Monday, April 28, 2014

Ashwagandha





Scientific Name :  Withania Somnifera

Other names: Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, winter cherry

Description:

The Ashwagandha plant is a hardy small woody shrub that grows to about 150 centimeters. It has a central stem with branches that are covered in wool-like hairs and extend radially in a star pattern.  It displays small flowers with central yellow section and light green petals.  The small bright red berry-like fruit has a
distinctive red seeds in it.

The roots of Ashwagandha looks like a big carrot with one long thick structure or it can also look like a subsystem of intertwined roots. The word Aswhagandha in Sanskrit means 'smell of a horse' because the root smells like one. This tree is cultivated in India.


Parts Use: Fruit, Seed, Root


Medicinal properties and uses:


Ashwagandha root is considered similar  to 'ginseng' because the health benefits it give resembles that of ginseng. It promotes physical and mental health, rejuvenation and longevity. It also allows the body to cope
with stress and increase the energy level.

Scientists labeled this herb as non-specific tonic (enhances physical fitness) and “adaptogen” because it
adapts to fit certain health needs within the body and finds what’s wrong with and attempts to fix it. It is important in prolonged stress.


It enhances memory and improve brain function.
It promotes sound sleep - Ashwagandha has a calming effect.

Decrease high cholesterol levels, blood pressure and hypertension
Diuretic
Anti-epileptic
Anti-tumor
Anti-fungal
Pain relief/Arthritis/Anti-inflammatory
Regulates blood sugar
Reduces depression and anxiety
Combats stress
Gastrointestinal disorders
Skin infections
Stabilizes moods and encourage adrenal recovery.


Precaution:

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe, however, it may induce abortion when taken in very large doses and it may also cause infertility in women.

Readers are advised to consult a physician or health care provider before taking any herbs/medications.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

CLOVES

Beauty, Health, Opportunity, Wealth! Have ALL those HERE!!

 Cloves

Scientific name: Syzygium aromaticum

Description

Cloves are strong, pungent and rather sweet brown spice that are unopened pink flower buds of an evergreen tree in the family Myrtaceae. It looks like a nail and thus the name which comes from the Latin word clavus, meaning nail.

The clove tree is native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia and it grows up to 8–12 m tall.  The pink buds
which are picked up when they reach 1.5-2 cm in length are dried until they turn brown in color.

Cloves are used in the cuisine of Asian, African, and in the Middle East.

Parts used: flower buds

Nutritional Information and Properties of Cloves:

Cloves are widely recognized all over the world for their medicinal qualities.

Clove contains significant amounts of an active component called eugenol which gives this spice a strong
flavor and aroma. This is an anti-inflammatory substance that is known to protect the body from pollutants as
well as prevent cancers like colon cancer and it also heals joint inflammation.  It is also  known to have
antioxidant, anti-septic, mild anaesthetic, anti-bacterial, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative
and anti-flatulent properties.

This spice also contains flavonoids, kaempferol and rhamnetin which contribute to clove's anti-inflammatory
and antioxidant properties. IT also has other essential oils like beta-caryophyllene, crategolic acid,   
tannins, gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller); vanillin, triterpenoids (oleanolic acid,
stigmasterol and campesterol).

This spice is commonly use in dental care essentials -toothpastes, mouth wash and oral care medications
contain clove oil as an important ingredient.

Cloves also contains a good amount of Vitamin A and beta-carotene, vitamin-K, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C and riboflavin. as well as minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, selenium, calcium and magnesium. 

Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Cloves:

1. Infections, wound, cuts, scabies, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, bruises, prickly heat, insect bites and stings.

2. Toothache

3. Nausea and vomiting/morning sickness - cloves mixed with sugar and water. You may add tamarind too.

4. Sinusitis, colds - use lukewarm water, drops of clove oil and honey.

5. Indigestion, loose stools, flatulence

6. Ringworm  or tinia -eugenol contained in cloves is a very effective anti-fungal.


Precautions:


Increased risk of bleeding, a burning sensation and lowered levels of blood sugar.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chokeberry


 Scientific name: Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry), Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry)

Other names: Aronia, bitter-berry, or Virginia bird cherry

Description:


Chokeberry also known as Aronia, Bitter-berry, or Virginia bird cherry is a shrub or small tree that grows to about 5m tall and is native to North America. The leaves are oval with serrated margin while the flowers are white with 5 small petals.  The fruit is about 1 cm in diameter and ranges in color from bright red to black.

There are at least 2 species of chokeberries that are cultivated widely - black and red.  Black chokeberry
is sour sometimes bitter and is used to make jam or wine while the red chokeberry is sweet and less
astringent.

Parts used: Berries, leaves

Nutritional Information and Properties of Chokeberry:

Chokeberries among the healthiest berries because of its nutritional value.

It has a high concentration of polyphenols, flavonoid, anthocyanins and proanthocyanidin oxidants. These
antioxidants have proven health benefits by scavenging dangerous oxygen-free radicals.

Among the berries, chokeberry has one of the highest values yet recorded when it comes to the "oxygen
radical absorbency capacity" or ORAC (measurement of antioxidant strength of food items). This is effective
in preventing oxidative stress which is the root cause of most diseases. They are also rich in Vitamin C, vitamin E, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, carotenes, luteins and zeaxanthins. Zea-xanthin protects eyes from age-related macular disease. Chokeberries also have minerals like folate, potassium, iron and manganese.

Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Chokeberry:


Scientific studies have shown that consumption of chokeberries on a regular basis have potential health
benefits against cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, inflammation, neurological diseases and
bacterial infections.

Cardiovascular Diseases/Heart attack/Stroke: Chokeberry is rich in antioxidants and flavonoid which are
good to keep a healthy heart. It reduces the bad cholesterol and improves blood flow. It also reduces the
blood pressure.

Diabetes: Chokeberry controls the blood sugar level and prevents it from spiking. It also prevents diabetes
related complication.

Ageing: because Chokeberry is a rich source of antioxidants and other nutrients it thus help to slow down
the ageing process.

Cancer: Chokeberry has high Oxygen Radiance Absorption Capacity (ORAC) and is rich in antioxidants.  Thus, this berry is good at inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and  destroys free radicals in our body. 

Age-related Macular Degeneration: Chokeberry is rich in antioxidants and phyto-nutrients which nourishes the eye and protect them.


Weight Loss: Chokeberry is known to burn fat and prevents the body from storing fat in the abdomen.



Precautions:

Just like in any part of this blog, it is still best to consult your physician before taking medicinal
plants/herbs or any medications.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hawthorn Berry




Scientific name: Hawthorn - Crataegus oxyacantha; Smooth Hawthorn - Crataegus laevigata;
Common hawthorn - Crataegus monogyna; Chinese Hawthorn - Crataegus pinnatifida

Other names:
Oneseed or single-seed hawthorn(common hawthorn), white horn, hawberry, May-tree, thornapple, mayblossom, whitethorn, hagthorn, cheese Tree

Description:

Common hawthorn - Crataegus monogyna is a small flowering tree or shrub that is native to temperate regions of  Europe, North America, North Africa and Western Asia. It has abundant red berries and its seeds are readily spread into open fields, grasslands and woodlands, thus creating a thorny thicket.  The leaves are long and broad and has 3 to 7-lobed that looks like mittens or paws. The petals are white and sometimes pinkish. The stem is filled with 1-3cm thorns. The fruit, also known as, haw is berry-like and looks like cherries or stones of plums and is brilliant red in color.

The dried haws are made into tablets or capsules.


Parts Used:
Dried haws or fruits


Nutritional Benefits and Properties:

Hawthorns are rich in Vitamins C and B-complex.

Hawthorn in general contains amyddalin, flavonoids(vitexin, rutin, quercetin, and hyperoside), flavone-C, flavone glycosides, tannins, catechins, oligomeric proanthocyanidins (epicatechin, procyanidin, and  procyanidin B-2),  triterpene acids (such ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, and crataegolic acid), polyphenols, saponins, hyperoside, cardiotonic amines and phenolic acids (caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and phenolcarboxylic acids). These chemical constituents have beneficial effects and antioxidant properties.

Flavonoid acts as a natural ACE inhibitoris know to convert angiotensin (angiotensin I) into the active vasoconstrictor (angiotensin II). It widens the arteries and increases the supply of oxygen to the heart.

The bioflavonoids are known to benefit the circulatory system of the by toning and strengthening the muscles of the walls of the arteries which helps prevent aneurism & stroke.


Medicinal Properties and Uses:

Several species of hawthorn have been used in traditional medicine. The ripe fruit and flowers are usually used in herbal medicine.

Heart Problems


Hawthorn is widely known for the treatment of various heart diseases such as angina pectoris as well asatherosclerosis, chest pain, stroke, high blood pressure, stress....

It increases the supply of oxygen to the heart and is effective in increasing the amount of blood per heart beat. It is known to strengthen the heart muscles and dilate the coronary blood vessels. It also lowers blood pressure and reduce the amount of stress place in the heart by inhibiting the angiotensin converting enzyme. Hawthorn also has antioxidants that protect against the formation of plaque(prvents atherosclerosis) and lowers the LDL (poor) cholesterol.

Indigestion

Hawthorn was used in quite a few Chinese medicines to help with the retention of meals inside the belly. Hawthorn’s capabilities to break up fat also causes it to be useful for helping with indigestion that comes on as a result of eating greasy foods.


Other benefits:

Mild diuretic
Astringent quality (relief of sore throat)
Indigestion
Insomnia (fresh hawthorn is best used for this and is made into tea)
Weight loss ( hawthorn reduce the amounts of cholesterol in the body and increases the metabolic process)


Precaution and Side Effects of Hawthorn Berry

Hawthorn should be taken at recommended doses over the short term. Using hawthorn may cause headaches, nausea, vertigo, rashes and palpitations. While overdose may cause cardiac arrhythmia and it may lower the blood pressure at a dangerous level.

Just like in any part of this blog, it is still best to consult your physician before taking medicinal plants/herbs or any medications.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cardamom

Scientific name: Elletaria cardamomum

Description:


Cardamom is a very expensive spice that comes from an herbaceous perennial clumping plant that belongs to
the same family as ginger and turmeric. It is native to India & Sri Lanka and it grows up to 5 meters. 
Arising from the rhizome are 10 to 20 leafy shoots(pseudo-stems) in an overlapping leaf sheaths. The leaves are dark green and lanceolate. The pale green or yellow flowers/fruits are capsule-like that grows in long drooping pannicle. Inside the small green papery thin-skinned pod are tiny black seeds. It is harvested before they are ripe and then allowed to dry. There are different kinds of cardamom namely black cardamom, brown cardamom, green cardamom, red cardamom and white cardamom. but the main type of cardamom are black cardamom and green cardamom. The seed has a strong, pungent flavor and aroma that is floral and slightly citrus y. The black cardamom has a slight smoky taste.

Parts used: Seed, Fruit

Nutritional Information and Properties of Cardamom:

Cardamom has a good amount of vitamin C and also contains vitamin B-complex like niacin, riboflavin, and
thiamine.

The minerals found in cardamom includes a rich amount of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. It also has a good quantity of manganese, sodium, iron and traces of copper and zinc.

Cardamom is a spice rich in essential oil such as cineol, terpinene, limonene, sabinene, and terpineol(in the form of formic and acetic acid) as well as heptanes, ß-phellandrene, menthone, and mycene. These volatile oils have therapeutic properties and is known to inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, mold and fungus.

Cardamom also contains many phytonutrients that helps in cell repair and is a powerful antioxidant.


Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Cardamom:

1. Controls Blood Pressure:

Cardamom lowers elevated blood pressure because it is rich in potassium and it is diuretic as well.

2. Improves Blood Circulation:
Cardamom improves blood circulation also contains a good amount of vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant.

3. Improves eyesight:

The Cardamom capsule taken with honey is known to improve eyesight.

4. Genito-urinary disorders (cystitis, nephritis, gonorrhoea):

The volatile oils founds in powdered seeds are known to heal the inflammation.

5.Depression

Make a tea by using ground cardamom seeds and boiled water.

6. Oral disorders (pharyngitis, sore throat...)
Mix ground cardamom, cinnamon and water and gargle it.

7. Hiccups, stomach cramps
Cardamom has antispasmodic properties that provides relief from hiccup and stomach cramps. You may boil
cardamoms with mint leaves in a cup of water.


Other Uses of Cardamom:

Cardamom is commonly used in Indian cuisine and Middle Eastern cuisine. The seeds are used whole or ground and used in preparing various curries, stews basmati rice, desserts, baked goods, confection and flavoring in drinks.

Skincare - cardamom is an ingredient in soaps and hand creams. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties and can also be used for skin allergies.

Aromatherapy products - Cardamom imparts fragrances that is relaxing to the senses.


Precautions/Side Effects/ Warnings
:

If taken in large amounts, cardamom can exhibit some adverse effects. It is contraindicated in women who
are breastfeeding and those people with gallstones.

Like any herbs/plants in this blog, it is still best to consult your physician before taking it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rosemary



Scientific name: Rosmarinus officinalis

Description:

Rosemary is a perennial bushy, woody plant that is native to the Mediterranean and now is grown worldwide. The leaves are about an inch long that stays evergreen and has a pungent odor. The flowers are small and paleblue. There are several varieties but the rosemary with green leaves is the kind that is used medicinally.

The dried rosemary takes on the texture of pine needles. The whole plant is strongly aromatic and belongs to the mint family.  It is used in aromatherapy as well asair fresheners. Rosemary is also used for cooking and lends itself well to roasted chicken, meats and stews.


Parts Used: stem, leaves, flower tops, upper part of the shoots (fresh or dried)


Health benefits of Rosemary herb:

Rosemary is exceptionally rich in Vitamin B-complex (folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin),
Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It is also a rich source of minerals like calcium, copper, iron and magnesium.

This herb also contains volatile essential oils (a-pinene, borneol, bornyl acetate, camphene, cineol and esters) as well as phenolic anti-oxidant rosmarinic acid. These compounds have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal, antiseptic and carminative properties.


Uses and Medicinal properties:

Headache, stomachache, colds, skin irritations, healing of wounds - externally apply oil of rosemary.

Rosemary oil are prepared by distilling from the fresh flowering tops and the upper part of the herb. Fill it with olive oil enough to submerse the flowers. Seal the jar for a month. Strain the contents off and store the oil in bottle.

Dandruff, hair loss - rosemary is known to prevent premature baldness and stimulates the hair roots to grow hair and improve circulation. To make a hair wash - use an infusion of dried rosemary leaves and flowers mixed with nettle leaf. One can also use the essential oil of rosemary and applied directly to the scalp.

Asthma and allergies - rosemary are known to block histamine and thus alleviates allergies and asthma.

Arthritis, gout, rheumatism, sprain - Rosemary oil is use to massage and relieve arthritis. It also helps the circulatory system.


Other uses:

Air freshener/aromatherapy = Put rosemary leaves, water, a wedge of lemon or orange and a teaspoon of vanilla into a sauce pot. Let it simmer on low all day but watch the water level or put it in an oil burner.


Adverse reaction:

When taken in large amounts, rosemary can cause abortion to pregnant women, kidney dysfunction and might worsen existing neurological conditions like epilepsy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bladderwrack


Scientific name:  Fucus vesiculosus

Common names: Bladder Fucus, Brown seaweed, Black-Tang, Cutweed, Sea-Wrack, Brown Algae, Kelp-Ware.

Description:

Brown seaweed or brown algae also known as bladderwrack got it's name because of the bladder-like feature or sac
on either side of the midrib that keeps them afloat. The frond is fan-shaped, narrow, wavy and divided into two with a broad midrib running to the apex. The color is brownish green to yellow.  It grows on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America and Baltic Sea. It is attached to the rocks found underneath the water. Its root-like
branch attaches itself to the rocks and it grows up to about 3 feet high.  The bladderwrack is used as a herbal medicine and the entire plant is harvested while still small.

Bladderwrack can be eaten raw or cooked, boiled or steamed.

Parts used: Whole plant, dried stem, leaves and root.

Medicinal properties and Health benefits of Bladderwack:

Bladderwrack contains 3 main components namely:

Iodine -The body needs iodine but cannot make it. The thyroid gland needs iodine to make hormones. Lack of iodine

can cause an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)/hypothyroidism. It regulates thyroid function and metabolism.

Alginic acid - is a type of dietary fiber that helps alleviate constipation, diarrhea, GERD and heartburn.

Fucoidan - a type of dietary fiber that helps lower cholesterol(heart condition) and glucose level (diabetes). It also has anti-inflammatory effect, anti-coagulant (blood-thinning) properties and inhibit cancer growth.

Bladderwrack also contains mannitol, bromine, zeaxantin, algin, polyphenols, proteins, oleic acid, essential fatty acids and fiber.  It is also rich in vitamins like vitamin C, B-vitamins, beta-carotene and has many minerals like sodium, sulfur, magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium.

Skin Care/Smoother Skin

Bladderwrack in powder form can be added in bath water or facial scrub to smoothen and nourish the skin. It also relieves the eczema and psoriasis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Bladderwrack can also be brewed or steeped in a quart of hot water and taken internally or applied to the skin to help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.


Precautions:

Bladderwrack is generally safe and considered a safe herb supplement to use. However, if supplements can interact with other drugs and it's still best to consult a doctor when taking this as a supplement.



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sage

Scientific Name: Salvia officinalis, Salviae folium

Common Names:  Common Sage, Garden Sage, Kitchen Sage, Spanish sage, Dalmatian Sage,
Broadleaf Sage, Narrow-leaved sage

Description:

Sage are evergreen perennial shrubs that grows up to 75 cm high with woody, branching
stem. The leaves are grayish green in color and has a bluish violet flowers in summer.
The shape is like a lance with prominent veins and fine hair-like filaments on the sides.
The sage herbs have sweet, savory flavor that are harvested just before flowering. 

Sage was originally grown in southern and Eastern Europe, around the Mediterranean and
in Asia Minor.  It is often used in Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Sage is available fresh or dried whole or powdered.  It is usually used to season
poultry, pork and other meat dishes.

Fresh leaves are most sought after for culinary use because of its aromatic, subtle
flavor. One can store fresh herbs in plastic bags and placed inside refrigerator.

Dried sage should be kept in an air-tight container and can be used to season dishes.


Health Benefits and Medicinal properties:

Sage is a very good source of Vitamin A(in the form of provitamin A carotenoid
phytonutrients), Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B complex(folic acid, thiamin,
pyridoxine and riboflavin), calcium, iron and potassium, zinc, manganese, copper, and
magnesium.

Sage also contains a variety of volatile oils, flavonoids (apigenin, diosmetin, and
luteolin), and phenolic acids(rosmarinic acid) which acts as an anti-inflammatory
within the body. With the presence of these volatile oil, sage has become a powerful
antioxidant, protecting cells from being damaged by oxidation and forming cancerous
cells.

 This herb also has antiseptic properties, which can treat cuts and sores if prepared
as a wash.

Sage contains ketones; a-thujone, and ß-thujone, cineol, borneol, tannic acid; bitter
substances like cornsole and cornsolic acid; fumaric, chlorogenic, caffeic and
nicotinic acids; nicotinamide and estrogenic substances. These compounds have
anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergic, anti-fungal, anti-spasmodic and
anti-septic properties.

Sage is low in fat and calories.

Cancer - as mentioned above, sage has become a powerful
antioxidant, protecting cells from being damaged by oxidation and forming cancerous
cells.

Memory loss- Sage can improve and enhance one's memory.

Sore throat and mouth infections - boil sage leaves and use it to gargle.

Hot flushes - drink sage tea several times a day.

Hair loss and graying hair - boil sage leaves, let it cool and use it as a hair rinse.

Rheumatoid arthritis - sage has anti-inflammatory properties.


Adverse Effects:

Sage when used in large amounts can cause nervous irritation, convulsions or even

death. Those with epilepsy should avoid this in huge amounts.





Thursday, January 30, 2014

Camptotheca aka Cancer Tree

Scientific name: Camptotheca acuminate

Other names: Xi Shu, Cancer Tree, Tree of Joy, Happy Tree, Tree of Life

Description:

Camptotheca or the so called cancer tree is a deciduous tree native to Southern China and Tibet. It grows to a height of 20 to 25 meters tall and has a light grey bark and oval leaves with heavy pleated veining. The flowers are white to yellowish spherical clusters.

 There are two species:

    Camptotheca acuminata
    Camptotheca lowreyana



Parts used: Bark, Leaves(tender leaves), Roots, Fruit


Medicinal uses of Camptotheca acuminate (Happy Tree, Cancer Tree):


Camptotheca acuminate (Happy Tree) was first used traditional medicine (ancient Chinese) as a treatment for common colds, psoriasis, liver problems and digestive problems.

Scientific research has found the cancer-fighting properties in Camptotheca acuminate thus it is called a cancer-tree. It contains pentacyclic quinolines camptothecin and 10-hydroxycamptothecin which inhibits DNA topoisomerase I and is very effective against cancer cells.

The extract of tender are beneficial for brain tumors, liver cancer, cancer in the gastrointestinal tract, leukemia and other cancers.

The main compound -a pentacyclic quinoline alkaloid- are found mostly in the tender leaves but they are also present in the bark, root and seeds.

The fruit contains alkaloids (camptothecine, venoterpine, 10-hydroxy camptothecine), tannins(syringicacid, salicylic).

The root contains alkaloids (20-deoxycamptothecin, 20-hexanoylcamptothecine) as well as camptothecine, flavonoids, quercetin, and tannins(gallic acid and trifolin).

By decocting root, bark, fruit. It can be used to treat gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, rectal cancer, liver cancer, carcinoma of bladder and other kinds of cancer.

The root or fruit of the camptotheca can be grounded into a powder and taken once a day.








Monday, January 27, 2014

Apricot

Scientific name: prunus armeniaca

Description:

Apricots are small deciduous tree originally cultivated in Persia and Armenia and belong to the Rosacea
family like pear, apple and pear. The leaves are ovate with a rounded base, pointed tip and serrated edge.
The flowers are pinkish white that are produced singly or in pairs.  The fruit is golden orange with a
velvety smooth skin and inside is a single seed enclosed in a protective outer shell.
The flesh is not as juicy as peaches but it's usually firm and its taste ranges from sweet to being tart &
musky.

Apricot is enjoyed as a fresh fruit or as dried. It is also distilled into brandy and liquor or cooked into
pastry or made into jam. The essential oil from seeds is also commercially sold as almond oil.

Parts used: fruit(fresh and dried), leaves, seeds.

Health benefits:

Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, dietary fiber, and potassium.

Apricots contain phytochemicals called carotenoids which gives it the red, orange and yellow hues. One of the carotenoids found in apricots is lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant that protects from cancer.

Vitamin A - promotes good vision, reduces risks of having cataracts, lowers risk of age-related macular
degeneration and good for the skin.

Beta-carotene - helps protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation and helps prevent heart disease.

Vitamin C - prevents colds and other respiratory diseases.

Fiber - prevents constipation and diverticulosis.


Medicinal properties and uses:


Cancer: Apricots are rich in antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals and prevents cancer cells from forming. In folk medicine, apricots seeds, leaves or even the dried apricot fruits are considered effectove against tumors and cancers.

Anemia:
Apricot is a good source of iron which plays an important role in the formation of blood. Eating
apricots regularly improves blood flow and prevents anemia.

Heart Diseases:
Since apricot is rich in lycopene and other antioxidants and is also a good source of Vitamin
C then it plays a good role in making the heart healthy - reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowers
bad cholesterol (LDL) and improves general heart health.

Eye vision: As mentioned above, apricot is rich in carotenoids which reduce risk of eye vision problem.
Together with Vitamins A,C,E these components help improve eye vision and prevent macular degeneration.

Good for the Skin/ Anti-Aging: Apricot is a good source of antioxidants that nourishes the skin.

Improve digestion:  Apricot is rich source of dietary fiber that helps in digestion and prevents constipation
problems.

Weight loss: Apricot is rich in dietary fiber that proves beneficial to lose weight.

Asthma: Apricot is proven to treat asthma.

Arthritis and joint pains:
The oil extracted from apricot seeds are used as liniments to alleviate pain.

Choose fully ripened fruit to get the most antioxidants.


Precautions:

Apricot seeds are believed to contain cyanide and can be dangerous when taken in large quantities.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dragonfruit


Scientific names:

Red Dragonfruit (Hylocereus polyrhizus)
White Dragonfruit (Hylocereus undatus)
Yellow Dragonfruit (Selenicereus megalanthus)


Other scientific names:
Acanthocereus, Ceraus, Echinocereus, Escontria, Hylocereus, Myrthillocactus, Selenicereus, Stenocereus
 
Common names: Pitaya, Red Pitahaya, Night blooming Cereus, Strawberry Pear, Belle of the Night, conderella plant


Description of Red Dragonfruit or Red Pitaya:

The plant of the Dragon fruit is vine-like epiphytic cacti that is native to Central and Southern America but
eventually spread to Southeast Asian countries.  The Dragon plant has a fleshy stem about 20 feet long and
its edible flowers have fragrant scent and ornate that only blooms at night.

The skin of the Dragon fruit is dark red with soft spine and its flesh is also red with lots of black small
seed that is also edible. The flavor is likened to that of the kiwifruit.

The dragon plant can bear fruit 3 to 6 times in a year depending on growing conditions.

Dragon fruits are made into smoothie, juice, sherbet, jams, puree, sherbets, salads...


Health Benefits & Medicinal properties/uses:

Pitaya or Dragon fruit is rich in fiber, minerals (potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron), vitamins
A, C, B1, B2, B3 and naturally-occurring flavonoids which acts as antiatherosclerotic (also reduces
cardiovascular risk), antiinflammatory, antitumour, antiosteoporotic, and antiviral.

Another highly valued antioxidants found in Dragon fruit are lycopene and phytoalbumins which are known to
fight cancer cells and prevent formation of cancer causing free radicals.

Dragon fruit is known to reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

Asthma and cough - because of its high vitamin C content.

Dragon fruit boosts immune system and the fibers help in digestion.

Dragon fruit is also known in folk medicine for preventing memory loss, controling blood glucose level in
diabetes and aids in healing of wounds.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Flaxseed or Linseed







Scientific name: Linum usitatissimum

Description:

Flax is an annual fiber crop that grows to a height of more than 3 ft tall and thrives in moist soils rich in silt, clay and sand. It is cultivated in ancient Egypt, India and China. It has slender stems and slender lanceolate green leaves.Flax is an annual plant that thrives in deep moist soils rich in sand, silt, and clay.

The flower has five pale blue petals while in other varieties the petals can be bright red. The fruit is round with glossy brown seeds like that of an apple. These small, oval-shaped seeds contain oil called flaxseed oil or linseed oil.

There are two main types of flaxseed: golden flaxseed and brown flaxseed.


Health Benefits of Flaxseed:

In ancient times, flaxseeds also known as linseeds are both used as food and medicine.

Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA). These are "good" fats that have been shown to be beneficial to have a healthy hearts.

It is also a rich source of dietary fiber and the fiber-related polyphenols called lignans as well as a good source of mucilaginous gums like arabinoxylans and galactoxylans. Thus making flaxseed an effective laxative.

The lignans are estrogen-like chemical compounds with antioxidant qualities that fight free radicals.

Linseed or Flaxseed is a rich souce of vitamin B1 and other minerals like magnesium, copper, phosphorus, calcium, folate, selenium and other micronutrients.


Medicinal Properties:

To get the most benefits out of flaxseeds, it should be consumed in ground form(grounded) otherwise the seeds will just past through the digestive tract undigested. One can add grounded flaxseed or linseed in coffee, cooked cereal, homemade muffin, cookie, bread recipe. or grain dish. Or you may add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to smoothies and fruit shakes.

Cancer (click here for more) tick country of residence

The lignan contents are said to block enzymes that prevent tumor cells from growing. Flaxseed is said to prevent breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. It also has antiangiogenic properties that stops tumor cells from forming new blood vessels.

Heart Disease

Linseed oil or flaxseed oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids as well as some other antioxidants thus providing valuable cardiovascular benefits. It also lowers cholesterol levels and protects the blood vessels from inflammatory damage.

Digestive Health

The high fiber content helps delay gastric emptying and improve intestinal absorption of nutrients.

Post-Menopausal Symptoms

It is believed that taking flaxseed oil reduce the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.

 
Side effects and Precautions:

Precautions:

Pregnant women should avoid taking flaxseed because of its estrogen-like properties.

Bowel obstruction - those people suffering from bowel obstruction should also avoid flaxseed/linseed because of its high fiber content.

Side effects include:
 Stomach pains
 Bloating
 Flatulence
 Constipation
 Diarrhea
 Nausea


Additional info:

Flaxseed should be used within 24 hours after grinding and the flaxseed oil should be refrigerated.

Do not eat unripe flaxseeds as they may be poisonous.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lansones

Scientific name: Lansium domesticum

Common names: langsat, lansones, lanzones,langsak
langsad (thin-skinned variety); longkong (thick-skinned variety)


Description:

Lansones is native to Southeast Asia because of the tropical temperatures and the tree can grow to a height
of 15 meters. The bark is colored gray with light and dark spots. The compound leaves are alternate and
pointed at both ends while the flowers are small with short stems & spikes and is greenish-yellow.

The fruit is yellowish or beige and is borne in clusters on a single stem. It can be oval, round, ellipsoid
or globose and is 2 to 7 centimeters in size. When one opens it, it is divided in sections of succulent
sweet&sour flesh with seeds in it. The seeds are greenish and bitter.

This fruit is available all year round but it's the sweetest when it's in season which is between July and
September.


Parts used: fruit, bark, leaves, seeds and fruit rind

Health Benefits:

Lanzones is rich in riboflavin that promotes growth, helps the body to release energy converted from
carbohydrates and makes red blood cells healthy. It also provides a sufficient amount of thiamine that helps
treat nerve and heart conditions,  This delicious fruit also contains Vitamin A, C, E and antioxidants like
carotene, beta carotene, zea-xanthins which fight off many ailments.

It is has calcium, phosphorus, iron, alkaloids, sucrose, saccharose, fructose and glucose, carbohydrates,
fiber, phytin and niacin which helps reduce cholesterol.


Medical properties and uses:


Bark of the lanzones tree is considered astringent, antipyretic and anthelmintic. It is used to treat malaria
and the powder form is applied on scorpion stings.

The concoction of lansones leaves and bark is used to relieve symptoms of dysentery.

The seed has five tetranoterpenoids, domesticulide A-E (1-5) and limonoids.
Traditional medicine used the pounded seeds mixed with water for deworming, treating diarrhea and ulcer.

The lansones leaves or the the dried fruit skin are burned and used as natural mosquito repellant or as
incense.

The fruit has antipyretic properties that lowers the person's body temperature and the crushed seeds are also
used for fevers.

The dry extract of lansones fruit is also used for moisturizing, whitening/lightening effect and has
antibacterial properties.

Eating fresh lansones is also a great way to lose weight.


THOUGH THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG HAD BEEN TRIED/TESTED AND HAD BEEN USED
AS FOLK/HERBAL MEDICINE IT IS STILL BEST TO CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE
TRYING THIS AND AVOID SELF-DIAGNOSIS AND SELF-MEDICATION.