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Bishop's weed

Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, April 12, 2012 0 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yerba santa

Posted by Bangzkie Sunday, April 8, 2012 0 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) herbal plant

Posted by Bangzkie Thursday, April 5, 2012 0 comments

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

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

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

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

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Thunder God Vine (Tripterygium wilfordii)herbal plant

Posted by Bangzkie Wednesday, April 4, 2012 0 comments

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

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

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Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) herbal

Posted by Bangzkie Sunday, March 25, 2012 0 comments

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

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

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

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