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


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


Scientific name: prunus armeniaca


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 &

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.

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

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.


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

Monday, January 20, 2014


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


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:


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

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


Scientific name: Lansium domesticum

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


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

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

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.