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.