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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Marigold (Calendula officinalis) herbal plant

Posted by Bangzkie Tuesday, March 20, 2012 0 comments

Calendula officinalis (pot marigold) is a plant in the genus Calendula (pot marigolds), in the family Asteraceae. It is probably native to southern Europe though its long history of cultivation makes its precise origin unknown, and may possibly be of garden origin. It is also widely naturalised further north in Europe (north to southern England) and elsewhere in warm temperate regions of the world.

Pot marigold florets are considered edible. They are often used to add color to salads, or added to dishes as a garnish and in lieu of saffron. The leaves are edible but are often not palatable. They have a history of use as a potherb and in salads. Flowers were used in ancient Greek, Roman, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures as a medicinal herb as well as a dye for fabrics, foods and cosmetics. Many of these uses persist today.

Calendula officinalis is widely cultivated as a herb and can be grown easily in sunny locations in most kinds of soils. Although perennial, it is commonly treated as an annual plant, particularly in colder regions where its winter survival is poor, or in hot summer locations where is also does not survive. Calendula are considered by many gardening experts as one of the most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially since they are easy to grow, and tolerate most soils. In temperate climates, sow seed in spring for blooms that last throughout the summer and well into the fall. In areas of little winter freezing (USDA zones 8-11), sow seeds in autumn for winter color, plants will wither in subtropical summer. Seeds will germinate freely in sunny or half-sunny locations, but plants do best if planted in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil. Pot marigolds typically bloom quickly from seed (in under two months) in bright yellows, golds, and oranges. Seeds Leaves are spirally arranged, 5–18 cm long, simple, and slightly hairy. The flower heads range from pastel yellow to deep orange, and are 3–7 cm across, with both ray florets and disc florets. Most cultivars have a spicy aroma. It is recommended to deadhead (removal of dying flower heads) the plants regularly to maintain even blossom production.

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Liquorice or licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a somewhat sweet flavour can be extracted. The liquorice plant is a legume (related to beans and peas) that is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. It is called Athimathuram in Tamil, "Yashtimadhu" in Sanskrit and "Mulethi" in Northern India. It is not related to anise, star anise, or fennel, which are the sources of similar-tasting flavouring compounds. The word 'liquorice'/'licorice' is derived (via the Old French licoresse), from the Greek (glukurrhiza), meaning "sweet root", from (glukus), "sweet"(rhiza), "root". It is a herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7–15 centimetres (3–6 in) long, with 9–17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8–1.2 cm long, purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod, 2–3 centimetres (1 in) long, containing several seeds. The roots are stoloniferous. The flavor of liquorice comes mainly from a sweet-tasting compound called anethole ("trans"-1-methoxy-4-(prop-1-enyl)benzene), an aromatic, unsaturated ether compound also found in anise, fennel, and several other herbs. Much of the sweetness in liquorice comes from glycyrrhizin, a compound sweeter than sugar.

Liquorice grows best in deep valleys, well-drained soils, with full sun, and is harvested in the autumn, two to three years after planting. Liquorice extract is produced by boiling liquorice root and subsequently evaporating most of the water, and is traded both in solid and syrup form. Its active principle is glycyrrhizin, a sweetener between 30 to 50 times as sweet as sucrose, and which also has pharmaceutical effects. Liquorice flavour is found in a wide variety of liquorice candies. In Britain and the US these are usually sweet. In most of these candies the taste is reinforced by aniseed oil, and the actual content of liquorice is very low. In continental Europe however, strong, salty candies are popular. In the Netherlands, where liquorice candy ("drop") is one of the most popular forms of sweet, only a few of the many forms that are sold contain aniseed, although mixing it with mint, menthol or with laurel is quite popular. Mixing it with ammonium chloride is also popular, and is known as Salmiak, but mixing it with table salt creates what is probably the most popular liquorice, known in the Netherlands as zoute drop. Pontefract in Yorkshire was the first place where liquorice mixed with sugar began to be used as a sweet in the same way it is in the modern day. Pontefract Cakes were originally made there. In Yorkshire and Lancashire it is colloquially known as Spanish, supposedly because Spanish monks grew liquorice root at Rievaulx Abbey near Thirsk.

Medicinal Uses:  
The compound glycyrrhizic acid, found in liquorice, is now routinely used throughout Japan for the treatment and control of chronic viral hepatitis, and there is a possible transaminase-lowering effect. Hepatoprotective mechanisms have been demonstrated in mice. Recent studies indicate that glycyrrhizic acid disrupts latent Kaposi sarcoma (as also demonstrated with other herpesvirus infections in the active stage), exhibiting a strong anti-viral effect. The Chinese use licorice to treat Tuberculosis Liquorice affects the body's endocrine system as it contains isoflavones (phytoestrogens). It might lower the amount of serum testosterone slightly, but whether it affects the amount of free testosterone is unclear. Consuming liquorice may prevent the development of hyperkalemia in persons on hemodialysis. Large doses of glycyrrhizinic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid in liquorice extract can lead to hypokalemia and serious increases in blood pressure, a syndrome known as apparent mineralocorticoid excess. These side effects stem from the inhibition of the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (type 2) and subsequent increase in activity of cortisol on the kidney. 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase normally inactivates cortisol in the kidney; thus, liquorice's inhibition of this enzyme makes the concentration of cortisol appear to increase. Cortisol acts at the same receptor as the hormone aldosterone in the kidney and the effects mimic aldosterone excess, although aldosterone remains low or normal during liquorice overdose. To decrease the chances of these serious side effects, deglycyrrhizinated liquorice preparations are available. The disabling of similar enzymes in the gut by glycyrrhizinic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid also causes increased mucus and decreased acid secretion. As it inhibits Helicobacter pylori, is used as an aid for healing stomach and duodenal ulcers, and in moderate amounts may soothe an upset stomach. Liquorice can be used to treat ileitis, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease as it is antispasmodic in the bowels.

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The lemon herbal plant

Posted by Bangzkie Sunday, March 18, 2012 0 comments

The lemon is both a small evergreen tree (Citrus × limon, often given as C. limon) native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind (zest) are also used, mainly in cooking and baking. Lemon juice is about 5% to 6% (approximately 0.3 M) citric acid, which gives lemons a sour taste, and a pH of 2–3. Many lemon flavored drinks and foods are available, including lemonade and sherbet lemons, as well as lemon and seasoning salt as a snack. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in many dishes across the world.

Various citruses do not fit the popular or botanical definition of oranges or lemons. For instance the kratta citrus of India has an orange leaf, an orange exterior, an orange pulp, yet its fruit is prominently mammillate (covered with rounded protuberances), and its flower is tinged purple. The acidless citrus, the mitha-nimboo, has a lemon-yellow exterior, a white pulp, and it is mammillate. Its leaves are like a lemon's, but its flowers are pure white. The jkamblri proper has orange-like leaves, the flowers are slightly tinged with purple, the pulp, varies from white to pale yellow, or orange, and the fruit is mammillate, and of two kinds externally, either of an orange colour, or of a lemon-yellow, and possibly also of a fawn colour.

The average lemon contains approximately 3 tablespoons (50 mL) of juice. Allowing lemons to come to room temperature before squeezing (or heating briefly in a microwave) makes the juice easier to extract. Lemons left unrefrigerated for long periods of time are susceptible to mold.Lemon juice is used to make lemonade, soft drinks, cocktails, and marinades for both fish, where its acid neutralizes amines in fish by converting them into non-volatile ammonium salts, and meat, where the acid partially hydrolyzes tough collagen fibers, tenderizing the meat, but the low pH denatures the proteins, causing them to dry out when cooked. Lemon juice is frequently used in the United Kingdom to add to pancakes, especially on Shrove Tuesday.

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Lavender herbal Plant

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The lavenders (botanic name Lavandula) are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is an Old World genus, found from Cape Verde and Canary Islands, southern Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, south-west Asia to south-east India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils.

The native range extends across the Canary Islands and Madeira, North and East Africa, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia and India. Some of its members are found as naturalised plants and weeds elsewhere. It is thought the genus originated in Asia but it is most diversified in its western distribution.

The accounts provided here apply mostly to those plants grown for ornament and for oil extraction, which are all from the Mediterranean region.

Flowers yield abundant nectar from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender flavors baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), and is also used to make "lavender sugar". Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black, green, or herbal tea, adding a fresh, relaxing scent and flavor. Though it has many other traditional uses in southern France, lavender is not used in traditional southern French cooking. It does not appear at all in the best-known compendium of Provençal cooking, J.-B. Reboul's Cuisinière Provençale In the 1970s, a herb blend called herbes de Provence usually including lavender was invented by spice wholesalers, and lavender has more recently become popular in cookery. Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavor to most dishes, and is sometimes paired with sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses. For most cooking applications the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) are used, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, from which the scent and flavor of lavender are best derived. In the United States, both lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows.

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Konjac (Amorphophallus konjac)

Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, March 15, 2012 1 comments

Konjac, also known as konjak, konjaku, konnyaku potato,[1] devil's tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam (though this name is also used for A. paeoniifolius), is a plant of the genus Amorphophallus. It is native to warm subtropical to tropical eastern Asia, from Japan and China south to Indonesia. It is a perennial plant, growing from a large corm up to 25 cm in diameter. The single leaf is up to 1.3 m across, bipinnate, and divided into numerous leaflets. The flowers are produced on a spathe enclosed by a dark purple spadix up to 55 cm long. The corm of the konjac is often colloquially referred to as a yam, although it bears no marked relation to tubers of the family Dioscoreaceae.

Konjac is grown in India, China, Japan and Korea for its large starchy corms, used to create a flour and jelly of the same name. It is also used as a vegan substitute for gelatin. In Japanese cuisine, konjac (konnyaku) appears in dishes such as oden. It is typically mottled grey and firmer in consistency than most gelatins. It has very little taste; the common variety tastes vaguely like salt. It is valued more for its texture than flavor. Ito konnyaku is a type of Japanese food consisting of konjac cut into noodle-like strips. It is usually sold in plastic bags with accompanying water. It is often used in sukiyaki and oden. The name literally means "thread-konjac". Japanese konnyaku is made by mixing konjac flour with water and limewater. Hijiki is often added for the characteristic dark color and flavor. Without additives for color, konnyaku is pale white. It is then boiled and cooled to solidify. Konnyaku made in noodle form is called shirataki and used in foods such as sukiyaki and gyudon.

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Kava or kava-kava (Piper methysticum) (Piper: Latin for 'pepper', methysticum: (Latinized) Greek for 'intoxicating') is a crop of the western Pacific.The roots of the plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties. Kava is consumed throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, including Hawaii, Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia. Kava is sedating and is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones. A Cochrane Collaboration systematic review of its evidence concluded it was likely to be more effective than placebo at treating short-term social anxiety. Safety concerns have been raised over liver toxicity, largely due to the use of stems and leaves by supplement makers, as opposed to solely the root of the plant as dictated by traditional uses. However, based on a retrospective study of retained P. methysticum drug materials in Germany, the alkaloid pipermethystine, occurring to about 0.2% in the leaves, is an unlikely cause for the observed hepatotoxicity. Whether kava hepatotoxicity may be due to contamination with aflatoxins or other mould hepatotoxins, requires further studies. Heavy use of kava with comorbid alcohol consumption or an existing liver condition appears to lead to malnutrition, weight loss, liver damage (causing elevated serum γ -glutamyl transferase and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels), renal dysfunction, rashes, pulmonary hypertension, macrocytosis of red cells, lymphocytopenia, and decreasing platelet volumes.

Medicinal use; 
Kava is chewed by some to relieve symptoms of throat pain, as it produces a "numbing" effect on the tongue and throat. The kava is first chewed in the back of the mouth for five to 10 minutes while swallowing the saliva and kavalactones released from the process. It produces an effect similar to that of a chloraseptic spray (An over-the-counter medicine to alleviate sore throat by numbing it, via pump-spraying it into the mouth).

Pharmaceutical and herbal supplement companies extract kavalactones from the kava plant using solvents such as acetone and ethanol to produce pills standardized with between 30% and 90% kavalactones. Some kava herbal supplements have been accused of contributing to very rare but severe hepatotoxic reactions (see section on safety) such may have been due to the use of plant parts other than the root, such as stems or peelings that are known to have been exported to European manufacturers. A kava pill usually has anywhere from 60 mg to 150 mg of kavalactones. By comparison the typical bowl of traditionally prepared kava beverage has around 250 mg of kavalactones.

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Piscidia piscipula, commonly named Florida fishpoison tree, Jamaican dogwood or Fishfuddle, is a medium-sized, deciduous, tropical tree endemic to southern Florida, the Florida Keys, Texas, Caribbean, and Latin America. Native Americans of the West Indies discovered extracts from the tree could sedate fish, allowing them to be caught by hand.This practice led to the tree's common names—fishpoison and fishfuddle. The tree has medicinal value as an analgesic and sedative. The generic name is Latin for "fish killer", and the specific epithet is Latin for "little fish".

Fish poison: Indigenous peoples all over the world used local poisonous plants to aid in catching fish, and because of this many plants bear common names descriptive of this use. Within its natural range, Native Americans used an extract from the bark, roots, twigs, and leaves of Florida fishpoison tree to sedate fish, making them easier to catch. A number of chemicals are present in the tree's tissues that are toxic to fish, the principal one being the well-known Rotenone.

Traditional medicine Piscidia piscipula can be toxic and should only be used under direction of a doctor.It has been used in traditional medicine for treating nervous conditions and pain. Recent scientific studies in animals suggest that bark extracts may have potential for their anti-inflammatory, sedative, and anti-spasmodic effects.

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Horse tail (Equisetum)

Posted by Bangzkie 0 comments

Equisetum is the only living genus in the Equisetaceae, a family of vascular plants that reproduce by spores rather than seeds. Equisetum is a "living fossil", as it is the only living genus of the entire class Equisetopsida, which for over one hundred million years was much more diverse and dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests. Some Equisetopsida were large trees reaching to 30 meters tall; the genus Calamites of family Calamitaceae for example is abundant in coal deposits from the Carboniferous period. A superficially similar but entirely unrelated flowering plant genus, mare's tail (Hippuris), is occasionally misidentified and misnamed as "horsetail". It has been suggested that the pattern of spacing of nodes in horsetails, wherein those toward the apex of the shoot are increasingly close together, inspired Napier to discover logarithms.

The genus Equisetum is near-cosmopolitan, being absent only from Antarctica. They are perennial plants, either herbaceous and dying back in winter as most temperate species, or evergreen as most tropical species and the temperate species rough horsetail (E. hyemale), branched horsetail (E. ramosissimum), dwarf horsetail (E. scirpoides) and variegated horsetail (E. variegatum). They mostly grow 0.2-1.5 m tall, though the "giant horsetails" are recorded to grow as high as 2.5 m (northern giant horsetail, E. telmateia), 5 m (southern giant horsetail, E. giganteum) or 8 m (Mexican giant horsetail, E. myriochaetum), and allegedly even more. Many plants in this genus prefer wet sandy soils, though some are semi-aquatic and others are adapted to wet clay soils. The stalks arise from rhizomes that are deep underground and almost impossible to dig out. The field horsetail (E. arvense) can be a nuisance weed, readily regrowing from the rhizome after being pulled out. It is also unaffected by many herbicides designed to kill seed plants. However, as E. arvense prefers an acid soil, lime may be used to assist in eradication efforts to bring the soil pH to 7 or 8. Members of the genus have been declared noxious weeds in Australia and in the US state of Oregon. All the Equisetum are classed as "unwanted organisms" in New Zealand and are listed on the National Pest Plant Accord.

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Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanumU

Posted by Bangzkie Wednesday, March 14, 2012 0 comments

Aesculus hippocastanum is a large deciduous tree, commonly known as Horse-chestnut or Conker tree.Aesculus hippocastanum is native to a small area in the mountains of the Balkans in southeast Europe, in small areas in northern Greece, Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, and Bulgaria (Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Balkan mixed forests). It is widely cultivated throughout the temperate world.

Cultivation for its spectacular spring flowers is successful in a range of climatic conditions provided summers are not too hot, with trees being grown as far north as Edmonton, Alberta, the Faroe Islands, and Harstad, Norway. In more southern areas, growth is best in cooler mountain climates. In Britain and Ireland, the nuts are used for the popular children's game conkers. During the two world wars, horse-chestnuts were used as a source of starch which in turn could be used via the Clostridium acetobutylicum fermentation method devised by Chaim Weizmann to produce acetone. This acetone was then used as a solvent which aided in the process of ballistite extrusion into cordite, which was then used in military armaments. The nuts, especially those that are young and fresh, are slightly poisonous, containing alkaloid saponins and glucosides. Although not dangerous to touch, they cause sickness when eaten; consumed by horses, they can cause tremors and lack of coordination.. Some mammals, notably deer, are able to break down the toxins and eat them safely.[citation needed] A selection of fresh conkers from a horse-chestnut. In the past, horse-chestnut seeds were used in France and Switzerland for whitening hemp, flax, silk and wool. They contain a soapy juice, fit for washing of linens and stuffs, for milling of caps and stockings, etc., and for fulling of cloth. For this, 20 horse-chestnut seeds were sufficient for six liters of water. They were peeled, then rasped or dried, and ground in a malt or other mill. The water must be soft, either rain or river water; hard well water will not work. The nuts are then steeped in cold water, which soon becomes frothy, as with soap, and then turns milky white. The liquid must be stirred well at first, and then, after standing to settle, strained or poured off clear. Linen washed in this liquid, and afterwards rinsed in clear running water, takes on an agreeable light sky-blue colour. It takes spots out of both linen and wool, and never damages or injures the cloth.

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Hoodia herbal plant

Posted by Bangzkie Tuesday, March 13, 2012 0 comments

Hoodia is a genus of 13 species in the flowering plant family Apocynaceae, under the subfamily Asclepiadoideae.They are stem succulents, described as "cactiform" because of their remarkable similarity to the unrelated cactus family. They can reach up to 1m high and have large flowers, often with tan colour and strong smell.Many Hoodia species are protected plants, typical of the Namib Desert, ranging from Central Namibia to southern Angola, especially in plains and rocky areas. Common names include "Bushman's Hat" and "Queen of the Namib".Several species are grown as garden plants, and one species, Hoodia gordonii, is being investigated for use as an appetite suppressant.However, in 2008 UK-based Unilever PLC, one of the largest packaged-food firms in the world, abandoned plans to use hoodia in a range of diet products. In a document on Unilever's website entitled "Sustainable Development 2008: An Overview," signed by Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever states: "During 2008, having invested 20 million [pounds] in R&D, Unilever abandoned plans to use the slimming extract hoodia in a range of diet products. We stopped the project because our clinical studies revealed that products using hoodia would not meet our strict standards of safety and efficacy." Hoodia is currently listed in Appendix II to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which includes species not currently considered endangered but are at risk if trade is not controlled.

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