Trigonella foenum-graecum is a plant in the family Fabaceae. Fenugreek is used both as a herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed, often called methi in Urdu/Hindi/Nepali). The leaves and sprouts are also eaten as vegetables. The plant is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop and is a common ingredient in many curries.
The cuboid yellow to amber coloured fenugreek seeds are frequently used in the preparation of pickles, curry powders, and curry paste, and the spice is often encountered in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent.The dried leaves – also called kasuri methi (or kasoori methi in North India and Pakistan), after the region of Kasur in Punjab, Pakistan province, where it grows abundantly – have a bitter taste and a characteristically strong smell. When harvested as microgreens, it also known as Samudra Methi, in Maharashtra, especially in and around Mumbai, where it is often grown near the sea in the sandy tracts, hence the name (Samudra means "ocean" in Sanskrit)
Fenugreek seeds are thought to be a galactagogue that is often used to increase milk supply in lactating women.
Arthritis has a low incidence rate in India where a lot of fenugreek is consumed. Drinking 1 cup of fenugreek tea per day, made from the leaves, is said to relieve the discomfort of arthritis.
Viscum album is a species of mistletoe, the species originally so-named, and also known as European Mistletoe or Common Mistletoe to distinguish it from other related species. It is native to Europe and western and southern Asia.
Mistletoe has always attracted popular interest and has been surrounded by a number of myths and legends. In some countries it plays a part in Christmas festivities. Pliny recorded an ancient druidic belief that mistletoe collected from oaks had special qualities; the same theme is reprised in the popular Asterix comic books. In Norse myth, an arrow made of mistletoe was the only thing that was able to kill the god Balder. The goddess Frigg had asked all other things to vow not to hurt Balder, but she had ignored the mistletoe because it seemed too small to be dangerous
Mistletoe is an ingredient of pomace brandy based liquor biska made in Istra, Croatia.
The mistletoe was one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus. Its species name is the Latin adjective albus "white". It and the other members of the genus Viscum were originally classified in the mistletoe family Viscaceae, but this family has since been sunk into the larger family Santalaceae.
Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees (and a few shrubs) in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia. There are more than 700 species of Eucalyptus, mostly native to Australia, and a very small number are found in adjacent areas of New Guinea and Indonesia and one, Eucalyptus deglupta, ranges north to the Philippines. Only 15 species occur outside Australia, and only 9 do not occur in Australia. Species of Eucalyptus are cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics including the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, China and the Indian Subcontinent.Eucalyptus is one of three similar genera that are commonly referred to as "eucalypts," the others being Corymbia and Angophora. Many, but far from all, are known as gum trees because many species exude copious sap from any break in the bark
Some Eucalyptus species have attracted attention from global development researchers and environmentalists. Such species have desirable traits such as being fast-growing sources of wood, producing oil that can be used for cleaning and functions as a natural insecticide, or an ability to be used to drain swamps and thereby reduce the risk of malaria. Outside their natural ranges, eucalypts are both lauded for their beneficial economic impact on poor populationsand criticised for being "invasive water-suckers",leading to controversy over their total impact.
Eucalyptus was first introduced from Australia to the rest of the world by Sir Joseph Banks, botanist, on the Cook expedition in 1770. It was subsequently introduced to many parts of the world, notably California, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Ethiopia, Morocco, Portugal, South Africa, Uganda, Israel, Galicia and Chile. In Portugal and also Spain, eucalypts have been planted in pulpwood plantations. Eucalyptus are the basis for several industries, such as sawmilling, pulp, charcoal and others. Several species have become invasive and are causing major problems for local ecosystems, mainly due to the absence of wildlife corridors and rotations management. Eucalypts have many uses which have made them economically important trees, and have become a cash crop in poor areas such as Timbuktu, Africa and the Peruvian Andes, despite concerns that the trees are invasive in some countries like South Africa. Best-known are perhaps the varieties Karri and Yellow box. Due to their fast growth, the foremost benefit of these trees is their wood. They can be chopped off at the root and grow back again. They provide many desirable characteristics for use as ornament, timber, firewood and pulpwood. It is also used in a number of industries, from fence posts and charcoal to cellulose extraction for biofuels. Fast growth also makes eucalypts suitable as windbreaks and to reduce erosion.
Ephedra refers to the plant Ephedra sinica.E. sinica, known in Chinese as ma huanghas been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years for the treatment of asthma and hay fever, as well as for the common cold.Several additional species belonging to the genus Ephedra have traditionally been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, and are a possible candidate for the Soma plant of Indo-Iranian religion. Native Americans and Mormon pioneers drank a tea brewed from an Ephedra, called Mormon Tea or Indian Tea.Mormon Tea (Ephedra funerea) growing in the wild in the Fiery Furnace area of Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. In recent years, the safety of ephedra-containing dietary supplements has been questioned by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the medical community as a result of a high rate of serious side effects and ephedra-related deaths.In response to accumulating evidence of adverse effects and deaths related to ephedra, the FDA banned the sale of ephedra-containing supplements on April 12, 2004.A suit by an ephedra manufacturer was upheld by a Federal District Court judge in Utah on April 14, 2005. The FDA appealed this ruling, and on August 17, 2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the FDA's ban of ephedra.
Effects and uses
Ephedra is both a stimulant and a thermogenic; its biological effects are due to its ephedrine and pseudoephedrine content These compounds stimulate the brain, increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels (increasing blood pressure), and expand bronchial tubes (making breathing easier). Their thermogenic properties cause an increase in metabolism, evidenced by an increase in body heat.
There are no formal requirements for standardization or quality control of dietary supplements in the United States, and the dosage of effective ingredients in supplements may vary widely from brand to brand or batch to batchStudies of ephedra supplements have found significant discrepancies between the labeled dose and the actual amount of ephedra in the product. Significant variation in ephedrine alkaloid levels, by as much as 10-fold, was seen even from lot to lot within the same brand.
Sambucus (elder or elderberry) is a genus of between 5 and 30 species of shrubs or small trees in the moschatel family, Adoxaceae. It was formerly placed in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae, but was reclassified due to genetic evidence. Two of its species are herbaceous. The genus is native in temperate-to-subtropical regions of both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. It is more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere; its Southern Hemisphere occurrence is restricted to parts of Australasia and South America. The leaves are pinnate with 5–9 leaflets (rarely 3 or 11). Each leaf is 5–30 cm (2.0–12 in) long, and the leaflets have serrated margins. They bear large clusters of small white or cream-colored flowers in late spring; these are followed by clusters of small black, blue-black, or red berries (rarely yellow or white).
Medicinal use:Black elderberry has been used medicinally for hundreds of years.Flavanoids from Sambucus nigra appear to inhibit the infectiousness of H1N1 flu virions in vitro.A 1995 study found: "A complete cure was achieved within 2 to 3 days in nearly 90% of the SAM-treated group and within at least 6 days in the placebo group (p < 0.001). No satisfactory medication to cure influenza type A and B is available. Considering the efficacy of the extract in vitro on all strains of influenza virus tested, the clinical results, its low cost, and absence of side-effects, this preparation could offer a possibility for safe treatment for influenza A and B."A small study published in 2004 showed that 93% of flu patients given elderberry extract were completely symptom-free within two days; those taking a placebo recovered in about six days.A 2009 study found that the H1N1 inhibition activities of the elderberry flavonoids compare favorably to the known anti-influenza activities of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Amantadine. A 2004 study found that symptoms of influenza A and B virus infections were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. The study stated, "Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza. These findings need to be confirmed in a larger study".Elderberries were well known to Native American medicine people, who described the fruit as "strengthening the inner warrior".
The leaves, twigs, branches, seeds and roots contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside (a glycoside which gives rise to cyanide as the metabolism processes it). Ingesting any of these parts in sufficient quantity can cause a toxic build up of cyanide in the body. Due to the possibility of cyanide poisoning, children should be discouraged from making whistles, slingshots or other toys from elderberry wood. In addition, "herbal teas" made with elderberry leaves (which contain cyanogenic glycosides) should be treated with high caution. However, ripe berries (pulp and skin) are safe to eat.
Angelica sinensis, commonly known as "dong quai" or "female ginseng" is a herb from the family Apiaceae, indigenous to China.
Its dried root is commonly known in Chinese as Radix Angelicae Sinensis, or Chinese angelicaand is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat gynecological ailments, fatigue, mild anemia and high blood pressure. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and sedative effects. The plant's phytochemicals consist of coumarins, phytosterols, polysaccharides, ferulate, and flavonoids.It has antioxidant activity.
This herb is used by herbalists for the female reproductive system, as they believe that it is a uterine tonic and hormonal regulator. It is often used in premenstrual syndrome formulas as well as menopausal formulas. However, this herb is not recommended during pregnancy due to possible hormonal, anticoagulant, and antiplatelet properties. Animal research has noted conflicting effects on the uterus, with reports of both stimulation and relaxation. Dong quai is traditionally viewed as increasing the risk of miscarriage.
There is one case report of gynaecomastia following consumption of ding dang gui root powder pills
Digitalis is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and biennials that are commonly called foxgloves. This genus was traditionally placed in the figwort family Scrophulariaceae, but recent reviews of phylogenetic research have placed it in the much enlarged family Plantaginaceae.This genus is native to western and south western Europe,western and central Asia, and northwestern Africa. The scientific name means "finger-like" and refers to the ease with which a flower of Digitalis purpurea can be fitted over a human fingertip. The flowers are produced on a tall spike, are tubular, and vary in colour with species, from purple to pink, white, and yellow. The best-known species is the "Common Foxglove", Digitalis purpurea. This is a biennial plant which is often grown as an ornamental plant due to its vivid flowers. These range in colour from various purple tints through various shades of light gray, and to purely white. The flowers can also possess various marks and spottings.
Medicinal use:A group of medicines extracted from foxglove plants are called Digitalin. The use of Digitalis purpurea extract containing cardiac glycosides for the treatment of heart conditions was first described in the English speaking medical literature by William Withering, in 1785,which is considered the beginning of modern therapeutics.It is used to increase cardiac contractility (it is a positive inotrope) and as an antiarrhythmic agent to control the heart rate, particularly in the irregular (and often fast) atrial fibrillation. Digitalis is hence often prescribed for patients in atrial fibrillation, especially if they have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Digoxin was approved for heart failure in 1998 under current regulations by the Food and Drug Administration on the basis of prospective randomized study and clinical trials.
toxin:Depending on the species, the digitalis plant may contain several deadly physiological and chemically related cardiac and steroidal glycosides. Thus, the digitalis has earned several more sinister names: Dead Man’s Bells, and Witches’ Gloves.
Digitalis thrives in acidic soils, in partial sunlight to deep shade, in a range of habitats including open woods, woodland clearings, moorland, and heath margins, sea-cliffs, rocky mountain slopes and hedge banks. It is commonly found on sites where the ground has been disturbed, such as recently cleared woodland, or where the vegetation has been burnt.
The common name dandelionis given to members of the genus, and like other members of the Asteraceae family, they have very small flowers collected together into a composite flower head. Each single flower in a head is called a floret. Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, where the seeds are produced without pollination, resulting in offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant.Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Eurasia and North America, and two species, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, are found as weeds worldwide. Both species are edible in their entirety.
Medicinal use:Historically, dandelion was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and it contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion is used as folk remedies in Europe, North America and China. It was used to treat infections, bile and liver problems, as well as cancers,and as a diuretic.There is evidence to suggest it may have anti-inflammatory effects and assist with urinary tract infections in women. Dandelion pollen may cause allergic reactions when eaten, or adverse skin reactions in sensitive individuals. Due to its high potassium level, dandelion may also increase the risk of hyperkalemia when taken with potassium-sparing diuretics.
The dandelion plant is a beneficial weed, with a wide range of uses, and is even a good companion plant for gardening. Its taproot will bring up nutrients for shallower-rooting plants, and add minerals and nitrogen to soil. It is also known to attract pollinating insects and release ethylene gas which helps fruit to ripen
Dandelions are found on all continents and have been gathered since prehistory, but the varieties cultivated for consumption are mainly native to Eurasia. A perennial plant, its leaves will grow back if the taproot is left intact. To make leaves more palatable, they are often blanched to remove bitterness
Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the subgenus Oxycoccus of the genus Vaccinium. In some methods of classification, Oxycoccus is regarded as a genus in its own right.They can be found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere.Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 2 metres (7 ft) long and 5 to 20 centimetres (2 to 8 in) in height;they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by bees. The fruit is a berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.
The name cranberry derives from "craneberry", first named by early European settlers in America who felt the expanding flower, stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and bill of a crane. Another name used in northeastern Canada is mossberry. The traditional English name for Vaccinium oxycoccos, fenberry, originated from plants found growing in fen (marsh) lands. In 17th century New England cranberries were sometimes called "bearberries" as bears were often seen feeding on them. In North America, Native Americans were the first to use cranberries as food. Native Americans used cranberries in a variety of foods, especially for pemmican, wound medicine and dye. Calling the red berries Sassamanash, natives may have introduced cranberries to starving English settlers in Massachusetts who incorporated the berries into traditional Thanksgiving feasts. American Revolutionary War veteran Henry Hall is credited as first to farm cranberries in the Cape Cod town of Dennis around 1816. In the 1820s cranberries were shipped to Europe. Cranberries became popular for wild harvesting in the Nordic countries and Russia. In Scotland, the berries were originally wild-harvested but with the loss of suitable habitat, the plants have become so scarce that this is no longer done.
Medicinal use: Raw cranberries have moderate levels of vitamin C, dietary fiber and the essential dietary mineral, manganese, as well as a balanced profile of other essential micronutrients.By measure of the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity with an ORAC score of 9.584 units per 100 g, cranberry ranks near the top of 277 commonly consumed foods in the United States.
Comfrey (also comphrey) is an important herb in organic gardening. It is used as a fertilizer and also has many purported medicinal uses. The main species used now is Symphytum × uplandicum or Russian comfrey, a hybrid between Symphytum officinale (common comfrey) and Symphytum asperum (rough comfrey).
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) is a perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bears small bell-shaped flowers of various colours, typically cream or purplish, which may be striped. It is native to Europe, growing in damp, grassy places, and is locally frequent throughout Ireland and Britain on river banks and ditches. More common is the hybrid between S. officinale and S. asperum, Symphytum × uplandicum, known as Russian Comfrey, which is widespread in the British Isles, and which interbreeds with S. officinale. Compared to S. officinale, S. × uplandicum is generally more bristly and has flowers which tend to be more blue or violet
Comfrey has long been recognised by both organic gardeners and herbalists for its great usefulness and versatility; of particular interest is the 'Bocking 14' cultivar of Russian Comfrey. This strain was developed during the 1950s by Lawrence D Hills, the founder of the Henry Doubleday Research Association (the organic gardening organisation itself named after the Quaker pioneer who first introduced Russian Comfrey into Britain in the 1910s) following trials at Bocking, near Braintree, the original home of the organization.
Medicinal uses: Contemporary herbalists view comfrey as an ambivalent and controversial herb that may offer therapeutic benefits but can cause liver toxicity.One of the most common uses of Comfrey extract is as a skin treatment. The plant contains the small organic molecule allantoin, which is thought to stimulate cell growth and repair while simultaneously depressing inflammation.Scientists and medical doctors agree that the use of Comfrey should be restricted to topical use, and should never be ingested, as it contains dangerous amounts of hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs).The allantoin contained in the plant is thought to help replace and thus repair cells in the body through its profliferant properties. Comfrey was used in an attempt to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from bronchial problems, broken bones, sprains, arthritis, gastric and varicose ulcers, severe burns, acne and other skin conditions. It was reputed to have bone and teeth building properties in children, and have value in treating "many female disorders". Constituents of comfrey also include mucilage, steroidal saponins, tannins, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, inulin, and proteins.
Senna occidentalis is a pantropical plant species.Vernacular names include : ʻauʻaukoʻi in Hawaii, coffee senna, coffeeweed, Mogdad coffee, negro-coffee, senna coffee, Stephanie coffee, stinkingweed or styptic weed.The species was formerly placed in the genus Cassia.The plant is reported to be poisonous to cattle.The plant contains anthraquinones. The roots contain emodin and the seeds contain chrysarobin (1,8-dihydroxy-3-methyl-9-anthrone) and N-methylmorpholine.Mogdad coffee seeds can be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee. They have also been used as an adulterant for coffee. There is apparently no caffeine in mogdad coffee.Despite the claims of being poisonous, the leaves of this plant, Dhiguthiyara in Dhivehi,have been used in the diet of the Maldives for centuries and also as a medicinal plant.
Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world. Cloves are harvested primarily in Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The clove tree is an evergreen that grows to a height ranging from 8–12 m, having large leaves and sanguine flowers in numerous groups of terminal clusters. The flower buds are at first of a pale color and gradually become green, after which they develop into a bright red, when they are ready for collecting. Cloves are harvested when 1.5–2 cm long, and consist of a long calyx, terminating in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals which form a small ball in the center.
Medicinal use: Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies. Cloves are used as a carminative, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. Cloves are also said to be a natural anthelmintic.he essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen are said to warm the digestive tract. Clove oil, applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, also relieves toothache.It also helps to decrease infection in the teeth due to its antiseptic properties.In Chinese medicine cloves or ding xiang are considered acrid, warm and aromatic, entering the kidney, spleen and stomach meridians, and are notable in their ability to warm the middle, direct stomach qi downward, to treat hiccough and to fortify the kidney yang.Because the herb is so warming it is contraindicated in any persons with fire symptoms and according to classical sources should not be used for anything except cold from yang deficiency. As such it is used in formulas for impotence or clear vaginal discharge from yang deficiency, for morning sickness together with ginseng and patchouli, or for vomiting and diarrhea due to spleen and stomach coldness.This would translate to hypochlorhydria. Clove oil is used in various skin disorders like acne, pimples etc. It is also used in severe burns, skin irritations and to reduce the sensitivity of skin.
Western studies have supported the use of cloves and clove oil for dental pain. However, studies to determine its effectiveness for fever reduction, as a mosquito repellent and to prevent premature ejaculation have been inconclusive. Clove may reduce blood sugar levels.
Cinchona or Quina is a genus of about 38 species in the family Rubiaceae, native to the tropical Andes forests of western South America.They are medicinal plants, known as sources for quinine and other compounds.
The Cinchona plants are large shrubs or small trees with evergreen foliage, growing 5–15 metres (16–49 ft) in height. The leaves are opposite, rounded to lanceolate and 10–40 cm long. The flowers are white, pink or red, produced in terminal panicles. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous seeds.
Medicinal use:The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua (Inca) peoples of Peru and Bolivia, and long cultivated by them as a muscle relaxant to halt shivering due to low temperatures. The Jesuit Brother Agostino Salumbrino (1561–1642), an apothecary by training and who lived in Lima, observed the Quechua using the quinine-containing bark of the cinchona tree for that purpose. While its effect in treating malaria (and hence malaria-induced shivering) was entirely unrelated to its effect in controlling shivering from cold, it was nevertheless the correct medicine for malaria. The use of the “fever tree” bark was introduced into European medicine by Jesuit missionaries (Jesuit's bark). Jesuit Barnabé de Cobo (1582–1657), who explored Mexico and Peru, is credited with taking cinchona bark to Europe. He brought the bark from Lima to Spain, and afterwards to Rome and other parts of Italy, in 1632.After Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Jesuit missionaries were the first to bring the Jesuit's bark cinchona compound to Europe in 1632. To maintain their monopoly on cinchona bark, Peru and surrounding countries began outlawing the export of cinchona seeds and saplings beginning in the early 19th century.
The bark of trees in this genus is the source of a variety of alkaloids, the most familiar of which is quinine, an anti-fever agent especially useful in treating malaria. Cinchona alkaloids include:
Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Its species are native to the Americas where they have been cultivated for thousands of years, but they are now also cultivated worldwide, used as spices, vegetables, and medicines, and have become a key element in many regional cuisines.The fruit of Capsicum plants have a variety of names depending on place and type. They are commonly called chili pepper, red or green pepper in North America, or sweet pepper in Britain, and typically just "capsicum" in Australia, New Zealand, and India. The large mild form is called bell pepper in the U.S. and Canada. They are called paprika in some other countries (although paprika can also refer to the powdered spice made from various capsicum fruit).
Capsaicin The fruit of most species of Capsicum contains capsaicin (methyl vanillyl nonenamide), a lipophilic chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth of the unaccustomed eater. Most mammals find this unpleasant, whereas birds are unaffected.
Capsicum fruits and peppers can be eaten raw or cooked. Those used in cooking are generally varieties of the C. annuum and C. frutescens species, though a few others are used as well. They are suitable for stuffing with fillings such as cheese, meat or rice. They are also frequently used both chopped and raw in salads, or cooked in stir-fries or other mixed dishes. They can be sliced into strips and fried, roasted whole or in pieces, or chopped and incorporated into salsas or other sauces, of which they are often a main ingredient.They can be preserved in the form of a jam, or by drying, pickling or freezing. Dried peppers may be reconstituted whole, or processed into flakes or powders. Pickled or marinated peppers are frequently added to sandwiches or salads. Frozen peppers are used in stews, soups, and salsas. Extracts can be made and incorporated into hot sauces.
Vitex agnus-castus, also called Vitex, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Abraham's Balm or Monk's Pepper, is a native of the Mediterranean region. It is one of the few temperate-zone species of Vitex, which is on the whole a genus of tropical and sub-tropical flowering plants.Theophrastus mentioned the shrub several times, as agnos (άγνος) in Enquiry into Plants.Vitex, its name in Pliny the Elder, is derived from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, a reference to the use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry.Its macaronic specific name repeats "chaste" in both Greek and Latin.Confusion with Vitex on the part of early settlers in the West Indies may have given to Ricinus communis the name "Castor-oil plant".Or the name "castor oil" might have come from its use as a replacement for castoreum.
Medicinal use:The leaves and tender stem growth of the upper 10 cm (4 inches), along with the flowers and ripening seeds, are harvested for medicinal purposes. The berries are harvested by gently rubbing the berries loose from the stem. The leaves, flowers, and/or berries may be consumed as a decoction, traditional tincture, cider vinegar tincture, syrup, elixir, or simply eaten straight off the plant as a medicinal food.A popular way of taking Vitex is on awakening as a simple 1:1 fluid extract, which is said to interact with hormonal circadian rhythms most effectively.
Substance evaluation:Flavonoids, alkaloids, diterpenoids, Vitexin, Casticin and steroidal hormone precursors have been isolated from the chemical analysis of Vitex agnus-castus. It is believed that some of these compounds work on the pituitary gland which would explain its effects on hormonal levels. A study has shown that extracts of the fruit of VAC can bind to opiate receptors; this could explain why intake of VAC reduces PMS discomforts.
Larrea tridentata is known as Creosote bush as a plant, chaparral as a medicinal herb,and as "gobernadora" in Mexico, Spanish for "governess," due to its ability to secure more water by inhibiting the growth of nearby plants. In Sonora, it is more commonly called "hediondilla." It is a flowering plant in the family Zygophyllaceae. The species is named after J.A. Hernandez de Larrea, a Spanish clergyman.
Information:Larrea tridentata is an evergreen shrub growing to 1 to 3 metres (3.3 to 9.8 ft) tall, rarely 4 metres (13 ft). The stems of the plant bear resinous, dark green leaves with two opposite lanceolate leaflets joined at the base, with a deciduous awn between them, each leaflet 7 to 18 millimetres (0.28 to 0.71 in) long and 4 to 8.5 millimetres (0.16 to 0.33 in) broad. The flowers are up to 25 millimetres (0.98 in) in diameter, with five yellow petals. Galls may form by the activity of the creosote gall midge. The whole plant exhibits a characteristic odor of creosote, from which the common name derives.
Medicinal use:Larrea tridentata was used by Native Americans in the Southwest as a treatment for many maladies, including sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, chicken pox, dysmenorrhea, and snakebite. The shrub is still widely used as a medicine in Mexico. It contains nordihydroguaiaretic acid.
supplements and toxicity Larrea tridentata is often referred to as chaparral when used as a herbal remedy and supplement. The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about the health hazards of ingesting chaparral or using it as an internal medicine, and discourages its use.In 2005, Health Canada issued a warning to consumers to avoid using the leaves of Larrea species because of the risk of damage to the liver and kidneys.Althogh the plant has been marketed as "Chaparral Tea" as a cure-all in health food stores, the plant does not grow in true chaparral vegetation.
Chamomile or camomile is a common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae. These plants are best known for their ability to be made into an infusion which is commonly used to help with sleep and is often served with either honey or lemon. Because chamomile can cause uterine contractions which can lead to miscarriage, the U.S. National Institutes for Health says that pregnant and nursing mothers should not consume chamomile. Chrysin, a flavonoid found in chamomile, has been shown to be anxiolytic in rodents, and is believed to be at least partially responsible for chamomile's reputation as a sleep aid. It is known to reduce stress.
Medicinal use: Preliminary research suggests chamomile is an effective therapy for anxiety.In Russia, chamomile tea is used for stomach troubles, colds, and muscle aches as well as the usual anxiety and insomnia.The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine caution of rare allergic reactions (Asteraceae allergy) and/or atopic dermatitis (skin rash).
Apium graveolens is a plant species in the family Apiaceae commonly known as celery (var. dulce) or celeriac (var. rapaceum), depending on whether the petioles (stalks) or roots are eaten: celery refers to the former and celeriac to the latter. Apium graveolens grows to 1 m tall. The leaves are pinnate to bipinnate leaves with rhombic leaflets 3–6 cm long and 2–4 cm broad. The flowers are creamy-white, 2–3 mm diameter, produced in dense compound umbels. The seeds are broad ovoid to globose, 1.5–2 mm long and wide.
Medicinal use: The use of celery seed in pills for relieving pain was described by Aulus Cornelius Celsus around 30 AD.Celery seeds contain a compound, 3-n-butylphthalide, that has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure in rats.It is thought to be an aphrodisiac by some people, because it is thought to contain androsterone, a metabolic product of testosterone. However, this is a misunderstanding of androstenone.Bergapten in the seeds can increase photosensitivity, so the use of essential oil externally in bright sunshine should be avoided. The oil and large doses of seeds should be avoided during pregnancy, as they can act as a uterine stimulant. Seeds intended for cultivation are not suitable for eating as they are often treated with fungicides.
Nutritional value: Celery is used in weight-loss diets, where it provides low-calorie dietary fibre bulk. Celery seeds are also a great source of calcium, and are regarded as a good alternative to animal products. Celery is often purported to be a "negative calorie food" based on the assumption that it contains fewer calories than it takes to digest; however, this statement has no scientific merit.
Uncaria tomentosa (popularly known in English as Cat's Claw, although that name is also used for various other plants; in Spanish as Uña de Gato (Cat's Claw) or as Indian name Vilcacora) is a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America, which derives its name from its claw-shaped thorns. It is used as an alternative medicine in the treatment of a variety of ailments. Other common names include: hawk's claw, pot hook, and sparrowhawk nail.
Medicinal uses: U. tomentosa is used in nootropic drugs, as well as in treatment of cancer and HIV infection. It contains several alkaloids that are responsible for its medical effects, as well as tannins and various phytochemicals.The chemotype of the plant determines the dominant type of alkaloid it produces, and thus its properties in vivo. One chemotype has roots which produce mostly the pentacyclic alkaloids that are responsible for the immune-strengthening effects desired by most consumers. The second chemotype produces tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids known as rhynchophylline and isorhynchophylline which counteract the immune-strengthening actions of the pentacyclic alkaloids, reduces the speed and force of the heart's contraction, and in high doses produce ataxia, lack of coordination and sedative effects.Since U. tomentosa comes in at least these two different chemotypes, without chemical testing it is impossible to know which chemical compounds will predominate in a plant collected randomly from a natural setting.
Native use: The indigenous peoples of South and Central America have used U. tomentosa for medicinal purposes for two thousand years or more. It is often added to Ayahuasca. Researchers have investigated the use of the plant by the Asháninka tribe of Peru, who use the plant as a general health tonic, contraceptive, anti-inflammatory agent for the gastrointestinal tract, and as a treatment for diarrhea, rheumatic disorders, acne, diabetes, cancer and diseases of the urinary tract.In Brazilian traditional medicine it is used against dengue to reduce inflammation
Burdock is any of a group of biennial thistles in the genus Arctium, family Asteraceae. Native to the Old World, several species have been widely introduced worldwide.Plants of the genus Arctium have dark green leaves that can grow up to 28" (71 cm) long. They are generally large, coarse and ovate, with the lower ones being heart-shaped. They are woolly underneath. The leafstalks are generally hollow. Arctium species generally flower from July through to October.The prickly heads of these plants (burrs) are noted for easily catching on to fur and clothing (being the inspiration for Velcro , thus providing an excellent mechanism for seed dispersal.Burrs cause local irritation and can possibly cause intestinal hairballs in pets. However, most animals avoid ingesting these plants.A large number of species have been placed in genus Arctium at one time or another, but most of them are now classified in the related genus Cousinia. The precise limits between Arctium and Cousinia are hard to define; there is an exact correlation between their molecular phylogeny. The burdocks are sometimes confused with the cockleburs (genus Xanthium) and rhubarb (genus Rheum).The roots of burdock, among other plants, are eaten by the larva of the Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli). The plant is used as a food plant by other Lepidoptera including Brown-tail, Coleophora paripennella, Coleophora peribenanderi, the Gothic, Lime-speck Pug and Scalloped Hazel. The green, above-ground portions may cause contact dermatitis in humans due to the lactones the plant produces.
Medicinal Uses Folk herbalists considered dried burdock to be a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent. The seeds of A. lappa are used in traditional Chinese medicine, under the name niupangzi Burdock is a traditional medicinal herb that is used for many ailments. Burdock root oil extract, also called Bur oil, is currently used in Europe under the belief that it is a useful scalp treatment. Modern studies indicate that burdock root oil extract is rich in phytosterols and essential fatty acids (including rare long-chain EFAs).According to some European herbalists, combining burdock root oil with a nettle root oil and massaging these two oils into the scalp every day has a greater effect than Bur oil alone.Burdock leaves are used by some burn care workers for pain management and to speed healing time in natural burn treatment.Burn care workers hold that it eases dressing changes and appears to impede bacterial growth on the wound site and that it also provides a great moisture barrier.
Blueberries are perennial flowering plants of the genus Vaccinium (a genus which also includes cranberries and bilberries), with indigo-colored berries. Species in the section Cyanococcus are the most common fruits sold as "blueberries" and are native to North America (commercially cultivated highbush blueberries were not introduced into Europe until the 1930s)They are usually erect but sometimes prostrate shrubs varying in size from 10 centimeters (3.9 in) to 4 meters (13 ft) tall. In commercial blueberry production, smaller species are known as "lowbush blueberries" (synonymous with "wild"), and the larger species are known as "highbush blueberries".The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, and 1–8 cm (0.39–3.1 in) long and 0.5–3.5 cm (0.20–1.4 in) broad. The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish. The fruit is a berry 5–16 millimeters (0.20–0.63 in) in diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally dark blue when ripe. They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season: fruiting times are affected by local conditions such as altitude and latitude, so the height of the crop can vary from May to August depending upon these conditions.
Medicinal Uses Researchers have shown blueberries contain pterostilbene, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins, which inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and inflammation in vitro.Similar to red grape, some blueberry species contain in their skins significant levels of resveratrol,a phytochemical.Although most studies below were conducted using the highbush cultivar of blueberries (V. corymbosum), content of polyphenol antioxidants and anthocyanins in lowbush (wild) blueberries (V. angustifolium) exceeds values found in highbush species.At a 2007 symposium on berry health benefits, reports showed consumption of blueberries (and similar berry fruits including cranberries) may alleviate the cognitive decline occurring in Alzheimer's disease and other conditions of aging.
Nutritional value and phytochemicals Especially in wild species, blueberries contain anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments and various phytochemicals, which possibly have a role in reducing risks of some diseases,including inflammation and certain cancers.
Cnicus benedictus (St. Benedict's thistle, blessed thistle, holy thistle or spotted thistle), was the sole species in the genus Cnicus, but has been reclassified as Centaurea benedicta. (Note, this is not the same as milk thistle.) It is a thistle-like plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Mediterranean region, from Portugal north to southern France and east to Iran. It is known in other parts of the world, including parts of North America, as an introduced species and often a noxious weed.
Medicinal uses It has sometimes been used as a galactogogue to promote lactation. The crude extracts contain about 0.2% cnicin. It is recommended for use by public health nurses in Ontario, Canada, as well as by the Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation along with fenugreek to increase lactation in nursing mothers. It is also a component in some bitters formulas.
These thistles are not considered edible, unlike Cirsium, Arctium and Onopordum species; the leaves are considered unpalatable if not bitter.
Actaea racemosa (black cohosh, black bugbane, black snakeroot, fairy candle; syn. Cimicifuga racemosa) is a plant of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). It is native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Ontario to central Georgia, and west to Missouri and Arkansas. Black cohosh grows in a variety of woodland habitats, and is often found in small woodland openings. The roots and rhizomes of black cohosh have long been used medicinally by Native Americans. Extracts from these plant materials are thought to possess analgesic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory properties. Today, black cohosh preparations (tinctures or tablets of dried materials) are used mainly to treat symptoms associated with menopause.
Black cohosh is a smooth (glabrous), herbaceous perennial plant that produces large, compound leaves from an underground rhizome, reaching a height of 25–60 centimetres (9.8–24 in).The basal leaves are up to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) long and broad, forming repeated sets of three leaflets (tripinnately compound) having a coarsely toothed (serrated) margin. The flowers are produced in late spring and early summer on a tall stem, 75–250 centimetres (30–98 in) tall, forming racemes up to 50 centimetres (20 in) long. The flowers have no petals or sepals, and consist of tight clusters of 55-110 white, 5–10 mm long stamens surrounding a white stigma. The flowers have a distinctly sweet, fetid smell that attracts flies, gnats, and beetles.The fruit is a dry follicle 5–10 mm long, with one carpel, containing several seeds.
Native Americans used black cohosh to treat gynecological and other disorders, including sore throats, kidney problems, and depression. Following the arrival of European settlers in the U.S. who continued the medicinal usage of black cohosh, the plant appeared in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia in 1830 under the name “black snakeroot”. In 1844 A. racemosa gained popularity when Dr. John King, an eclectic physician, used it to treat rheumatism and nervous disorders. Other eclectic physicians of the mid-nineteenth century used black cohosh for a variety of maladies, including endometritis, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, sterility, severe after-birth pains, and for increased breast milk production.
Studies on human subjects who were administered two commercially available black cohosh preparations did not detect estrogenic effects on the breast.No studies exist on long-term safety of black cohosh use in humans.In a transgenic mouse model of cancer, black cohosh did not increase incidence of primary breast cancer, but increased metastasis of pre-existing breast cancer to the lungs.
"bitter orange", also known as Seville orange, sour orange, bigarade orange, and marmalade orange, refers to a citrus tree (Citrus × aurantium) and its fruit. Many varieties of bitter orange are used for their essential oil, which is used in perfume and as a flavoring. The Seville orange variety is used in the production of marmalade.Bitter orange is also employed in herbal medicine as a stimulant and appetite suppressant.The active ingredient, synephrine, has been linked to a number of deaths, and consumer groups advocate avoiding medicinal use of the fruit.
This orange is used as a rootstock in groves of sweet orange.The fruit and leaves make lather and can be used as soap.The hard white or light yellow wood is used in woodworking and made into baseball bats in Cuba.
Plant based stimulant
The extract of bitter orange (and bitter orange peel) has been marketed as dietary supplement purported to act as a weight-loss aid and appetite suppressant. Bitter orange contains the tyramine metabolites N-methyltyramine, octopamine and synephrine, substances similar to epinephrine, which act on the α1 adrenergic receptor to constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure and heart rate.There is no evidence that bitter orange is effective in promoting weight loss Following bans on the herbal stimulant ephedra in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere, bitter orange has been substituted into "ephedra-free" herbal weight-loss products by dietary supplement manufacturers. Like most dietary supplement ingredients, bitter orange has not undergone formal safety testing, but it is believed to cause the same spectrum of adverse events as ephedra.
This orange is used as a rootstock in groves of sweet orange The fruit and leaves make lather and can be used as soap.The hard white or light yellow wood is used in woodworking and made into baseball bats in Cuba.
Vernonia is a genus of about 1000 species of forbs and shrubs in the family Asteraceae. Some species are known as Ironweed. Some species are edible and of economic value. They are known for having intense purple flowers. The genus is named for English botanist William Vernon. There are numerous distinct subgenera and subsections in this genus. This has led some botanists to divide this large genus into smaller groups which separate the species into distinct genera. For instance, the Flora of North America only recognizes about 20 species, 17 of which are in North America north of Mexico, with the other two or three being found in South America.
Several species of Vernonia, including V. calvoana, V. amygdalina, and V. colorata, are eaten as leaf vegetables. Common names for these species include bitterleaf, ewuro, ndole and onugbu. They are common in most West African and Central African countries. They are one of the most widely consumed leaf vegetables of Cameroon, where they are a key ingredient of Ndolé. The leaves have a sweet and bitter taste. They are sold fresh or dried, and are a typical ingredient in egusi soup.V. amygdalina is well known as a medicinal plant with several uses attributed to it, including for diabetes, fever reduction, and recently a non-pharmaceutical solution to persistent fever, headache, and joint pain associated with AIDS (an infusion of the plant is taken as needed). These leaves are exported from several African countries and can be purchased in grocery stores aiming to serve African clients for about $1.50/225gm pkg. frozen. The roots of V. amygdalina have been used for gingivitis and toothache due to its proven antimicrobial activity.In North America, of the 17 species of Vernonia (eg., V. altissima, V. fasciculata, V. flaccidifolia) all have the same effective properties as a blood purifier and uterus toner,containing sesquiterpene lactone, which helps also to prevent atherosclerosis.V. galamensis is used as an oilseed in East Africa. It is grown in many parts of Ethiopia, especially around the city of Harar, with an average seed yield of 2 to 2.5 t/ha. It is reported that the Ethiopian strains of Vernonia have the highest oil content, up to 41.9% with up to 80% vernolic acid, and is used in paint formulations, coatings plasticizers, and as a reagent for many industrial chemicals.
This herbaceous, tendril-bearing vine grows to 5 meters. It bears simple, alternate leaves 4–12 cm across, with 3–7 deeply separated lobes. Each plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. In the Northern Hemisphere, flowering occurs during June to July and fruiting during September to November.
Bitter melon has been used in various Asian and African traditional medicine systems for a long time. In Turkey it has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly stomach complaints.The fruit is broken up and soaked in either olive oil or honey.
Bitter melon has been used in traditional medicine for several other ailments, including dysentery, colic, fevers, burns, painful menstruation, scabies and other skin problems. It has also been used as abortifacient, for birth control, and to help childbirth.
The seeds of bitter melon contains vicine and therefore can trigger symptoms of favism in susceptible individuals. In addition, the red arils of the seeds are reported to be toxic to children, and the fruit is contraindicated during pregnancy.
Often associated with improvement of night vision, bilberries are mentioned in a popular story of World War II RAF pilots consuming bilberry jam to sharpen vision for night missions. However, a recent study by the U.S. Navy found no such effect and origins of the RAF story cannot be found.Although the effect of bilberry on night vision is unfounded, laboratory studies in rats have provided preliminary evidence that bilberry consumption may inhibit or reverse eye disorders such as macular degeneration.Bilberries are recognized as a good source of flavonoids, some of which have antioxidant activity.As a deep purple fruit, bilberries contain anthocyanin pigments.
Belladonna tinctures, decoctions, and powders as well as alkaloid salt mixtures are produced for pharmaceutical use and these are often standardised at 1037 parts hyoscyamine to 194 parts atropine and 65 parts scopolamine. The alkaloids are compounded with phenobarbital and/or kaolin and pectin for use in various functional gastrointestinal disorders. The tincture, used for identical purposes, remains in most pharmacopoeias, with a similar tincture of Datura stramonium having been in the US Pharmacopoeia at least until the late 1930s. The combination of belladonna and opium, in powder, tincture, or alkaloid form, is particularly useful by mouth or as a suppository for diarrhoea and some forms of visceral pain and can be made by a compounding pharmacist and may be available as a manufactured fixed combination product in some countries (see, e.g., B&O Supprettes). A banana-flavoured liquid (most common trade name: Donnagel PG) was available until 31 December 1992 in the United States.
The common name belladonna originates from its historic use by women - Bella Donna is Italian for beautiful lady. Drops prepared from the belladonna plant were used to dilate women's pupils, an effect considered attractive. Belladonna drops act as an antimuscarinic, blocking receptors in the muscles of the eye that constrict pupil size.Belladonna is currently rarely used cosmetically, as it carries the adverse effects of causing minor visual distortions, inability to focus on near objects, and increased heart rate. Prolonged usage was reputed to cause blindness.
Belladonna is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western hemisphere.All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids.The berries pose the greatest danger to children because they look attractive and have a somewhat sweet taste.The consumption of two to five berries by children and ten to twenty berries by adults is probably lethal. The root of the plant is generally the most toxic part, though this can vary from one specimen to another. Ingestion of a single leaf of the plant can be fatal to an adult.
The dried fruit of berberis vulgaris, generally simply known as Barberry, is used as a herbal medicine. The active ingredients in barberries are thought to be the isoquinolone alkaloids, especially berberine (also found, in higher concentrations, in the traditional Chinese medicine herb Coptis chinensis).
The berries are edible, and rich in vitamin C, with a very sharp flavour. The thorny shrubs make harvesting them difficult. Berries are often used in Middle Eastern and European rice pilaf recipes. They are an important food for many small birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings. A widely available Ukrainian, Russian, Estonian and Lithuanian candy called Барбарис (Barbaris) is made using extract from the berries, which are commonly pictured on the candy wrappers. Confiture d'épinette was a traditional sweet of Rouen.
Extracts of Astragalus membranaceus are marketed as life prolonging extracts in humans. A proprietary extract of the dried root of Astragalus membranaceus, called TA-65, 'was associated with a significant age-reversal effect in the immune system, in that it led to declines in the percentage of senescent cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells after six to twelve months of use. In October 2010, Intertek/AAC Labs, an ISO 17025 internationally recognized lab, found the largest component of TA-65 to be Cycloastragenol. Telomerase activation was feared to pose an increased risk of cancer because telomere shortening is a mechanism that limits cell proliferation. However, short telomeres result in chromosome instability, hence there is also a potential mechanism for telomere lengthening to protect against cancer (as distinct from mutation-induced activation).
Astragalus may interact with medications that suppress the immune system, such as cyclophosphamide.It may also affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Some Astragalus species can be toxic. For example, several species that grow in the United States contain the neurotoxin swainsonine.
This circumboreal and montane (sub-alpine) genus occurs mostly in the temperate regions of western North America, while two are native to Eurasia (A. angustifolia and A. montana).Several species, such as Arnica montana and Arnica chamissonis, contain helenalin, a sesquiterpene lactone that is a major ingredient in anti-inflammatory preparations (used mostly for bruises).
Arnica montana has been used medicinally for centuries, however there are no scientific studies that prove the medical effectiveness. The roots contain derivatives of thymol,which are used as fungicides and preservatives. Arnica is currently used in liniment and ointment preparations used for strains, sprains, and bruises. Commercial arnica preparations are frequently used by professional athletes.The thymol derivatives concentrated in the plants roots have been clinically shown to be effective vasodilators of subcutaneous blood capillaries. A study of wound-healing after surgery to treat varicose veins found a trend towards a beneficial effect of reduction of pain and hematoma following surgery.
Arnica contains the toxin helenalin, which can be poisonous if large amounts of the plant are eaten, and contact with the plant can also cause skin irritation.If enough of the material is ingested, the toxin helenalin produces severe gastroenteritis, and internal bleeding of the digestive tract. Homoeopathic preparations of Arnica 24X dilution or more are not toxic as negligible amounts of Arnica remains.
Homoeopathic preparations of Arnica are widely marketed and used. In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has registered the product for sprains and bruising under the National Rules for Homoeopathic Products (2006). These rules allow claims of efficacy for these conditions to be made on the packaging in the absence of similar evidence to that required for conventional medicines under the Medicines Act 1968 and 1971.A systematic review of clinical trials showed that homeopathic arnica was no more effective than a placebo.In some quarters, the fact that homeopathic Arnica has been the subject of published clinical trials at all has drawn criticism grounded on the allegation that the basic premise of the high dilutions used in homoeopathy would be inherently flawed.With respect to the range of homoeopathic Arnica creams available on the market, these are generally formulated using the mother tincture rather than a dilution and therefore contain measurable quantities of the medicinally active substance.
Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60–100 cm (24–39 in) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on the upper and lower stem surfaces.The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, each flower being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long.Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil.
Aloe vera gel being used to make a dessert.
Scientific evidence for the cosmetic and therapeutic effectiveness of aloe vera is limited and when present is frequently contradictory.Despite this, the cosmetic and alternative medicine industries regularly make claims regarding the soothing, moisturizing, and healing properties of aloe vera, especially via Internet advertising.Aloe vera gel is used as an ingredient in commercially available lotions, yogurt, beverages, and some desserts.
Biologically active compounds
Aloe vera leaves contain a range of biologically active compounds, the best-studied being acetylated mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides, anthrones and anthraquinones, and various lectins.
Alfalfa is a flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae cultivated as an important forage crop in the US, Canada, Argentina, France, Australia, the Middle East, South Africa, and many other countries. It is known as lucerne in the UK, France, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, and known as lucerne grass in south Asia. It superficially resembles clover, with clusters of small purple flowers.
Alfalfa is a perennial forage legume which normally lives 4–8 years, but can live more than twenty years, depending on variety and climate.The plant grows to a height of up to 1 metre (3 ft), and has a deep root system, sometimes stretching more than 15 metres (49 ft).This makes it very resilient, especially to droughts.It has a tetraploid genome. Alfalfa is a small seeded crop, and has a slowly-growing seedling, but after several months of establishment, forms a tough 'crown' at the top of the root system. This crown contains many shoot buds that enables alfalfa to re-grow many times after being grazed or harvested. This plant exhibits autotoxicity, which means it is difficult for alfalfa seed to grow in existing stands of alfalfa.Therefore, it is recommended that alfalfa fields be rotated with other species (for example, corn or wheat) before reseeding.
Phytoestrogens in alfalfa
Alfalfa, like other leguminous crops, is a known source of phytoestrogens, including spinosterol. Grazing on alfalfa has been suspected as a cause of reduced fertility in sheep.
Alfalfa has been used as an herbal medicine for over 1,500 years.Alfalfa is high in protein, calcium, plus other minerals, vitamins in the B group, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
In early Chinese medicines, physicians used young alfalfa leaves to treat disorders related to the digestive tract and the kidneys. In Ayurvedic medicine, physicians used the leaves for treating poor digestion. They made a cooling poultice from the seeds for boils. At the time, alfalfa was also believed to be beneficial to people suffering from arthritis and water retention.
is a species of palm tree in the genus Euterpe cultivated for their fruit and superior hearts of palm. Its name comes from the Portuguese adaptation of the Tupian word ïwaca'i, '[fruit that] cries or expels water'. Global demand for the fruit has expanded rapidly in recent years, and açaí is now cultivated for that purpose primarily. The closely related species Euterpe edulis (juçara) is now predominantly used for hearts of palm.
Apart from the use of its fruit as food or beverage, the açaí palm has other commercial uses. Leaves may be made into hats, mats, baskets, brooms and roof thatch for homes, and trunk wood, resistant to pests, for building construction.Tree trunks may be processed to yield minerals.The palm heart is widely exploited as a delicacy.
A powdered preparation of freeze-dried açaí fruit pulp and skin was reported to contain (per 100 g of dry powder) 533.9 calories, 52.2 g carbohydrates, 8.1 g protein, and 32.5 g total fat. The carbohydrate portion included 44.2 g of dietary fiber and low sugar value (pulp is not sweet).The powder was also shown to contain (per 100 g): negligible vitamin C, 260 mg calcium, 4.4 mg iron, and 1002 U vitamin A, as well as aspartic acid and glutamic acid; the amino acid content was 7.59% of total dry weight (versus 8.1% protein). The fat content of açaí consists of oleic acid (56.2% of total fats), palmitic acid (24.1%), and linoleic acid (12.5%). Açaí also contains beta-sitosterol (78–91% of total sterols). The oil compartments in açaí fruit contain polyphenols such as procyanidin oligomers and vanillic acid, syringic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, protocatechuic acid, and ferulic acid, which were shown to degrade substantially during storage or exposure to heat.
According to the Washington, D.C. based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) thousands of consumers have had trouble stopping recurrent charges on their credit cards when they cancel free trials of açai-based products. Even some web sites purporting to warn about açai-related scams are themselves perpetrating scams.