August 23, 2008

Oregon Grape

COMMON NAMES

* Oregon Grape
* Mountain Grape

Not many people are aware of the interesting fact that the state flower of Oregon blooms on this beautiful shrub. Known for its attractiveness and its rapid growth, the Oregon grape is used medicinally, as well as for ornamental landscaping in several homes across the country. The leaves of the Oregon grape resemble those of holly; they are dark green, spiny and shiny, in almost the same way as the holly leaves are dark green and shiny. The flowers of this shrub are small and yellowish green in color, and the berries of the Oregon grape are a shade of dark purple blue, especially when they ripen. They grow in small clusters, and in this they resemble clusters or bunches of grapes. The Oregon grape shrub can grow to almost 6 feet in height, but in general, it grows about 3 - 4 feet tall.

The Oregon grape has been recognized for its usefulness and value in Europe even during the Elizabethan times, and it continued to be valued all through the eighteenth century. It is generally assumed that it was the English settlers who brought the berries with them when they arrived on the shores of America. The English reportedly named the Oregon grape barberry, as it is still known to natives of the west and Northwest. Initially, it was thought that the shrub, which so closely resembled the holly, belonged to the species of Berberis, but it was later proved that it belonged to their own genus, Mahonia. However, in essence, they all belong to the same plant family.

Most American herbalists rank the Oregon grape as one among the most outstanding and exceptional Native American herbs available today. They also believe that the shrub is in fact one of the bets herbs available today, which can effectively stimulate liver activity and the secretion of bile. There are several reasons for this belief. For one, the Oregon grape boasts of a bright yellow root, which is high in the alkaloid berberine, which is in turn an important constituent of other similarly powerful healing plants like for example, goldenseal. The root is also said to have a warm and drying influence. The Oregon grape can stimulate weakened livers, and at the same time dramatically alleviate liver-induced symptoms such as headaches, poor digestion, and toxic blood. The versatile herb is also regarded as a blood purifier, although it is a fact that this point has not been clarified through scientific research. Herbalists of today prefer to use the Oregon grape to cleanse the liver, the spleen and in some cases the blood too. However, an individual who consumes too much rich food, or who overeats regularly and who therefore has an overactive liver must not use Oregon grape, because of its action on the liver.

Oregon grape is generally prepared in an easy infusion, using 1/2 ounce of dried Oregon grape root to one quart of water. The infusion can usually be taken a cup at a time, thrice a day until relief is obtained. Oregon grape is often used in herbal formulas, too. Since the berries of the Oregon grape have been found to possess a cooling effect, they are used to break fevers. The berries can be gathered during the late summer when they are considered to be fully ripe, after which they can either be dried and later powdered, or made into syrup. Oregon grape jams are very tasty indeed.

The European barberry is often said to be excellent for the digestion, and that it was exceptionally good for the gallbladder and the liver. In America, Oregon grape of both European and American varieties was used for the treatment of dysentery and diarrhea, and also for a variety of digestive problems and disorders. Woodsour, sour-spine, sowberry, or pipperidge bush, as well as jaundice berry, termed so because of the yellow color of the wood, all refer to the same plant, the Oregon grape. The yellow color of the wood is derived from the active ingredient in the plant, berberine, along with other alkaloids. It must be remembered that berberine is a component present in the Berberis and Mahonia species as well as in the goldenseal.

Often, it has been suggested that the Oregon grape may be used as an effective substitute for the goldenseal, which is today quite difficult to find, and is listed as endangered, since it is a fact that both the goldenseal as well as the Oregon grape contain berberine, as can be proved by the Native Americans, who used both the plants as and when required. It was believed that the Oregon grape would prove to bring about a great improvement in one’s appetite, while at the same time improving one’s generally weakened condition. However, even though the purplish berries are edible and rich in vitamin C, the part of the Oregon grape that is used in medicine is the root.

PARTS USED

Root.

USES

Oregon grape is generally used for gastritis and for all types of general digestive weaknesses, and it is also effective for stimulating gallbladder functions, and for bringing in improvement in congestion problems that may be concentrated in the gut. Oregon grape can be used to treat and improve conditions like acne, boils, eczema, herpes and psoriasis, and skin conditions that may be directly linked to poor function of the gallbladder.

Other medical uses
Colorectal cancer, Liver cancer, Strep throat.

HABITAT AND CULTIVATION

The Oregon grape is considered to be native to North America, where it is found growing in the Rocky Mountains up to 7,000 ft or 2,000 m, and Oregon grape can be found in woods from Colorado to the Pacific coast. Oregon grape grows abundantly in the regions of Oregon and northern California.

The shrub must be grown in a shady and fairly rich and well drained soil conditions. For propagation, the cuttings can be obtained during midsummer and planted. The new plants of Oregon grape would be ready to set out during spring of the next year. The handsome plant can be grown from seeds too. The seeds can be obtained from the ripe berries during the fall and then planted outdoors. One must be careful that stratification or in other words good exposure to cold weather occurs for the saplings. The Oregon grape plants can also be obtained at nurseries across America.

As mentioned earlier, it is the root of the Oregon grape that is used for medicinal purposes. One must make sure that one does not gather the roots before the second year of the plant's growth, that is, in late autumn, or in the climates where the ground does not freeze during the winter. After harvesting the roots of Oregon grape, one can replant the crown roots, and these may at times give rise to new plants. Several herbalists suggest that one can dig up the ground around the roots, so that enough of the root system is left behind for the plant to survive, making sure that the pruning is done to a level of one-fourth to one-third of the roots with shears.

CONSTITUENTS

Oregon grape contains isoquinoline alkaloids (including berberine, berbamine, and hydrastine). These alkaloids are strong antiseptics and are thought to reduce the severity of psoriasis.

USUAL DOSAGE

No standard dosage of Oregon grape herb is established.

SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS

Oregon grape is deemed not suitable for pregnant women, because of present evidence that taking Oregon grape can cause uterine contractions in animals on which it has been tested. Taking too much Oregon grape can cause diarrhea and other undesirable effects like kidney inflammation, and some unwelcome psychological effects of a stupor and daze.

Do Calabash Gourds Grow On Trees?

The popular, painted calabash gourds of the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America come from a native tropical American tree that belongs to the Bignonia Family (Bignoniaceae), along with catalpa and jacaranda trees. There are two species of Calabash trees that grow wild in Mexico, Central and South America, Crescentia alata and C. cujete. The latter species is easy to identify because it has simple leaves and its gourd-like fruits are much larger, up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. The unusual flowers of both species develop from buds that literally grow out of the main trunk and limbs, a condition termed cauliflory. Like many other large-flowered cauliflorous species, calabash trees are commonly pollinated by small bats of the genera Glossophaga and Artibeus. According to Daniel Janzen (Costa Rican Natural History, 1983), the pollen is in the dorsal (upper) side of the flower and is placed on the head and shoulders of the bat. After pollination the spectacular calabash fruits begin to develop along the trunk and limbs. A crop of 100 or more of these large, green, gourd-like spheres may adorn the tree for up to seven months, before turning yellow-green and eventually falling to the ground. As in coconut palms, it is probably not a good idea to sleep under a calabash tree, at least when it bears mature fruits high above you in the dropping stage.

Although calabash gourds can be large, they are not the largest tree-bearing fruit. Another unrelated cauliflorous tree called jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophylla) bears the world's most massive tree-bearing fruits from its trunk and lower branches. Native to the Indo-Malaysian region, the jackfruit is grown throughout the tropics for its pulpy, edible fruits which may reach nearly 3 feet (1 m) in length and weigh up to 75 pounds (34 kg). Jackfruit and its close relative, breadfruit (A. altilis), belong to the diverse Mulberry Family (Moraceae). You have probably heard of the story of Captain Bligh, who tried to bring a load of breadfruit cuttings from Tahiti to the Caribbean in 1789 aboard the H.M.S. Bounty. Enchanted with the Tahitian way of life, his crew mutinied on the voyage.

Dried calabash gourds are painted in bright colors and are fashioned into all sorts of decorative and useful objects, including shakers, bowls and containers. On the lovely Caribbean island of Dominica, Carib Indians carve elaborate designs into the woody gourds during the "softer" green stage. When dry, the woody gourds are permanently etched with beautiful designs of native animals.

On the lovely Caribbean island of Dominica, Carib Indians carve elaborate designs into the woody calabash gourds during the "softer" green stage. When the gourds dry, the image of a native animal (in this photo a native parrot) is permanently etched into the exocarp of the gourd.

Because calabash gourds are so large and hard-shelled, no native New Word herbivores can crack them open, and the rotting gourds litter the ground beneath old calabash trees. It is well documented that horses can break open the hard shell with their mouth and eat the sweet pulpy mass inside, dispersing the seeds in their dung. In Africa, large woody pods of other species are quickly devoured by large herbivores. According to D.H. Janzen and P.S. Martin (Science Vol. 215, 1982), large grazing mammals, including extinct pleistocene elephants called gomphotheres, may have once eaten the huge gourds and dispersed the seeds in lowland forests.

The bat-pollinated flowers and large, gourd-like fruits of the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete) literally grow out of the trunk of this striking tropical tree. (waynesword.palomar.edu)

August 13, 2008

Blewah Health Benefits

Blewah was very delicious when presented as a mixture of ice on a hot day. After a day of sunlight exposure, the most rewarding thing is to consume food or beverages are fresh. Fruits such as among so many kinds of fruit, blewah choice.

According to Rr. Harudiyati, Nutritionists from Dr. RS. Soetomo Surabaya, Indonesia, one of the benefits of blewah is to replace body fluids. Additionally blewah is a natural isotonic useful for health. Because blewah is very suitable to be consumed after a workout or after a trip, suitable also bari people who break their fast in order to quickly recover their health.

Blewah has some content. In 100 grams of blewah contains 39 calories of energy, carbohydrates 10.2 g, 36.7 mg vitamin C, vitamin A 3282 IU. Besides having blewah monosaccharides fructose or glucose type. Water is the most dominating content. Because it is no wonder if the fruit is suitable to replace body fluids to keep the body awake kesehatanya.

If you've cut blewah only lasted one day, so you should not store this fruit one in a state already cut, keep the presentation once the fruit can be directly discharged.

This fruit is also easy to get, if we visit the fruit traders in traditional markets or in supermarkets, almost certainly we will get a blewah fruit, what more during the fasting month comes, the fruit of this one lot sold alongside a road with prices are cheap and berfariasi. Fruit is closely related to this melon flavor and aroma are more stable. Fresh, sweet, plump and fragrant fruit is indeed tempting, and the color orange will be more alluring. Fruit that bears the Latin name Cucumis melo var Cantalupensis is slightly marginalized when compared with other fruits. Research on the blewah was found to be difficult, so the variety was very limited. The most frequently encountered are the blewah type orange yellow, both skin and flesh. It was sweet, but very unfortunate, the fruit is easily damaged and rotten because a thin skin.

Watermelon whose name is more fluttering than blewah, turned out to contain only 600 of vitamin A. Let us compare with this marginalized almost blewah, fruit by any other name containing vitamin D reach garbis 4000 SI in 100 grams of fresh fruit. Vitamin A is contained in this sugguh abundant fruit that can only be rivaled by the 6150 SI mango fruit. Although still marginal, from now on blewah key it into the list of daily family menu. Incredible privilege that is often called a watermelon fruit dutch, with a small piece mengasup size of 5 × 15 cm equivalent to 100 g of vitamin C is sufficient for our daily.

The content of vitamin C in fresh blewah weighing was equivalent to 60 mg of vitamin C supplements. Because vitamin C is very easily damaged and reacts with air, eat fresh blewah peeled shortly after. When dikonsurnsi fresh fruit will greatly help children cope with skin disorders. Because, once rich blewah andoksidan vitamins, skin fresheners and peremaja. Free radicals never stop menggeranyangi our skin, thus vitamins A, C, and vitamin E is needed as an antidote. blewah contains all the vitamins anti-free radicals, therefore consume these fruits.

August 10, 2008

Blewah

blewah, fruits health
Blewah fruit rich in vitamins and minerals your body needs for the people who run fast. Fructose and glucose contained in blewah fruit is a simple sugar. blewah is also good to get rid of uric acid, maintaining a health of heart, lungs, blood vessels, and people with diabetes and obesity. blewah is a source of vitamin A and beta-carotene are very good. Content of betakaroten is a type of antioxidant that may play an important role in reducing the concentration of peroxyl radicals. While the high content of vitamin A which makes the fruit is good both active and passive smokers.

In addition to vitamins, blewah fruit is also rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6. In addition, natural sugars and enzymes contained in them has the function of absorption or absorption in the intestine caused by eating in a hurry. Meanwhile, the content of potassium can lower high blood pressure, reduce plaque formation in arteries, as well as a natural laxative.