent and number 15–50. The phyllaries are produced in a 2–4 series. The receptacles are hemispheric to conic in shape. The paleae have orange to reddish purple ends, and are longer than the disc corollas. The paleae bases partially surrounding the cypselae, and are keeled with the apices abruptly constricted to awn-like tips. The ray florets number 8–21 and the corollas are dark purple to pale pink, white, or yellow. The tubes of the corolla are hairless or sparsely hairy, and the laminae are spreading, reflexed, or drooping in habit and linear to elliptic or obovate in shape. The abaxial faces of the laminae are glabrous or moderately hairy. The flower heads have typically 200-300 fertile, bisexual disc florets but some have more. The corollas are pinkish, greenish, reddish-purple or yellow and have tubes shorter than the throats. The pollen is normally yellow in most species, but usually white in E. pallida. The three or four-angled fruits, called cypselae, are tan or bicolored with a dark brown band distally. The pappi is persistent and variously crown-shaped with 0 to 4 or more prominent teeth. x = 11. Like all Asteraceae, the flowering structure is a composite inflorescence, with purple (rarely yellow or white) florets arranged in a prominent, somewhat cone-shaped head – "cone-shaped" because the petals of the outer ray florets tend to point downward (are reflexed) once the flower head opens, thus forming a cone. Plants are generally long lived, with distinctive flowers. The common name "cone flower" comes from the characteristic center “cone” at the center of the flower. The generic name Echinacea is rooted in the Greek word  (echinos), meaning sea urchin,it references the spiky appearance and feel of the flower heads. Echinacea plants also reseed in the fall. New flowers will grow where seeds have fallen from the prior year.

Uses:
Marketed and studied medicinal products contain different species (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida), different organs (roots and herbs) and different preparations (extracts and expressed juice). Their chemical compositions are very different. Multiple scientific reviews and meta-analyses have evaluated the published peer reviewed literature on the immunological effects of Echinacea. Reviews of the medicinal effects of Echinacea are often complicated by the inclusion of these different products. Evaluation of the literature within the field suffers generally from a lack of well-controlled trials, with many studies of low quality.

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Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, March 22, 2012 0 comments



Peppermint (Mentha × piperita, also known as M. balsamea Willd.) is a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint. The plant, indigenous to Europe, is now widespread in cultivation throughout all regions of the world. It is found wild occasionally with its parent species.

Peppermint typically occurs in moist habitats, including stream sides and drainage ditches. Being a hybrid, it is usually sterile, producing no seeds and reproducing only vegetatively, spreading by its rhizomes. If placed, it can grow anywhere, with a few exceptions. Outside of its native range, areas where peppermint was formerly grown for oil often have an abundance of feral plants, and it is considered invasive in Australia, the Galápagos Islands, New Zealand, and in the United States. in the Great Lakes region, noted since 1843




Uses:
Peppermint has a long tradition of medicinal use, with archaeological evidence placing its use at least as far back as ten thousand years ago. Peppermint has a high menthol content, and is often used as tea and for flavouring ice cream, confectionery, chewing gum, and toothpaste. The oil also contains menthone and menthyl esters, particularly menthyl acetate. Dried peppermint typically has 0.3-0.4% of volatile oil containing menthol (7-48%), menthone (20-46%), menthyl acetate (3-10%), menthofuran (1-17%) and 1,8-cineol (3-6%). Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, eucalyptol, caryophyllene and pinene. It is the oldest and most popular flavour of mint-flavoured confectionery. Peppermint can also be found in some shampoos, soaps and skin care products. Menthol activates cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin and mucosal tissues, and is the primary source of the cooling sensation that follows the topical application of peppermint oil. Used in this way, it has been known to help with insomnia. One animal study has suggested that Peppermint may have radioprotective effects in patients undergoing cancer treatment. The aroma of peppermint has been found to enhance memory. As such, it can be administered by instructors to their students before examinations, to aid recall. Peppermint flowers are large nectar producers and honey bees as well as other nectar harvesting organisms forage them heavily. A mild, pleasant varietal honey can be produced if there is a sufficient area of plants.


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The papaya (from Carib via Spanish), papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was first cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classical civilizations. The papaya is a large tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 metres (16 to 33 ft) tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50–70 centimetres (20–28 in) diameter, deeply palmately lobed with 7 lobes. The tree is usually unbranched, unless lopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria, but are much smaller and wax-like. They appear on the axils of the leaves, maturing into the large 15–45 centimetres (5.9–18 in) long, 10–30 centimetres (3.9–12 in) diameter fruit. The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (as soft as a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue.

Papayas can be used as a food, a cooking aid, and in traditional medicine. The stem and bark may be used in rope production.Papaya fruit is a rich source of nutrients such as provitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, B vitamins, dietary minerals and dietary fibre. Papaya skin, pulp and seeds also contain a variety of phytochemicals, including polyphenols. The ripe fruit of the papaya is usually eaten raw, with or without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads, and stews. Green papaya is used in Southeast Asian cooking, both raw and cooked. In Thai cuisine, papaya is used to make som tam and kaeng som when still not fully ripe. In Indonesian cuisine, the unripe green fruits and young leaves are boiled for use as part of lalab salad, while the flower buds are sautéed and stir fried with chillies and green tomatoes as Minahasan papaya flower vegetable dish. Papayas have a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies. The smell of ripe, fresh papaya flesh can strike some people as unpleasant. The black seeds of the papaya are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground and used as a substitute for black pepper. In some parts of Asia, the young leaves of the papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach. In some parts of the world, papaya leaves are made into tea as a treatment for malaria. Anti-malarial and anti-plasmodial activity has been noted in some preparations of the plant, but the mechanism is not understood and no treatment method based on these results has been scientifically proven.


Both green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are rich in papain, a protease used for tenderizing meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousands of years by indigenous Americans. It is now included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.

Papaya is frequently used as a hair conditioner, but should be used in small amounts. Papaya releases a latex fluid when not quite ripe, which can cause irritation and provoke allergic reaction in some people. The papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contains carpaine, an anthelmintic alkaloid (a drug that removes parasitic worms from the body), which can be dangerous in high doses. It is speculated that the latex concentration of unripe papayas may cause uterine contractions, which may lead to a miscarriage. Papaya seed extracts in large doses have a contraceptive effect on rats and monkeys, but in small doses have no effect on the unborn animals. Excessive consumption of papaya can cause carotenemia, the yellowing of soles and palms, which is otherwise harmless. However, a very large dose would need to be consumed; papaya contains about 6% of the level of beta carotene found in carrots (the most common cause of carotenemia).

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Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived. Opium is the source of many opiates, including morphine (and its derivative heroin), thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine. The Latin botanical name means the "sleep-bringing poppy", referring to the sedative properties of some of these opiates. The poppy is the only species of Papaveraceae that is an agricultural crop grown on a large scale. Other species, Papaver rhoeas and Papaver argemone, are important agricultural weeds, and may be mistaken for the crop. The plant itself is also valuable for ornamental purposes, and has been known as the "common garden poppy", referencing all the group of poppy plants. Poppy seeds of Papaver somniferum are an important food item and the source of poppyseed oil, a healthful edible oil that has many uses. It is widely grown as an ornamental flower throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

Papaver somniferum has many sub-species or varieties and cultivars. Colors of the flower vary widely, as do other physical characteristics such as number and shape of petals, number of flowers and fruits, number of seeds, color of seeds, production of opium, etc. Papaver somniferum Paeoniflorum Group (sometimes called Papaver paeoniflorum) is a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double, and are grown in many colors. Papaver somniferum Laciniatum Group (sometimes called Papaver laciniatum) is a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double and deeply lobed, to the point of looking like a ruffly pompon. A few of the varieties, notably the Norman and Przemko varieties, have low morphine content (less than one percent), much higher concentrations of other alkaloids. Most varieties, however, including those most popular for ornamental use or seed production, have a higher morphine content, with the average content being 10%.



Medicinal use:
Australia, Turkey and India are the major producers of poppy for medicinal purposes and poppy-based drugs, such as morphine or codeine.[19] The USA has a policy of sourcing 80% of its narcotic raw materials from the traditional producers, India and Turkey. A recent initiative to extend opium production for medicinal purposes called Poppy for Medicine was launched by The Senlis Council which proposes that Afghanistan could produce medicinal opium under a scheme similar to that operating in Turkey and India. The Council proposes licensing poppy production in Afghanistan, within an integrated control system supported by the Afghan government and its international allies, to promote economic growth in the country, create vital drugs and combat poverty and the diversion of illegal opium to drug traffickers and terrorist elements. Interestingly, Senlis is on record advocating reintroduction of poppy into areas of Afghanistan, specifically Kunduz, which has been poppy free for some time. The Senlis proposal is based in part on the assertion that there is an acute global shortage of opium poppy-based medicines some of which (morphine) are on the World Health Organisation's list of essential drugs as they are the most effective way of relieving severe pain. This assertion is contradicted by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the "independent and quasi-judicial control organ monitoring the implementation of the United Nations drug control conventions". INCB reports that the supply of opiates is greatly in excess of demand.
The British government has given the go-ahead to the pharmaceutical company Macfarlan Smith (a Johnson Matthey company) to cultivate opium poppies in England for medicinal reasons. This move is well-received by British farmers, with a major opium poppy field based in Didcot, England. In March 2010, researchers from the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary published an article in Nature Chemical Biology about their discovery of two enzymes and their encoding genes, thebaine 6-O-demethylase (T6ODM) and codeine O-demethylase (CODM), involved in morphine biosynthesis derived from the opium poppy. The enzymes were identified as non-heme dioxygenases, and were isolated using functional genomics. Codeine O-demethylase produces the enzyme that converts codeine into morphine.

The opium poppy is the source of two food ingredients: poppy seed and poppyseed oil. The seeds contain very low levels of opiates, and the oil extracted from them contains even less. Both the oil and the seed residue also have commercial uses.


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Morinda citrifolia, commonly known as great morinda, Indian mulberry, nunaakai (Tamil Nadu, India) , dog dumpling (Barbados), mengkudu (Indonesia and Malaysia), apatot (Philippines), Kumudu (Bali), pace (Java), beach mulberry, cheese fruit or noni (from Hawaiian) is a tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Morinda citrifolia's native range extends through Southeast Asia and Australasia, and the species is now cultivated throughout the tropics and widely naturalised.

M. citrifolia fruit powder contains carbohydrates and dietary fibre in moderate amounts. These macronutrients evidently reside in the fruit pulp, as M. citrifolia juice has sparse nutrient content. The main micronutrients of M. citrifolia pulp powder include vitamin C, niacin (vitamin B3), iron and potassium. Vitamin A, calcium and sodium are present in moderate amounts. When M. citrifolia juice alone is analyzed and compared to pulp powder, only vitamin C is retainedin an amount that is about half the content of a raw navel orange. Sodium levels in M. citrifolia juice (about 3% of Dietary Reference Intake, DRI) are high compared to an orange, and potassium content is moderate. M. citrifolia juice is otherwise similar in micronutrient content to a raw orange. M. citrifolia fruit contains a number of phytochemicals, including lignans, oligo- and polysaccharides, flavonoids, iridoids, fatty acids, scopoletin, catechin, beta-sitosterol, damnacanthal, and alkaloids. Although these substances have been studied for bioactivity, current research is insufficient to conclude anything about their effects on human health.These phytochemicals are not unique to M. citrifolia, as they exist in various plants.


Uses:
The green fruit, leaves, and root/rhizome were traditionally used in Polynesian cultures to treat menstrual cramps, bowel irregularities, diabetes, liver diseases, and urinary tract infections.

M. citrifolia grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores. It reaches maturity in about 18 months and then yields between 4–8 kilograms (8.8–18 lb) of fruit every month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils, drought conditions, and secondary soils. It is therefore found in a wide variety of habitats: volcanic terrains, lava-strewn coasts, and clearings or limestone outcrops. It can grow up to 9 metres (30 ft) tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves. The plant bears flowers and fruits all year round. The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odour when ripening, and is hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval in shape and reaches 4–7 centimetres (1.6–2.8 in) size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds. It is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food[3] and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked. Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt[5] or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted. M. citrifolia is especially attractive to weaver ants, which make nests out of the leaves of the tree. These ants protect the plant from some plant-parasitic insects. The smell of the fruit also attracts fruit bats, which aid in dispersing the seeds.

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Azadirachta indica is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to India and Pakistan growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil. Other vernacular names include Neem (Nepali, Urdu), (Bengali), Nimm (Punjabi), Vembu (Tamil), Arya Veppu (Malayalam), Azad Dirakht (Persian), Nimba (Sanskrit, Oriya), Limdo (Gujarati language) Kadu-Limba (Marathi), Dongoyaro (in some Nigerian languages), Margosa, Neeb (Arabic), Nimtree, Vepu , Vempu, Vepa (Telugu), Bevu (Kannada),Kodu nimb (Konkani), (Kohomba, Sinhala), Tamar (Burmese),  (Sdao, Khmer),(Sadaw, Thai), (Hebrew), Paraiso (Spanish), and Indian Lilac (English). In East Africa it is also known as Muarubaini (Swahili), which means the tree of the 40, as it is said to treat 40 different diseases, and in Somalia it is known as "Geed Hindi" which means "the Indian tree". Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15–20 metres (49–66 ft), rarely to 35–40 metres (115–130 ft). It is evergreen, but in severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide spread. The fairly dense crown is roundish or oval and may reach the diameter of 15–20 metres (49–66 ft) in old, free-standing specimens.

Neem is considered a weed in many areas, including some parts of the Middle East, and most of Sub-Saharan Africa including West Africa where in Senegal it has been used as a malarial drug and Tanzania and other Indian Ocean states where in Kiswahili it is known as 'the panacea', literally 'the tree that cures forty [diseases]', where ayurvedic uses are practiced. Ecologically, it survives well in similar environments to its own, for example replacing the babul acacia tree from India with African acacia species.

Indian scientists were the first to bring the plant to the attention of phytopharmacologists. In 1942, at the Scientific and Industrial Research Laboratory at Delhi University, three bitter compounds were extracted from neem oil, which were named nimbin, nimbinin, and nimbidin.The seeds contain a complex secondary metabolite azadirachtin.



Uses:
All parts of the tree are said to have medicinal properties (seeds, leaves, flowers and bark) and are used for preparing many different medical preparations. The chemical constituents nimbidin and nimbin have some spermicidal activity Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, neem shampoo, balms and creams such as Margo soap) and many oral health products. Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine, the neem tree is of great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a good carbon dioxide sink.Practitioners of traditional Indian medicine recommend that patients with chicken pox sleep on neem leaves. Neem gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose food. Traditionally, slender neem branches have been chewed to clean one's teeth. Neem twigs are still collected and sold in markets for this use, and in India one often sees youngsters in the streets chewing on neem twigs(for the neem twigs and branches have great dental effects). Neem blossoms are used in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to prepare Ugadi pachhadi. "Bevina hoovina gojju" (a type of curry prepared with neem blossoms) is common in Karnataka throughout the year. Dried blossoms are used when fresh blossoms are not available. In Tamilnadu, a rasam (veppam poo rasam) made with neem blossoms is a culinary specialty. A mixture of neem flowers and bella (jaggery or unrefined brown sugar) is prepared and offered to friends and relatives, symbolic of sweet and bitter events in the upcoming new year. Extract of neem leaves is thought to be helpful as malaria prophylaxis despite the fact that no comprehensive clinical studies are yet available. In several cases, private initiatives in Senegal were successful in preventing malaria. However, major NGOs and other organizations such as USAID are not supposed to use neem tree extracts unless the medical benefit has been proved with clinical studies. Neem extracts as insecticides. Neem products are unique in that they are not outright killers. Instead, they alter an insects behaviour or life processes in ways that can be extremely subtle. Eventually, however, the insect can no longer feed or breed or metamorphose & can cause no further damage. Azadirachtin : One of the first active ingredients isolated from neem, Azadirachtin has proved to be the trees main agent for battling insects. It appears to cause some 90% of the effect on most pests.

Medicinal uses:
In India, the plant is variously known as "Sacred Tree," "Heal All," "Nature's Drugstore," "Village Pharmacy" and "Panacea for all diseases". Products made from neem trees have been used in India for over two millennia for their medicinal properties: neem products are believed to be anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive and sedative. Neem products are also used in selectively controlling pests in plants. It is considered a major component in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin disease.

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Silybum marianum, colloquially identified as Carduus marianus, known as milk thistle, is an annual or biannual plant of the Asteraceae family. This fairly typical thistle has red to purple flowers and shiny pale green leaves with white veins. Originally a native of Southern Europe through to Asia, it is now found throughout the world. The medicinal parts of the plant are the ripe seeds. Common names for this species include blessed milk thistle, Marian Thistle, Mary Thistle, Saint Mary's Thistle, Mediterranean Milk Thistle, Variegated Thistle and Scotch Thistle.

Uses:
In herbalism, it is used in cases of liver diseases (cirrhosis, jaundice and hepatitis), gallbladder disease, and is claimed to protect the liver against poisons. Silibinin (syn. silybin, sylimarin I) is a hepatoprotective (antihepatotoxic), antioxidant (radical-scavenging agent), thus stabilizing and protecting the membrane lipids of the hepatocytes (liver cells). Silicristin inhibits the enzymes peroxidase and lipoxygenase. Silidianin is a plant growth regulator. A 2000 study of such claims by the AHRQ concluded that "clinical efficacy of milk thistle is not clearly established". However a more recent study did show activity against liver cancer cells in vitro. A 2005 Cochrane Review considered thirteen randomized clinical trials which assessed milk thistle in 915 patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases. They question the beneficial effects of milk thistle for patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases and highlight the lack of high-quality evidence to support this intervention. Cochrane concluded that more good quality randomized clinical trials on milk thistle versus placebo are needed. Its potent extract is used in medicine under the name silymarin (a flavonolignane complex consisting of silibinin A and B/silybin/silymarin I, isosilibinin A and B, silicristin/silymarin II, silidianin). Silibinin is used against poisoning by amanitas, such as the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) as well as in cerebral edema and acute hepatitis therapy. Mary thistle has been grown as a medicinal plant in monastery gardens since ancient times. The seed is the part of the plant used medicinally. Silybum marianum extract has antifungal effects, preventing the growth of dermatophyte more than saprophyte fungi. One pilot study showed that milk thistle may be as effective as fluoxetine in treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.


It grows 30 to 200 cm tall, having an overall conical shape with a approx. 160 cm max. diameter base. The stem is grooved and more or less cottony, and with the largest specimens the 'trunk' is hollow. The leaves are oblong to lanceolate. They are either lobate or pinnate, with spiny edges. They are hairless, shiny green, with milk-white veins. The flower heads are 4 to 12 cm long and wide, of red-purple colour. They flower from June to August in the North or December to February in the Southern Hemisphere ( Summer through Autumn ). The bracts are hairless, with triangular, spine-edged appendages, tipped with a stout yellow spine. The achenes are black, with a simple long white pappus, surrounded by a yellow basal ring.

Due to potassium nitrate content, the plant has been found to be toxic to cattle and sheep. When potassium nitrate is eaten by ruminants, the bacteria in animal's stomach breaks the chemical down, producing a nitrite ion. Nitrite ion then combines with hemoglobin to produce methaemoglobin, blocking the transport of oxygen. The result is a form of oxygen deprivation.

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Althaea officinalis (Marshmallow, Marsh Mallow, or Common Marshmallow) is a species indigenous to Africa, which is used as a medicinal plant and ornamental plant. A confection made from the root since ancient Egyptian time evolved into today's marshmallow treat.

Uses:
The leaves, flowers and the root of A. officinalis (marshmallow) all have medicinal properties. These are reflected in the name of the genus, which comes from the Greek althainein, meaning "to heal". In traditional Chinese medicine, Althaea officinalis is known as (pinyin: yàoshǔkuí). It increases the flow of breast milk and soothes the bronchial tubes. Marshmallow is traditionally used as a treatment for the irritation of mucous membranes, including use as a gargle for mouth and throat ulcers, and gastric ulcers. A study on rats concluded that an extract from the flowers has potential benefits for hyperlipidemia, gastric ulcers and platelet aggregation. The root extract (halawa extract) is sometimes used as flavouring in the making of a Middle Eastern snack called halva. The flowers and young leaves can be eaten, and are often added to salads or are boiled and fried. Marshmalow roots The root has been used since the Middle Ages in the treatment of sore throat.The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve (or "guimauve" for short), included an eggwhite meringue and was often flavored with rose water. Pâte de guimauve more closely resembles contemporary commercially available marshmallows, which no longer contain any actual marshmallow.

                          
The stems, which die down in the autumn, are erect, 3 to 4 feet (1.2 m) high, simple, or putting out only a few lateral branches. The leaves, shortly petioled, are roundish, ovate-cordate, 2 to 3 inches (76 mm) long, and about 1 1/4 inch broad, entire or three to five lobed, irregularly toothed at the margin, and thick. They are soft and velvety on both sides, due to a dense covering of stellate hairs. The flowers are shaped like those of the common Mallow, but are smaller and of a pale colour, and are either axillary, or in panicles, more often the latter. The stamens are united into a tube, the anthers, kidney-shaped and one-celled. The flowers are in bloom during August and September, and are followed, as in other species of this order, by the flat, round fruit which are popularly called 'cheeses.' The common Mallow is frequently called by country people 'Marsh Mallow,' but the true Marsh Mallow is distinguished from all the other Mallows growing in Great Britain, by the numerous divisions of the outer calyx (six to nine cleft), by the hoary down which thickly clothes the stems and foliage, and by the numerous panicles of blush-coloured flowers, paler than the Common Mallow. The roots are perennial, thick, long and tapering, very tough and pliant, whitish yellow outside, white and fibrous within. The whole plant, particularly the root, abounds with a mild mucilage, which is emollient to a much greater degree than the common Mallow.[citation needed] The generic name, Althaea, is derived from the Greek altho (to cure), from its healing properties. The name of the family, Malvaceae, is derived from the Greek malake (soft), from the special qualities of the Mallows in softening and healing. Most of the Mallows have been used as food, and are mentioned by early classic writers with this connection. Mallow was an esculent vegetable among the Romans; a dish of Marsh Mallow was one of their delicacies. Prosper Alpinus stated in 1592 that a plant of the Mallow kind was eaten by the Egyptians. Many of the poorer inhabitants of Syria subsist for weeks on herbs, of which Marsh Mallow is one of the most common. When boiled first and fried with onions and butter, the roots are said to form a palatable dish, and in times of scarcity consequent upon the failure of the crops, this plant, which fortunately grows there in great abundance, is collected heavily as a foodstuff.

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