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Ajwain

Trachyspermum ammi

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. It tastes like thyme or caraway, only stronger. 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 paratha, called 'ajwain ka paratha'.

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Akudjura

(Australian desert raisin)

Solanum centrale

These fruits have a strong, pungent taste of tamarillo and caramel that makes them popular for use in sauces and condiments. It can be obtained either whole or ground, with the ground product (sold as "Kutjera powder") easily added to bread mixes, salads, sauces, cheese dishes, chutneys, and stews or mixed into butter. Traditionally the dried fruits are collected from the small bushes in late Autumn and early Winter. In the wild they fruit for only two months. These days they are grown commercially by Aboriginal communities in the deserts of central Australia. Using irrigation, they have extended the fruiting season to eight months.

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Alexanders

(Smyrnium olusatrum)

Alexanders is a biennial, and it usually flowers in late spring. The fruits are black and appear in its second year. That's when you'd collect the seeds. Use in much the same ways as celery or lovage. It's a pot herb like lovage. Quite a nice flavor. Use the leaves and young shoots - raw in salads or cooked in soups, stews, etc. They have a rather strong celery-like flavor and are often blanched. Leafy seedlings can be used as a parsley substitute. Flower buds - raw, can be added to salads, they have a celery-like flavor. The spicy seeds are used as a pepper substitute. The root - cooked and boiled and used in soups, its flavor is somewhat like celery. The root is said to be tenderer if it has been kept in a cool place all winter.

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Alkanet

(Anchusa arvensis)

Used primarily for color, Alkanet is the name of several related plants in the borage family (Boraginaceae). Anchusa arvensis is a plant species of the genus Anchusa. Its common names include small bugloss and annual bugloss. This is a hairy annual herb which may reach one half to one meter in height. It bears small blue tubular flowers, four nutlets per flower, and one seed per nutlet. The plant is native to Europe but is well-known elsewhere as a noxious weed. These species grow in Europe, North Africa, South Africa en Western Asia. They are introduced into the USA. The roots of Anchusa (just like those of Alkanna and Lithospermum) contain anchusin (or alkanet-red ), a red-brown resinoid coloring matter. It is insoluble in water, but soluble in alcohol, chloroform and ether. Chrysoine resorcinol is a colourant which was formerly used as a food additive. It is produced from the plant alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria). Pentaglottis sempervirens (green alkanet, evergreen bugloss or alkanet) blooms in spring and early summer. Its stamens are hidden inside narrow flower-tubes which end in a white eye in the centre of a blue flower. The flowers can be used in culinary preparations such as foods and drinks.

In Europe, it was assigned to the E number E103, but was banned as a food additive in 1984. In the US, it was banned in 1988.

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Allspice

Pimenta dioica

Allspice is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. It is used in Caribbean jerk seasoning (the wood is used to smoke jerk in Jamaica, although the spice is a good substitute), in mole sauces, and in pickling; it is also an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders.

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Alpinia

Alpinia galanga

Alpinia galanga, a plant in the ginger family, is an herb used in cooking, especially in Indonesian cuisine and Thai cuisine. It is one of four plants known as galangal, and is differentiated from the others with the common name greater galangal (or simply Thai galangal). The galangals are also called blue ginger or Thai ginger. A. galanga is called laos in Indonesian and is the most common form of galangal used in cooking. It is also known as Langkwas and galanga root.

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Amchur

(mango powder)

Mangifera

Amchur (amchoor) powder is also referred to as "mango" powder. It is made from green dried, ground mangoes. The spice imparts a tart and slightly sour flavor to many Inidan dishes including fish, meats, vegetables and curries.
Ingredient Substitutions
Tamarind paste, lime juice

A ripe mango is sweet, with a unique taste that nevertheless varies from variety to variety. The texture of the flesh varies between cultivars, some having a soft, pulpy texture similar to an over-ripe plum, while others have firmer flesh like a cantaloupe or avocado. In some cultivars, the flesh has a fibrous texture.

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Angelica

Angelica archangelica

Some varieties are grown as flavoring agents or for their medicinal properties. The most notable of these is Garden Angelica (A. archangelica), which is commonly known simply as angelica. Natives of Lapland use the fleshy roots as food and the stalks as medicine. Crystallized strips of young angelica stems and midribs are green in color and are sold as decorative and flavorsome cake decoration material, but may also be enjoyed on their own. The roots and seeds are sometimes used to flavor gin. Its presence accounts for the distinct flavor of many liqueurs such as Chartreuse.

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Anise

Pimpinella anisum

Anise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its licorice-like flavor. It is used in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including British Aniseed balls, Australian Humbugs, New Zealand Aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German pfeffernusse and springerle, Netherland Muisjes, Norwegian knotts, and Peruvian Picarones. It is a key ingredient in Mexican "atole de anís" or champurrado, which is similar to hot chocolate, and taken as a digestive after meals in India.

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Aniseed myrtle

Syzygium anisatum

Syzygium anisatum (formerly Backhousia anisata and Anetholea anisata), ringwood or aniseed tree is a rare Australian rainforest tree with an aromatic leaf that has an essential oil profile comparable to true aniseed. The leaf from cultivated plantations is used as a bushfood spice and distilled for the essential oil, and is known in the trade as aniseed myrtle or anise myrtle. Although previously known, it was first sold in the early 1990s as a bushfood spice, and in the mid 1990s cultivated in plantations to meet demand. Used as a flavoring spice and herb tea ingredient.

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Annatto

Bixa orellana L.

Annatto, sometimes called Roucou, is a derivative of the achiote trees of tropical regions of the Americas, used to produce a red food coloring and also as a flavoring. Its scent is described as "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg" and flavor as "slightly sweet and peppery". In the United States, annatto extract is listed as a color additive. In Jamaica, annatto has had many uses over the centuries, including as a food dye, body paint, treatment for heartburn and stomach distress, sunscreen and insect repellent.

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Apple mint

Mentha suaveolens

The leaves of this plant can be used to make Apple mint jelly, as well as a flavoring in dishes such as Apple mint couscous. It is also often used to make a mint tea, as a garnish, or in salads. Apple Mint can be boiled in water to make a tea. This tea is good tasting and helps heal a variety of illnesses, including stomach and intestinal problems. It also helps break down fats and increase metabolism. Apple mint is also popular because it is "mind-soothing" and relaxing. Apple mint is called "hierbabuena" in most South American countries, literally meaning "Good Herb". Apple Mint has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years in many parts of the world including Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

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Artemisia

(mugwort)

Artemisia vulgaris

Common names used for several species include wormwood, mugwort, sagebrush and sagewort, while a few species have unique names, notably Tarragon (A. dracunculus) and Southernwood (A. abrotanum). Occasionally some of the species are called sages, causing confusion with the Salvia sages in the family Lamiaceae. It comprises hardy herbs and shrubs known for their volatile oils. Fort Collins, Colorado based New Belgium brewery produced a Spring Ale called "Springboard" containing Wormwood, Lycium. and Schisandra.

Common names used for several species
include wormwood, mugwort, sagebrush and sagewort
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Asafoetida

Asafetida, Food of the Gods, Giant Fennel, Hing, Ting, Devil's Dung, Stinking Gum, Asant

Ferula assafoetida

This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment and in pickles. Its odor, when uncooked, is so strong that it must be stored in airtight containers; otherwise the aroma will contaminate other spices stored nearby. However, its odor and flavor become much milder and more pleasant upon heating in oil or ghee, acquiring a taste and aroma reminiscent of sautéed onion and garlic.

Asafoetida, Ferula scorodosma syn. assafoetida
Native to Persia (Iran) and India;
cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor,
reminiscent of leeks
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Avocado

Peresea americana

Avocado (Persea americana)
The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine,
as substitute for meats in sandwiches
and salads because of its high fat content.

The avocado (Persea americana), also known as palta or aguacate (Spanish), butter pear or alligator pear, is a tree native to the Caribbean, Mexico, South America and Central America, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay (laurel) leaves. The name "avocado" also refers to the fruit (technically a large berry) of the kupa shell that contains a pit (hard seed casing) which may be egg-shaped or spherical. The word "avocado" comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl ("testicle", a reference to the shape of the fruit). Historically avocados had a long-standing stigma as a sexual stimulant and were not purchased or consumed by any person wishing to preserve a chaste image. Avocados were known by the Aztecs as "the fertility fruit".

It is considered by many to be a drupe, but is botanically classified as a berry. An average avocado tree produces about 120 avocados annually. The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine, making an excellent substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content. The fruit is not sweet, but fatty, distinctly yet subtly flavored, and of smooth, almost creamy texture. It is used as the base for the Mexican dip known as guacamole, as well as a filling for several kinds of sushi, including California rolls. Avocado is popular in chicken dishes and as a spread on toast, served with salt and pepper.

In Brazil and Vietnam, avocados are frequently used for milk-shakes and occasionally added to ice cream and other desserts. In Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk or water, and pureed avocado. Chocolate syrup is sometimes added.

In Australia it is commonly served in sandwiches, often with chicken. In Ghana, it's often eaten alone in sliced bread as a sandwich. In Mexico and Central America, avocados are served mixed with white rice, in soups, salads, or on the side of chicken and meat. In Peru avocados are consumed with tequeños as mayonnaise, served as a side dish with parrillas, used in salads and sandwiches, or as a whole dish when filled with tuna, shrimps, or chicken. In Chile is used as a puree in chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, and in slices for celery or lettuce salads. The Chilean version of caesar salad contains large slices of mature avocado. In Kenya, the avocado is often eaten as a fruit, and is eaten alone, or mixed with other fruits in a fruit salad, or as part of a vegetable salad. In Iran it is used as a rejuvenating facial cream. A puree of the fruit was used to thicken and flavor the liqueur Advocaat in its original recipe, made by the Dutch population of Suriname and Recife, with the name deriving from the same source. Although edible by themselves, avocados are commonly used as a base for dips. Guacamole is one of the more popular foods made from avocados.

A common breakfast in areas where avocados are grown is avocado on toast. This is made by mashing the avocado with some lemon juice, salt, and pepper and spreading it on hot, freshly toasted bread. Avocado slices are frequently added to hamburgers, tortas, hot dogs and carne asada. Avocado can be combined with eggs (in scrambled eggs, tortillas or omelettes).

Generally, avocado is served raw, though it can be cooked without becoming bitter. Avocado is a key ingredient in a California sushi roll. In southern Africa, Avocado Ritz is a common dish.

Toxicity to Animals

There is documented evidence that animals such as cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, rats, birds, fish and horses can be severely harmed or even killed when they consume the avocado leaves, bark, skin, or pit. The avocado fruit is poisonous to some birds, and the ASPCA and many other sites list it as toxic to many animals including cats, dogs, and horses. Avocado is an ingredient in AvoDerm dog food and cat food. However, the ASPCA has declined to say whether this food is safe or not without knowing the details of how the avocado is processed.

Avocado leaves contain a toxic fatty acid derivative known as persin, which in sufficient quantity can cause equine colic and, with lack of veterinary treatment, death. The symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart and even death. Birds also seem to be particularly sensitive to this toxic compound. Negative effects in humans seem to be primarily in allergic individuals.

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Avocado Leaf

(Peresea americana)

Avocado leaves, both fresh and dried are used in the cuisines of the South Central part of Mexico. Fresh leaves are used in Oaxaca as a bed for barbecuing meats as well as a flavoring for tamales. Dried avocado leaves are most frequently available in the U.S. and can be used in soups and stews as well as bean recipes. Diana Kennedy suggests using the leaves as a substitute for hoja santa. You can use bay leaves but they bear no resemblance to the anise-flavored avocado leaves.   Rick Bayless has suggested a combination of bay leaves and cracked anise seed as a substitute for avocado leaves.

Unripe avocados are said to be toxic. Two resins derived from the skin of the fruit are toxic to guinea pigs by subcutaneous and peritoneal injection. Dopamine has been found in the leaves. The leaf oil contains methyl chavicol. Not all varieties are equally toxic. Rabbits fed on leaves of 'Fuerte' and 'Nabal' died within 24 hours. Those fed on leaves of 'Mexicola' showed no adverse reactions. Ingestion of avocado leaves and/or bark has caused mastitis in cattle, horses, rabbits and goats. Large doses have been fatal to goats. Craigmill et al. at Davis, California, have confirmed deleterious effects on lactating goats which were allowed to graze on leaves of 'Anaheim' avocado an hour each day for 2 days. Milk was curdled and not milkable, the animals ground their teeth, necks were swollen and they coughed, but the animals would still accept the leaves on the 4th day of the experiment. By the 10th day, all but one goat were on the road to recovery. All abnormal signs had disappeared 20 days later. In another test, leaves of a Guatemalan variety were stored for 2 weeks in plastic bags and then given to 2 Nubian goats in addition to regular feed over a period of 2 days. Both suffered mastitis for 48 hours. Avocado leaves in a pool have killed the fish. Canaries have died from eating the ripe fruit. The seeds, ground and mixed with cheese or cornmeal, have been used to poison rodents. However, tests in Hawaii did not show any ill effect on a mouse even at the rate of 1/4 oz (7 g) per each 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight; though the mouse refused to eat the dried, grated seed material until it was blended with cornmeal. Avocado seed extracts injected into guinea pigs have caused only a few days of hyperexcitability and anorexia. At Davis, mice given 10 to 14 g of half-and-half normal ration and either fresh or dried avocado seed died in 2 or 3 days, though one mouse given 4 times the dose of the others survived for 2 weeks.

Persea americana var. drymifolia or the Mexican Avocado's leaves can be used for cooking.

Please take note this is the only species of avocado leaf that can be consumed. Any other variety or species should not be consumed.

This variety is related to the Bay Laurel or Bay Leaf bush. Before dying and falling off the tree, the leaves are on the tree for two to three years and then are replaced by new and smaller leaves. These new leaves are more flavorful than the old leaves. They have a flavor reminiscent of liquorice or anise. One can buy bags of leaves in Mexico. The leaves are toasted and then ground up and sprinkled on food like spice. Only use the Mexican form of the plant. You must know exactly what type of tree the leaves are descends from. There are three main types: Mexican (Persea americana var. drymifolia), Guatemalan (Fuerte), West Indian (Nabal). The latter two should not be consumed. Hass is the main variety in the USA, and being descendant of the Guatemalan variety, should not be used. Mexican Avocado has a faint smell of anise. This contrasts with the West Indian variety which does not smell like this. Be totally sure of the leaf as well as the supplier. Guatemalan leaves have fallen off of the trees and into fish ponds or into tanks this has killed the fish. The birds that consumed them have also died. Even goats that have consumed large quantities have killed over. The wrong leaf, in great quantities has also made larger animals sick.

Don't despair though; the leaves from the sweet laurel can be substituted for the avocado leaf in any recipe. But like anything else you must stay away from the "cherry" laurel as its leaves are toxic.

Toxicity to Animals

There is documented evidence that animals such as cats, dogs, cattle, goats, rabbits, rats, birds, fish and horses can be severely harmed or even killed when they consume the avocado leaves, bark, skin, or pit. The avocado fruit is poisonous to some birds, and the ASPCA and many other sites list it as toxic to many animals including cats, dogs, and horses. Avocado is an ingredient in AvoDerm dog food and cat food. However, the ASPCA has declined to say whether this food is safe or not without knowing the details of how the avocado is processed. Avocado leaves contain a toxic fatty acid derivative known as persin, which in sufficient quantity can cause equine colic and, with lack of veterinary treatment, death. The symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart and even death. Birds also seem to be particularly sensitive to this toxic compound. Negative effects in humans seem to be primarily in allergic individuals.

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Banana

Musa acuminata

Bananas and plantains constitute a major staple food crop for millions of people in developing countries. In most tropical countries, green (unripe) bananas used for cooking represent the main cultivars. Cooking bananas are very similar to potatoes in how they are used. Both can be fried, boiled, baked, or chipped and have similar taste and texture when served.

Banana
Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations
bananas fried with batter are a favorite
dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

One green cooking banana has about the same calorie content as one potato. Bananas are classified either as dessert bananas (meaning they are yellow and fully ripe when eaten) or as green cooking bananas. Almost all export bananas are of the dessert types; however, only about 10 - 15% of all production is for export, with the United States and European Union being the dominant buyers.

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Barberry

Berberis vulgaris

The berries are edible, and rich in vitamin C, though with a very sharp flavor; the thorny shrubs make harvesting them difficult, so in most places they are not widely consumed.

Berberis buxifolia (Calafate) and Berberis darwinii (Michay) are two species found in Patagonia in Argentina and Chile. Their edible purple fruits are used for jams and infusions; anyone who tries a berry is said to be certain to return to Patagonia. The calafate and michay are symbols of Patagonia.

Barberry
Berberis darwinii shoot with flowers
The berries are edible, and rich in vitamin C, with a very sharp flavour.
Berries are often used in
Asian and European rice pilaf recipes.
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Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell.

Basil

Since the oils in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor.

There are many varieties of basil. That which is used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil, lemon basil and holy basil, which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including African Blue and Holy Thai basil.

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Bay leaves

Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae

Bay leaves are a fixture in the cooking of many European cuisines (particularly those of the Mediterranean), as well as in North America. They are used in soups, stews, meat, seafood and vegetable dishes. The leaves also flavor classic French dishes such as bouillabaisse and bouillon. The leaves are most often used whole (sometimes in a bouquet garni), and removed before serving. In Indian and Pakistani cuisine bay leaves are often used in biryani and many salads. In Japan, too, it has a long history as a herbal ingredient.

Bay Leaf illustration
Bay leaf is popular in many american recipes
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Bee Balm

Monarda didyma

Bee Balm has a long history of use as a medicinal plant by many Native Americans including the Blackfeet. The Blackfeet Indians recognized this plant's strong antiseptic action, and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis. Bee Balm is the natural source of the antiseptic Thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas. The Winnebago used a tea made from bee Balm as a general stimulant. Bee Balm was also used as a carminative herb by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence.

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Berberis

(Calafate) (Michay)

Berberis buxifolia

Berberis buxifolia (Calafate) and Berberis darwinii (Michay) are two species found in Patagonia in Argentina and Chile. Their edible purple fruits are used for jams and infusions; anyone who tries a berry is said to be certain to return to Patagonia. The calafate and michay are symbols of Patagonia.

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Bergamot

Monarda didyma

The bergamot (citrus bergamia risso) is a small and roughly pear-shaped fragrant citrus fruit which is a variety of sour orange native to Asia. Today it is commercially grown in Calabria (Italy), Argentina, Brazil and the USA.

Bergamot grows on small trees which blossom during the spring. The distinctive aroma of the bergamot is most commonly known for its use in Earl Grey tea, though the juice of the fruit has also been used in Calabrian indigenous medicine as an herbal remedy for malaria and its essential oil is popular in aromatherapy applications.

The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, "Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa'', which are in the mint family. Italian bergamotta, modification of Turkish bey armudu, literally, the bey's pear. Production mostly is limited to the Ionian coastal region of the province of Calabria in Italy, to such an extent that it is a symbol of the entire region. Most of the bergamot comes from a short stretch of land there where the temperature is favorable. It is also cultivated in Argentina, Brazil and the US state of Georgia, but the quality of the obtained essence is not comparable with the essence produced from the bergamots of Reggio Calabria due to the argillite, limestone and alluvial deposits found there.

An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, and confectionery. An Italian food manufacturer, Caffé Sicilia in Noto, Syracuse, Sicily, produces a commercial marmalade using the fruit as its principal ingredient. It is also popular in Greece and Cyprus as a preserve, made with bergamot peel boiled in sugar syrup.

Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. Approximately one third of all men's and about half of women's perfumes contain bergamot essential oil.

Bergamot was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed in 17th century Germany - in 1704 the bergamot was first used to make the now famous "Eau de toilette" from the bergamot fruit by scooping out the pulp and squeezing the peel into sponges. 100 bergamot oranges will yield about 3 ounces of bergamot oil.

Bergamot peel is also used in aromatherapy to treat depression and as a digestive aid.

Bergamot's aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

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Bistort

(Persicaria bistorta")

Persicaria bistorta (Bistort or Common Bistort) is an herbaceous flowering plant found throughout Europe. The generic placement of this species is in flux. While treated here as in Persicaria, it has also been placed in Polygonum or Bistorta. The Latin name "bistorta" refers to the twisted appearance of the root. The plant was used to make a bitter pudding in Lent from a combination of the plant's leaves, oatmeal, egg and other herbs. It is the principal ingredient of dock pudding. Numerous other vernacular names have been recorded for the species in historical texts, though none is used to any extent. Many of the following refer to the plant's use in making puddings: Adderwort, Dragonwort, Easter giant, Easter ledger, Easter ledges, Easter magiant, Easter man-giant, Gentle dock, Great bistort, Osterick, Oysterloit, Passion dock, Patience dock (this name is also used for Rumex patientia), Patient dock, Pink pokers, Pudding grass, Pudding dock, Red legs, Snakeweed, Twice-writhen, Water ledges.

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Black Cardamom

Elettaria and Amomum

Black cardamom pods can be used in soups, chowders, casseroles, and marinades for smoky flavor, much in the way bacon is used. The pods are used as a spice, in a manner similar to the green Indian cardamom pods, but those have a drastically different flavor. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames.

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Black Cohosh

Actaea racemosa

Black Cohosh, black bugbane or black snakeroot or fairy candle; syn. Cimicifuga racemosa) is a member of the family Ranunculaceae, native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Ontario south to central Georgia, and west to Missouri and Arkansas. It grows in a variety of woodland situations, and is often found in small woodland openings.

Black cohosh has been included in herbal compounds or dietary supplements marketed to women as remedies for the symptoms of premenstrual tension, menopause and other gynecological problems. However, its usage for treating these ailments is controversial, with a recent study conducted with a large group of participants and a range of black cohosh formulations casting doubt on its efficacy.

Native Americans used black cohosh to treat gynecological and other disorders, including sore throats, kidney problems, and depression. Black cohosh has also been used as an abortifacient. Black cohosh produces endometrial stimulation. Since black cohosh increases blood flow to the pelvic area, its use is not recommended during menses as it may increase or prolong bleeding. It should be used with caution after usage for six months. Additionally, black cohosh contains tannins, which may inhibit iron absorption.

Liver damage has been reported in a few individuals using black cohosh, but large numbers of women have taken the herb without reporting adverse health effects. While studies of black cohosh have not proven that the herb causes liver damage, Australia has added a warning to the label of all products containing black cohosh, stating that it may cause harm to the liver of some individuals and should not be used without medical supervision. Reported direct side-effects also include dizziness, headaches, and seizures; diarrhea; nausea and vomiting; sweating; constipation; low blood pressure and slow heartbeats; and weight problems.

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Black Cumin

Bunium persicum

Bunium persicum or black cumin is a plant in the family Apiaceae. Dried B. persicum fruits are used as a culinary spice in Northern India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Iran. Local names for that spice are Kala Jeera (kala jeera, meaning "black cumin") or shahi jeera (meaning "imperial cumin") in Hindi, as ("zireh kuhi", meaning "wild cumin") in Persian and as ("siyoh dona" meaning "black seed") in Tajiki. It is practically unknown outside these areas, and is not to be confused with the unrelated Nigella sativa which is also often called black cumin. Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia. It grows too tall, with finely divided, linear (but not thread-like) leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually colored pale blue and white, with 5-10 petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of 3-7 united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. The seed is used as a spice.

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Black Currant

Ribes nigrum

The Black Currant (Ribes nigrum) is a species of Ribes berry native to central and northern Europe and northern Asia. It is also known as French "cassis". The fruit has an extraordinarily high vitamin C content (302% of the Daily Value per 100g, table), good levels of potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B5, and a broad range of other essential nutrients. Other than being juiced and used in jellies, syrups, and cordials, blackcurrants are used in cooking because their astringent nature brings out flavor in many sauces, meat dishes and desserts. It was once thought that currants needed to be "topped and tailed" (the stalk and flower-remnants removed) before cooking. However, this is not the case as these parts are easily assimilated during the cooking process. If one prefers, the whole black Currant stem with fruit can be frozen, then shaken vigorously. The tops and tails are broken off and fruit can be separated easily. Black Currant syrup mixed with white wine is called Kir or Kir Royale when mixed with Champagne.

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Black Limes

Citrus aurantifolia

Black Lime (Also known as Dried Lime, Loomi, Lumi, Noomi Basra, Omani and Amani) is a spice used in Middle Eastern dishes. It is made by boiling fresh lime in salt water and drying it. Black limes are usually used in legume, seafood or meat dishes. They are pierced, peeled or crushed before adding them to the dish. After cooking they become softer and edible. They can also be powdered and added to rice dishes. Powdered black lime is also used as an ingredient in Gulf-style baharat (a spice mixture which is also called kabsa or kebsa). It is very popular in the Middle East.

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Black Mustard

Brassica nigra

Despite their similar common names, black mustard and white mustard (genus Sinapis) are not closely related. Black mustard belongs to the same genus as cabbage.

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Bladder Wrack

Fucus vesiculosus

(brás-si-ca) is a genus of plants in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). The members of the genus may be collectively known either as cabbages, or as mustards. Crops from this genus are sometimes called cole crops, which is derived from the Latin caulis, meaning cabbage. Almost all parts of some species or other have been developed for food, including the root (swedes, turnips), stems (kohlrabi), leaves (cabbage, brussels sprouts), flowers (cauliflower, broccoli), and seeds (many, including mustard seed, oilseed rape). Some forms with white or purple foliage or flowerheads, are also sometimes grown for ornament.

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Blue Cohosh

Caulophyllum thalictroides

Brassica vegetables are highly regarded for their nutritional value. They provide high amounts of vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Almost all parts of some species or other have been developed for food, including the root (swedes, turnips), stems (kohlrabi), leaves (cabbage, brussels sprouts), flowers (cauliflower, broccoli), and seeds (many, including mustard seed, oilseed rape). Some forms with white or purple foliage or flowerheads, are also sometimes grown for ornament.

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Blue Fenugreek

Trigonella foenum-graecu

Trigonella is a large genus from the family Fabaceae, with about 130 species. The best known member is the herb Fenugreek. Fenugreek is a plant in the family Fabaceae. Fenugreek is used both as a herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed). It is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop. It is frequently used in curry. In the United States, where maple syrup is popular but expensive, fenugreek is widely used in lower-cost syrup products as a maple syrup flavoring such as Mapleine. Fenugreek is frequently used in the production of flavoring for artificial maple syrups. The taste of toasted fenugreek, like cumin, is additionally based on substituted pyrazines. By itself, fenugreek has a bitter taste.

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Blue-leaved Mallee

Eucalyptus polybractea

The Blue mallee, or Blue-leaved mallee (Eucalyptus polybractea) is a small multi-trunked sclerophyll tree that grows naturally in western New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. The bark is smooth, and fibrous near the trunk base. Leaves are disjunct and linear to narrow-lanceolate. Juvenile leaves are glaucous, and adult leaves grey-green. Flowers are followed by woody capsules 3-6 mm long. E. polybractea leaves are used to produce eucalyptus oil with very high levels of cineole (up to 91%), yielding 0.7-5% fresh weight overall. The oil is primarily used medicinally and for flavoring.

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Bog Labrador Tea

Rhododendron groenlandicum

Labrador tea, is a name commonly applied to two species: Ledum palustre (Northern Labrador Tea, also known as Rhododendron tomentosum) and Ledum groenlandicum (Bog Labrador Tea). In Labrador itself, Labrador Tea is also frequently called Indian Tea. Both are plants in the Heath family (Ericaceae) with strongly aromatic leaves that can be used to make a very palatable herbal tea. Labrador tea has been a favorite beverage among Athabaskan and Eskimo people for many years. Labrador tea is a low shrub with evergreen leaves. The leaves are smooth on top with often wrinkled edges, and fuzzy white to red-brown underneath. The tiny white flowers grow in hemispherical clusters and are very fragrant and sticky and highly attractive to bees.

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Boldo

Peumus boldus Boldo

(Peumus boldus Molina, the only species in the genus Peumus) is a tree native to the central region of Chile, occurring from 33° to 40° South Latitude. Its leaves, which have a strong, woody and slightly bitter flavor and camphor-like aroma, are used for culinary purposes, primarily in Latin America. The leaves are used in a similar manner to bay leaves, and also used as an herbal tea, primarily in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil and bordering countries in South America. In Latin America and Spain, boldo is also used as a form of herbal medicine, particularly to support the gallbladder, but also to calm upset stomachs. In Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay it is frequently mixed with yerba mate or other teas to moderate its flavor.

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Bolivian Coriander

Porophyllum ruderale

Bolivian coriander is a herbaceous plant whose leaves can be used for seasoning food. Their taste has been described as "somewhere between arugula, cilantro and rue." The plant is commonly grown in Mexico and South America for use in salsas. Having been used by many cultures, this herb is known by many names, including quillquiña (also spelled quirquiña or quilquiña), killi, papalo, tepegua and pápaloquelite. Also, despite the name "Bolivian coriander", this plant is not botanically related to the European Coriander.

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Borage

Borago officinalis

Borage, also known as starflower is an annual herb originating in Syria, but naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region, as well as Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. Traditionally borage was cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, although today commercial cultivation is mainly as an oilseed. The seed oil is desired as source of gamma-linolenic acid for which borage is the highest known plant-based source. Borage production does include use as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage, with a cucumber like taste, is often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower, which contains the non-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid thesinine, has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored edible things, is often used to decorate dessert. Tea made from the dried flowers is a traditional calming drink in Iran (Echium amoenum). It has a rich purple color that turns bright pink by adding a few drops of lemon juice.

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Brown Mustard

Brassica juncea

Brassica juncea, also known as mustard greens, Indian mustard and leaf mustard, is a species of mustard plant. Sub-varieties include Southern Giant Curled Mustard, which resembles a headless cabbage such as Kale, but with a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage. The leaves, the seeds, and the stem of this mustard variety are edible. The leaves are used in African cooking, and leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine. The mustard made from the seeds of the Brassica juncea is called brown mustard. The leaves (Raai / Rai in Gujarati) are used in many Indian dishes. Mustard greens are generally flavored by being cooked for a long period with ham hocks or other smoked pork products.

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Burdock

Arctium lappa

Folk herbalists consider dried burdock to be a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent. Burdock is a traditional medicinal herb that is used for many ailments. Burdock root oil extract, also called Bur oil, is popular in Europe as a scalp treatment applied to improve hair strength, shine and body, help reverse scalp conditions such as dandruff, and combat hair loss. Burdock has been used for centuries as a blood purifier clearing the bloodstream of some toxins, and as a diuretic (helping rid the body of excess water by increasing urine output), and as a topical remedy for skin problems such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.

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Calamint

Calamintha sylvatica

Calamintha is a genus of plants that belongs to the family Lamiaceae. There are about eight species in the genus (around 30 before revisions in taxonomy) which is native to the northern temperate regions of Europe, Asia and America. Common Calamint, a low-growing plant with a minty smell and lavender flowers. It prefers alkaline soil. The leaves can be used to make tea.

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Calamus

(Sweet Flag)

Acorus calamus

Sweet Flag, also known as calamus and various rushes and sedges, (Acorus calamus) is a plant from the Acoraceae family, in the genus Acorus. It is a tall perennial wetland monocot with scented leaves and more strongly scented rhizomes, which have been used medicinally, for its odor, and as a psychotropic drug. Its Sanskrit name is vacha. Probably indigenous to India.

Calamus

(American Sweet Flag)

Acorus americanus

Acorus americanus, the American Sweet Flag, is an emergent wetland plant native to the northern United States and Canada. This perennial plant has bright green blade-shaped leaves that arising directly from the rhizomes and sheath into each other at the base. Additionally the blades have 2-6 raised veins, and a swollen center when viewed in cross section. The foliage has a citrus-like spicy aromatic quality, and can be used to flavor beer.

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Calendula

(Marigold)

Calendula officinalis,

The name Calendula stems from the Latin kalendae, meaning first day of the month, presumably because pot marigolds are in bloom at the start of most months of the year. The common name marigold probably refers to the Virgin Mary, or its old Saxon name 'ymbglidegold', which means 'it turns with the sun'.

Marigold petals are considered edible. They are often used to add color to salads, and marigold extract is commonly added to chicken feed to produce darker egg yolks. Their aroma, however, is not sweet, and resembles the smell of hops in beer. The oil from its seed contains calendic acid. Plant pharmacological studies have suggested that Calendula extracts have anti-viral, anti-genotoxic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Calendula in suspension or in tincture is used topically to treat acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding and soothing irritated tissue.

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Cananga

(Ylang-ylang)

Cananga odorata

Cananga odorata, is a small flower of the cananga tree. Its fruit are an important food item for birds. The essential oil of ylang-ylang is used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac.

The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (like Chanel No. 5). Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells.

Ylang Ylang is a common ingredient in the motion sickness medicine, MotionEaze.

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Calumba

Jateorhiza calumba

It Contains Isoquinoline Alkaloids and is used mainly as a Bitter Tonic especially in cases of Anorexia. It contains no tannins ,hence; it can be safely used in Iron preparations for Treatement of Anaemia without the fear of precipitation resulted from in vitro interaction.

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Chamomile

(German Chamomile)

Anthemis nobilis, Matricaria recutita

Anthemis nobilis, commonly known as Roman Camomile, Chamomile, garden camomile, ground apple, low chamomile, English chamomile, or whig plant, is a low perennial plant found in dry fields and around gardens and cultivated grounds. It has daisy-like white flowers that are found in Europe, North America, and Argentina.

Matricaria recutita or German chamomile, also spelled camomile, is an annual plant of the composite family Asteraceae. German chamomile is used medicinally against sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It is also used as a mild laxative. It can be taken as a herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea.

Chamomile is used cosmetically, primarily to make a rinse for blonde hair, and is popular in aromatherapy, whose practitioners believe it to be a calming agent to end stress and aid in sleep.

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Candle Nut

(Candleberry)

Aleurites moluccana

The Candlenut (Aleurites moluccana), is a flowering tree in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, also known as Candleberry, Indian walnut, Kemiri, Varnish tree or Kukui nut tree.

The nut is often used cooked in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, where it is called kemiri in Indonesian or buah keras in Malay. On the island of Java in Indonesia, it is used to make a thick sauce that is eaten with vegetables and rice.

Outside of Southeast Asia, macadamia nuts are sometimes substituted for candlenuts when they are not available, as they have a similarly high oil content and texture when pounded. The flavor, however, is quite different, as the candlenut is more bitter.

Because the nut contains saponin and phorbol, they are mildly toxic when raw.

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Caper

Capparis spinosa

The caper (Capparis spinosa L.) is a perennial spiny bush that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and big white to pinkish-white flowers.

A caper is also the pickled bud of this plant. The salted and pickled caper bud (also called caper and gabbar for Cyprus Turks) is often used as a seasoning or garnish.

Capers are a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, especially Cypriot. The mature fruit of the caper shrub is also prepared similarly, and marketed as caper berries.

The buds, when ready to pick, are a dark olive green and about the size of a kernel of corn. They are picked, then pickled in salt, or a salt and vinegar solution, or drained. Intense flavor is developed, as mustard oil (glucocapparin) is released from each caper bud.

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Caraway

Carum carvi

Caraway or Persian cumin (Carum carvi) is a biennial plant in the family Apiaceae, native to Europe and western Asia. The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone and limonene. They are used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread. Rye bread is denser because the limonene from the caraway fruits has yeast-killing properties.

Caraway is also used in liquors, casseroles, and other foods, especially in Central European and Northern European cuisine. It is an ingredient in sauerkraut, for example. It is also used to add flavor to cheeses such as havarti. Akvavit and several liqueurs are also made with caraway.

Caraway seed oil is also used as a fragrance component in soaps, lotions, and perfumes.
The roots may be cooked as a root vegetable like parsnips or carrots.

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Cardamom

(black cardamom) (green cardamom)

Elettaria, Amomum

The name cardamom is used for herbs within two genera of the ginger family Zingiberaceae, namely Elettaria and Amomum. Both varieties take the form of a small seedpod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds. Elettaria pods are light green in color, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.

Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Black cardamom has a distinctly more astringent aroma, though not bitter, with a coolness similar to mint, though with a different aroma. It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking, and is often used in baking in Nordic countries, such as in the Finnish sweet bread pulla or in the Scandinavian bread Julekake.

Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight but little is needed to impart the flavor. Cardamom is best stored in pod form because once the seeds are exposed or ground they quickly lose their flavor. However, high-quality ground cardamom is often more readily (and cheaply) available and is an acceptable substitute.

For recipes requiring whole cardamom pods, a generally accepted equivalent is 10 pods equals 1½ teaspoons of ground cardamom.

In the Middle East, green cardamom powder is used as a spice for sweet dishes as well as traditional flavoring in coffee and tea.

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Carob Pod

Ceratonia siliqua

The carob tree ( kharub), Ceratonia siliqua, is a species of flowering evergreen shrub or tree in the pea family. It is cultivated for its edible seed pods. Carobs are also known as "St. John's bread" because, according to tradition of some Christians, St. John the Baptist subsisted on them in the wilderness.

Carob was eaten in Ancient Egypt as a common sweetener and was used in the hieroglyph for "sweet" (nedjem).

Dried carob fruit is traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat, and Carob juice drinks are traditionally drunk during the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Carob pods were an important source of sugar before sugar cane and sugar beets became widely available.
Carob, (dried or roasted) having a slightly sweet taste, in both powder and chip form, is used as an ingredient in cakes and cookies and is sometimes used as a substitute for chocolate.

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Cassia

Cinnamomum aromaticum, synonym C. cassia

Cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum, synonym C. cassia) is an evergreen tree native to southern China, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam. Like its close relative, cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, also known as "true cinnamon" or "Ceylon cinnamon"), it is used primarily for its aromatic bark, which is used as a spice, often under the culinary name of "cinnamon".

The buds are also used as a spice, especially in India, and were once used by the ancient Romans.

Most of the spice sold as cinnamon in the United States and Canada (where true cinnamon is still generally unknown) is actually cassia. In some cases, cassia is labeled "Chinese cinnamon" to distinguish it from the more expensive true cinnamon (C. verum), which is the preferred form of the spice used in Mexico and Europe.

Cassia bark (powdered, in whole, or "stick" form) is used as a flavoring agent for candies, desserts, baked goods, and meat; it is specified in many curry recipes, where cinnamon is less suitable. Cassia is sometimes added to true cinnamon but is a much thicker, coarser product.

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Casuarina

Sheoak, Ironwood, or Beefwood

Casuarina cristata

Commonly known as the she-oak, sheoak, ironwood, or beefwood, casuarinas are commonly grown in tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world. The tree has delicate, slender branches and leaves that are no more than scales, making the tree look more like a wispy conifer. The plants are very tolerant of windswept locations, and are widely planted as wind-breaks, although usually not in agricultural situations.

C. equisetifolia is a common tropical seashore tree known as Common Ironwood, Beefwood, Bull-oak, or Whistling-pine and is often planted as a windbreak. The wood of this tree is used for shingles, fencing, and is said to make excellent, hot burning firewood.

C. oligodon has been planted in New Guinea in an ancient (more than 3,000 years) silviculture by highland gardeners practicing an intensive traditional permaculture. The wood of this tree is used for building-timber, furniture and tools and makes excellent firewood. The tree's root nodules are known to fix nitrogen, and it is traditionally prized for its ability to increase the soil's fertility. Its abundant leaf-fall is high in nitrogen and traditionally prized for mulch.

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Catnip

Nepeta cataria

Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their famous effect on cats, nepeta cataria pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromonic receptors, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. It can also induce mild euphoria in humans.

Oil isolated from catnip by steam distillation is a repellent against insects, in particular mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites. Research suggests that in a test tube, distilled nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip, repels mosquitoes ten times more effectively than DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents, but that it is not as effective a repellent when used on the skin.

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Cat's Claw

Uncaria tomentosa

Uncaria tomentosa (popularly known in English as "Cat's Claw, in Spanish as Uña de Gato or as the Indian name Vilcacora") is a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America, which derives its name from its claw-shaped thorns.

The parts used medicinally include the inner bark and root, taken in the form of capsules, tea and extract.
U. tomentosa is used in nootropic drugs, as well as in treatment of cancer and HIV infection. It contains several alkaloids that are responsible for its overall medical effects, as well as tannins and various phytochemicals. The chemotype of the plant determines the dominant type of alkaloid it produces, and thus its properties in vivo. One chemotype has roots which produce mostly the pentacyclic alkaloids that are responsible for the immune-strengthening effects desired by most consumers.

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Catsear

(cat's ear)

Hypochaeris radicata

Catsear (Hypochaeris radicata or Hypochoeris radicata), also known as "cat's ear or false dandelion", is a perennial, low-lying edible herb often found in lawns. The plant is native to Europe, but has also been introduced to the Americas, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. All parts of the catsear plant are edible; however, the leaves and roots are those most often harvested. The leaves are bland in taste but can be eaten raw in salads, steamed, or in stir-fries. Older leaves can become tough and fibrous, but younger leaves make for good eating. Rarely the leaves have some bitterness. The root can be roasted and ground to form a coffee substitute.

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Cayenne Pepper

(Guinea pepper, or Bird pepper)

Capsicum annuum

The Cayenne, or Guinea pepper, or Bird pepper is a hot, red chili pepper used to flavor dishes and for medicinal purposes.

Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others. The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice known as cayenne pepper.

Cayenne is used in cooking spicy hot dishes, as a powder or in its whole form (such as in Sichuan cuisine) or in a thin, vinegar-based sauce. It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville Units.

Cayenne is also used as a herbal supplement, and was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper in his book Complete Herbal. Cayenne is a popular spice in a variety of cuisines. It is employed variously in its fresh form, dried, powdered, and as dried flakes. It is also a key ingredient in a variety of hot sauces, particularly those employing vinegar as a preservative.

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Celery Seed

Apium graveolens

Apium graveolens is a plant species in the family Apiaceae commonly known as celery (var. dulce) or celeriac (var. rapaceum) depending on whether the petioles (stalks) or roots are eaten.

In temperate countries, celery is also grown for its seeds. Actually very small fruit, these "seeds" yield a valuable volatile oil used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. They also contain an organic compound called apiol.

Celery seeds can be used as flavoring or spice either as whole seeds or, ground and mixed with salt, as celery salt. Celery salt can also be made from an extract of the roots. Celery salt is used as a seasoning, in cocktails (notably to enhance the flavor of Bloody Mary cocktails), on the Chicago-style hot dog, and in Old Bay Seasoning.

Celery, onions, and bell peppers are the holy trinity of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. Celery, onions, and carrots make up the French mirepoix, often used as a base for sauces and soups. Celery is a staple in many soups and an important ingredient in Indian cuisines including in Indian Curry.

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Centaury

Centaurium erythraea

The name of the genus to which it is at present assigned, Erythraea, is derived from the Greek erythros (red), from the color of the flowers. The genus was formerly called Chironia, from the Centaur Chiron, who was famous in Greek mythology for his skill in medicinal herbs, and is supposed to have cured himself with it from a wound he had accidentally received from an arrow poisoned with the blood of the hydra.

Of all the bitter appetizing wild herbs which serve as excellent simple tonics, the Centaury is the most efficacious, sharing the antiseptic virtues of the Field Gentian and the Buckbean." Centaury is closely related to gentian, and shares the same bitter tonic effect on the digestive system. A gentle laxative, and an excellent remedy for heartburn. Like many bitter tonics centaury is effective in reducing fever and has been used in place of quinine. Preparation Methods: Usually taken as a tea or tincture before or after meals.

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Chervil

Anthriscus cerefolium

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) is a delicate annual herb related to parsley. Sometimes called garden chervil, it is used to season mild-flavored dishes and is a constituent of the French herb mixture fines herbes.

Another type of chervil is grown as a root vegetable, sometimes called turnip rooted chervil or tuberous-rooted chervil. This type of chervil produces much thicker roots than types cultivated for their leaves. It was once a popular vegetable in the 19th century. It is now virtually forgotten and is little known in Britain and the United States, root chervil is very common in French cuisine, where it is used in most soups or stews.

Sometimes referred to as "gourmet's parsley", chervil is used to season poultry, seafood, and young vegetables. It is particularly popular in France, where it is added to omelettes, salads and soups. More delicate than parsley, it has a faint taste of liquorice.

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Chickweed

(Upright Chickweed)

Moenchia

Moenchia is a genus of plants in the family Caryophyllaceae with three species native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe and naturalised in southern Africa and parts of North America and Australia. They are herbs, with an annual life span. They have slender roots and thin stems that are upright or ascending. Inflorescences are one- to three-flowered and terminally end the stems. The flowers are in spreading cymes or solitary, with bracts paired that are leaf like. Named for Conrad Moench. A common name for the plants in this genus is upright chickweeds.

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Chicory

Cichorium intybus, Cichorium intybus var. sativum

Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a bushy perennial herb with blue, lavender, or occasionally white flowers. It grows as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and in North America and Australia, where it has become naturalized.

Common chicory is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffeeweed. The cultivated forms are grown for their leaves (var. foliosum), or for the roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive.

Common names for varieties of var. foliosum include endive, radicchio, Belgian endive, French endive, red endive, sugarloaf or witloof. Chicory is also the common name in the US (and in France) for curly endive (Cichorium endivia). Chicory may be grown for its leaves, eaten raw as a salad. It is generally divided into three types of which there are many varieties.

* Radicchio usually has variegated red or red and green leaves. Some only refer to the white-veined red leaved type as radicchio. Also known as red endive and red chicory. It has a bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted. It can also be used to add color and zest to salads.
* Sugarloaf looks rather like cos lettuce, with tightly packed leaves.

* Belgian endive is also known as French endive, witlof in the Netherlands, witlo(o)f in the USA, chicory in the UK, as witlof in Australia, endive in France, and chicon in parts of Northern France and in Wallonia. It has a small head of cream-colored, bitter leaves. It is grown completely underground or indoors in the absence of sunlight in order to prevent the leaves from turning green and opening up (etiolation). The plant has to be kept just below the soil surface as it grows; only showing the very tip of the leaves. It is often sold wrapped in blue paper to protect it from light and so preserve its pale color and delicate flavor. The smooth, creamy white leaves may be served stuffed, baked, boiled, cut and cooked in a milk sauce, or simply cut raw. Slightly bitter, the whiter the leaf, the less bitter the taste. The harder inner part of the stem, at the bottom of the head, should be cut out before cooking to prevent bitterness. Root chicory (Cichorium intybus var. sativum) has been in cultivation in Europe as a coffee substitute. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive, especially in the Mediterranean region (where the plant is native), although its use as a coffee additive is also very popular in India, parts of Southeast Asia and the American South, particularly in New Orleans.

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Chile Pepper

(chilli pepper, chilli, chillie, chili, and chile)

Capsicum annuum
Capsicum frutescens
Capsicum chinense
Capsicum pubescens
Capsicum baccatum

Capsicum annuum; includes many common varieties such as bell peppers, paprika, cayenne, jalapeños, and the chiltepin.
Capsicum frutescens; includes the tabasco and Thai peppers.
Capsicum chinense; includes the hottest peppers such as the naga, habanero, Datil and Scotch bonnet.
Capsicum pubescens; includes the South American rocoto peppers.
Capsicum baccatum; includes the South American aji peppers.

Chili pepper (also known as, or spelled, chilli pepper, chilli, chillie, chili, and chile) is the fruit of the plants from the genus Capsicum and members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Botanically speaking, the fruit of capsicums are berries. Depending on flavor intensity and fleshiness, their culinary use varies from use as a vegetable (eg. bell pepper) to use as a spice (eg. cayenne pepper). It is the fruit that is harvested.

Chili peppers originated in the Americas; and their cultivars are now grown around the world, because they are widely used as food and as medicine.

The chili has a long association with and is extensively used in Mexican and certain South American cuisines, and later adapted into the emerging Tex-Mex cuisine. Although unknown in Africa and Asia until its introduction from the New World by the Europeans, the chili pepper has since become an essential pillar of the cuisines of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Southwest China (including Sichuan cuisine), Sri Lanka, Thailand, West Africa and many other cooking traditions.

The fruit is eaten raw or cooked for its fiery hot flavor, concentrated along the top of the pod. The stem end of the pod has most of the glands that produce the capsaicin and the white flesh surrounding the seeds contains the highest concentration of capsaicin. Removing the inner membranes is thus effective at reducing the heat of a pod.

Chili is sold worldwide fresh, dried and powdered. In the United States, it is often made from the Mexican chile ancho variety, but with small amounts of cayenne added for heat. In the Southwest United States, dried ground chili peppers, cumin, garlic and oregano is often known as chili powder.

Chipotles are dry, smoked red (ripe) jalapeños.

Chili peppers are used around the world to make a countless variety of sauces, known as hot sauce, chile sauce, or pepper sauce. In Turkey, chilis are known as Kirmizi Biber (Red Pepper) or Aci Biber (Hot Pepper), and are used in the form of a red pepper paste (Biber Salçasi) which can be hot or mild. Harissa is a hot pepper sauce made of chili, garlic and flavored with spices, originating in Tunisia and widely used in its cuisine, both as a condiment and as seasoning. Harissa is also found in other North African cuisines, though it is often treated as a table condiment to be served on the side. Indian cooking has multiple uses for chilis, from simple snacks like bhaji where the chilis are dipped in batter and fried, to wonderfully complex curries. Chilis are dried, roasted and salted as a side dish for rice varieties such as dadhyodanam ("dadhi" curd, "odanam" rice in Sanskrit) or Thayir sadam (curd rice) or Daal Rice (rice with lentils). The soaked and dried chillies are a seasoning ingredient in recipes such as kootu. It is called "mirapa" in telugu.

Sambal is a versatile relish made from chili peppers as well as other ingredients such as garlic, onion, shallots, salt, vinegar and sugar, which is popular in Indonesia and Malaysia, and also in Sri Lanka (called "sambol") and South Africa, where they were introduced by Malay migrant workers who arrived in the 19th century. It can be used as a dipping sauce, as an ingredient in recipes and even as a dressing for cold dishes (or "salads").

Chili pepper plant leaves, mildly bitter but not nearly as hot as the fruits that come from the same plant, are cooked as greens in Filipino cuisine, where they are called dahon ng sili (literally "chili leaves"). They are used in the chicken soup, tinola. In Korean cuisine, the leaves may be used in kimchi. In Japanese cuisine, the leaves are cooked as greens, and also cooked in tsukudani style for preservation. In Italian cuisine crushed red pepper flakes are a common ingredient on pizza among other things. It is also commonly used in Turkey as a garnish, called Biber Dövme.

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Chili Powder

Capsicum annuum,(most common)

Chili powder is a generic name for any powdered spice mix composed chiefly of chili peppers, most commonly either red peppers or cayenne peppers, which are both of the species Capsicum annuum.

Chili powder can be made from virtually any hot pepper including ancho, Cayenne, Jalapeño, New Mexico, and pasilla chilis. The spice mix may simply be pure powdered chilis, or it may have other additives, especially cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and salt. Some mixes may even include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, mace, nutmeg, or turmeric. As a result of the various different potential additives, the spiciness of any given chili powder is incredibly variable. As a rule, the purer the chili powder is, the spicier it is.

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Chives

Allium schoenoprasum

Chives are grown for their leaves, which are used for culinary purposes as flavoring herb, and provide a somewhat milder flavor than those of its neighboring Allium species.

Chives can be found fresh at most markets year-round, making it a readily available herb; it can also be dry-frozen without much impairment to its taste, giving home growers the opportunity to store large quantities harvested from their own garden.

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Cilantro

(see Coriander)

Coriandrum sativum

All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are commonly used in cooking. Coriander is common in Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Texan, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian cuisine.

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Cinchona

Cinchona

Cinchona is a genus of about 25 species in the family Rubiaceae, native to tropical South America. They are large shrubs or small trees growing to 5-15 meters tall with evergreen foliage. The name of the genus is due to Carolus "Carl" Linnaeus, who named the tree in 1742 after a Countess of Chinchon, the wife of a viceroy of Peru, who, in 1638, was introduced by natives to the medicinal properties of the bark. Stories of the medicinal properties of this bark, however, are perhaps noted in journals as far back as the 1560s-1570s.

The bark of trees in this genus is the source of a variety of alkaloids, the most familiar of which is quinine, an anti-fever agent especially useful in treating malaria. The medicinally active bark, which is stripped from the tree, dried and powdered, includes other alkaloids that are closely related to quinine but react differently in treating malaria. As a medicinal herb, cinchona bark is also known as Jesuit's bark or Peruvian bark.

Cinchona has been used for a number of medical reasons such as:
• Treats malaria
• Kills parasites
• Reduces fever
• Regulates heartbeat
• Calms nerves
• Stimulates digestion
• Kills germs
• Reduces spasms
• Kills insects
• Relieves pain
• Kills bacteria and fungi
• Dries secretions

Its main use is to treat malaria, but it is rarely used today as many people think it is dangerous, as it can kill if taken in large amounts.

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Cinnamon

(Cassia)

Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is a tree belonging to the Lauraceae family. The bark of the tree is what is used as a spice. Cinnamon bark is widely used as a spice. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavoring material. It is used in the preparation of chocolate, especially in Mexico, which is the main importer of true cinnamon. True cinnamon, or Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon).

Cassia (a related spice) called "Indonesian cinnamon" or "Chinese cinnamon" , is sometimes sold as cinnamon and most of the powdered cinnamon sold in the United States is actually cassia. Cassia, it is not "true cinnamon" but it is much harder to find true Ceylon cinnamon.

Healthy Benefits

Cinnamon has many health benefits. It has shown promise in the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, memory function, and even leukemia and lymphoma.

Studies have shown that cinnamon can lower LDL cholesterol and some studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
Cinnamon Decreases Blood Sugar: When your blood sugar is constantly spiking from the foods that you are eating, you will be more likely to gain weight or have a hard time losing extra weight that is already present. Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is an essential element of weight loss.

Although there are many benefits associated with cinnamon, it is important to know some people can have or even develop allergies to cinnamon. Because many products contain cassia and not true cinnamon, it may be difficult to figure out which one you are allergic to. Most "cinnamon" on grocery store shelves is actually cassia. If you have an unidentified allergy that occurs when you eat foods that contain generic "spices" or cinnamon, you might want to investigate the possibility of a cinnamon allergy.

(See: Cassia)

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Cinnamon Myrtle

Backhousia myrtifolia

This small rainforest tree species grows in subtropical rainforests of Eastern Australia. B. myrtifolia is also known as carrol, carrol ironwood, neverbreak, and grey myrtle.

B.myrtifolia can grow up to 30 meters. The leaves are ovate or elliptic, 4-7 cm long, with a cinnamon-like odor. Flowers are star-shaped and borne in panicles. The small papery fruit are bell-shaped.

The name 'cinnamon myrtle' was originally coined in the late 1980s to identify the elemicin essential oil variant as being especially suitable for flavoring. However, the name 'cinnamon myrtle' is now used to describe the species in general.

Cinnamon myrtle is part of a group of related Myrtaceae family members that were popularized as spices in Australian bushfood cuisine in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This group of plants also includes lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) and aniseed myrtle (Syzygium anisatum).

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Clary

(Clary Sage)

Salvia sclarea

Salvia sclarea, clary, or clary sage, is a biennial herb in the genus Salvia which is native throughout Europe and east and central Asia, but which was historically mostly found in southern France, Italy, Switzerland, and Syria.

The distilled essential oil is occasionally found in specialty stores and scent shops. This odor is sometimes described as "sweaty", spicy, or "hay-like".

Clary seeds have a mucilaginous coat, which is why some old herbals recommended placing a seed into the eye of someone with a foreign object in it so that it could adhere to the object and make it easy to remove. The leaves have also been used as a vegetable.

In ales, clary was used as a flavoring before the use of hops became common. Additionally it has been used to flavor wine, notably muscatel, and some tobacco products.

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Cleavers

Galium aparine

Galium aparine is edible. The numerous small hooks which cover the plant and give it its clinging nature make it unfit to be eaten raw. When dried and roasted, the fruits of this plant can be used to make a coffee-like drink. The plant can also be made into a tea. However boiled as a leaf vegetable before the fruits appear it makes tolerable eating.

The plant was traditionally used to treat skin diseases. It is a diuretic and vulnerary. Herbalists use it to lower blood pressure and body temperature, as well as for cystitis. The whole plant is considered rich in vitamin C. Its roots produce a red dye, and the tea has been used as an anti-perspirant (by the Chinese), and as a relief for head colds (home remedy), restlessness, and sunburns. As a pulp, it has been used to relieve poisonous bites.

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Clover

Trifolium

Clover (Trifolium), or trefoil, is a genus of about 300 species of plants in the pea family Fabaceae. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution; the highest diversity is found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The scientific name derives from the Latin tres, "three", and folium, "leaf", so called from the characteristic form of the leaf, which has three leaflets (trifoliate); hence the popular name trefoil. The most widely cultivated clovers are White clover Trifolium repens and Red clover Trifolium pratense.

Clover, either sown alone or in mixture with ryegrass, has for a long time formed a staple crop for soiling, for several reasons: it grows freely, shooting up again after repeated mowing; it produces an abundant crop; it is palatable to and nutritious for livestock; it fixes nitrogen, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. Clovers are a valuable survival food, as they are high in protein, widespread, and abundant. They are not easy to digest raw, but this can be easily fixed by juicing them or boiling them for 5-10 minutes. Dried flower heads and seedpods can also be ground up into nutritious flour and mixed with other foods. Dried flower heads can also be steeped in hot water for a healthful, tasty tea.

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Cloves

Syzygium aromaticum

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata) are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to Indonesia and India and used as a spice in cuisine all over the world. The English name derives from Latin clavus 'nail' (also origin of French clou 'nail') as the buds vaguely resemble small irregular nails in shape.

Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong, they are used sparingly. The spice is used throughout Europe and Asia and is smoked in a type of cigarettes locally known as kretek in Indonesia. A major brand of kreteks in the United States is Djarum, which sells Djarum Black. Cloves are also an important incense material in Chinese and Japanese culture.

Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian) as well as Mexican cuisine (best known as "clavos de olor"), where it is often paired together with cumin and cinnamon.

In north Indian cuisine, it is used in almost all dishes, along with other spices. It is also a key ingredient in tea along with green cardamom. In south Indian cuisine, it is used extensively in biryani along with "cloves dish" (similar to pilaf, but with the addition of other spices), and it is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavor of the rice. In Vietnamese cuisine, cloves are often used to season pho broth.

Due to the Indonesian influence the use of cloves is widespread in the Netherlands. Cloves are used in cheeses, often in combination with cumin. Cloves are an essential ingredient for making Dutch speculaas. Furthermore cloves are used in traditional Dutch stews like hachee.

Its essence is commonly used in the production of many perfumes. During Christmas, it is a tradition in some European countries to make a pomander from cloves and oranges to hang around the house. This spreads a nice scent throughout the house and the oranges themselves act as Christmas decorations.

Cloves are used in Ayurveda called Lavang in India, Chinese medicine and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems.

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Coffee

Coffea Canephora, Coffea Arabica

Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from roasted seeds, commonly called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. Due to its caffeine content, coffee can have a stimulating effect in humans. Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide.

It is supposed that the Ethiopians, the ancestors of today's Galla tribe, were the first to have discovered and recognized the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant

The two main cultivated species of the coffee plant are Coffea canephora and Coffea arabica. Arabica coffee (from C. arabica) is considered more suitable for drinking than robusta coffee (from C. canephora); robusta tends to be bitter and have less flavor but better body than arabica. Robusta coffee also contains about 40-50% more caffeine than arabica. For this reason, it is used as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in many commercial coffee blends. Good quality robustas are used in some espresso blends to provide a better foam head, a full-bodied result, and to lower the ingredient cost.

Originally, coffee farming was done in the shade of trees, which provided habitat for many animals and insects. This method is commonly referred to as the traditional shaded method or "shade-grown". Many farmers have decided to switch their production method to sun cultivation, a method in which coffee is grown in rows under full sun with little or no forest canopy. This causes berries to ripen more rapidly and bushes to produce higher yields, but requires the clearing of trees and increased use of fertilizer and pesticides. When compared to the sun cultivation method, traditional coffee production causes berries to ripen more slowly and produce lower yields, but the quality of the coffee is allegedly superior.

Coffee berries and their seeds undergo several processes before they become the familiar roasted coffee.
First, coffee berries are picked, generally by hand. Then they are sorted by ripeness and color and the flesh of the berry is removed, usually by machine, and the seeds-usually called beans-are fermented to remove the slimy layer of mucilage still present on the bean. When the fermentation is finished, the beans are washed with large quantities of fresh water to remove the fermentation residue, which generates massive amounts of highly polluted coffee wastewater.
Finally, the seeds are dried.

Depending on the color of the roasted beans as perceived by the human eye, they will be labeled as light, medium light, medium, medium dark, dark, or very dark. Darker roasts are generally smoother, because they have less fiber content and a more sugary flavor. Lighter roasts have more caffeine, resulting in a slight bitterness, and a stronger flavor from aromatic oils and acids otherwise destroyed by longer roasting times. Once roasted, coffee beans must be stored properly to preserve the fresh taste of the bean. Ideally, the container must be airtight and kept cool. In order of importance, air, moisture, heat, and light are the environmental factors responsible for deteriorating flavor in coffee beans. Folded-over bags, a common way consumers often purchase coffee, are generally not ideal for long-term storage because they allow air to enter. A better package contains a one-way valve, which prevents air from entering.

The type of grind is often named after the brewing method for which it is generally used. Turkish grind is the finest grind, while coffee percolator or French press are the coarsest grinds. The most common grinds are between the extremes; a medium grind is used in most common home coffee brewing machines.

A number of products are sold for the convenience of consumers who do not want to prepare their own coffee. Instant coffee is dried into soluble powder or freeze-dried into granules that can be quickly dissolved in hot water. Canned coffee has been popular in Asian countries for many years, particularly in China, Japan, and South Korea. Vending machines typically sell varieties of flavored canned coffee, much like brewed or percolated coffee, available both hot and cold.

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Coltsfoot

Tussilago farfara

It has been used medicinally as a cough suppressant. The name "tussilago" itself means "cough suppressant." The plant has been used historically to treat lung ailments such as asthma as well as various coughs by way of smoking. Crushed flowers supposedly cured skin conditions, and the plant has been consumed as a food product.

Dried coltsfoot is often used as a tobacco alternative, notably in Amsterdam, since the legal status of tobacco was tightened in August 2008.

Coltsfoot has also become a popular confectionery product made by using Coltsfoot essence to create a hardened rock that is used to soothe sore throats and chesty coughs; the recipe has been developed exclusively by Stockley's Sweets of Oswaldtwistle, UK and has become a favorite medicinal sweet around the globe known simply as Coltsfoot rock.

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Comfrey

Symphytum officinale L.

Comfrey (also comphrey) is an important herb in organic gardening, having many medicinal and fertilizer uses. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) is a perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bears small bell-shaped white, cream, purple or pink flowers. It is native to Europe, growing in damp, grassy places, and is widespread throughout the British Isles on river banks and ditches. Contemporary herbalists view comfrey as an ambivalent and controversial herb that may offer therapeutic benefits but can cause liver toxicity.

One of the country names for comfrey was 'knitbone', a reminder of its traditional use in healing. Modern science confirms that comfrey can influence the course of bone ailments. The herb contains allantoin, a cell proliferant that speeds up the natural replacement of body cells. Comfrey was used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from bronchial problems, broken bones, sprains, arthritis, gastric and varicose ulcers, severe burns, acne and other skin conditions. It was reputed to have bone and teeth building properties in children, and have value in treating 'many female disorders'.

There are various ways in which comfrey can be utilized as a fertilizer, these include:
* Comfrey for potatoes - freshly cut comfrey should be wilted for a day or two, then laid along potato trenches about 2 inches deep. Avoid using flowering stems as these can root. The leaves will rapidly break down and supply potassium rich fertilizer for the developing potato plants.
* Comfrey as a compost activator - include comfrey in the compost heap to add nitrogen and help to heat the heap. Comfrey should not be added in quantity as it will quickly break down into a dark sludgey liquid that needs to be balanced with more fibrous, carbon rich material.
* Comfrey liquid fertilizer- can be produced by either rotting leaves down in rainwater for 4-5 weeks to produce a ready to use 'comfrey tea', or by stacking dry leaves under a weight in a container with a hole in the base. When the leaves decompose a thick black comfrey concentrate is collected. This must be diluted at 15:1 before use.
* Comfrey as a mulch- a 2 inch layer of comfrey leaves placed around a crop will slowly break down and release plant nutrients. it is especially useful for crops that need extra potassium, such as tomatoes, and also fruit bushes like gooseberries and currants.
* Comfrey potting mixture- originally devised using peat, environmental awareness has led to a leaf mold-based alternative being adopted instead. Two year old, well decayed leaf mold should be used; this will absorb the nutrient-rich liquid released by the decaying comfrey.
* In a black plastic sack alternate 3-4 inch layers of leaf mould and chopped comfrey leaves. Add a little dolomitic limestone to slightly raise pH. Leave for between 2-5 months depending on the season, checking that it does not dry out or become too wet. The mixture is ready when the comfrey leaves have rotted and are no longer visible. Use as a general potting compost, although it is too strong for seedlings.

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Common Rue

Ruta graveolens

The Common Rue (Ruta graveolens), also known as Herb-of-grace, is a species of rue grown as an herb. It is native to southern Europe. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, especially because of its bluish leaves, and also sometimes for its tolerance of hot and dry soil conditions. It also is grown as both a medicinal herb and as a condiment.

In European folk medicine, rue is said to relieve gas pains and colic, improve appetite and digestion, and promote the onset of menstruation and uteral contractions. Rue can also be made into an ointment for external use against gout, arthritis, rheumatism and neuralgia.

Rue does have a culinary use if used sparingly, however it is incredibly bitter and severe gastric discomfort may be experienced by some individuals. Although used more extensively in former times it is not a herb that typically suits modern tastes, and thus its use declined considerably over the course of the 20th century to the extent that it is today largely unknown to the general public and most chefs, and unavailable in grocery stores.

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Condurango

Gonolobus condurango

Gonolobus condurango, commonly known as Cundurango or Condurango, is the bark of a South American vine of the milkweed family. It has been supposed, but erroneously, to be a cure for cancer.

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Coptis

Coptis teeta

Coptis (Goldthread or Canker Root) is a genus of between 10-15 species of flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native to Asia and North America.

Coptis teeta is used as a medicinal herb in the Himalayan regions of India, used as a bitter tonic for dyspepsia. It is also known to help insomnia in Chinese herbology. Made into a paste, salve, powder, or infusion, it is said to improve digestion, restore appetite, and relieve inflammation of the stomach. It is also employed to assist the treatment of alcoholism. The roots contain the bitter alkaloid berberine. Coptis has a long history of use in treating cold sores, hence its other common name.

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Coriander

Coriandrum sativum

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is also known as cilantro, particularly in the Americas. Coriander is native to southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia.

All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are commonly used in cooking. Coriander is common in Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, South Asian, Mexican, Texan, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian cuisine.

Coriander seeds are used in brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgian wheat beers. The coriander seeds are used with orange peel to add a citrus character. The leaves have a different taste from the seeds, with citrus overtones. Some perceive an unpleasant "soapy" taste or a rank smell and avoid the leaves. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many South Asian foods (particularly chutneys), in Chinese dishes and in Mexican salsas and guacamole. Chopped coriander leaves are a garnish on cooked dishes such as dal and curries. As heat diminishes their flavor quickly, coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish right before serving.

In Indian and Central Asian recipes, coriander leaves are used in large amounts and cooked until the flavor diminishes. Coriander leaves were formerly common in European cuisine. Today western Europeans usually eat coriander leaves only in dishes that originated in foreign cuisines, except in Portugal, where they are still an ingredient in traditional dishes. The dry fruits are known as coriander seeds or coriandi seeds.

The word coriander in food preparation may refer solely to these seeds (as a spice), rather than to the plant itself. The seeds have a lemony citrus flavor when crushed. It is described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavored. It is commonly found both as whole dried seeds and in ground form. Seeds can be roasted or heated on a dry pan briefly before grinding to enhance and alter the aroma. Ground coriander seed loses flavor quickly in storage and is best ground fresh. Coriander roots have a deeper, more intense flavor than the leaves. They are used in a variety of Asian cuisines. They are commonly used in Thai dishes, including soups and curry pastes.

Coriander has been used as a folk medicine for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine. Experiments in mice support its use as an anxiolytic. Coriander seeds are used in traditional Indian medicine as a diuretic by boiling equal amounts of coriander seeds and cumin seeds, then cooling and consuming the resulting liquid. In holistic and traditional medicine, it is used as a carminative and as a digestive aid. Coriander juice (mixed with turmeric powder or mint juice) is used as a treatment for acne, applied to the face in the manner of toner.

Coriander can produce an allergic reaction in some people.

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Costmary

Tanacetum balsamita

Tanacetum balsamita is a perennial temperate herb known as Costmary, Alecost, Balsam herb, Bible leaf, or Mint geranium. It has been grown for many centuries for its pleasant, slightly medicinal or balsamic smell. It was used in medieval times as a place marker in bibles.

Leaves of the plant have been found to contain a range of essential oils.

Nicholas Culpeper says of Costmary:
"It is under the dominion of Jupiter. The ordinary costmary, as well as maudlin, provokes urine abundantly, and softens the hardness of the mother; it gently purges choler and phlegm, extenuating that which is gross, and cutting that which is tough and glutinous, cleanses that which is foul, and prevents putrefaction; it opens obstructions and relieves their bad effects, and it is beneficial in all sorts of dry agues. It is astringent to the stomach, and strengthened the livers other viscera : and taken in whey, works more effectively. Taken fasting in the morning, it relieves chronic pains in the head, and to stay, dry up, and consume all their rheums or distillations from the head into the stomach, a much to digest raw humors gathered therein, It is profitable for those that are fallen into a continual evil disposition of the body, called cachexy, especially in beginning of the disease. It is good for weak and cold livers. The seed is given to children for worms, and so is the infusion of flowers in white wine, about two ounces at a time. It makes an excellent salve to heal old ulcers, being boiled with oil of olive, and adder's tongue with it; and after is strained, put in a little wax, rosin, and turpentine to make it as thick as required."

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Couchgrass

Elytrigia repens

Elytrigia repens (Couch Grass;) is a very common species of grass native to most of Europe, Asia, and northwest Africa. Other names include twitch, quick grass, quitch grass, dog grass, and quackgrass. Couch Grass has become naturalised throughout much of the world, and often listed as an invasive weed.

The dried rhizomes of couch grass were broken up and used as incense in mediaeval Northern Europe where other resin-based types of incense were unavailable.

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Cow Parsley

9Wild Chervil, Wild Beaked Parsley, Keck)

Anthriscus sylvestris

Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris), also known as Wild Chervil, Wild Beaked Parsley, and Keck, is a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant in the family Apiaceae, genus Anthriscus. It is native to Europe, western Asia and northwestern Africa. Cow Parsley grows in sunny to semi-shaded locations in meadows and at the edges of hedgerows and woodland. It is a particularly common sight by the roadside. It is sufficiently common and fast-growing to be considered a nuisance weed in gardens. The state of Vermont has listed cow parsley on its "Watch List" of invasive species while Massachusetts and Washington have banned the sale of the plant.

Cow Parsley is considered to be edible, though having a somewhat unpleasant flavor, sharper than Garden Chervil, with a hint of Carrot.

Cow Parsley is rumored to be a natural mosquito repellent when applied directly to the skin.

Cow parsley can be confused with giant hogweed, the sap of which can cause severe burns after coming in contact with the skin.

"Warning: Cow Parsley can be mistaken for the similar-looking Poison hemlock and Fool's parsley. Do not rely on My Spice Blends.com alone when identifying plants for consumption."

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Cowslip

Primula veris syn. Primula officinalis

Primula veris (Cowslip); is a flowering plant in the genus Primula. The species is native throughout most of temperate Europe and Asia, and although absent from more northerly areas including much of northwest Scotland. It is used medicinally as a diuretic, an expectorant, and an antispasmodic, as well as for the treatment of headaches, whooping cough, tremors, and other conditions. However it can have irritant effects in people who are allergic to it. Cowslips were made into wine, and to flavor conventional wines.

Cowslip leaves have been traditionally used in Spanish cooking as a salad green. Uses in English cookery includes using the flowers to flavor country wine and vinegars; sugared to be a sweet or eaten as part of a composed salad while the juice of the cowslip is used to prepare tansy for frying. The close cousin of the cowslip, the primrose (P. vulgaris), has often been confused with the cowslip and its uses in cuisine are similar with the addition of its flowers being used as a coloring agent in desserts.

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Cramp Bark

(European Cranberrybush)

Viburnum opulus

Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose, Water Elder, European Cranberrybush, Cramp Bark, and Snowball Tree) is a species of Viburnum, native to Europe and Asia. Some botanists also treat the closely related North American species Viburnum trilobum as a variety of it. It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant for its flowers and berries, growing best on moist, moderately alkaline soils, though tolerating most soil types well. The shrub is also cultivated as a component of hedgerows, cover plantings, and as part of other naturalistic plantings in its native regions. It is naturalised in North America, where it has been misleadingly re-named as "European Cranberrybush" (it is not a cranberry).

The fruit is edible in small quantities, with a very acidic taste; it can be used to make jelly. It is however very mildly toxic, and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if eaten in large amounts.

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Cress

<2>(Watercress, Garden cress)

Lepidium sativum

Cress may refer to: Plants
* Garden cress, a leafy vegetable
* Land cress, a biennial herb
* Peppercress, a mustard
* Rock cress, a brassicale
* Thale cress, a spring annual
* Watercress, a perennial
* Winter cress, a flowering plant

Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is a fast-growing, edible herb that is botanically related to watercress and mustard, sharing their peppery, tangy flavor and aroma. In some regions, garden cress is known as garden pepper cress, pepper grass, pepperwort or "poor man's pepper". Lepidium is a genus of plants in the mustard family Brassicaceae. It includes about 175 species found worldwide, including cress and pepperweed; additional common names include peppercress, peppergrass, and pepperwort. Some species form tumbleweeds.

Arabidopsis thaliana (A-ra-bi-dóp-sis tha-li-á-na; thale cress, mouse-ear cress or Arabidopsis), is a small flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa.

Arabidopsis is popular as a model organism in plant biology and genetics. Its genome is one of the smallest plant genomes and was the first plant genome to be sequenced. Arabidopsis is a popular tool for understanding the molecular biology of many plant traits, including flower development and light sensing.

Watercresses (Nasturtium officinale, N. microphyllum; are fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plants native from Europe to central Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings. These plants are members of the Family Brassicaceae or cabbage family, botanically related to garden cress and mustard - all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavor.

Watercress is one of the main ingredients in V8 Vegetable Juice. Watercress is often used in sandwiches, such as those made for afternoon tea. However (in the UK at least), the packaging used by supermarkets using sealed plastic bags under some internal pressure (a plastic envelope containing moisture and pressurized (inflated) to prevent crushing of contents) has allowed the distribution of watercress. This has allowed national availability with a once purchased storage life of 1 - 2 days in chilled/refrigerated storage. They grow quickly into dandelion-like rosettes of edible, cress-like foliage. B. verna, also known as Upland Cress, Early Winter Cress, American Cress, Belle Isle Cress and Scurvy Grass, is used in salads or to add a nippy taste to mixed greens for cooking.

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Cuban Oregano

(Spanish thyme, Indian Borage)

Plectranthus amboinicus

Plectranthus amboinicus (Cuban oregano, Spanish thyme, Orégano Brujo (Puerto Rico), Indian Borage, Mexican thyme, or Mexican mint; syn. Coleus amboinicus Lour., Coleus aromaticus Benth.) is a tender fleshy with an oregano-like flavor and odor, native to South and East Africa, but widely cultivated and naturalised in the Old and New World Tropics. The leaves are strongly flavored and make an excellent addition to stuffing's for meat and poultry. Finely chopped, they can also be used to flavor meat dishes, especially beef, lamb and game.

The leaves have also had many traditional medicinal uses, especially for the treatment of coughs, sore throats and nasal congestion, but also for a range of other problems such as infections, rheumatism and flatulence. In Indonesia Plectranthus amboinicus is a traditional food used in soup to stimulate lactation for the month or so following childbirth. The herb is also used as a substitute for oregano in the food trade and food labeled "oregano-flavored" may well contain this herb.

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Cubeb pepper

Piper cubeba

Cubeb is mentioned in alchemical writings by its Arabic name. In his Theatrum Botanicum, John Parkinson tells that the king of Portugal prohibited the sale of cubeb in order to promote black pepper (Piper nigrum) around 1640. It experienced a brief resurgence in 19th-century Europe for medicinal uses, but has practically vanished from the European market since. It continues to be used as a flavoring agent for gins and cigarettes in the West, and as a seasoning for food in Indonesia.

In India, Sanskrit texts included cubeb in various remedies. Charaka and Sushruta prescribed a cubeb paste as a mouthwash, and the use of dried cubebs internally for oral and dental diseases, loss of voice, halitosis, fevers, and cough. Unani physicians use a paste of the cubeb berries externally on male and female genitals to intensify sexual pleasure during coitus. Due to this attributed property, cubeb was called "Habb-ul-Uruus".

In traditional Chinese medicine cubeb is used for its alleged warming property. In Tibetan medicine, cubeb (ka ko la in Tibetan) is one of bzang po drug, six fine herbs beneficial to specific organs in the body, with cubeb assigned to the spleen.

The modern use of cubeb in England as a drug dates from 1815. There were various preparations, including oleum cubebae (oil of cubeb), tinctures, fluid extracts, oleo-resin compounds, and vapors, which were used for throat complaints. A small percentage of cubeb was commonly included in lozenges designed to alleviate bronchitis, in which the antiseptic and expectoral properties of the drug are useful.

In Europe, cubeb was one of the valuable spices during the Middle Ages. It was ground as a seasoning for meat or used in sauces. A medieval recipe includes cubeb in making sauce sarcenes, which consists of almond milk and several spices. As an aromatic confectionery, cubeb was often candied and eaten whole.

Cubeb reached Africa by way of the Arabs. In Moroccan cuisine, cubeb is used in savory dishes and in pastries like markouts, little diamonds of semolina with honey and dates. It also appears occasionally in the list of ingredients for the famed spice mixture Ras el hanout. In Indonesian cuisine, especially in Indonesian gulés (curries), cubeb is frequently used. Ocet Kubebowy, vinegar infused with cubeb, cumin and garlic, was used for meat marinades in Poland during the 14th century. Cubeb can still be used to enhance the flavor of savory soups.

Cubeb was frequently used in the form of cigarettes for asthma, chronic pharyngitis and hay fever. Edgar Rice Burroughs, being fond of smoking cubeb cigarettes, humorously stated that if he had not smoked so many cubebs, there might never have been Tarzan. "Marshall's Prepared Cubeb Cigarettes" was a popular brand, with enough sales to still be made during World War II. Occasionally, marijuana users claimed that smoking marijuana is no more harmful than smoking cubeb.

Bombay Sapphire gin is flavored with botanicals including cubeb and grains of paradise. The brand was launched in 1987, . but its maker claims that it is based on a secret recipe dating to 1761.
Pertsovka, a dark brown Russian pepper vodka with a burning taste, is prepared from infusion of cubeb and capsicum peppers.

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Cudweed

Gnaphalium affine, Helichrysum italicum

Gnaphalium is a genus of plants commonly called cudweeds belonging to the family Asteraceae. There are about 120 members of the genus mostly found in temperate regions although some are found on tropical mountains or in the sub-tropical regions of the world. Cudweeds are important foodplants for American Painted Lady caterpillars. Gnaphalium affine D. Don, also known as Jersey Cudweed, is a species of plants belonging to the genus Gnaphalium. The species grows extensively in East Asia including temperate regions of China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan as well as some high altitude tropical regions of India, Nepal, and Thailand. In Vietnam, it is named rau khúc. This is an annual or biennial herb growing a branching stem reaching 20 to 80 centimeters in height. Several species are grown as ornamental plants, and for dried flowers. When cut young and dried, the open flowers and stalks preserve their color and shape for long periods. Helichrysum augustifolium is steam distilled to produce a yellow-reddish essential oil popular in fragrance for its unique scent, best described as a mixture of burnt sugar and ham. The genus Helichrysum (pronounced hel-i-CRY-sum, or hee-li-CRY-sum) consists of an estimated 600 species, in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The type species is Helichrysum orientale. The name is derived from the Greek words helisso (to turn around) and chrysos (gold). Common names include strawflower and everlasting. Helichrysum italicum or "Helichrysum angustifolium" is a flowering plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. It is sometimes called the curry plant because of the strong smell of its leaves. It grows on dry, rocky or sandy ground around the Mediterranean.

The plant produces an oil from its blossoms which is used for medicinal purposes. It is anti-inflammatory, fungicidal, and astringent. It soothes burns and raw chapped skin. It is used as a fixative in perfumes, and has an intense fragrance.

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Culantro

Eryngium foetidum

Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial and annual h E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning and marinating in the Caribbean. It is also used extensively in Thailand, India, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia as a culinary herb. This variety of coriander dries well, retaining good color and flavor, making it valuable in the dried herb industry. It is sometimes used as a substitute for cilantro, but it has a much stronger taste.

Medicinally, the leaves and roots are used in tea to stimulate appetite, improve digestion, combat colic, soothe stomach pains, and eliminate gas. A decoction of the leaves has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects erb in the family Apiaceae.

It is native to Mexico and South America but is cultivated worldwide. In the United States, where it is not well known, the name culantro sometimes causes confusion with Coriandrum sativum (also in Apiaceae), the leaves of which are known as cilantro, and which culantro is even said to taste like. Eryngium foetidum is also known as culantro; culantro coyote (Costa Rica); long, wild, or Mexican coriander; fitweed; spiritweed; sawtooth or saw-leaf herb; cilantro cimarron; chardon benit (French chardon béni); shado, shadon, or shadow beni (English-speaking Caribbean); recao (Puerto Rico); sachaculantro (Peru); bhandhanya (Hindi); donnia; ngò gai (Vietnam); and (phak chi farang) (Thailand). E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning and marinating in the Caribbean. It is also used extensively in Thailand, India, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia as a culinary herb. This variety of coriander dries well, retaining good color and flavor, making it valuable in the dried herb industry. It is sometimes used as a substitute for cilantro, but it has a much stronger taste.

Medicinally, the leaves and roots are used in tea to stimulate appetite, improve digestion, combat colic, soothe stomach pains, and eliminate gas. A decoction of the leaves has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

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Cumin

Cuminum cyminum

Cumin is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to East India. The English "cumin" derives from the French "cumin". Cumin seeds have been found in some ancient Syrian archeological sites. A folk etymology connects the word with the Persian city Kerman where, the story goes, most of ancient Persia's cumin was produced. For the Persians the expression "carrying cumin to Kerman" has the same meaning as the English language phrase "carrying coals to Newcastle". Cumin is called kemun in Ethiopian, and is one of the ingredients in the spice mix berbere.

Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. Cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in colour, like other members of the Umbelliferae family such as caraway, parsley and dill. Cumin has been in use since ancient times. Cumin is also said to help in treatment of the common cold, when added to hot milk and consumed.

In South Asia, cumin tea (dry seeds boiled in hot water) is used to distinguish false labor (due to gas) from real labor. In Sri Lanka, toasting cumin seeds and then boiling them in water makes a tea used to soothe acute stomach problems.

Today, cumin is the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper. Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma. It is also commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Cumin can be an ingredient in (often Texan or Mexican-style) Chili powder, and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat. Cumin can be used to season many dishes, either ground or as whole seeds, as it draws out their natural sweetnesses. It is traditionally added to chili, enchiladas, tacos, curries, and other Middle-Eastern, Indian, Cuban and Mexican-style foods. Cumin has also been used on meat in addition to other common seasonings. The spice is a familiar taste in Tex-Mex dishes and is extensively used in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent.

Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. Cumin is typically used in Mediterranean cooking from Spanish, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking making it a staple in certain stews and soups as well.

In herbal medicine, cumin is classified as stimulant, carminative, and antimicrobial. Cumin seeds contain a relatively large percentage amount of iron. However, unless one would eat about 15 grams (1/2 oz) per day, cumin is not likely to be a significant dietary source of iron.

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Curry leaf

Murraya koenigii

For the "Curry Plant", see Helichrysum italicum or Sweet Neem leaf. The Curry Tree or Karivepallai or Kadipatta () (Murraya koenigii; syn. Bergera koenigii, Chalcas koenigii) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India. It produces the leaves known as Curry leaves or Sweet Neem leaves. The flowers are small white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous. The small and narrow leaves somewhat resemble the leaves of the Neem tree. The leaves are highly valued as seasoning in South Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves and especially in curries with fish or coconut milk. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life though they may be stored in a freezer for quite some time; however, this can result in a loss of their flavor. They are also available dried, though the aroma is much inferior. Their properties include much value as an antidiabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hypercholesterolemic etc.

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Curry Plant

Helichrysum italicum

Helichrysum italicum or "Helichrysum angustifolium" is a flowering plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. It is sometimes called the curry plant because of the strong smell of its leaves. It grows on dry, rocky or sandy ground around the Mediterranean. The clusters of yellow flowers are produced in Summer; they retain their colour after picking and are used in dried flower arrangements. The plant produces oil from its blossoms which is used for medicinal purposes. It is anti-inflammatory, fungicidal, and astringent. It soothes burns and raw chapped skin. It is used as a fixative in perfumes, and has an intense fragrance. It has been claimed on some gardening forums that the curry plant is as effective a cat deterrent as the "scaredy-cat" plant. Although called "curry plant" it has nothing whatsoever to do with the mixture of spices used in Indian cooking, nor with the curry tree (Murraya koenigii).

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Damiana

Turnera aphrodisiaca, T. diffusa

Damiana (Turnera diffusa, syn. Turnera aphrodisiaca) is a shrub native to Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. It belongs to the family Turneraceae.

Damiana is a relatively small shrub that produces small, aromatic flowers. It blossoms in early to late summer and is followed by fruits that taste similar to figs. The shrub is said to have an odor somewhat like chamomile, due to an oil present in the plant. The leaves have traditionally been made into a tea which was used by native people of Central and South America for its aphrodisiac effects. Spanish missionaries first recorded that the Mexican Indians drank Damiana tea mixed with sugar for its ability to enhance lovemaking.

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Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

Taraxacum officinale, commonly called Dandelion, is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae (Compositae). It can be found growing in temperate regions of the world, in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils. T. officinale is considered a weedy species, especially in lawns and along roadsides, but it is sometimes used as a medical herb and in food preparation.

As a nearly cosmopolitan weed, Dandelion is best known for its yellow flower heads that turn into round balls of silver tufted fruits that blow away on the wind.

Taraxacum officinale ssp. ceratophorum (Ledeb.) Schinz ex Thellung which is commonly called Common dandelion, fleshy dandelion, horned dandelion or rough dandelion. It is native to Canada and the western US. Taraxacum officinale has historically had many English common names including: blowball, lion's-tooth, cankerwort, milk-witch, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest's-crown and puff-ball; other common names include, faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, canker-wort, and swine's snout. Common Dandelion originated from Eurasia and now is naturalized throughout North America, southern Africa, South America, New Zealand, Australia, and India. It occurs in all 50 states of the USA and most Canadian provinces.

The greens are used in salads, the roots have been used to make a coffee like drink and the plant was used by Native Americans as a food and medicine. While the dandelion is considered a weed by most gardeners and lawn owners, the plant does have several culinary uses, and the specific name officinalis refers to its value as a medicinal herb. Dandelions are grown commercially on a small scale as a leaf vegetable. The leaves (called dandelion greens) can be eaten cooked or raw in various forms, such as in soup or salad. They are probably closest in character to mustard greens. Usually the young leaves and unopened buds are eaten raw in salads, while older leaves are cooked. Raw leaves have a slightly bitter taste. Dandelion salad is often accompanied with hard boiled eggs. Dandelion flowers can be used to make dandelion wine, for which there are many recipes. It has also been used in a saison ale called Pissenlit (literally "wet the bed" in French) made by Brasserie Fantôme in Belgium. Another recipe using the plant is dandelion flower jam. Ground roasted dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute.

Dandelion root is a registered drug in Canada, sold principally as a diuretic. A leaf decoction can be drunk to "purify the blood", for the treatment of anemia, jaundice, and also for nervousness. Drunk before meals, dandelion root coffee is claimed to stimulate digestive functions and function as a liver tonic.

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Demulcent

A demulcent (derived from the Latin demulcere, "caress") is an agent that forms a soothing film over a mucous membrane, relieving minor pain and inflammation of the membrane. Demulcents such as pectin, glycerin, honey and syrup are common ingredients in cough mixtures. These demulcents will coat the throat and relieve the irritation causing the cough. They can be used to treat any type of cough, but are particularly useful to treat dry coughs. Some demulcents may not be suitable for diabetics as they are based on sugar.

A number of herbs have demulcent properties. These herbs often have a high content of mucilage, and help soothe and protect irritated or inflamed internal tissues of the body. Common herbal demulcents include:
* Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
* Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
* Corn Silk (Zea mays)
* Couchgrass (Agropyrum repens)
* Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)
* Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus)
* Lungwort (Sticta pulmonaria)
* Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
* Mallow (Malva sylvestris)
* Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
* Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
* Oatmeal (Avena sativa)
* Parsley Piert (Aphanes arvensis)
* Plantain (Plantago major)
* Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva)

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Devil's Claw

Harpagophytum procumbens

*Harpagophytum species, native to Southern Africa -- clinical trials have supported its effectiveness as an herbal medicine Harpagophytum procumbens, also called grapple plant, wood spider and most commonly "Devil's Claw", is a plant of the sesame family, native to South Africa.

The plant's large tuberous roots are used medicinally to reduce pain and fever, and to stimulate digestion. European colonists brought Devil's Claw home where it was used to treat arthritis. Devil's claw can also be used externally to treat sores, ulcers, boils and skin lesions.

* Acacia greggii, a tree native to North America
Acacia greggii is a species of Acacia native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, from the extreme south of Utah (where, at 37°10' N it is the northernmost naturally-occurring Acacia species anywhere in the world) south through southern Nevada, southeast California, Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas to Baja California, Sinaloa and Nuevo León in Mexico. Common names include catclaw acacia, catclaw mesquite, "Gregg's catclaw, devil's claw, paradise flower, wait-a-minute tree, and wait-a-bit tree"; these names mostly come from the fact that the tree has numerous hooked thorns with the shape and size of a cat's claw, that tend to hook onto passers-by; the hooked person must stop ("wait a minute") to remove the thorns carefully to avoid injury or shredded clothing.

A. greggii beans were gathered and eaten by desert tribes of North America, including the Chemehuevi of the Southern Paiute, and stems were used in construction and tool making. Some sources also suggest that the plant was used as a laxative.

* Proboscidea species or Ibicella lutea, native to South America, also found in dry areas of North America

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Dill Seed

Dill, Dill Weed

Anethum graveolens

Although several twigs of dill were found in the tomb of Amenhotep II, they report that the earliest archeological evidence for its cultivation comes from late Neolithic lake shore settlements in Switzerland. Traces have been found in Roman ruins in Great Britain. To the Greeks the presence of dill was an indication of prosperity. In the 8th century, Charlemagne used it at banquets to relieve hiccups and in the Middle Ages it was used in a love potion and was believed to keep witches away.

The name dill is thought to have originated from a Norse or Anglo-Saxon word 'dylle' meaning to soothe or lull, the plant having the carminative property of relieving gas. Its seeds, dill seeds are used as a spice, and its fresh leaves, dill, and its dried leaves, dill weed, are used as herbs.

Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called "dill weed" to distinguish it from dill seed) are used as herbs. Like caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic, and are used to flavor many foods, such as gravlax (cured salmon), borscht and other soups, and pickles (where sometimes the dill flower is used). Dill is said to be best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried; however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months.

In Vietnam, dill is the important herb in the dish cha ca.

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Dill Weed

Dill, Dill Weed

Anethum graveolens

Dill seed is used as a spice, with a flavor somewhat similar to caraway, but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed.

Dill oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant.

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Dorrigo Pepper

Tasmannia stipitat

Tasmannia stipitata, Dorrigo Pepper or Northern Pepperbush is a rainforest shrub of temperate forests of the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia.

Leaves are fragrant, narrow-lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, 8-13 cm long. Dark bluish to mauve berries follow the flowers on female shrubs. The species is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants.

The culinary qualities of T. stipitata were recognized in the mid-1980s by horticulturist, Peter Hardwick, who gave it the name 'Dorrigo pepper', and Jean-Paul Bruneteau, then chef at Rowntrees Restaurant, Sydney.

It is mainly wild harvested from the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. Dorrigo pepper has a woody peppery note in the leaves and fruit/seed. The hot peppery flavor is derived from polygodial, an essential oil component.

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Echinacea

Coneflower

Echinaceais a genus of nine species of herbaceous plants in the family Asteraceae commonly called Coneflower. All are strictly native to eastern and central North America. The plants have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. Some species are used in herbal medicines.
The species of Echinacea are:
* Echinacea angustifolia - Narrow-leaf Coneflower
* Echinacea atrorubens - Topeka Purple Coneflower
* Echinacea laevigata - Smooth Coneflower, Smooth Purple Coneflower

Echinacea laevigata, the smooth purple coneflower, is a federally listed endangered plant found in the piedmont of the southeastern United States. Its current range is within the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, although it was historically also found in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Most populations are found on roadsides and other open areas with plenty of sunlight, often on calcium and magnesium rich soils. Unlike other members of the genus Echinacea, it has not been traditionally used as an herbal medicine. This species is thought to be the best in the world and grows in and around Boone, North Carolina.
* Echinacea pallida - Pale Purple Coneflower
* Echinacea paradoxa - Yellow Coneflower, Bush's Purple Coneflower

* Echinacea purpurea - Purple Coneflower, Eastern Purple Coneflower
* Echinacea sanguinea - Sanguine purple coneflower
* Echinacea simulata - Wavyleaf Purple Coneflower
* Echinacea tennesseensis - Tennessee Coneflower

A 2007 study by the University of Connecticut combined findings from 14 previously-reported trials examining Echinacea and concluded that Echinacea can cut the chances of catching a cold by more than half, and shorten the duration of a cold by an average of 1.4 days. An earlier University of Maryland review based on 13 European studies concluded that echinacea, when taken at first sign of a cold, reduced cold symptom or shortened their duration. It should not be used for more than 10 days. The use in children below 1 year of age is contraindicated, because of theoretically possible undesirable effect on immature immune system. The use in children between 1 and 12 years of age is not recommended, because efficacy has not been sufficiently documented although specific risks are not documented. In the absence of sufficient data, the use in pregnancy and lactation is not recommended.

Echinacea is popularly believed to be an immunostimulator, stimulating the body's non-specific immune system and warding off infections. Echinacea angustifolia was widely used by the North American Plains Indians for its general medicinal qualities. Native Americans learned of Echinacea angustifolia by observing elk seeking out the plants and consuming them when sick or wounded, and identified those plants as elk root.

As with any plant, the chemical makeup of echinacea is not consistent throughout the organism. In particular, the root has been promoted as containing a more efficacious mixture of active chemicals. Proponents of echinacea assert that it is not a "one-dose" treatment, and that in order to work effectively, a dose should be taken at the very first sign of a cold symptom. Subsequent doses are called for every two to four hours after the first dose, including during the overnight sleeping period, until the cold symptoms have disappeared. Reported adverse effects of echinacea are primarily allergic in nature and include anaphylaxis, asthma attacks, thrombocytopenic purpurea, leucopenia, abdominal pain, nausea, dysuria, arthralgia, myalgia, and dizziness. These tend to be infrequent, mild, and transient. Echinacea should not be taken by persons with progressive systemic and auto-immune disorders, connective tissue disorders, or related diseases. It should not be used with immunosuppressants or hepatotoxic drugs, and has the potential to interfere with anesthesia.

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Edelweiss

(Queen's flower)

Leontopodium alpinum

Edelweiss (; Leontopodium alpinum), is one of the best-known European mountain flowers, belonging to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The name comes from German edel (meaning noble) and weiss (meaning white). The scientific name, Leontopodium, means "lion's paw" and is derived from the Greek words leon (lion) and podion (diminutive of pous, foot). "Edelweiss" is also the street name of a breed of cannabis, part of the "white" strain family. Since it usually grows in inaccessible places, it is associated in many countries of the alpine region with mountaineering. Its white colour is considered a symbol of purity, and holds a Latin as well as Romanian name, floarea reginei (Queen's flower).
* On the Austrian euro coins, a picture of Edelweiss is used on the two-euro-cent coins.
* It is the symbol of the Bulgarian Tourist Union
* On the Romanian 50 Lei banknote.
* Edelweiss Society
* In Austria, Edelweiß is also a brand of beer named after the flower.
* Edelweiss is the unofficial national flower of Switzerland.
* It appears in the logos of both the German and Austrian alpine societies.
* In its bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics the city of Salzburg uses an Edelweiss flower as the emblem.
* Edelweiss Air, an international airline based in Switzerland, is named after the flower, which also appears in its logo.
* The song "Edelweiss", which is about the flower, is from the 1965 musical The Sound of Music, which takes place in Austria.
* "Bring me Edelweiss" is the best-known song of the music group Edelweiss.
* The Edelweiss was established 1907 as the sign of the Austrian-Hungarian alpine troops by Emperor Franz Joseph I. These original 3 Regiments wore their edelweiss on the collar of their uniform. During World War I (1915) the Edelweiss was granted to the German alpine troops, for their bravery. Today it is still the insignia of the Austrian, Polish, and German alpine troops.
* Edelweiss was a badge of Edelweiss Pirates (Edelweisspiraten)-the anti-Nazi youth groups in Third Reich. It was worn on the clothes (e.g. a blouse or a suit).
* The Edelweiss flower was the symbol of Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS Gebirgsjäger, or mountain infantry, worn as a metal pin on the left side of the mountain cap, on the band of the service dress cap, and as a patch on the right sleeve. It is still the symbol of the Mountain division in the German army today.
* The rank insignia of Swiss generals has Edelweiss signs instead of stars. A Korpskommandant for example (equivalent to a Lieutenant General in other countries) wears three Edelweiss signs on his collar instead of three stars.
* This flower appears prominently in the comic book adventure Asterix in Switzerland where the protagonists attempt to procure an Edelweiss for its use in an antidote.
* Edelweiss (or simply Edel) is an increasingly popular female name in the United States.
* In the 2008 PlayStation 3 game, Valkyria Chronicles, Welkin Gunther's tank is named the Edelweiss. The game also makes frequent references to the flower, referring to it as the lion's paw.
* An episode of the 1950s TV series Adventures of Superman titled "The Wedding of Superman" includes a segment in which Superman flies to Switzerland to bring a small bouquet of edelweiss to Lois Lane.
* In the television series," Band of Brothers," Lt. Nixon tells PFC Blithe that an Edelweiss flower can only be found above the tree line of the alps, and is the mark of a true soldier.
* The Edelweiss is used in the logotypes of several Alpine Clubs such as the Deutscher Alpenverein (German Alpine Club) or the Österreichischer Alpenverein (Austrian Alpine Club).
* Edelweiss is the name of a Japanese eroge. The flower, though never properly named, plays a prominent role in the story arc.

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Elderberry

Sambucus nigra

The common elder complex is variously treated as a single species Sambucus nigra found in the warmer parts of Europe and North America with several regional varieties or subspecies, or else as a group of several similar species. The flowers are in flat corymbs, and the berries are black to glaucous blue.

Several species of Sambucus produce elderberries. Most research and publications refer to Sambucus nigra. Other species with similar chemical components include the American elder or common elder (Sambucus canadensis), antelope brush (Sambucus tridentata), blue elderberry (Sambucus caerulea), danewort (Sambucus ebulus), dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus), red-fruited elder (Sambucus pubens, Sambucus racemosa), and Sambucus formosana. American elder (Sambucus canadensis) and European elder (Sambucus nigra) are often discussed simultaneously in the literature since they have many of the same uses and contain common constituents.

Historically, the flowers and leaves have been used for pain relief, swelling/inflammation, diuresis (urine production), and as a diaphoretic or expectorant. The leaves have been used externally for sitz baths. The bark, when aged, has been used as a diuretic, laxative, or emetic (to induce vomiting). The berries have been used traditionally in food as flavoring and in the preparation of elderberry wine and pies.

The flowers and berries (blue/black only) are used most often medicinally. They contain flavonoids, which are found to possess a variety of actions, including antioxidant and immunologic properties. Although hypothesized to be beneficial, there is no definitive evidence from well-conducted human clinical trials currently available regarding the use of elder.

The bark, leaves, seeds, and raw/unripe fruit contain the cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin, which is potentially toxic.

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Elderflower

Sambucus australis (Southern Elder; temperate eastern South America)


* Sambucus canadensis (American Elder; eastern North America; with blue-black berries)
* Sambucus cerulea (syn. S. caerulea, S. glauca; Blueberry Elder; western North America; with blue berries)
* Sambucus javanica (Chinese Elder; southeastern Asia)
* Sambucus mexicana (Mexican Elder; Mexico and Central America; with blue-black berries)
* Sambucus nigra (Elder or Black Elder; Europe and western Asia; with black berries)
* Sambucus lanceolata (Madeira Elder; Madeira Island; with black berries)
* Sambucus palmensis (Canary Islands Elder; Canary Islands; with black berries)
* Sambucus peruviana (Peruvian Elder; northwest South America; with black berries)
* Sambucus simpsonii (Florida Elder; southeastern United States; with blue-black berries)
* Sambucus peruviana (Andean Elder; northern South America; with blue-black berries)
* Sambucus velutina (Velvet Elder; southwestern North America; with blue-black berries)

The Blackberry Elder Sambucus melanocarpa of western North America is intermediate between the preceding and next groups. The flowers are in rounded panicles, but the berries are black; it is a small shrub, rarely exceeding tall. Some botanists include it in the red-berried elder group.
* The red-berried elder complex is variously treated as a single species Sambucus racemosa found throughout the colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere with several regional varieties or subspecies, or else as a group of several similar species. The flowers are in rounded panicles, and the berries are bright red; they are smaller shrubs, rarely exceeding tall.
* Sambucus callicarpa (Pacific Coast Red Elder; west coast of North America)
* Sambucus chinensis (Chinese Red Elder; eastern Asia, in mountains)
* Sambucus latipinna (Korean Red Elder; Korea, southeast Siberia)
* Sambucus microbotrys (Mountain Red Elder; southwest North America, in mountains)
* Sambucus pubens (American Red Elder; northern North America)
* Sambucus racemosa (European Red Elder or Red-berried Elder; northern Europe, northwest Asia)
* Sambucus sieboldiana (Japanese Red Elder; Japan and Korea)
* Sambucus tigranii (Caucasus Red Elder; southwest Asia, in mountains)
* Sambucus williamsii (North China Red Elder; northeast Asia)
* The Australian elder group comprises two species from Australasia. The flowers are in rounded panicles, and the berries white or yellow; they are shrubs growing to high.
* Sambucus australasica (Yellow Elder; New Guinea, eastern Australia)
* Sambucus gaudichaudiana (Australian Elder or White Elder; shady areas of south eastern Australia)
* The dwarf elders are, by contrast to the other species, herbaceous plants, producing new stems each year from a perennial root system; they grow to tall, each stem terminating in a large flat umbel which matures into a dense cluster of glossy berries.
* Sambucus adnata (Asian Dwarf Elder; Himalaya and eastern Asia; berries red)
* Sambucus ebulus (European Dwarf Elder; central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia; berries black)

The flowers of Sambucus nigra are used to produce elderflower liqueur. The French and Central Europeans produce elderflower syrup, commonly made from an extract of elderflower blossoms, which is added to pancake (Palatschinken) mixes instead of blueberries. People in the Balkan counties (Serbia, Romania, and Macedonia) use a similar method to make syrup which is diluted with water and used as a drink. Based on this syrup, Fanta marketed a soft drink variety called "Shokata" which was sold in 15 countries worldwide. In the United States, this French elderflower syrup is used to make elderflower marshmallows. Wines, cordials and marmalade have been produced from the berries. In Italy (especially in Piedmont) and Germany the umbels of the elderberry are batter coated, fried and then served as a dessert or a sweet lunch with a sugar and cinnamon topping.

Hollowed elderberry twigs have traditionally been used as spiles to tap maple trees for syrup.

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Elecampane

Horse-heal

Inula helenium

Elecampane, also called Horse-heal is a perennial composite plant common in many parts of Great Britain, and ranges throughout central and Southern Europe, and in Asia as far eastwards as the Himalayas.

The root is thick, branching and mucilaginous, and has a warm, bitter taste and a camphoraceous odor.

In France and Switzerland it is used in the manufacture of absinthe.

The plant's specific name, helenium, derives from Helen of Troy; elecampane is said to have sprung up from where her tears fell. It was sacred to the ancient Celts, and once had the name "elfwort". The root was employed by the ancients both as a medicine and as a condiment, and in England it was formerly in great repute as an aromatic tonic and stimulant of the secretor organs. As a drug, however, the root is now seldom resorted to except in veterinary practice, though it is undoubtedly possessed of antiseptic properties.

John Gerard recommended elecampane for "the shortness of breath"; today herbalists prescribe it as an expectorant and for water retention; it also is claimed to have antiseptic properties. It has minor applications as a tonic and to bring on menstruation.

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Eleutherococcus senticosus

The herb grows in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming low undergrowth or is found in groups in thickets and edges. E. senticosus is sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland. Its native habitat is East Asia, China, Japan and Russia. E. senticosus is a new addition to Western natural medicine, but has quickly gained a reputation similar to that of the better known and more expensive Chinese Ginseng. Though the chemical make-up of the two herbs differs, their effects seem to be similar. Supporters of E. senticosus as medicine claim it possesses a variety of medicinal properties, such as:
* increased endurance
* memory improvement
* anti-inflammatory
* immunogenic
* chemoprotective
* radiological protection

Eleutherococcus senticosis is more tonifying than the true Ginsengs (Panax sp.). Taken regularly, it enhances immune function, decreases cortisol levels and inflammatory response, and it promotes improved cognitive and physical performance.
* People with medicated high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking E. senticosus as it may reduce their need for medication.
* E. senticosus may cause light sleep in some people, principally those who are "wired". Users are recommended not to take it in the evening.
* E. senticosus will enhance the effectiveness of mycin class antibiotics.
* E. senticosus when purchased from non-GMP sources has occasionally been adulterated with Periploca graeca which can potentiate digoxin or similar drugs: however this is not an interaction of E. senticosus.

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Emmenagogue

Emmenagogues are herbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus; some stimulate menstruation. Women have used plants such as mugwort, parsley and ginger to prevent or terminate early pregnancy (see Abortifacient). Others use emmenagogues to stimulate menstrual flow when menstruation is absent for reasons other than pregnancy, such as hormonal disorders or conditions like oligomenorrhea (infrequent or light menses).

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Epazote

Chenopodium ambrosioides

Epazote, Wormseed, "Jesuit's Tea, Mexican Tea, or Herba Sancti Marie" (Dysphania ambrosioides, formerly Chenopodium ambrosioides) is an herb native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico.

Epazote is used as a leaf vegetable and herb for its pungent flavor. Raw, it has a resinous, medicinal pungency, similar to the liquorice taste of anise, fennel, or even tarragon, but stronger. Epazote's fragrance is strong, but difficult to describe. It has been compared to citrus, petroleum, savory, mint and putty.

Although it is traditionally used with black beans for flavor and its carminative properties, it is also sometimes used to flavor other traditional Mexican dishes as well: it can be used to season quesadillas and sopes (especially those containing huitlacoche), soups, mole de olla, tamales with cheese and chile, chilaquiles, eggs and potatoes and enchiladas.

Epazote is used as a leaf vegetable and herb for its pungent flavor and its claimed ability to prevent flatulence caused by eating beans but also in the treatment of amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, malaria, chorea, hysteria, catarrh, and asthma.

Oil of chenopodium is derived from this plant. It is antihelminthic, that is, it kills intestinal worms, and was once listed for this use in the US Pharmacopoeia. It is also cited as an antispasmodic and abortifacient.

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Ephedra

Ephedra sinica

Ephedra has been used as an herbal remedy in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 years for the treatment of asthma and hay fever, as well as for the common cold. Ephedra is a stimulant which constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure and heart rate.

Ephedra-containing dietary supplements have been linked to a high rate of serious side effects and a number of deaths, leading to concern from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, initial efforts to test and regulate ephedra were defeated by lobbying and political pressure from the dietary-supplement industry.

Following a legal challenge by an ephedra manufacturer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the FDA's ban of ephedra in 2006.

The sale of ephedra-containing dietary supplements remains illegal in the United States due to evidence of adverse ephedra-related effects. Almost simultaneously, a study in Annals of Internal Medicine found that ephedra was 100 to 700 times more likely to cause a significant adverse reaction than other commonly used supplements such as kava or Ginkgo biloba.

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Eryngium foetidum

Culantro, Long Coriander Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial and annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is native to Mexico and South America but is cultivated worldwide. In the United States, it is not well known. Eryngium foetidum is also known as culantro; culantro coyote (Costa Rica); long, wild, or Mexican coriander; fitweed; spiritweed; sawtooth or saw-leaf herb; cilantro cimarron; chardon benit (French chardon béni); shado, shadon, or shadow beni (English-speaking Caribbean); recao (Puerto Rico); sachaculantro (Peru); bhandhanya (Hindi); donnia; ngò gai (Vietnam); and (phak chi farang) (Thailand). E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning and marinating in the Caribbean. It is also used extensively in Thailand, India, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia as a culinary herb. This variety of coriander dries well, retaining good color and flavor, making it valuable in the dried herb industry. It is sometimes used as a substitute for cilantro, but it has a much stronger taste.

Medicinally, the leaves and roots are used in tea to stimulate appetite, improve digestion, combat colic, soothe stomach pains, and eliminate gas. A decoction of the leaves has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

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Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees (and a few shrubs) in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia. There are more than 700 species of Eucalyptus, mostly native to Australia.

Eucalyptus abdita Eucalyptus absita Eucalyptus acaciiformis Eucalyptus accedens Eucalyptus acies Eucalyptus acmenoides Eucalyptus acroleuca Eucalyptus aenea Eucalyptus aequioperta Eucalyptus agglomerata Eucalyptus aggregata Eucalyptus alba Eucalyptus albens Eucalyptus albida Eucalyptus albopurpurea Eucalyptus alligatrix Eucalyptus ammophila Eucalyptus amplifolia Eucalyptus amygdalina Eucalyptus ancophila Eucalyptus andrewsii Eucalyptus angophoroides Eucalyptus angularis Eucalyptus angulosa Eucalyptus angustissima Eucalyptus annulata Eucalyptus annuliformis Eucalyptus apiculata Eucalyptus apodophylla Eucalyptus apothalassica Eucalyptus approximans Eucalyptus aquatica Eucalyptus aquilina Eucalyptus arachnaea Eucalyptus arborella Eucalyptus archeri Eucalyptus arenacea Eucalyptus argillacea Eucalyptus argophloia Eucalyptus argutifolia Eucalyptus argyphea Eucalyptus aromaphloia Eucalyptus articulata Eucalyptus aspersa Eucalyptus aspratilis Eucalyptus astringens Eucalyptus atrata Eucalyptus atrovirens Eucalyptus aureola Eucalyptus australis Eucalyptus badjensis Eucalyptus baeuerlenii Eucalyptus baileyana Eucalyptus bakeri Eucalyptus balanites Eucalyptus balanopelex Eucalyptus balladoniensis Eucalyptus bancroftii Eucalyptus banksii Eucalyptus barberi Eucalyptus baudiniana Eucalyptus baueriana Eucalyptus baxteri Eucalyptus beaniana Eucalyptus beardiana Eucalyptus beasleyi Eucalyptus behriana Eucalyptus bensonii Eucalyptus benthamii Eucalyptus beyeri Eucalyptus bicostata Eucalyptus bigalerita Eucalyptus biturbinata Eucalyptus blakelyi Eucalyptus blaxellii Eucalyptus blaxlandii Eucalyptus boliviana Eucalyptus bosistoana Eucalyptus botryoides Eucalyptus brachyandra Eucalyptus brachycalyx Eucalyptus brachycarpa Eucalyptus brachycorys Eucalyptus brachyphylla Eucalyptus brassiana Eucalyptus brevifolia Eucalyptus brevipes Eucalyptus brevistylis Eucalyptus bridgesiana Eucalyptus brockwayi Eucalyptus brookeriana Eucalyptus broviniensis Eucalyptus brownii Eucalyptus buprestium Eucalyptus burdettiana Eucalyptus burgessiana Eucalyptus burracoppinensis Eucalyptus cadens Eucalyptus caesia Eucalyptus calcareana Eucalyptus calcicola Eucalyptus caleyi Eucalyptus caliginosa Eucalyptus calycogona Eucalyptus calyerup Eucalyptus camaldulensis Eucalyptus cambageana Eucalyptus cameronii Eucalyptus camfieldii Eucalyptus campaspe Eucalyptus camphora Eucalyptus canaliculata Eucalyptus candida Eucalyptus cannonii Eucalyptus canobolensis Eucalyptus capillosa Eucalyptus capitellata Eucalyptus capricornia Eucalyptus captiosa Eucalyptus carnabyi Eucalyptus carnea Eucalyptus carnei Eucalyptus castrensis Eucalyptus celastroides Eucalyptus cephalocarpa Eucalyptus ceracea Eucalyptus cerasiformis Eucalyptus ceratocorys Eucalyptus cernua Eucalyptus chapmaniana Eucalyptus chartaboma Eucalyptus chloroclada Eucalyptus chlorophylla Eucalyptus chrysantha Eucalyptus cinerea Eucalyptus cladocalyx Eucalyptus clelandii Eucalyptus clivicola Eucalyptus cloeziana Eucalyptus cneorifolia Eucalyptus coccifera Eucalyptus communalis Eucalyptus concinna Eucalyptus conferruminata Eucalyptus confertiflora Eucalyptus confluens Eucalyptus conglobata Eucalyptus conglomerata Eucalyptus conica Eucalyptus coniophloia Eucalyptus conjuncta Eucalyptus connerensis Eucalyptus consideniana Eucalyptus conspicua Eucalyptus conveniens Eucalyptus coolabah Eucalyptus cooperiana Eucalyptus copulans Eucalyptus cordata Eucalyptus cornuta Eucalyptus coronata Eucalyptus corrugata Eucalyptus corticosa Eucalyptus corynodes Eucalyptus cosmophylla Eucalyptus costata Eucalyptus costuligera Eucalyptus crebra Eucalyptus crenulata Eucalyptus creta Eucalyptus cretata Eucalyptus crispata Eucalyptus croajingolensis Eucalyptus crucis Eucalyptus cullenii Eucalyptus cunninghamii Eucalyptus cuprea Eucalyptus cupularis Eucalyptus curtisii Eucalyptus cyanoclada Eucalyptus cyanophylla Eucalyptus cyclostoma Eucalyptus cylindriflora Eucalyptus cylindrocarpa Eucalyptus cypellocarpa Eucalyptus dalrympleana Eucalyptus darwinensis Eucalyptus dawsonii Eucalyptus dealbata Eucalyptus deanei Eucalyptus decipiens Eucalyptus decolor Eucalyptus decorticans Eucalyptus decurva Eucalyptus deflexa Eucalyptus deglupta Eucalyptus delegatensis Eucalyptus delicata Eucalyptus dendromorpha Eucalyptus densa Eucalyptus denticulata Eucalyptus depauperata Eucalyptus derbyensis Eucalyptus desmondensis Eucalyptus desquamata Eucalyptus deuaensis Eucalyptus dielsii Eucalyptus diminuta Eucalyptus diptera Eucalyptus discreta Eucalyptus dissimulata Eucalyptus distans Eucalyptus diversicolor Eucalyptus diversifolia Eucalyptus dives Eucalyptus dolichocera Eucalyptus dolichorhyncha Eucalyptus dolorosa Eucalyptus dongarraensis Eucalyptus doratoxylon Eucalyptus dorrigoensis Eucalyptus drummondii Eucalyptus drysdalensis Eucalyptus dumosa Eucalyptus dundasii Eucalyptus dunnii Eucalyptus dura Eucalyptus dwyeri Eucalyptus ebbanoensis Eucalyptus educta Eucalyptus effusa Eucalyptus elaeophloia Eucalyptus elata Eucalyptus ellipsoidea Eucalyptus elliptica Eucalyptus erectifolia Eucalyptus eremicola Eucalyptus eremophila Eucalyptus erythrandra Eucalyptus erythrocorys Eucalyptus erythronema Eucalyptus eudesmoides Eucalyptus eugenioides Eucalyptus ewartiana Eucalyptus exigua Eucalyptus exilipes Eucalyptus exilis Eucalyptus exserta Eucalyptus extensa Eucalyptus extrica Eucalyptus falcata Eucalyptus famelica Eucalyptus fasciculosa Eucalyptus fastigata Eucalyptus fergusonii Eucalyptus ferriticola Eucalyptus fibrosa Eucalyptus filiformis Eucalyptus fitzgeraldii Eucalyptus flavida Eucalyptus flindersii Eucalyptus flocktoniae Eucalyptus foecunda Eucalyptus foliosa Eucalyptus fordeana Eucalyptus formanii Eucalyptus forrestiana Eucalyptus fracta Eucalyptus fraseri Eucalyptus fraxinoides Eucalyptus froggattii Eucalyptus fruticosa Eucalyptus fulgens Eucalyptus fusiformis Eucalyptus gamophylla Eucalyptus gardneri Eucalyptus georgei Eucalyptus gigantangion Eucalyptus gillenii Eucalyptus gillii Eucalyptus gittinsii Eucalyptus glaucescens Eucalyptus glaucina Eucalyptus globoidea Eucalyptus globulus Eucalyptus glomericassis Eucalyptus glomerosa Eucalyptus gomphocephala Eucalyptus gongylocarpa Eucalyptus goniantha Eucalyptus goniocalyx Eucalyptus goniocarpa Eucalyptus gracilis Eucalyptus grandis Eucalyptus granitica Eucalyptus grasbyi Eucalyptus greeniana Eucalyptus gregoriensis Eucalyptus gregsoniana Eucalyptus griffithsii Eucalyptus grisea Eucalyptus grossa Eucalyptus guilfoylei Eucalyptus gunni Eucalyptus gypsophila Eucalyptus haemastoma Eucalyptus haematoxylon Eucalyptus hallii Eucalyptus halophila Eucalyptus hamersleyana Eucalyptus hawkeri Eucalyptus hebetifolia Eucalyptus helidonica Eucalyptus herbertiana Eucalyptus histophylla Eucalyptus horistes Eucalyptus houseana Eucalyptus howittiana Eucalyptus hypochlamydea Eucalyptus hypostomatica Eucalyptus ignorabilis Eucalyptus imitans Eucalyptus imlayensis Eucalyptus impensa Eucalyptus incerata Eucalyptus incrassata Eucalyptus indurata Eucalyptus infera Eucalyptus insularis Eucalyptus interstans Eucalyptus intertexta Eucalyptus intrasilvatica Eucalyptus jacksonii Eucalyptus jensenii Eucalyptus jimberlanica Eucalyptus johnsoniana Eucalyptus johnstonii Eucalyptus jucunda Eucalyptus jutsonii Eucalyptus kabiana Eucalyptus kakadu Eucalyptus kartzoffiana Eucalyptus kenneallyi Eucalyptus kessellii Eucalyptus kingsmillii Eucalyptus kitsoniana Eucalyptus kochii Eucalyptus kondininensis Eucalyptus koolpinensis Eucalyptus kruseana Eucalyptus kumarlensis Eucalyptus kybeanensis Eucalyptus lacrimans Eucalyptus laeliae Eucalyptus laevis Eucalyptus laevopinea Eucalyptus lane-poolei Eucalyptus langleyi Eucalyptus lansdowneana Eucalyptus largeana Eucalyptus largiflorens Eucalyptus latens Eucalyptus lateritica Eucalyptus latisinensis Eucalyptus lehmannii Eucalyptus leprophloia Eucalyptus leptocalyx Eucalyptus leptophleba Eucalyptus leptophylla Eucalyptus leptopoda Eucalyptus lesouefii Eucalyptus leucophloia Eucalyptus leucophylla Eucalyptus leucoxylon Eucalyptus ligulata Eucalyptus ligustrina Eucalyptus limitaris Eucalyptus lirata Eucalyptus litoralis Eucalyptus litorea Eucalyptus livida Eucalyptus lockyeri Eucalyptus longicornis Eucalyptus longifolia Eucalyptus longirostrata Eucalyptus loxophleba Eucalyptus lucasii Eucalyptus lucens Eucalyptus luculenta Eucalyptus luehmanniana Eucalyptus luteola Eucalyptus macarthurii Eucalyptus mackintii Eucalyptus macquoidii Eucalyptus macrandra Eucalyptus macrocarpa Eucalyptus macrorhyncha Eucalyptus magnificata Eucalyptus maidenii Eucalyptus major Eucalyptus malacoxylon Eucalyptus mannensis Eucalyptus mannifera Eucalyptus marginata Eucalyptus mckieana Eucalyptus medialis Eucalyptus mediocris Eucalyptus megacarpa Eucalyptus megacornuta Eucalyptus melanoleuca Eucalyptus melanophitra Eucalyptus melanophloia Eucalyptus melanoxylon Eucalyptus melliodora Eucalyptus mensalis Eucalyptus merrickiae Eucalyptus michaeliana Eucalyptus micranthera Eucalyptus microcarpa Eucalyptus microcorys Eucalyptus microneura Eucalyptus microschema Eucalyptus microtheca Eucalyptus mimica Eucalyptus miniata Eucalyptus misella Eucalyptus mitchelliana Eucalyptus moluccana Eucalyptus mooreana Eucalyptus moorei Eucalyptus morrisbyi Eucalyptus morrisii Eucalyptus muelleriana Eucalyptus multicaulis Eucalyptus myriadena Eucalyptus nandewarica Eucalyptus neglecta Eucalyptus nelsonii Eucalyptus neutra Eucalyptus newbeyi Eucalyptus nicholii Eucalyptus nigrifunda Eucalyptus nitens Eucalyptus nitida Eucalyptus nobilis Eucalyptus normantonensis Eucalyptus nortonii Eucalyptus notabilis Eucalyptus nova-anglica Eucalyptus novoguinensis Eucalyptus nutans Eucalyptus obconica Eucalyptus obesa Eucalyptus obliqua Eucalyptus obtusiflora Eucalyptus occidentalis Eucalyptus ochrophloia Eucalyptus odontocarpa Eucalyptus odorata Eucalyptus oldfieldii Eucalyptus oleosa Eucalyptus olida Eucalyptus oligantha Eucalyptus olivina Eucalyptus ollaris Eucalyptus olsenii Eucalyptus ophitica Eucalyptus optima Eucalyptus oraria Eucalyptus orbifolia Eucalyptus ordiana Eucalyptus oreades Eucalyptus orgadophila Eucalyptus orientalis Eucalyptus ornata Eucalyptus ovata Eucalyptus ovularis Eucalyptus oxymitra Eucalyptus pachycalyx Eucalyptus pachyloma Eucalyptus pachyphylla Eucalyptus paedoglauca Eucalyptus paliformis Eucalyptus paludicola Eucalyptus panda Eucalyptus paniculata Eucalyptus pantoleuca Eucalyptus paralimnetica Eucalyptus parramattensis Eucalyptus parvula Eucalyptus patellaris Eucalyptus patens Eucalyptus pauciflora Eucalyptus pauciseta Eucalyptus peeneri Eucalyptus pellita Eucalyptus pendens Eucalyptus peninsularis Eucalyptus perangusta Eucalyptus percostata Eucalyptus perriniana Eucalyptus persistens Eucalyptus petiolaris Eucalyptus petraea Eucalyptus petrensis Eucalyptus phaenophylla Eucalyptus phenax Eucalyptus phoenicea Eucalyptus phylacis Eucalyptus pilbarensis Eucalyptus pileata Eucalyptus pilligaensis Eucalyptus pilularis Eucalyptus pimpiniana Eucalyptus piperita Eucalyptus placita Eucalyptus planchoniana Eucalyptus planipes Eucalyptus platycorys Eucalyptus platyphylla Eucalyptus platypus Eucalyptus plenissima Eucalyptus pleurocarpa Eucalyptus pleurocorys Eucalyptus pluricaulis Eucalyptus polita Eucalyptus polyanthemos Eucalyptus polybractea Eucalyptus pontis Eucalyptus populnea Eucalyptus porosa Eucalyptus portuensis Eucalyptus praecox Eucalyptus praetermissa Eucalyptus prava Eucalyptus preissiana Eucalyptus prolixa Eucalyptus prominens Eucalyptus propinqua Eucalyptus protensa Eucalyptus provecta Eucalyptus pruiniramis Eucalyptus pruinosa Eucalyptus psammitica Eucalyptus pseudoglobulus Eucalyptus pterocarpa Eucalyptus pulchella Eucalyptus pulverulenta Eucalyptus pumila Eucalyptus punctata Eucalyptus pyrenea Eucalyptus pyriformis Eucalyptus pyrocarpa Eucalyptus quadrangulata Eucalyptus quadrans Eucalyptus quadricostata Eucalyptus quaerenda Eucalyptus quinniorum Eucalyptus racemosa Eucalyptus radiata Eucalyptus rameliana Eucalyptus rariflora Eucalyptus raveretiana Eucalyptus ravida Eucalyptus recta Eucalyptus recurva Eucalyptus redacta Eucalyptus redimiculifera Eucalyptus reducta Eucalyptus redunca Eucalyptus regnans Eucalyptus relicta Eucalyptus remota Eucalyptus repullulans Eucalyptus resinifera Eucalyptus retinens Eucalyptus rhodantha Eucalyptus rhombica Eucalyptus rigens Eucalyptus rigidula Eucalyptus risdonii Eucalyptus rivularis Eucalyptus robusta Eucalyptus rodwayi Eucalyptus rosacea Eucalyptus rossii Eucalyptus roycei Eucalyptus rubida Eucalyptus rubiginosa Eucalyptus rudderi Eucalyptus rudis Eucalyptus rugosa Eucalyptus rummeryi Eucalyptus rupestris Eucalyptus salicola Eucalyptus saligna Eucalyptus salmonophloia Eucalyptus salubris Eucalyptus sargentii Eucalyptus saxatilis Eucalyptus scias Eucalyptus scoparia Eucalyptus scyphocalyx Eucalyptus seeana Eucalyptus selachiana Eucalyptus semota Eucalyptus sepulcralis Eucalyptus serraensis Eucalyptus sessilis Eucalyptus sheathiana Eucalyptus shirleyi Eucalyptus sicilifolia Eucalyptus siderophloia Eucalyptus sideroxylon Eucalyptus sieberi Eucalyptus signata Eucalyptus similis Eucalyptus singularis Eucalyptus smithii Eucalyptus socialis Eucalyptus sp. Howes Swamp Creek Eucalyptus sp. Norseman Eucalyptus sp. Wagerup Eucalyptus sparsa Eucalyptus sparsicoma Eucalyptus sparsifolia Eucalyptus spathulata Eucalyptus sphaerocarpa Eucalyptus splendens Eucalyptus sporadica Eucalyptus spreta Eucalyptus squamosa Eucalyptus staeri Eucalyptus staigeriana Eucalyptus steedmanii Eucalyptus stellulata Eucalyptus stenostoma Eucalyptus stoatei Eucalyptus stowardii Eucalyptus striaticalyx Eucalyptus stricklandii Eucalyptus stricta Eucalyptus strzeleckii Eucalyptus sturgissiana Eucalyptus subangusta Eucalyptus subcrenulata Eucalyptus suberea Eucalyptus sublucida Eucalyptus subtilis Eucalyptus suffulgens Eucalyptus suggrandis Eucalyptus surgens Eucalyptus symonii Eucalyptus synandra Eucalyptus talyuberlup Eucalyptus tardecidens Eucalyptus taurina Eucalyptus tectifica Eucalyptus tenella Eucalyptus tenera Eucalyptus tenuipes Eucalyptus tenuiramis Eucalyptus tenuis Eucalyptus tephroclada Eucalyptus tephrodes Eucalyptus terebra Eucalyptus tereticornis Eucalyptus terrica Eucalyptus tessellaris Eucalyptus tetragona Eucalyptus tetrapleura Eucalyptus tetraptera Eucalyptus tetrodonta Eucalyptus thamnoides Eucalyptus tholiformis Eucalyptus thozetiana Eucalyptus tindaliae Eucalyptus tinghaensis Eucalyptus tintinnans Eucalyptus todtiana Eucalyptus tokwa Eucalyptus torquata Eucalyptus tortilis Eucalyptus trachybasis Eucalyptus transcontinentalis Eucalyptus tricarpa Eucalyptus triflora Eucalyptus trivalvis Eucalyptus tumida Eucalyptus ultima Eucalyptus umbra Eucalyptus umbrawarrensis Eucalyptus uncinata Eucalyptus urna Eucalyptus urnigera Eucalyptus urnularis Eucalyptus urophylla Eucalyptus utilis Eucalyptus uvida Eucalyptus valens Eucalyptus varia Eucalyptus vegrandis Eucalyptus vernicosa Eucalyptus verrucata Eucalyptus vesiculosa Eucalyptus vicina Eucalyptus victoriana Eucalyptus victrix Eucalyptus viminalis Eucalyptus virens Eucalyptus virginea Eucalyptus viridis Eucalyptus vokesensis Eucalyptus volcanica Eucalyptus walshii Eucalyptus wandoo Eucalyptus websteriana Eucalyptus whitei Eucalyptus wilcoxii Eucalyptus williamsiana Eucalyptus willisii Eucalyptus woodwardii Eucalyptus wubinensis Eucalyptus wyolensis Eucalyptus x bennettiae Eucalyptus x missilis Eucalyptus x stoataptera Eucalyptus xanthoclada Eucalyptus xanthonema Eucalyptus xerothermica Eucalyptus yalatensis Eucalyptus yarraensis Eucalyptus yilgarnensis Eucalyptus youmanii Eucalyptus youngiana Eucalyptus yumbarrana Eucalyptus zopherophloia

Eucalyptus oil is readily steam distilled from the leaves and can be used for cleaning, deodorising, and in very small quantities in food supplements, especially sweets, cough drops and decongestants. It also has insect repellent properties and is an active ingredient in some commercial mosquito repellents. An essential oil extracted from Eucalyptus leaves contains compounds that are powerful natural disinfectants and can be toxic in large quantities. Several marsupial herbivores, notably koalas and some possums, are relatively tolerant of it. The close correlation of these oils with other more potent toxins called formylated phloroglucinol compounds allows koalas and other marsupial species to make food choices based on the smell of the leaves. For koalas, these compounds are the most important factor in leaf choice. On warm days vaporized Eucalyptus oil rises above the bush to create the characteristic distant blue haze of the Australian landscape. Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable (trees have been known to explode) and bush fires can travel easily through the oil-rich air of the tree crowns. The dead bark and fallen branches are also flammable.

In seasonally dry climates oaks are often fire-resistant, particularly in open grasslands, as a grass fire is insufficient to ignite the scattered trees. In contrast a eucalyptus forest tends to promote fire because of the volatile and highly combustible oils produced by the leaves, as well as the production of large amounts of litter which is high in phenolics, preventing its breakdown by fungi and thus accumulates as large amounts of dry, combustible fuel.

California. In the 1850s, Eucalyptus trees were introduced to California by Australians during the California Gold Rush. Much of California has a similar climate to parts of Australia. By the early 1900s, thousands of acres of eucalypts were planted with the encouragement of the state government. It was hoped that they would provide a renewable source of timber for construction, furniture making and railroad ties. It was soon found that for the latter purpose eucalyptus was particularly unsuitable, as the ties made from eucalyptus had a tendency to twist while drying, and the dried ties were so tough that it was nearly impossible to hammer rail spikes into them.

Eucalyptus forests in California have been criticized because they compete with native plants and do not support native animals. Fire is also a problem. The 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm which destroyed almost 3,000 homes and killed 25 people was partly fueled by large numbers of eucalypts close to the houses.

In some parts of California, eucalypt forests are being removed and native trees and plants restored. Individuals have also illegally destroyed some trees and are suspected of introducing insect pests from Australia which attacks the trees.

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Eyebright

Euphrasia

(Eyebright) is a genus of about 450 species of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Orobanchaceae (formerly included in the Scrophulariaceae), with a cosmopolitan distribution. They are semi-parasitic on grasses. The common name refers to the plant's use in treating eye infections.

Many species are found in alpine or sub-alpine meadows where snow is common. Flowers usually are borne terminally, are zygomorphic, and have a lower petal shaped like a lip. The most common flower colors are purple, blue-white, and violet. Some species have yellow markings on the lower petal to act as a guide to pollinating insects.

Alternative names, mainly in herbalism, are Augentrostkraut, Euphrasiae herba, Herba Euphrasiae and ''Herbe d'Euphraise''.The plant was known to classical herbalists, but then was not referred to until mentioned again in 1305. Nicholas Culpeper assigned it to the Leo, claiming that it strengthened the brain. It was also used to treat bad memory and vertigo.

Herbalists use eyebright as a poultice with or without concurrent administration of a tea for the redness, swelling, and visual disturbances caused by blepharitis and conjunctivitis. The herb is also used for eyestrain and to relieve inflammation caused by colds, coughs, sinus infections, sore throats and hay fever.

Parts used include the leaf, the stem, and small pieces of the flowers. Typical preparations include a warm compress or tea. Eyebright preparations are also available as an extract or capsule.

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Fennel

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a plant species in the genus Foeniculum (treated as the sole species in the genus by most botanists). It is a member of the blunden family Apiaceae (formerly the Umbelliferae). It is a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses, and is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe.

Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable. Florence fennel was one of the three main herbs used in the preparation of absinthe, an alcoholic mixture which originated as a medicinal elixir in Switzerland and became, by the late 19th century, a popular alcoholic drink in France and other countries.

Fennel itself is known to be a stimulant, although many modern preparations marketed under the name "absinthe" do not make use of it. The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are widely used in many of the culinary traditions of the world. Fennel pollen is the most potent form of fennel, but also the most expensive. Dried fennel seed is an aromatic, anise-flavored spice, brown or green in color when fresh, slowly turning a dull grey as the seed ages. For cooking, green seeds are optimal.

Fennel water has properties similar to those of anise and dill water: mixed with sodium bicarbonate and syrup, these waters constitute the domestic 'Gripe Water', used to ease flatulence in infants; it also can be made into syrup to treat babies with colic or painful teething. In the Indian subcontinent, Fennel seeds are also eaten raw, sometimes with some sweetener, as it is said to improve eyesight.

Fennel tea can be used as an eye tonic, applied directly like eye drops or as a compress, to reduce soreness and inflammation of the eye. Extracts of fennel seed have been shown in animal studies to have a potential use in the treatment of glaucoma. Some people use fennel as a diuretic, and it may be an effective diuretic and a potential drug for treatment of hypertension.

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Fenugreek

Trigonella foenum-graecum

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a plant in the family Fabaceae. Fenugreek is used both as a herb (the leaves) and as a spice (the seed). It is cultivated worldwide as a semi-arid crop. It is frequently used in curry.

The name fenugreek or foenum-graecum is from Latin for "Greek hay". The plant's similarity to wild clover has likely spawned its Swedish name, "bockhornsklöver", literally meaning 'ram's horn clover'. The rhombic yellow to amber colored fenugreek seed, commonly called maithray, is frequently used in the preparation of pickles, curry powders, and pastes, and is often encountered in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent.

The young leaves and sprouts of fenugreek are eaten as greens, and the fresh or dried leaves are used to flavor other dishes. The dried leaves (called kasturi methi) have a bitter taste and a strong characteristic smell. In India, fenugreek seeds are mixed with yogurt and used as a conditioner for hair. It is one of the three ingredients of idli and dosa (Kannada). It is also one of the ingredients in the making of khakhra, a type of bread. It is used in injera/taita, a type of bread unique to Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine.

The seed is reportedly also often used in Ethiopia as a natural herbal medicine in the treatment of diabetes.

In Egypt, fenugreek seeds are prepared as tea, by being boiled then sweetened. This is a popular winter drink served in coffee shops. In other parts of the Middle East fenugreek is used in a variety of sweet confections. A cake dessert known as Helba in the Islamic world is a tasty treat during Islamic holidays. This is a semolina cake covered in sugar or maple-like syrup, and sprinkled with fenugreek seeds on top.

In Bulgaria, fenugreek seeds are used as one of the ingredients in a traditional spice mixture called sharena sol.

In the United States, where maple syrup is popular but expensive, fenugreek is widely used in lower-cost syrup products as a maple syrup flavoring such as Mapleine. Fenugreek is frequently used in the production of flavoring for artificial maple syrups. The taste of toasted fenugreek, like cumin, is additionally based on substituted pyrazines. By itself, fenugreek has a bitter taste.

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Feverfew

Chrysanthemum parthenium

Feverfew, with citrus-scented leaves and is covered by flowers reminiscent of daisies. It spreads rapidly, and they will cover a wide area after a few years. It is also commonly seen in the literature by its synonyms.

Feverfew was native to Eurasia; specifically the Balkan Peninsula, Anatolia and the Caucasus, but cultivation has spread it around the world and it is now also found in Europe, the Mediterranean, North America and Chile.

Feverfew has been used for reducing fever, for treating headaches, arthritis and digestive problems. Recently, feverfew has been used by Aveeno skincare brand to calm red and irritated skin.

If feverfew is taken for any length of time as a medicinal herb, sudden discontinuation can result in a withdrawal syndrome consisting of headache, irritability, trouble sleeping and joint pain. As with any other medicinal herb, consult with a knowledgeable practitioner before beginning treatment with this herb.

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Figwort

Scrophularia

The genus Scrophularia of the family Scrophulariaceae comprises about 200 species of herbaceous flowering plants commonly known as figworts. Species of Scrophularia all share square stems, opposite leaves and open two-lipped flowers forming clusters at the end of their stems. The genus is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but concentrated in Asia with only a few species in Europe and North America.

Scrophularia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Phymatopus hectoides. Some species in this genus are known to contain potentially useful substances, such as iridoids, and several Scrophularia species have been used in various traditional medicines around the world, such as the Ningpo figwort or Chinese figwort (S. ningpoensis). The name Scrophularia comes from scrofula, a form of tuberculosis, because several species have been used to treat this disease.

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Filé powder

Sassafras albidum

Filé powder, also called gumbo filé, is a spice made from dried and ground sassafras leaves. It is used in the making of some types of gumbo, a Creole and Cajun soup/stew. It is sprinkled sparingly over gumbo as a seasoning and a thickening agent, giving it a distinctive flavor and texture.

Filé was originally an okra substitute when okra was not in season. Safrole, the main constituent of sassafras oil which is distilled from the bark of sassafras roots.

Safrole has been shown to cause liver cancer in laboratory rats. However it has been disputed (Duke 2002) that the amount of safrole in leaves, tea and root beer is health threatening.

However, according to FoodReference.com sassafras leaves are "now treated commercially to produce a safrole-free product" and are safe for consumption. The source also notes that "the safrole free extract has, unfortunately, an inferior flavor" when compared to Filé powder containing safrole.

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Fingerroot

krachai, temu kuntji

Boesenbergia rotunda

In the west it is usually found pickled or frozen. Fingerroot is the best English name that can be devised for this South-East Asian spice, which has become generally known in the West only in recent years. Fingerroot is used as a medicine, not for cooking, in China, and it is a rare spice in the cuisines of Vietnam and Indonesia.

It is only Thai cooking, however, where fingerroot plays the role of an important flavoring. Although it is employed in lesser extent than the related spices ginger and galanga, it often goes into curries, particularly fish curries and it is a common ingredient for vegetable stews or fish soups (together with kaffir lime leaves). It can be grated or, more rarely, used in form of thin slices.

The dried rhizome has a somewhat stronger, more medical flavor and would not be used if the fresh rhizome is available (which, in Thailand, it is almost always). If you have to resort to the dried spice, you should soak it in warm water and grind it into a paste. Fingerroot is quite often available in Thai food stores, where it is easy to identify by its peculiar shape. Nevertheless, cookbooks often prove guilty in confusing it with related rhizome spices, particularly the Indonesian spice lesser galanga, whose name kencur (often in Dutch spelling kentjoer) is often misapplied to fingerroot.

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Five-spice powder(Chinese)

Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices used in Chinese cuisine. One common recipe includes tunghing or "Chinese cinnamon" (also known as rougui, the ground bark of the cassia tree, a close relative of true cinnamon), powdered cassia buds, powdered star anise and anise seed, ginger root, and ground cloves.

Another recipe for the powder consists of huajiao (Sichuan pepper), bajiao (star anise), rougui (cassia), cloves, and fennel seeds. It is used in most recipes for Cantonese roasted duck, as well as beef stew. It is also used as a marinade for Vietnamese broiled chicken. The five-spice powder mixture has followed the Chinese diaspora and has been incorporated into other national cuisines throughout Asia.

The formulae are based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food. Although this spice is used in restaurant cooking, many Chinese households do not use it in day-to-day cooking.

In Hawaii, some restaurants have it on the table.

A versatile seasoned salt can be easily made by stir-frying common salt with Five-spice powder under low heat in a dry pan until the spice and salt are well mixed.

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Fo-ti-tieng

(Gotu Kola, Asiatic Pennywort)

Centella asiatica

Centella asiatica is a small herbaceous annual plant of the family Mackinlayaceae or subfamily Mackinlayoideae of family Apiaceae, and is native to India, Sri Lanka, northern Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Melanesia, New Guinea, and other parts of Asia. Common names include Gotu Kola, Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort, Luei Gong Gen, Takip-kohol, Antanan, Pegagan, Pegaga, vallaarai, Kula kud, Bai Bua Bok, Brahmi (this last name is shared with Bacopa monnieri) and rau má (Vietnamese). In Assamese it is known as Manimuni. It is used as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. Botanical synonyms include Hydrocotyle asiatica L. and Trisanthus cochinchinensis (Lour.).In Telugu Language this is known as "Saraswathi Plant" in India.

Centella is used as a leafy green in Sri Lankan cuisine, where it is called Gotu Kola. In Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) Gotu = conical shape and Kola= leaf. It is most often prepared as mallung; a traditional accompaniment to rice and curry, and goes especially well with vegetarian dishes such as parippu' (dhal), and jackfruit or pumpkin curry. It is considered quite nutritious. In addition to finely chopped gotu kola, mallung almost always contains grated coconut and may also contain finely chopped green chilis, chili powder (1/4 teaspoon), turmeric powder (1/8 teaspoon) and lime (or lemon) juice. A variation of the extremely nutritious porridge known as Kola Kenda is also made with Gotu Kola by the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka. Kola Kenda is made with very well boiled red rice (with extra liquid), coconut milk and Gotu Kola which is liquidized. The porridge is accompanied with Jaggery for sweetness. Centella leaves are also used in the sweet "pennywort drink."

In Indonesia, the leaves are used for sambai oi peuga-ga, an Aceh type of salad, also mixed into asinan in Bogor. In Vietnam and Thailand this leaf is used for preparing a drink or can be eaten in raw form in salads or cold rolls. In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad. Gotu kola is a mild adaptogen, is mildly antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, anxiolytic, a cerebral tonic, a circulatory stimulant, a diuretic, nervine and vulnerary. When eaten raw as a salad leaf, pegaga is thought to help maintain youthfulness. In Thailand cups with gotu kola leaves are used as an afternoon pick me up. A decoction of juice from the leaves is thought to relieve hypertension. This juice is also used as a general tonic for good health. A poultice of the leaves is also used to treat open sores.

Richard Lucas claimed in a book published in 1979 that a subspecies "Hydrocotyle asiatica minor" allegedly from Sri Lanka also called "Fo ti tieng", contained a longevity factor called 'youth Vitamin X' said to be 'a tonic for the brain and endocrine glands' and maintained that extracts of the plant help circulation and skin problems.

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French sorrel

Rumex scutatus

The docks and sorrels, genus Rumex L., are a genus of about 200 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbs in the buckwheat family Polygonaceae. Members of this family are very common perennial herbs growing mainly in the northern hemisphere, but various species have been introduced almost everywhere. The leaves of most species contain oxalic acid and tannin, and many have astringent and slightly purgative qualities. Some species with particularly high levels of oxalic acid are called sorrels (including sheep's sorrel, Rumex acetosella, common sorrel, Rumex acetosa and French sorrel, Rumex scutatus), and some of these are grown as pot herbs or garden herbs for their acidic taste.

In Western Europe, dock leaves are a traditional remedy for the sting of nettles. Common Sorrel or Garden Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), often simply called sorrel and also known as Spinach Dock or Narrow-leaved Dock, is a perennial herb that is cultivated as a garden herb or leaf vegetable (pot herb). This is not related to Jamaican sorrel (roselle). Common sorrel has been cultivated for centuries.

The leaves may be puréed in soups and sauces or added to salads and shav; they have a flavor that is similar to kiwifruit or sour wild strawberries. The plant's sharp taste is due to ascorbic acid.

In Northern Nigeria, sorrel is known as Yakuwa or Sure (pronounced suuree) in Hausa. It is also used in stews usually in addition to spinach. In some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using Kuli-Kuli (traditional roasted peanut cakes with oil extracted), salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes. The recipe varies according to different levels of household income.

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Fumitory

Fumaria spp.

Fumaria is a genus of about fifty annual herbaceous flowering plants in the family Fumariaceae, native to temperate Europe and Asia, though some species are weedy or adventive in North and South America, Australia, etc. It is closely allied to Corydalis (from which it differs chiefly in having single-seeded fruits), and some botanists combine the two genera.

The common name is fumitory.
Selected species:
* Fumaria bastardii - tall ramping fumitory, bastard's fumitory
* Fumaria capreolata - white ramping fumitory
* Fumaria densiflora - dense-flowered fumitory
* Fumaria macrocarpa
* Fumaria martinii - Martin's fumitory
* Fumaria muralis - wall fumitory
* Fumaria occidentalis - western fumitory, Cornish fumitory
* Fumaria officinalis - common fumitory, drug fumitory
* Fumaria purpurea - purple ramping fumitory
* Fumaria parviflora - fineleaf fumitory
* Fumaria reuteri - few-flowered fumitory
* Fumaria schleicheri
* Fumaria vaillantii - earthsmoke

Fumitory is an important food plant for the Turtle Dove. It was traditionally thought to be good for the eyes, and to remove skin blemishes. In modern times herbalists use it to treat skin diseases, and conjunctivitis; as well as to cleanse the kidneys.

However, Howard (1987) warns that fumitory is poisonous and should only be used "under the direction of a medical herbalist."

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Galangal

Alpinia officinarum

The Galangal plant (Galanga, Blue Ginger) is a rhizome with culinary and medicinal uses. It is used in various oriental cuisines (for example in Thai cuisine Tom Yum soups and Dtom Kha Gai, Vietnamese Huenian cuisine (Tre) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, for example, in Soto. Though it is related to and resembles ginger, there is little similarity in taste.

In its raw form, galangal has a citrusy, earthy aroma, with hints of pine and soap in the flavor. It is available as a whole root, cut or powdered. The whole fresh root is very hard, and slicing it requires a sharp knife. A mixture of galangal and lime juice is used as a tonic in parts of Southeast Asia. It is said to have the effect of an aphrodisiac, and acts as a stimulant. The word galangal, or its variant galanga is used as a common name for all members of the genus Alpinia, and in common usage can refer to four plants, all in the Zingiberaceae (ginger family):
* Alpinia galanga or greater galangal
* Alpinia officinarum or lesser galangal
* Kaempferia galanga, also called kencur, aromatic ginger or sand ginger
* Boesenbergia pandurata, also called Chinese ginger or fingerroot

Alpinia galanga is also known as Chewing John, Little John Chew'' and galanga root. It is used in African-American folk medicine and voodoo folk magic.

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Galingale

Cyperus spp.

Galingale or Galangal, one of several plants in the Ginger family with aromatic rhizomes used for food and medicines. * Galingale, one of several species of Cyperus sedges with aromatic rhizomes. Some genera yield essential oils used in the perfume industry (Alpinia, Hedychium).

"Alpinia" is a genus of plants, with more than 230 species from the Ginger family (Zingiberaceae). They occur in tropical and subtropical climates of Asia and the Pacific, and are in great demand as ornamentals because of their flashy flowers. * The rhizome is used to create a tincture that is applied topically to treat fungal skin infections. * The rhizome is taken orally to enhance digestion, treat intestinal infection, Type II Diabetes, bronchitis, rheumatism, and as an aphrodisiac.

Alpinia galanga, a plant in the ginger family, is an herb used in cooking, especially in Indonesian cuisine and Thai cuisine. It is one of four plants known as galangal, and is differentiated from the others with the common name greater galangal (or simply Thai galangal). The galangals are also called blue ginger or Thai ginger. A. galanga is called laos in Indonesian and is the most common form of galangal used in cooking. It is also known as Langkwas and galanga root.

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Garam masala

Allium tuberosum

Garam masala, from Hindi garam, "hot" and masala "paste", is a basic blend of ground spices common in Indian cuisine. It is used alone or with other seasonings. The word garam refers to temperature, not spice intensity; Garam masala is pungent, but not "hot" in the same way as a chili pepper. The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with wide variety across India. Some common ingredients are black & white peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, long pepper (also known as pippali), black cumin (known as shahi jeera), cumin seeds, cinnamon; black, brown, & green cardamom, nutmeg, mace, star anise and coriander seeds. Varying combinations of these and other spices are used in regional variants of garam masala, none of which is considered more authentic than another.

Some recipes call for spices to be blended with herbs, while others grind the spices with water, vinegar or other liquids such as coconut milk to make a paste. In some recipes nuts, onion or garlic may be added. The flavors may be carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect, or in some cases a single flavor may be emphasized for special dishes where this is desired. Usually a masala is cooked before use to release its flavors and aromas. It is generally understood that the spices to be included in a garam masala will vary according to region and personal taste. A Northwest Indian garam masala usually includes cloves; green, black, and/or brown cardamom, cinnamon, cassia), mace and/or nutmeg. Black pepper can be added if the mix is to be used immediately, but if kept, the fragrance will diminish, and may change in character. Also typical of the region is the use of caraway and black cumin. The components of the mix are ground together, but not roasted. Garam masala can be had as a commercially-prepared ground mixture made from spices. Many commercial mixtures may include more of other less expensive spices and may contain dried red chili peppers, dried garlic, ginger powder, sesame, mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, bay leaves, star anise and fennel. While commercial garam masala preparations can be bought ready ground, as with all ground spice, they do not keep well and soon lose their aroma. Whole spices, which keep fresh much longer, can be ground when needed using a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder. When commercially ground garam masala is used in dishes, it is often added at the end of cooking so that the full aroma is not lost. Whole garam masala, however, is added early to the cooking fat, oil, or ghee for a more pungent flavor. Because of the deeper flavor, many Pakistani and Indian chefs will not use commercially ground garam masala and insist on making their own from whole spices and herbs. The order in which spices are added to food may be very elaborate in some dishes. In the case of the Kashmiri specialty roghan josh, for example, coriander, ginger and chilis are each ground individually. A garam masala of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, mace, cumin, turmeric and nutmeg is separately prepared. The cook tastes the dish carefully to determine the precise moment when the next spice should be added. The order is coriander initially, then the ground ginger, then the garam masala and finally the chilis.

In the chicken dish Murgo Kari (chicken curry) the procedure is also precise. First the chicken is fried and removed from the pan. Onion, garlic and fresh ginger are added to the pan and cooked slowly for 7 to 8 minutes. Next cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, cayenne and fennel are added with water and fried for a minute or so. Next tomato concassé is added with cilantro, yoghurt and salt. The chicken is returned to the pan and more water is added. Finally some garam masala is sprinkled on top, the pot is tightly covered and the dish cooks another 20 minutes before serving.

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Garden cress

Lepidium sativum

Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is a fast-growing, edible herb that is botanically related to watercress and mustard, sharing their peppery, tangy flavor and aroma. In some regions, garden cress is known as garden pepper cress, pepper grass, pepperwort or "poor man's pepper".

Agriculturally, cress is considered among the most important species of the genus of the family of mustards. Cultivation of garden cress is practical on both mass scales and on the individual scale. Garden cress is suitable for hydroponic cultivation and thrives in water that is slightly alkaline. In many local markets the demand for hydroponically-grown cress far exceeds available supply. This is partially because cress leaves are not suitable for distribution in dried form, and thus can be only partially preserved. It is common for the consumer to acquire cress as seeds or (in Europe) from markets as a box of young live shoots. Garden Cress is added to soups, sandwiches and salads for its tangy flavor. It is also eaten as sprouts, and the fresh or dried seed pods can be used as a peppery seasoning. In England cut cress shoots are typically used in sandwiches with boiled eggs, mayonnaise and salt.

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Garlic chives

Allium tuberosum(cultivated), Allium ramosum(wild)

Also known as Chinese chives, Chinese leek, ku chai, jiu cai, Oriental garlic chives. The plant has a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves unlike either onion or garlic, and straight thin white-flowering stalks that are much taller than the leaves. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. Besides its use as vegetable, it also has attractive flowers.

The cultivated form is Allium tuberosum while the wild form is placed as A. ramosum. Older references list it as A. odorum but that is now considered a synonym of A. ramosum. Some botanists would place both wild and cultivated forms in A. ramosum since many intermediate forms exist. A relatively new vegetable in the English-speaking world but well-known in Asian cuisine, the flavor of garlic chives is more like garlic than chives, though much milder. Both leaves and the stalks of the flowers are used as a flavoring similarly to chives, green onions or garlic and are used as a stir fry ingredient. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of egg, shrimp and pork. They are a common ingredient in Chinese jiaozi dumplings and the Japanese and Korean equivalents. The flowers may also be used as a spice. In Vietnam, the leaves of garlic chives are cut up into short pieces and used as the only vegetable in a soup of broth and sliced pork kidneys. Many garden centers carry it as do most Asian supermarkets.

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Garlic

Allium sativum

Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion family Alliaceae. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, and chive.

Garlic has been used throughout recorded history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It has a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. A bulb of garlic, the most commonly used part of the plant, is divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. Single clove garlic (also called Pearl garlic or Solo garlic) also exists-it originates in the Yunnan province of China. The cloves are used as seed, for consumption (raw or cooked), and for medicinal purposes. The leaves, stems (scape), and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are also edible and are most often consumed while immature and still tender. The papery, protective layers of "skin" over various parts of the plant and the roots attached to the bulb are the only parts not considered palatable.

Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavor as a seasoning or condiment. It is a fundamental component in many or most dishes of various regions, including eastern Asia, south Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, northern Africa, southern Europe, and parts of South and Central America. The flavor varies in intensity and aroma with the different cooking methods. It is often paired with onion, tomato, or ginger. The parchment-like skin is much like the skin of an onion and is typically removed before using in raw or cooked form. An alternative is to cut the top off the bulb, coat the cloves by dribbling olive oil (or other oil-based seasoning) over them, and roast them in an oven. The garlic softens and can be extracted from the cloves by squeezing the (root) end of the bulb, or individually by squeezing one end of the clove. In Japan and Korea, heads of garlic are fermented at high temperature; the resulting product, called black garlic, is sweet and syrupy, and is now being sold in the United States also.

Garlic may be applied to breads to create a variety of classic cuisines such as garlic bread, garlic toast, bruschetta, crostini and canapé.

Oils are often flavored with garlic cloves. These infused oils are used to season all categories of vegetables, meats, breads and pasta.

In some cuisine, the young bulbs are pickled for 3-6 weeks in a mixture of sugar, salt, and spices. In eastern Europe, the shoots are pickled and eaten as an appetizer.

Immature scapes are tender and edible. They are also known as "garlic spears", "stems", or "tops". Scapes generally have a milder taste than cloves. They are often used in stir frying or prepared like asparagus. Garlic leaves are a popular vegetable in many parts of Asia. The leaves are cut, cleaned, and then stir-fried with eggs, meat, or vegetables. Mixing garlic with eggs and olive oil produces aioli. Garlic, oil, and a chunky base produce skordalia. Blending garlic, almond, oil, and soaked bread produces ajoblanco.

Garlic powder has a different taste than fresh garlic. If used as a substitute for fresh garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder is equivalent to one clove of garlic.

Domestically, garlic is stored warm (above 18°C 64°F) and dry to keep it dormant (so that it does not sprout). It is traditionally hung; softneck varieties are often braided in strands, called "plaits" or grappes. Garlic is often kept in oil to produce flavored oil; however, the practice requires measures to be taken to prevent the garlic from spoiling. Untreated garlic kept in oil can support the growth of deadly Clostridium botulinum. Refrigeration will not assure the safety of garlic kept in oil. Peeled cloves may be stored in wine or vinegar in the refrigerator. Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer. Animal studies, and some early investigational studies in humans, have suggested possible cardiovascular benefits of garlic. A Czech study found that garlic supplementation reduced accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls of animals. Another study had similar results, with garlic supplementation significantly reducing aortic plaque deposits of cholesterol-fed rabbits. Another study showed that supplementation with garlic extract inhibited vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol.

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Ginger

Zingiber officinale

Ginger is a tuber which is consumed whole as a delicacy, medicine or used as spice for cooking or tea. It is the underground stem of the ginger plant, Zingiber officinale.

The ginger plant has a long history of cultivation, having originated in Asia and is grown in India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. It is sometimes called "root ginger" to distinguish it from other things that share the name "ginger". Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be stewed in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added as a sweetener; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes and Chinese cuisine to flavor dishes such as seafood or mutton and vegetarian recipes. Powdered dry ginger root (ginger powder) is typically used to spice gingerbread and other recipes. Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 parts fresh for 1 part ground, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are not exactly interchangeable. Ginger is also made into candy, is used as a flavoring for cookies, crackers and cake, and is the main flavor in ginger ale-a sweet , carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage , as well as the similar, but spicier ginger beer which is popular in the Caribbean.

Fresh ginger should be peeled before being eaten. For storage, the ginger should be wrapped tightly in a towel and placed in a plastic bag, and can be kept for about three weeks in a refrigerator and up to three months in a freezer. The medical form of ginger historically was called "Jamaica ginger"; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative, and used frequently for dyspepsia and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines. Ginger is on the FDA's 'generally recognized as safe' list, though it does interact with some medications, including warfarin. Ginger is contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones as the herb promotes the release of bile from the gallbladder. Ginger may also decrease joint pain from arthritis, though studies on this have been inconsistent, and may have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease.

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Ginkgo

(yín xìng)

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo nuts Ginkgo biloba Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba; in Chinese, yín xìng), also known as the Maidenhair Tree after Adiantum, is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The ginkgo is classified in its own division, the Ginkgophyta, comprising the single class Ginkgoopsida, order Ginkgoales, family Ginkgoaceae, genus Ginkgo and is the only extant species within this group. It is one of the best-known examples of a living fossil, because Ginkgoales other than G. biloba are not known from the fossil record after the Pliocene.

For centuries it was thought to be extinct in the wild, but is now known to grow in at least two small areas in Zhejiang province in Eastern China, in the Tian Mu Shan Reserve. However, recent studies indicate high genetic uniformity among ginkgo trees from these areas, arguing against a natural origin of these populations and suggesting that the ginkgo trees in these areas may have been planted and preserved by Chinese monks over a period of about 1000 years. Whether native ginkgo populations still exist has not been demonstrated unequivocally and is therefore uncertain. Ginkgo has long been cultivated in China; some planted trees at temples are believed to be over 1,500 years old. The first record of Europeans encountering it is in 1690 in Japanese temple gardens, where the tree was seen by the German botanist Engelbert Kaempfer. Because of its status in Buddhism and Confucianism, the Ginkgo is also widely planted in Korea and parts of Japan; in both areas, some naturalization has occurred, with Ginkgos seeding into natural forests. The nut-like gametophytes inside the seeds are particularly esteemed in Asia, and are a traditional Chinese food. Ginkgo nuts are used in congee, and are often served at special occasions such as weddings and the Chinese New Year (as part of the vegetarian dish called Buddha's delight). In Chinese culture, they are believed to have health benefits; some also consider them to have aphrodisiac qualities. Japanese cooks add Ginkgo seeds (called ginnan) to dishes such as chawanmushi, and cooked seeds are often eaten along with other dishes. Extracts of Ginkgo leaves contain flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides) and have been used pharmaceutically. Ginkgo supplements are usually taken in the range of 40-200 mg per day.

Recently, careful clinical trials have shown Ginkgo to be ineffective in treating dementia or preventing the onset of Alzheimer's Disease in normal people. When eaten by children, in large quantities (over 5 seeds a day), or over a long period of time, the raw gametophyte (meat) of the seed can cause poisoning. Ginkgo biloba leaves contain long chain alkylphenols together with the extremely potent allergens, the urushiols (similar to poison ivy). Individuals with a history of strong allergic reactions to poison ivy, mangos, and other usushiol producing plants should not consume Ginkgo containing pills, combinations, or extracts.

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Ginkgo

(yín xìng)

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo nuts Ginkgo biloba Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba; in Chinese, yín xìng), also known as the Maidenhair Tree after Adiantum, is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The ginkgo is classified in its own division, the Ginkgophyta, comprising the single class Ginkgoopsida, order Ginkgoales, family Ginkgoaceae, genus Ginkgo and is the only extant species within this group. It is one of the best-known examples of a living fossil, because Ginkgoales other than G. biloba are not known from the fossil record after the Pliocene.

For centuries it was thought to be extinct in the wild, but is now known to grow in at least two small areas in Zhejiang province in Eastern China, in the Tian Mu Shan Reserve. However, recent studies indicate high genetic uniformity among ginkgo trees from these areas, arguing against a natural origin of these populations and suggesting that the ginkgo trees in these areas may have been planted and preserved by Chinese monks over a period of about 1000 years. Whether native ginkgo populations still exist has not been demonstrated unequivocally and is therefore uncertain. Ginkgo has long been cultivated in China; some planted trees at temples are believed to be over 1,500 years old. The first record of Europeans encountering it is in 1690 in Japanese temple gardens, where the tree was seen by the German botanist Engelbert Kaempfer. Because of its status in Buddhism and Confucianism, the Ginkgo is also widely planted in Korea and parts of Japan; in both areas, some naturalization has occurred, with Ginkgos seeding into natural forests. The nut-like gametophytes inside the seeds are particularly esteemed in Asia, and are a traditional Chinese food. Ginkgo nuts are used in congee, and are often served at special occasions such as weddings and the Chinese New Year (as part of the vegetarian dish called Buddha's delight). In Chinese culture, they are believed to have health benefits; some also consider them to have aphrodisiac qualities. Japanese cooks add Ginkgo seeds (called ginnan) to dishes such as chawanmushi, and cooked seeds are often eaten along with other dishes. Extracts of Ginkgo leaves contain flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids (ginkgolides, bilobalides) and have been used pharmaceutically. Ginkgo supplements are usually taken in the range of 40-200 mg per day.

Recently, careful clinical trials have shown Ginkgo to be ineffective in treating dementia or preventing the onset of Alzheimer's Disease in normal people. When eaten by children, in large quantities (over 5 seeds a day), or over a long period of time, the raw gametophyte (meat) of the seed can cause poisoning. Ginkgo biloba leaves contain long chain alkylphenols together with the extremely potent allergens, the urushiols (similar to poison ivy). Individuals with a history of strong allergic reactions to poison ivy, mangos, and other usushiol producing plants should not consume Ginkgo containing pills, combinations, or extracts.

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Ginseng

(American ginseng)

Panax quinquefolius

Ginseng is each of eleven species of slow-growing perennial plants with fleshy roots, in the Panax genus, in the family Araliaceae. It grows in the Northern Hemisphere in eastern Asia (mostly northern China, Korea, and eastern Siberia), typically in cooler climates; Panax vietnamensis, discovered in Vietnam, is the southernmost ginseng found. Korean ginseng is widely considered the best quality. This article focuses on the Series Panax ginsengs, which are the adaptogenic herbs, principally Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius. Ginseng is characterized by the presence of ginsenosides.

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not a true ginseng, but a different plant that was renamed as "Siberian ginseng" as a marketing ploy; instead of a fleshy root, it has a woody root; instead of ginsenosides, eleutherosides is the active compound. Eleutherosides are classified as another adaptogen. Both American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) roots are taken orally as adaptogens, aphrodisiacs, nourishing stimulants, and in the treatment of type II diabetes, as well as sexual dysfunction in men. The root is most often available in dried form, either whole or sliced. Ginseng leaf, although not as highly prized, is sometimes also used; as with the root it is most often available in dried form.

This ingredient may also be found in some popular energy drinks: usually the "tea" varieties or functional foods. Usually ginseng is in subclinical doses and it does not have measurable medicinal effects. It can be found in cosmetic preparations as well, with similar lack of effect.

Ginseng root can be double steamed with chicken meat as a soup.

Wild ginseng is ginseng that has not been planted and cultivated domestically, rather it is that which grows naturally and is harvested from wherever it is found to be growing. Wild ginseng is relatively rare and even increasingly endangered, due in large part to high demand for the product in recent years, which has led to the wild plants being sought out and harvested faster than new ones can grow (it requires years for a ginseng root to reach maturity). Wild ginseng can be either Asian or American and can be processed to be red ginseng.

There are woods grown American ginseng programs in Maine, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia. and United Plant Savers has been encouraging the woods planting of ginseng both to restore natural habitats and to remove pressure from any remaining wild ginseng, and they offer both advice and sources of rootlets. Woods grown plants have comparable value to wild grown ginseng of similar age.

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Ginseng, Siberian

Eleutherococcus senticosus

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not a true ginseng, but a different plant that was renamed as "Siberian ginseng" as a marketing ploy; instead of a fleshy root, it has a woody root; instead of ginsenosides, eleutherosides is the active compound. Eleutherosides are classified as another adaptogen.

The herb grows in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming low undergrowth or is found in groups in thickets and edges. E. senticosus is sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland.

Its native habitat is East Asia, China, Japan and Russia. E. senticosus is broadly tolerant of soils, growing in sandy, loamy and heavy clay soils with acid, neutral or alkaline chemistry and including soils of low nutritional value. It can tolerate sun or dappled shade and some degree of pollution. E. senticosus is a deciduous shrub growing to 2m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It flowers in July in most habitats.

The flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects. The herb is an adaptogen, is anticholesteremic, is mildly anti-inflammatory, is antioxidant, and is a nervine and an immune tonic. It is useful when the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) is depleted. Symptoms of this condition include fatigue, stress, neurasthenia and sore muscles associated with the hypofunctioning of the endocrine system, and adrenal exhaustion indicated by a quivering tongue, dark circles under the eyes, and dilating/contracting pupils. Eleuthero may alleviate these symptoms. E. senticosus is an adaptogen which has a wide range of health benefits attributed to its use. Currently, most of the research to support the medicinal use of E. senticosus is in Russian or Korean.
* increased endurance
* memory improvement
* anti-inflammatory
* immunogenic
* chemoprotective
* radiological protection

Eleutherococcus senticosis is more tonifying than the true Ginsengs (Panax sp.). Taken regularly, it enhances immune function, decreases cortisol levels and inflammatory response, and it promotes improved cognitive and physical performance.

Interactions and side effects
* People with medicated high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking E. senticosus as it may reduce their need for medication.
* E. senticosus may cause light sleep in some people, principally those who are "wired". Users are recommended not to take it in the evening.
* E. senticosus will enhance the effectiveness of mycin class antibiotics.
* E. senticosus when purchased from non-GMP sources has occasionally been adulterated with Periploca graeca which can potentiate digoxin or similar drugs: however this is not an interaction of E. senticosus.

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Goat's Rue

Galega officinalis

Galega officinalis, commonly known as "goat's rue, French lilac, Italian fitch or professor-weed", is an herbaceous plant in the Faboideae subfamily. It is native to the Middle East, but it has been naturalized in Europe, western Asia, and western Pakistan.

The plant has been extensively cultivated as a forage crop, an ornamental, a bee plant and as green manure. In 1891, goat's rue was introduced to Cache County, Utah, for use as a forage crop. It escaped cultivation and is now a weed and agricultural pest, though it is still confined to that county. As a result it has been placed on the Federal Noxious Weed List in the United States. It was collected in Colorado, Connecticut and New York prior to the 1930s and in Maine and Pennsylvania in the 1960s, but no more collections have been made in these areas since and the populations are presumed to have died out.

Galega officinalis has been known since the Middle Ages for relieving the symptoms of diabetes mellitus. Upon analysis, it turned out to contain guanidine, a substance that decreases blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance.

Goat's Rue is also cited by the SAS Survival Guide by John "Lofty" Wiseman, as having a sedative effect on fish. The roots and flowers are the most potent, but the most common method is to simply crush the entire plant and throw into a body of water with restricted flow. The fish that then float to the top are safe to consume.

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Golden Rod

Solidago

The goldenrod is a yellow flowering plant in the Family Asteraceae. About 100 perennial species make up the genus Solidago, most being found in the meadows and pastures, along roads, ditches and waste areas in North America. There are a handful of species from each of Mexico, South America, and Eurasia. Goldenrods can be used for decoration and making tea. Goldenrods are, in some places, held as a sign of good luck or good fortune; but they are considered weeds by others. Honey from goldenrods often is dark and strong due to admixtures of other nectars. However when there is a strong honey flow, a light (often water white), spicy-tasting honey is produced. While the bees are ripening the honey there is a rank odor and taste, but finished honey is much milder.

Inventor Thomas Edison experimented with goldenrod to produce rubber, which it contains naturally. Edison created a fertilization and cultivation process to maximize the rubber content in each plant. His experiments produced a 12 foot tall plant that yielded as much as 12 percent rubber. The rubber produced through Edison's process was resilient and long lasting. The tires on the Model T given to him by his friend Henry Ford were made from goldenrod. Examples of the rubber can still be found in his laboratory, elastic and rot free after more than 50 years. However, even though Edison turned his research over to the U.S. government a year before his death, goldenrod rubber never went beyond the experimental stage.

The variety Solidago virgaurea is used as a traditional kidney tonic. It is used by practitioners of herbal medicine as an agent to counter inflammation and irritation of the kidneys when bacterial infection or stones are present. Goldenrod has also been used as part of a tincture to aid in cleansing of the kidney/bladder during a healing fast, in conjunction with Potassium broth and specific juices. 'Solidago odora' is also sold as a medicinal, for these issues: mucus, kidney/bladder cleansing and stones, colds, digestion.


* Solidago albopilosa E.L. Braun : Whitehair Goldenrod
* Solidago altiplanities C.& J. Taylor : High Plains Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta Ait. : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta. var. arguta : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta var. boottii (Hook.) Palmer & Steyermark : Boott's Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta var. caroliniana Gray : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta var. harrisii (Steele) Cronq. : Harris' Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta var. neurolepis (Fern.) Steyermark : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago auriculata Shuttlw. ex Blake : Eared Goldenrod
* Solidago bicolor L. : White Goldenrod
* Solidago brachyphylla Chapman : Dixie Goldenrod
* Solidago buckleyi Torr. & Gray : Buckley's Goldenrod (VU)
* Solidago caesia L. : Wreath Goldenrod
* Solidago caesia var. caesia : Wreath Goldenrod
* Solidago caesia var. curtisii (Torr. & Gray) Wood : Mountain Decumbent Goldenrod
* Solidago calcicola Fern. : Limestone Goldenrod
* Solidago californica Nutt. : California Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis L. : Canada Goldenrod, Canadian Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. canadensis : Canada Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. gilvocanescens Rydb. : Shorthair Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. hargeri Fern. : Harger's Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. lepida (DC.) Cronq. : Canada Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. salebrosa (Piper) M.E. Jones : Salebrosa Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. scabra Torr. & Gray : Canada Goldenrod
* Solidago cutleri Fern. : Cutler's alpine Goldenrod
* Solidago deamii Fern. : Deam's Goldenrod
* Solidago discoidea Ell. : Rayless Mock Goldenrod
* Solidago fistulosa P. Mill. : Pinebarren Goldenrod
* Solidago flaccidifolia Small : Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago flexicaulis L. : Zigzag Goldenrod
* Solidago gattingeri Chapman : Gattinger's Goldenrod
* Solidago gigantea Ait. : Giant Goldenrod
* Solidago glomerata Michx. : Clustered Goldenrod
* Solidago gracillima Torr. & Gray : Virginia Goldenrod
* Solidago guiradonis Gray : Guirado Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida Muhl. ex Willd. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida var. arnoglossa Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida var. hispida : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida var. lanata (Hook.) Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida var. tonsa Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago juliae Nesom : Julia's Goldenrod
* Solidago juncea Ait. : Early Goldenrod
* Solidago latissimifolia P. Mill. : Elliott's Goldenrod
* Solidago leavenworthii Torr. & Gray : Leavenworth's Goldenrod
* Solidago ludoviciana (Gray) Small : Louisiana Goldenrod
* Solidago macrophylla Pursh : Largeleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis Nutt. : Missouri Goldenrod
* Solidago misso * Solidago albopilosa E.L. Braun : Whitehair Goldenrod
* Solidago altiplanities C.& J. Taylor : High Plains Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta Ait. : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta. var. arguta : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta var. boottii (Hook.) Palmer & Steyermark : Boott's Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta var. caroliniana Gray : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta var. harrisii (Steele) Cronq. : Harris' Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta var. neurolepis (Fern.) Steyermark : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago auriculata Shuttlw. ex Blake : Eared Goldenrod
* Solidago bicolor L. : White Goldenrod
* Solidago brachyphylla Chapman : Dixie Goldenrod
* Solidago buckleyi Torr. & Gray : Buckley's Goldenrod (VU)
* Solidago caesia L. : Wreath Goldenrod
* Solidago caesia var. caesia : Wreath Goldenrod
* Solidago caesia var. curtisii (Torr. & Gray) Wood : Mountain Decumbent Goldenrod
* Solidago calcicola Fern. : Limestone Goldenrod
* Solidago californica Nutt. : California Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis L. : Canada Goldenrod, Canadian Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. canadensis : Canada Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. gilvocanescens Rydb. : Shorthair Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. hargeri Fern. : Harger's Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. lepida (DC.) Cronq. : Canada Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. salebrosa (Piper) M.E. Jones : Salebrosa Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis var. scabra Torr. & Gray : Canada Goldenrod
* Solidago cutleri Fern. : Cutler's alpine Goldenrod
* Solidago deamii Fern. : Deam's Goldenrod
* Solidago discoidea Ell. : Rayless Mock Goldenrod
* Solidago fistulosa P. Mill. : Pinebarren Goldenrod
* Solidago flaccidifolia Small : Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago flexicaulis L. : Zigzag Goldenrod
* Solidago gattingeri Chapman : Gattinger's Goldenrod
* Solidago gigantea Ait. : Giant Goldenrod
* Solidago glomerata Michx. : Clustered Goldenrod
* Solidago gracillima Torr. & Gray : Virginia Goldenrod
* Solidago guiradonis Gray : Guirado Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida Muhl. ex Willd. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida var. arnoglossa Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida var. hispida : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida var. lanata (Hook.) Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida var. tonsa Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago juliae Nesom : Julia's Goldenrod
* Solidago juncea Ait. : Early Goldenrod
* Solidago latissimifolia P. Mill. : Elliott's Goldenrod
* Solidago leavenworthii Torr. & Gray : Leavenworth's Goldenrod
* Solidago ludoviciana (Gray) Small : Louisiana Goldenrod
* Solidago macrophylla Pursh : Largeleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis Nutt. : Missouri Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis var. fasciculata Holz. : Missouri Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis var. missouriensis : Missouri Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis var. tenuissima (Woot. & Standl.) C.& J. Taylor : Missouri Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis Nutt. var. tolmieana (Gray) Cronq. : Tolmies' Goldenrod
* Solidago mollis Bartl. : Velvety Goldenrod
* Solidago mollis var. angustata Shinners : Velvety Goldenrod
* Solidago mollis var. mollis : Velvety Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata Ait. : Rocky Mountain Goldenrod, Alpine Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata var. arctica (DC.) Fern. : Arctic Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata var. multiradiata : Rocky Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata var. scopulorum Gray : Manyray Goldenrod
* Solidago nana Nutt. : Baby Goldenrod
* Solidago nemoralis Ait. : Gray Goldenrod, American Western Goldenrod
* Solidago nemoralis var. longipetiolata (Mackenzie & Bush) Palmer & Steyermark : Gray Goldenrod
* Solidago nemoralis var. nemoralis : Gray Goldenrod
* Solidago odora Ait. : Anise-scented Goldenrod, Sweet Goldenrod
* Solidago odora var. chapmanii (Gray) Cronq. : Chapman's Goldenrod
* Solidago odora var. odora : Anise-scented Goldenrod
* Solidago ouachitensis C.& J. Taylor : Ouachita Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago patula Muhl. ex Willd. : Roundleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago patula var. patula : Roundleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago patula var. strictula Torr. & Gray : Roundleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago petiolaris Ait. : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
* Solidago petiolaris var. angusta (Torr. & Gray) Gray : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
* Solidago petiolaris var. petiolaris : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
* Solidago pinetorum Small : Small's Goldenrod
* Solidago plumosa Small : Plumed Goldenrod
* Solidago porteri Small : Porter's Goldenrod
* Solidago puberula Nutt. : Downy Goldenrod (VU)
* Solidago puberula var. puberula : Downy Goldenrod
* Solidago puberula var. pulverulenta (Nutt.) Chapman : Downy Goldenrod
* Solidago pulchra Small : Carolina Goldenrod
* Solidago radula Nutt. : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago radula var. laeta (Greene) Fern. : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago radula var. radula : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago radula var. stenolepis Fern. : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago roanensis Porter : Roan Mountain Goldenrod (Endangered)
* Solidago rugosa P. Mill. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod, Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. aspera (Ait.) Cronq. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. rugosa : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. sphagnophila Graves : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. villosa (Pursh) Fern. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rupestris Raf. : Eock Goldenrod
* Solidago sciaphila Steele : Shadowy Goldenrod
* Solidago sempervirens L. : Seaside Goldenrod, Beach Goldenrod
* Solidago sempervirens var. mexicana (L.) Fern. : Seaside Goldenrod
* Solidago sempervirens var. sempervirens : Seaside Goldenrod
* Solidago shortii Torr. & Gray : Short's Goldenrod (Endangered)
* Solidago simplex Kunth : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii (Porter) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. gillmanii (Gray) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. monticola (Porter) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. ontarioensis (Ringius) Ringius : Ontario Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. racemosa (Greene) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. randii (Porter) Kartesz & Gandhi : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. simplex : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. nana (Gray) Ringius : Dwarf Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. simplex : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. spathulata (DC.) Cronq. : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simulans Fern. : Fall Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa Nutt. : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. erecta (Pursh) MacM. : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. jejunifolia (Steele) Cronq. : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. pallida Porter :Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. rigidiuscula Torr. & Gray : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. speciosa : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago spectabilis (D.C. Eat.) Gray : Nevada Goldenrod
* Solidago spectabilis var. confinis (Gray) Cronq. : Nevada Goldenrod
* Solidago spectabilis var. spectabilis : Nevada Goldenrod
* Solidago spathulata : Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago sphacelata Raf. : Autumn Goldenrod
* Solidago spithamaea M.A. Curtis : Blue Ridge Goldenrod
* Solidago squarrosa Nutt. : Stout Goldenrod, Big Goldenrod
* Solidago stricta Ait. : Wand Goldenrod
* Solidago tortifolia Ell. : Twistleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago tenuifolia : Slender Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa Nutt. : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa var. levipes (Fern.) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa var. linoides (Torr. & Gray) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa var. terrae-novae (Torr. & Gray) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa. var. uliginosa : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia Muhl. ex Willd. : Elmleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia var. microphylla Gray : Elmleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri Cronq. : Palmer's Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia : Elmleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago velutina DC. : Threenerve Goldenrod
* Solidago verna M.A. Curtis : Springflowering Goldenrod
* Solidago virgaurea : Goldenrod, Aaron's Rod
* Solidago wrightii Gray : Wright's Goldenrod
* Solidago wrightii var. adenophora Blake : Wright's Goldenrod
* Solidago wrightii var. wrightii : Wright's Goldenrod uriensis var. fasciculata Holz. : Missouri Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis var. missouriensis : Missouri Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis var. tenuissima (Woot. & Standl.) C.& J. Taylor : Missouri Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis Nutt. var. tolmieana (Gray) Cronq. : Tolmies' Goldenrod
* Solidago mollis Bartl. : Velvety Goldenrod
* Solidago mollis var. angustata Shinners : Velvety Goldenrod
* Solidago mollis var. mollis : Velvety Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata Ait. : Rocky Mountain Goldenrod, Alpine Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata var. arctica (DC.) Fern. : Arctic Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata var. multiradiata : Rocky Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata var. scopulorum Gray : Manyray Goldenrod
* Solidago nana Nutt. : Baby Goldenrod
* Solidago nemoralis Ait. : Gray Goldenrod, American Western Goldenrod
* Solidago nemoralis var. longipetiolata (Mackenzie & Bush) Palmer & Steyermark : Gray Goldenrod
* Solidago nemoralis var. nemoralis : Gray Goldenrod
* Solidago odora Ait. : Anise-scented Goldenrod, Sweet Goldenrod
* Solidago odora var. chapmanii (Gray) Cronq. : Chapman's Goldenrod
* Solidago odora var. odora : Anise-scented Goldenrod
* Solidago ouachitensis C.& J. Taylor : Ouachita Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago patula Muhl. ex Willd. : Roundleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago patula var. patula : Roundleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago patula var. strictula Torr. & Gray : Roundleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago petiolaris Ait. : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
* Solidago petiolaris var. angusta (Torr. & Gray) Gray : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
* Solidago petiolaris var. petiolaris : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
* Solidago pinetorum Small : Small's Goldenrod
* Solidago plumosa Small : Plumed Goldenrod
* Solidago porteri Small : Porter's Goldenrod
* Solidago puberula Nutt. : Downy Goldenrod (VU)
* Solidago puberula var. puberula : Downy Goldenrod
* Solidago puberula var. pulverulenta (Nutt.) Chapman : Downy Goldenrod
* Solidago pulchra Small : Carolina Goldenrod
* Solidago radula Nutt. : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago radula var. laeta (Greene) Fern. : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago radula var. radula : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago radula var. stenolepis Fern. : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago roanensis Porter : Roan Mountain Goldenrod (Endangered)
* Solidago rugosa P. Mill. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod, Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. aspera (Ait.) Cronq. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. rugosa : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. sphagnophila Graves : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. villosa (Pursh) Fern. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rupestris Raf. : Eock Goldenrod
* Solidago sciaphila Steele : Shadowy Goldenrod
* Solidago sempervirens L. : Seaside Goldenrod, Beach Goldenrod
* Solidago sempervirens var. mexicana (L.) Fern. : Seaside Goldenrod
* Solidago sempervirens var. sempervirens : Seaside Goldenrod
* Solidago shortii Torr. & Gray : Short's Goldenrod (Endangered)
* Solidago simplex Kunth : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii (Porter) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. gillmanii (Gray) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. monticola (Porter) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. ontarioensis (Ringius) Ringius : Ontario Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. racemosa (Greene) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. randii (Porter) Kartesz & Gandhi : Rand's Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. simplex : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. nana (Gray) Ringius : Dwarf Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. simplex : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. spathulata (DC.) Cronq. : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simulans Fern. : Fall Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa Nutt. : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. erecta (Pursh) MacM. : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. jejunifolia (Steele) Cronq. : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. pallida Porter :Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. rigidiuscula Torr. & Gray : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa var. speciosa : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago spectabilis (D.C. Eat.) Gray : Nevada Goldenrod
* Solidago spectabilis var. confinis (Gray) Cronq. : Nevada Goldenrod
* Solidago spectabilis var. spectabilis : Nevada Goldenrod
* Solidago spathulata : Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago sphacelata Raf. : Autumn Goldenrod
* Solidago spithamaea M.A. Curtis : Blue Ridge Goldenrod
* Solidago squarrosa Nutt. : Stout Goldenrod, Big Goldenrod
* Solidago stricta Ait. : Wand Goldenrod
* Solidago tortifolia Ell. : Twistleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago tenuifolia : Slender Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa Nutt. : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa var. levipes (Fern.) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa var. linoides (Torr. & Gray) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa var. terrae-novae (Torr. & Gray) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa. var. uliginosa : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia Muhl. ex Willd. : Elmleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia var. microphylla Gray : Elmleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri Cronq. : Palmer's Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia : Elmleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago velutina DC. : Threenerve Goldenrod
* Solidago verna M.A. Curtis : Springflowering Goldenrod
* Solidago virgaurea : Goldenrod, Aaron's Rod
* Solidago wrightii Gray : Wright's Goldenrod
* Solidago wrightii var. adenophora Blake : Wright's Goldenrod
* Solidago wrightii var. wrightii : Wright's Goldenrod

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Golden Seal

(Orange-root, Orangeroot)

Hydrastis canadensis

Goldenseal (Orange-root, Orangeroot; Hydrastis canadensis) is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States. It may be distinguished by its thick, yellow knotted rootstock. It bears a single berry like a large raspberry with 10-30 seeds in the summer.

Herbal properties (whole herb): bitter, hepatic, alterative, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, laxative, emmenagogue, and oxytocic. Goldenseal is often used as a multi-purpose remedy, having many different medicinal properties. In addition to working as a topical antimicrobial, it can also be taken internally as a digestion aid, and can remove canker sores when gargled with. Goldenseal may be purchased in salve, tablet, tincture form, or as a bulk powder. Goldenseal is often used to boost the medicinal effects of other herbs it is blended or formulated with.

At the time of the European conquest of the Americas, goldenseal was in extensive use among certain Native American tribes of North America, both as a medicine and as a coloring material. The Cherokee use of goldenseal as a cure for cancer. Ellingwood's American Materia Medica lists goldenseal as being useful for functional disorders of the stomach, catarrhal gastritis, atonic dyspepsia, chronic constipation, hepatic congestion, cirrhosis, protracted fevers, cerebral engorgements of a chronic character, uterine subinvolution, in menorrhagia or metrorrhagia from the displaced uterus, post partum hemorrhage, catarrhal, ulcerating, aphthous, indolent and otherwise unhealthy conditions of mucous surfaces, leucorrhea, gallstones and breast swellings associated with the menses. While most people assume that goldenseal has direct antimicrobial effects, it may work by more diffuse means.

One traditional use of goldenseal is as a mucous membrane tonic. Note that it does not have to come in contact with the mucous membranes to have this effect. Hold some goldenseal in your mouth for a minute or two and you can feel the effect on the mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses. Traditional doctors stated that goldenseal increases the secretion of the mucous membranes. At the same time, goldenseal contains astringent factors, which also counter that flow. Thus it was referred to as a mucous membrane "alterative", increasing deficient flow but decreasing excessive flow.

Most of the research that is popularly attributed to goldenseal has actually been into the constituent berberine, which goldenseal has in common with a variety of other medicines including Oregon grape, coptis, phellodendron, barberry and yellow root. Constituents frequently act differently in isolation than a whole herb acts in the body. In 1996, the committee of the European Union that regulates drugs placed barberry (Berberis vulgaris) in a table of Herbal Drugs with Serious Risks without any Accepted Benefit because it contains berberine. This recommendation is so at odds with the long traditional use of barberry and other berberine-containing herbs that it appears incorrect.

The lethal dose (LD50) of berberine isolates in humans is thought to be 27.5 mg/kg. Berberine is absorbed slowly orally; it achieves peak concentrations in 4 hours and takes 8 hours to clear. Berberine is excreted in the urine and human studies of berberine show evidence it can be absorbed through the skin. Pharmacokinetic data is not available for hydrastine or goldenseal root.

Goldenseal is in serious danger due to overharvesting. Goldenseal became popular in the mid-nineteenth century. By 1905, the herb was much less plentiful, partially due to overharvesting and partially to habitat destruction. Wild goldenseal is now so rare that the herb is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. More than 60 million goldenseal plants are picked each year without being replaced.

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Golpar

(Persian Hogweed)

Heracleum persicum

Persian Hogweed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to Persia or modern day Iran. It grows wild in humid alpine regions in Persia, as well in some adjacent areas.

The seeds are used as a spice in Persian cooking. These very thin small seedpods are aromatic and bitterish. They are usually sold in powdered form and are often erroneously sold as "Angelica Seeds." The powder is sprinkled over broad beans, lentils and other legumes and on potatoes. Golpar is also used in soups and stews. It is often used sprinkled over pomegranate seeds. Golpar is also mixed with vinegar into which lettuce leaves are dipped before eating. In Persian cuisine, the petals are used in the spice mixture advieh to flavor rice dishes, as well as in chicken and bean dishes.

The tender leaves and leaf stalks are also pickled (known as golpar toraei,). The plant is used medicinally to relieve flatulence and stomach aches. It is also said to disinfect the stomach, and cure a poor appetite.

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Gotu Kola

(Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort)

Centella asiatica

Centella asiatica is a small herbaceous annual plant of the family Mackinlayaceae or subfamily Mackinlayoideae of family Apiaceae, and is native to India, Sri Lanka, northern Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Melanesia, New Guinea, and other parts of Asia. Common names include Gotu Kola, Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort, Luei Gong Gen, Takip-kohol, Antanan, Pegagan, and Pegaga.

Centella is used as a leafy green in Sri Lankan cuisine, where it is called Gotu Kola. In Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) Gotu = conical shape and Kola= leaf. It is most often prepared as mallung; a traditional accompaniment to rice and curry, and goes especially well with vegetarian dishes such as parippu' (dhal), and jackfruit or pumpkin curry. It is considered quite nutritious. In addition to finely chopped gotu kola, mallung almost always contains grated coconut and may also contain finely chopped green chilis, chili powder (1/4 teaspoon), turmeric powder (1/8 teaspoon) and lime (or lemon) juice. A variation of the extremely nutritious porridge known as Kola Kenda is also made with Gotu Kola by the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka. Kola Kenda is made with very well boiled red rice (with extra liquid), coconut milk and Gotu Kola which is liquidized. The porridge is accompanied with Jaggery for sweetness. Centella leaves are also used in the sweet "pennywort drink."

In Indonesia, the leaves are used for sambai oi peuga-ga, an Aceh type of salad, also mixed into asinan in Bogor. In Vietnam and Thailand this leaf is used for preparing a drink or can be eaten in raw form in salads or cold rolls. In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad. Gotu kola is a mild adaptogen, is mildly antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, anxiolytic, a cerebral tonic, a circulatory stimulant, a diuretic, nervine and vulnerary. When eaten raw as a salad leaf, pegaga is thought to help maintain youthfulness. In Thailand cups with gotu kola leaves are used as an afternoon pick me up. A decoction of juice from the leaves is thought to relieve hypertension. This juice is also used as a general tonic for good health. A poultice of the leaves is also used to treat open sores. Richard Lucas claimed in a book published in 1979 that a subspecies "Hydrocotyle asiatica minor" allegedly from Sri Lanka also called "Fo ti tieng", contained a longevity factor called 'youth Vitamin X' said to be 'a tonic for the brain and endocrine glands' and maintained that extracts of the plant help circulation and skin problems. However according to medicinal herbalist Michael Moore, it appears that there is no such subspecies and no Vitamin X is known to exist. Nonetheless some of the cerebral circulatory and dermatological actions claimed from centella (as hydrocotyle) have a solid basis.

Several scientific reports have documented Centella asiatica's ability to aid wound healing, which is responsible for its traditional use in leprosy. Upon treatment with Centella asiatica, maturation of the scar is stimulated by the production of type I collagen. The treatment also results in a marked decrease in inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production. The isolated steroids from the plant have been used to treat leprosy. In addition, preliminary evidence suggests that it may have nootropic effects. Centella asiatica is used to re-vitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration and combat aging. Centella asiatica also has anti-oxidant properties. It is used in Thailand for opium detoxification. Gotu Kola is a minor feature in the longevity myth of the Tai Chi Chuan master Li Ching-Yun. He purportedly lived to be 256, due in part to his usage of traditional Chinese herbs including Gotu Kola. A popular folklore tale from Sri Lanka speaks of a prominent king from the 10th century AD named Aruna who claimed that Gotu Kola provided him with energy and stamina to satisfy his 50-woman harem.

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Grains of paradise

Aframomum melegueta

Aframomum melegueta is a species in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. This spice commonly known as Grains of paradise, Melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains or Guinea pepper is obtained from the plant's ground seeds; it gives a pungent, peppery flavor. Although it is native to West Africa, it is an important cash crop in the Basketo special woreda of southern Ethiopia.

Grains of paradise are commonly employed in the cuisines of West Africa and of North Africa, where they have been traditionally imported via caravan routes in a series of transshipments through the Sahara desert and whence they were distributed to Sicily and Italy. Mentioned by Pliny as "African pepper" but subsequently forgotten in Europe, grains of paradise became a very fashionable substitute for black pepper in 14th- and 15th-century Europe, especially in northern France, one of the most populous regions in Europe at the time. The Ménagier de Paris recommends it for improving wine that "smells stale".

Through the Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period, the theory of the Four Humours governed theorizing about nourishment on the part of doctors, herbalists and druggists: in this context, "graynes of paradise, hoot & moyste þey be" John Russell observed, in The Boke of Nurture. Later, the craze for the spice waned, and its uses were reduced to a flavoring for sausages and beer.

In the eighteenth century its importation to Great Britain collapsed after a Parliamentary act of George III forbade its use in malt liquor, aqua vita and cordials. By 1880 the Encyclopaedia Britannica (9th edition) was reporting, "Grains of paradise are to some extent used in veterinary practice but for the most part illegally to give a fictitious strength to malt liquors, gin and cordials".

Today it is largely unknown outside of West and North Africa, except for its use as a flavoring in some beers (including Samuel Adams Summer Ale), gins, and Norwegian aquavit.

In America, Grains of Paradise are starting to enjoy a slight resurgence in popularity due to their use by some well-known chefs. Alton Brown is a fan of its use, and he uses it in his apple pie recipe on an episode of the TV cooking show Good Eats. They are also used by people on certain diets, such as a raw-food diet, because they are less irritating to digestion than black pepper.

In West African folk medicine, grains of paradise are valued for their warming and digestive properties, and among the Efik people in Nigeria have been used for divination and ordeals determining guilt. A. melegueta has been introduced to the Caribbean Islands, where it is used as medicine and for religious (voodoo) rites.

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Grains of Selim

(African pepper, Moor pepper)

Xylopia aethiopica

The term Grains of Selim refers to the seeds of a shrubby tree, Xylopia aethiopica, found in Africa. It is also known as kimba pepper, African pepper, Moor pepper, Negro pepper, Kani pepper, Kili pepper, Sénégal pepper, Ethiopian pepper and Guinea pepper. The seeds have a musky flavor and are used as a pepper substitute. It is sometimes confused with grains of paradise.

As a spice the whole fruit (seed pod) is used as the hull of the fruit lends an aromatic note (with the taste being described as an admixture of cubeb pepper and nutmeg with overtones of resin) whilst the seeds lend pungency (they are also quite bitter).

Typically the dried fruit would be lightly crushed before being tied in a bouquet garni before being added to West African soups (stews). In Sénégal the spice is often sold smoked in markets as Poivre de Sénégal (the whole green fruit is smoked giving the spice a sticky consistency) and when pounded in a pestle and mortar this makes an excellent fish rub. These, however, tend to be the larger pods of the related species Xylopia striata.

In West African cookbooks, especially those from Cameroon, the spice is referred to as kieng, but the language that name is derived from is unknown. The pods are crushed and added whole to soups or stews, then removed before serving the food. Smoked pods can be ground before being used as a spice rub for fish.

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Grape Seed Extract

Grape seed extracts are industrial derivatives from whole grape seeds. Typically, the commercial opportunity of extracting grape seed constituents has been for the chemicals. Human case reports and results from laboratory and animal studies show that grape seed extract may be useful to treat heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. By limiting lipid oxidation, phenolics in grape seeds may reduce risk of heart disease, such as by inhibiting platelet aggregation and reducing inflammation. While such studies are promising, more research including long-term studies in humans is needed to confirm initial findings. Preliminary research shows that grape seed extract may have other possible anti-disease properties, such as in laboratory models of:
* wound healing-grape seed proanthocyanidins induced vascular endothelial growth factor and accelerated healing of injured skin in mice.
* tooth decay --seed phenolics may inhibit oral sugar metabolism and retard growth of certain bacteria causing dental caries.
* osteoporosis -- grape seed extracts enhanced bone density and strength in experimental animals.
* skin cancer -- grape seed proanthocyanidins decreased tumor numbers and reduced the malignancy of papillomas.
* ultraviolet damage to skin-dietary proanthocyanidins may protect against carcinogenesis and provide supplementation for sunscreen protection. Oral grape seed extract is typically used as capsules or tablets usually containing 50 mg or 100 mg, or as a liquid to add drops to water and/or other drinks.

Insufficient scientific information is known, however, about how long-term use of grape seed extract might affect health or any disease. * side effects most often include headache, a dry, itchy scalp, dizziness or nausea * interactions between grape seed extract and medicines or other supplements have not been carefully studied.

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Green Cardamom

Elettaria

The name cardamom is used for herbs within two genera of the ginger family Zingiberaceae, namely Elettaria and Amomum. Both varieties take the form of a small seedpod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds. Elettaria pods are light green in color, while Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.

There were initially three natural varieties of cardamom plants.
1. Malabar (Nadan/Native) - As the name suggests, this is the native variety of Kerala. These plants have pannicles which grow horizontally along the ground.
2. Mysore - As the name suggests, this is a native variety of Karnataka. These plants have pannicles which grow vertically upwards.
3. Vazhuka - This is a naturally occurring hybrid between Malabar and Mysore varieties, and the pannicles don't grow vertically or horizontally, but in between both. Both forms of cardamom are used as flavorings in both food and drink, as cooking spices and as a medicine.

Elettaria cardamomum (the usual type of cardamom) is used as a spice, a masticatory, and in medicine; it is also smoked sometimes.

Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. Black cardamom has a distinctly more astringent aroma, though not bitter, with a coolness similar to mint, though with a different aroma. It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking, and is often used in baking in Nordic countries, such as in the Finnish sweet bread pulla or in the Scandinavian bread Julekake. Green cardamom is one of the most expensive spices by weight but little is needed to impart the flavor.

Cardamom is best stored in pod form because once the seeds are exposed or ground they quickly lose their flavor. However, high-quality ground cardamom is often more readily (and cheaply) available and is an acceptable substitute. For recipes requiring whole cardamom pods, a generally accepted equivalent is 10 pods equals 1½ teaspoons of ground cardamom.

In the Middle East, green cardamom powder is used as a spice for sweet dishes as well as traditional flavoring in coffee and tea. Cardamom pods are ground together with coffee beans to produce a powdered mixture of the two, which is boiled with water to make coffee. Cardamom is also used in some extent in savory dishes.

Green cardamom in South Asia is broadly used to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders. It also is used to break up kidney stones and gall stones, and was reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom bites.

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Green Tea

Camellia sinensis

Green tea is a type of tea made solely with the leaves of Camellia sinensis that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates from China and has become associated with many cultures in Asia from Japan to the Middle East. Recently, it has become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally consumed. Many varieties of green tea have been created in countries where it is grown. These varieties can differ substantially due to variable growing conditions, processing and harvesting time.

Over the last few decades green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting regular green tea drinkers may have lower chances of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer. Green tea has also been claimed as useful for "weight loss management" - a claim with no scientific support according to medical databases such as PubMed.

Generally, 2 grams of tea per 100ml of water, or about one teaspoon of green tea per 5 ounce cup, should be used. With very high quality teas like gyokuro, more than this amount of leaf is used, and the leaf is steeped multiple times for short durations.

Green tea brewing time and temperature varies with individual teas. The hottest brewing temperatures are 180°F to 190°F (81°C to 87°C) water and the longest steeping times 2 to 3 minutes. The coolest brewing temperatures are 140°F to 160°F (61°C to 69°C) and the shortest times about 30 seconds. In general, lower quality green teas are steeped hotter and longer, while higher quality teas are steeped cooler and shorter. Steeping green tea too hot or too long will result in a bitter, astringent brew for low quality leaves. High quality green teas can be and usually are steeped multiple times; 2 or 3 steepings is typical. The brewing technique also plays a very important role to avoid the tea developing an overcooked taste. Preferably, the container in which the tea is steeped or teapot should also be warmed beforehand so that the tea does not immediately cool down. Unless specifically decaffeinated, green tea contains caffeine. Normal green tea itself may contain more caffeine than coffee, but the length of infusion with hot water and the amount of time the green tea leaves are used can greatly alter caffeine intake.

Green teas contain two caffeine metabolites (caffeine-like substances): theophylline, which is stronger than caffeine, and theobromine, which is slightly weaker than caffeine.

The Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written by Zen priest Eisai in 1191, describes how drinking green tea can have a positive effect on the five vital organs, especially the heart. The book discusses tea's medicinal qualities, which include easing the effects of alcohol, acting as a stimulant, curing blotchiness, quenching thirst, eliminating indigestion, curing beriberi disease, preventing fatigue, and improving urinary and brain function. Part One also explains the shapes of tea plants, tea flowers, and tea leaves, and covers how to grow tea plants and process tea leaves. In Part Two, the book discusses the specific dosage and method required for individual physical ailments.

Green tea has been credited with providing a wide variety of health benefits, many of which have not been validated by scientific evidence. These claims and any for which academic citations are currently missing are listed here:
* Stopping certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
* The prevention and treatment of cancer.
* Treating multiple sclerosis.
* Preventing the degradation of cell membranes by neutralizing the spread of free radicals which occur during oxidation process.
* Reducing the negative effects of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by lowering levels of triglycerides and increasing the production of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
* Joy Bauer, a New York City nutritionist, says the catechins in green tea increase levels of the metabolism speeding brain chemical norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
* Japanese researchers claim that drinking five cups of green tea a day can burn 70 to 80 extra calories. Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a self-proclaimed anti-aging specialist, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and told Oprah's viewers they can lose 10 lbs (4.5 kg) in 6 weeks drinking green tea instead of coffee.
* Some green tea lovers commonly restrict their intake because of the stimulants it contains - equivalent to about a third the amount of caffeine as is found in coffee.

Too much caffeine can cause nausea, insomnia, or frequent urination.

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Ground ivy

Glechoma hederacea

Glechoma hederacea (syn. Nepeta glechoma Benth., Nepeta hederacea (L.) Trevir.) is an aromatic, perennial, evergreen creeper of the mint family Lamiaceae. It is commonly known as Ground-ivy.

It native to Europe and southwestern Asia but has been introduced to North America and is now common in most regions other than the Rocky Mountains. Its common names include Alehoof, Creeping Charlie (or Charley), Catsfoot (from the size and shape of the leaf), Field Balm, Run-away-robin.

Glechoma is sometimes grown as a potted plant, and occasionally as a ground cover. A variegated variety is sometimes commercially available. While often thought of as a weed because of its propensity for spreading, Glechoma has culinary and medicinal uses which were the cause of its being imported to America by early European settlers. The fresh herb can be rinsed and steeped in hot water to create an herbal tea which is rich in vitamin C. The essential oil of the plant has many potent medicinal properties; the plant has been used for centuries as a general tonic for colds and coughs and to relieve congestion of the mucous membranes. The plant has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been claimed to increase excretion of lead in the urine.

Its medicinal properties have been described for millennia, Galen recommending the plant to treat inflammation of the eyes, for instance. John Gerard, an English herbalist, recommended the plant to treat tinnitus, as well as a "diuretic, astringent, tonic and gentle stimulant. Useful in kidney diseases and for indigestion." It is also useful as a "lung herb". Glechoma was also widely used by the Saxons in brewing beer as flavoring, clarification, and preservative, before the introduction of hops for these purposes; thus the brewing-related names, Alehoof, Tunhoof, and Gill-over-the-ground.

As is often the case when a plant has this many familiar names, Glechoma is familiar to a large number of people as a weed, a property it shares with many others of the mint family. It can be a problem in heavy, rich soils with good fertility, high moisture, and low boron content. It thrives particularly well in shady areas where grass does not grow well, although it can also be a problem in full sun.

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Guaco

Mikania guace

Gauco, huaco, or guao, also vejuco and bejuco are terms applied to various vine-like Central and South American, and West Indian climbing plants, reputed to have curative powers.

Native Americans and Colombians believe that the guaco was named after a species of kite, in imitation of its cry, which they say it uses to attract the snakes which it feeds on. Tradition says that the plant's powers as an antidote were discovered through watching the bird eat the leaves, and even spread the juice on its wings, before attacking the snakes.

Any twining plant with a heart-shaped leaf, white and green above and purple beneath, is called a guaco by Native Americans which does not necessarily coincide with which plants are "true" guacos, as far as naturalists are concerned.

Mikania guace is a climbing Composite plant of the tribe Eupatorieae, preferring moist and shady situations, and having a much-branched and deep-growing root, variegated, serrated, opposite leaves and dull white flowers, in axillary clusters. The whole plant emits a disagreeable odor.

It is stated that the Central American natives, after taking guaco, catch with impunity the most dangerous snakes, which writhe in their hands as though touched by a hot iron. The odor alone of guaco, has been said to cause, in snakes, a state of stupor; and Humboldt, who observed that proximity of a rod steeped in guaco-juice was obnoxious to the venomous Coluber corallinus, was of opinion that inoculation with it gives perspiration an odor which makes reptiles unwilling to bite.

The drug is not used in modern medicine. In Brazil, Guaco (Mikania glomerata) is used as a medicinal tea.
* As its strong stems are also used for flagellation, the word bejuco also means whip.

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Gypsywort

Lycopus europaeus

Lycopus europaeus (Gypsywort, Gipsywort, Bugleweed, European Bugleweed, Water Horehound, Ou Di Sun) is a perennial plant in the Lycopus genus, native to Europe and Asia, and naturalized in the United States.

Gypsywort grows primarily in wetland areas. Its root is a rhizome. It is in flower from June to September, and produces seeds from August to October.

It is reputed to have medicinal qualities and has been used by various peoples as an astringent, cosmetic, douche, narcotic and refrigerant. It has also been used to treat fever, hypothyreosis, sores and wounds. Several research studies have been undertaken on the properties of this plant.

The name Gypsywort comes from the belief that Gypsies were reputed to stain their skin with the juice of the plant, although Howard (1987) states that they used it to dye their linen.

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Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

Crataegus monogyna, known as Common Hawthorn, is a species of hawthorn native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. Other common names include may, mayblossom, maythorn, quickthorn, whitethorn, motherdie, and haw. This species is one of several that have been referred to as Crataegus oxyacantha, a name that has been rejected by the botanical community as too ambiguous.

Haws are important for wildlife in winter, particularly thrushes and waxwings; these birds eat the haws and disperse the seeds in their droppings. Common Hawthorn is extensively planted as a hedge plant, especially for agricultural use. Its spines and close branching habit render it effectively stock and human proof with some basic maintenance. The traditional practice of hedge laying is most commonly practiced with this species.

In herbalism the active ingredients in flowers are: tannins, flavonoids, essential oil, triterpene-carbonic acids and purine derivatives. The fruits contain tannins, flavonoids, pigments and vitamins. An infusion of hawthorn is used to treat various heart and circulatory problems and to support digitalis therapy. The young leaves are good in salads.

The haw is edible, but is commonly made into jellies, jams, and syrups rather than eaten whole. The fruit, called haws, are used to make wine, jelly and to add flavour to brandy.

A haw is small and oblong, similar in size and shape to a small olive or grape. It is red when ripe and grows on hawthorns, which vary in size from a shrub to a small tree.

On Manitoulin Island, they are called hawberries. They are common there thanks to its distinctive alkaline soil.

During the pioneer days, white settlers ate these berries during the winter as the only remaining food supply. People born on the island are now called "haweaters".

In China, dried hawthorn fruits and especially haw flakes are eaten as candies. Hawthorn jelly and haw flakes are used to aid the digestion of meat in Chinese medicine.

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Hawthorne Tree

Crataegus

Hawthorn (Crataegus, ) is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the rose family, Rosaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America. It is the state flower of Missouri. The name hawthorn was originally applied to the species native to northern Europe, especially the Common Hawthorn C. monogyna, and the unmodified name is often so used in Britain and Ireland. However the name is now also applied to the entire genus, and also to the related Asian genus Rhaphiolepis.

Hawthorn products have significant traditional medicinal uses. "Hawthorn leaf and flower extract monopreparations" have received endorsement in evidence-based medicine for treating chronic heart failure.

The dried fruits of Crataegus pinnatifida (called shan zha in Chinese) are used in naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, primarily as a digestive aid. A closely related species, Crataegus cuneata (Japanese Hawthorn, called sanzashi in Japanese) is used in a similar manner.

Other species (especially Crataegus laevigata) are used in Western herbal medicine, where the plant is believed to strengthen cardiovascular function. Overdose can cause cardiac arrhythmia and dangerously lower blood pressure. Milder side effects include nausea and sedation.

The wood of some hawthorn species is very hard and resistant to rot. In rural North America it was prized for use as tool handles and fence posts.

The supposition that the tree was the source of Jesus's crown of thorns gave rise doubtless to the tradition current among the French peasantry that it utters groans and cries on Good Friday.

In Celtic lore, the hawthorn plant was used commonly for rune inscriptions along with Yew and Apple. It was once said to heal the broken heart.

In Ireland, the red fruit is, or was in living memory, called the Johnny MacGorey or Magory.

In Serbian folklore, a stake made of hawthorn wood was used to impale the corpses of suspected vampires.

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Hemp

Cannabis sativa

This article is about the cultivation and uses of industrial hemp, not its psychoactive variant, Cannabis (drug). For the biology of the plant, see Cannabis.

Hemp (from Old English hænep, see cannabis (etymology)) is the common name for plants of the entire genus Cannabis, although the term is often used to refer only to Cannabis strains cultivated for industrial (non-drug) use. Industrial hemp has been tried for many uses, including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, and fuel, with modest commercial success.

For a crop, hemp is relatively environmentally friendly as it requires few pesticides and no herbicides. Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa var. sativa is the variety grown for industrial use in Europe, Canada, and elsewhere, while C. sativa subsp. indica generally has poor fiber quality and is primarily used for production of recreational and medicinal drugs.

Strains of Cannabis approved for industrial hemp production produce only minute amounts of this psychoactive drug, not enough for any physical or psychological effects. Typically, Hemp contains below 0.3% THC, while Cannabis grown for marijuana can contain anywhere from 6 or 7 % to 20% or even more.

Industrial hemp is produced in many countries around the world. Major producers include Canada, France, and China. While more hemp is exported to the United States than to any other country, the United States Government does not consistently distinguish between marijuana and the non-psychoactive Cannabis used for industrial and commercial purposes. Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes, including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, clothing, and nutritional products. The bast fibers can be used in 100% hemp products, but are commonly blended with other organic fibers such as flax, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings, most commonly at a 55%/45% hemp/cotton blend.

The inner two fibers of hemp are woodier, and are more often used in non-woven items and other industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter.

The oil from the fruits ("seeds") dries on exposure to air (similar to linseed oil) and is sometimes used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics.

Hemp seeds have been used in bird seed mix. Hempseed is also widely used as fishing bait. Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life.

The seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, made into hemp milk (akin to soy milk), prepared as tea, and used in baking. The fresh leaves can also be eaten in salads. Products range from cereals to frozen waffles, hemp tofu to nut butters. A few companies produce value added hemp seed items that include the seed oils, whole hemp grain (which is sterilized as per international law), hulled hemp seed (the whole seed without the mineral rich outer shell), hemp flour, hemp cake (a by-product of pressing the seed for oil) and hemp protein powder.

Hemp is also used in some organic cereals, for non-dairy milk somewhat similar to soy and nut milks, and for non-dairy hemp "ice cream." In North America, hemp seed food products are sold in large volumes, particularly from Canada to the USA, and typically in health food stores or through mail order.

Hempseed oil is a highly unsaturated oil. It can spontaneously oxidize and turn rancid within a short period of time if not stored properly. Hempseed oil is best stored in a dark glass bottle, in a refrigerator or freezer (its freezing point is -20C) Preservatives (antioxidants) are not necessary for high quality oils that are stored properly. Highly unsaturated oils are unsuitable for frying.

Hemp seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties. Biofuels such as biodiesel and alcohol fuel can be made from the oils in hemp seeds and stalks, and the fermentation of the plant as a whole, respectively.

Henry Ford grew industrial hemp on his estate after 1937, possibly to prove the cheapness of methanol production at Iron Mountain. He made plastic cars with wheat straw, hemp and sisal. (Popular Mechanics, Dec. 1941, "Pinch Hitters for Defense.") Filtered hemp oil can be used directly to power diesels. In 1892, Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine, which he intended to fuel "by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils."

There are broadly three groups of Cannabis varieties being cultivated today:
* Varieties primarily cultivated for their fiber, characterized by long stems and little branching, extreme red, yellow, blue or purple coloration, or thickness of stem and solid core, such as hemp cannabis oglalas, and more generally called industrial hemp.
* Varieties grown for seed from which hemp oil is extracted or which can be dehulled.
* Varieties grown for medicinal, spiritual development or recreational purposes.

Hemp was used extensively by the United States during WWII. Uniforms, canvas, and rope were among the main textiles created from the hemp plant at this time. Much of the hemp used was planted in the Midwest and Kentucky. Historically, hemp production made up a significant portion of Kentucky's economy and many slave plantations located there focused on producing hemp.

Hemp is illegal to grow in the U.S. under federal law due to its relation to marijuana, and any imported hemp products must meet a zero tolerance level. It is considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (P.L. 91-513; 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.). Some states have defied federal law and made the cultivation of industrial hemp legal. These states - North Dakota, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, West Virginia, Vermont, and Oregon - have not yet begun to grow hemp due to resistance from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Vermont and North Dakota have passed laws enabling hemp licensure. Both states are waiting for permission to grow hemp from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Currently, North Dakota representatives are pursuing legal measures to force DEA approval.

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Herbes de Provence

"Herbes de Provence (Provençal herbs)" is a mixture of dried herbs from Provence invented in the 1970s. The mixture typically contains savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender flowers and other herbs. (Some cooks maintain that lavender is an essential ingredient of true herbes de provence.) The proportions vary by manufacturer. Thyme usually dominates the taste produced by the herb mixture.

This herb combination captures the flavors of the sunny South of France. Herbes de Provence are used to flavour grilled foods such as fish and meat, as well as vegetable stews. The mixture can be added to foods before or during cooking or mixed with cooking oil prior to cooking so as to infuse the flavour into the cooked food. They are rarely added after cooking is complete.

Herbes de Provence are often sold in larger bags than other herbs, and the price in Provence is considerably lower than other herbs. Provençal cuisine has traditionally used many herbs, which were often characterized collectively as "herbes de Provence", but not in standard combinations, and not sold as a mixture.

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Hibiscus

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Hibiscus is a genus of plants with member species often noted for their showy flowers and commonly known as hibiscus or less widely as rosemallow or jamaica. The large genus of about 200-220 species of flowering plants in the family Malvaceae native to warm, temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. The genus includes both annual and perennial herbaceous plants, and woody shrubs and small trees. Many species are grown for their showy flowers or used as landscape shrubs.

Hibiscus is also a primary ingredient in many herbal teas. One species of Hibiscus, known as Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), is extensively used in paper making. Another, roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is used as a vegetable and to make herbal teas and jams (especially in the Caribbean).

In Mexico, the drink is known as agua de Jamaica and is quite popular for its color, tanginess and mild flavor; once sugar is added, it tastes somewhat like cranberry juice. Dieters or persons with kidney problems often take it without adding sugar for its beneficial properties and as a natural diuretic. It is made by boiling the dehydrated flowers in water; once it is boiled, it is allowed to cool and drunk with ice. The flowers also used to add flavor to the end of year punch, along with many other plants as cinnamon, guava and sugar cane.

In Egypt and Sudan, roselle petals are used to make a tea named after the plant karkade.

Certain species of hibiscus are also beginning to be used more widely as a natural source of food coloring. The Hibiscus is used as an offering to Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha in Hindu worship.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is considered to have a number of medical uses in Chinese herbology. The bark of the hibiscus contains strong fibers. They can be obtained by letting the stripped bark sit in the sea in order to let the organic material rot away. In Polynesia these fibers (fau, purau) are used for making grass skirts. They have also been known to be used to make wigs. A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults. Three cups of tea daily resulted in an average drop of 7.2 point in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 point drop in the volunteers who drank the placebo beverage. Study participants with higher blood pressure readings (129 or above), had a greater response to hibiscus tea, their systolic blood pressure went down by 13.2 points. This data supports the idea that drinking hibiscus tea in an amount readily incorporated into the diet may play a role in controlling blood pressure, although more research is required. The natives of southern India use the Red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) for hair care purposes. The red flower and leaves, extracts of which can be applied on hair to tackle hair-fall and dandruff on the scalp. It is used to make hair-protective oils. A simple application involves soaking the leaves and flowers in water and using a wet grinder to make a thick paste, and used as a natural shampoo. Its petals are used to cure fever while its roots are used to cure cough.

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Holly

Ilex paraguariensis Ilex guayusa

Holly is a genus of approximately 600 species of flowering plants in the family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family.

Holly berries are mildly toxic and will cause vomiting and/or diarrhea when ingested by people. However they are extremely important food for numerous species of birds, and also are eaten by other wild animals. In the fall and early winter the berries are hard and apparently unpalatable. After being frozen or frosted several times, the berries soften, and become milder in taste. During winter storms, birds often take refuge in hollies, which provide shelter, protection from predators (by the spiny leaves), and food. Having evolved numerous species that are endemic to islands and small mountain ranges, and being highly useful plants, many hollies are now becoming rare. Tropical species are especially often threatened by habitat destruction and overexploitation, and at least two have become extinct, with numerous others barely surviving.

In many western cultures, holly is a traditional Christmas decoration, used especially in wreaths. The wood is heavy, hard and whitish; one traditional use is for chess pieces, with holly for the white pieces, and ebony for the black. Other uses include turnery, inlay work and as firewood. Looms in the 1800s used holly for the spinning rod. Because holly is dense and can be sanded very smooth, the rod was less likely than other woods to snag threads being used to make cloth.

Peter Carl Faberge used holly for cases for Faberge eggs as well as small objects such as hand seals. Many of the hollies are widely used as ornamental plants in gardens and parks. Several hybrids and numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, among them the very popular Ilex × altaclerensis (I. aquifolium × I. perado) and Ilex × meserveae (I. aquifolium × I. rugosa). Hollies are often used for hedges; the spiny leaves make them difficult to penetrate, and they take well to pruning and shaping.

In Heraldry, holly is used to symbolise truth. Between the thirteenth and eighteenth century, before the introduction of turnips, holly was cultivated for use as winter fodder for cattle and sheep. Less spiny varieties of holly were preferred, and in practice the leaves growing near the top of the tree have far fewer spines making them more suitable for fodder.

Several holly species are used to make caffeine-rich herbal teas. The South American Yerba Mate (I. paraguariensis) is boiled for the popular revigorating drinks Mate, and Chimarrão, and steeped in water for the cold Tereré. Guayusa (I. guayusa) is used both as a stimulant and as an admixture to the entheogenic tea ayahuasca; its leaves have the highest known caffeine content of any plant.

In North and Central America, Yaupon (I. vomitoria), was used by southeastern Native Americans as a ceremonial stimulant and emetic known as "the black drink". As the name suggests, the tea's purgative properties were one of its main uses, most often ritually. Gallberry (Appalachian Tea, I. glabra) is a milder substitute for Yaupon and does not have caffeine. In China, the young leaf buds of I. kudingcha are processed in a method similar to green tea to make a tisane called kuding chá ("bitter spikeleaf tea").

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Holy Thistle

Cnicus benedictus

Cnicus benedictus (Blessed Thistle or Holy Thistle), the sole species in the genus Cnicus, is a thistle-like plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Mediterranean region, from Portugal north to southern France and east to Iran. It is known in other parts of the world, including parts of North America, as an introduced species and often a noxious weed. It has sometimes been used as a galactogogue to promote lactation. The crude drug contains about 0.2% cnicin.

It is a component in Bitters formulas, which are used to treat digestive issues. These thistles are not considered edible, unlike Cirsium, Arctium and Onopordum species; the leaves are considered unpalatable if not bitter.

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Hops

Humulus lupulus

Hops are the female flower cones, also known as strobiles, of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus). The hop is part of the family Cannabaceae, which also includes the genus Cannabis (hemp). They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.

The first documented use of hops in beer as a bittering agent is from the eleventh century. Prior to this period, brewers used whatever bitter herbs and flowers were around. Dandelion, burdock root, marigold and heather were often used prior to the discovery of hops. Hops are used extensively in brewing today for their many purported benefits, including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing a variety of desirable flavors and aromas, and having an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms.

The hop plant is a vigorous climbing herbaceous perennial, usually grown up strings in a field called a hopfield, hop garden or hop yard when grown commercially. Many different varieties of hops are grown by farmers around the world, with different types being used for particular styles of beer.

The first recorded reference to hops was by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. The first documented instance of hop cultivation was in 736, in the Hallertau region of present-day Germany, although the first mention of the use of hops in brewing in that country was 1079. Not until the thirteenth century in Germany did hops begin to start threatening the use of gruit for flavoring. In Britain, hopped beer was first imported from Holland around 1400; however, hops were initially condemned in 1519 as a "wicked and pernicious weed". In 1471, Norwich, England banned the plant from the use in the brewing of beer, and it wasn't until 1524 that hops were first grown in southeast England. It was another century before hop cultivation began in the present-day United States in 1629.

Global prices for hops (along with barley and malt) are currently on the rise due to a combination of prolonged drought conditions in Australia, North America and New Zealand, a poor harvest in Europe, increasing fuel prices and the rising demand for corn ethanol in the United States.

Hops are dried in an oast house before they are used in the brewing process. Hop resins are composed of two main acids: alpha and beta acids. Alpha acids have a mild ntibiotic/bacteriostatic effect against Gram-positive bacteria, and favor the exclusive activity of brewing yeast in the fermentation of beer. Alpha acids are responsible for the bitter flavor in the beer. Beta acids do not isomerize during the boil of wort, and have a negligible effect on beer flavor. Instead they contribute to beer's bitter aroma, and high beta acid hop varieties are often added at the end of the wort boil for aroma. Beta acids may oxidize into compounds that can give beer off-flavors of rotten vegetables or cooked corn. The effect of hops on the finished beer varies by type and use, though there are two main hop types: bittering and aroma. Bittering hops have higher concentrations of alpha acids, and are responsible for the large majority of the bitter flavor of a beer. European (so called "noble") hops typically average 5-9% alpha acids by weight, and the newer American species typically ranging from 8-19% aabw. Aroma hops usually have a lower concentration of alpha acids (~5%) and are the primary contributors of hop aroma and (non-bitter) flavor. Bittering hops are boiled for a longer period of time, typically 60-90 minutes, in order to maximize the isomerization of the alpha acids. They often have inferior aromatic properties, as the aromatic compounds evaporate off during the boil. The degree of bitterness imparted by hops depends on the degree to which otherwise insoluble alpha acids (AAs) are isomerized during the boil, and the impact of a given amount of hops is specified in International Bitterness Units (IBUs). Unboiled hops are only mildly bitter. On the other hand, the (non-bitter) flavor and aroma of hops come from the essential oils, which evaporate during the boil. Aroma hops are typically added to the wort later to prevent the evaporation of the essential oils, to impart "hop flavor" (if during the final 10 minutes of boil) or "hop aroma" (if during the final 3 minutes, or less, of boil). Aroma hops are often added after the wort has cooled and the beer has fermented, a technique known as "dry hopping" which contributes to the hop aroma.

The four major essential oils in hops are Myrcene, Humulene, Caryophyllene, and Farnesene which comprise about 60-80% of the essential oils for most hop varieties.

Today there is a substantial amount of "dual-use" hops as well, which have high concentrations of alpha acids and good aromatic properties. These can be added to the boil at any time, depending on the desired effect. Flavors and aromas are described appreciatively using terms which include "grassy", "floral", "citrus", "spicy", "piney," "lemony," and "earthy". Most of the common commercial lagers have fairly low hop influence, while true pilseners should have noticeable noble hop aroma and certain ales (particularly the highly-hopped style known as India Pale Ale, or IPA) can have high levels of bitterness. Undried or "wet" hops are sometimes used. Particular hop varieties are associated with beer regions and styles, for example pale lagers are usually brewed with European (often German and Austrian, since 1981 also Czech) noble hop varieties such as Saaz, Hallertau and Strissel Spalt. British ales use hop varieties such as Fuggles, Goldings and Bullion. North American beers use Cascade hops, Columbia hops, Centennial hops, Willamette hops and Amarillo hops.

The term noble hop traditionally refers to four varieties of hop which are low in bitterness and high in aroma. They are the central European cultivars, Hallertau, Tettnanger, Spalt, and Saaz. Their low relative bitterness but strong aromas are often distinguishing characteristics of European-style lager beer, such as Pilsener, Dunkel, and Oktoberfest/Märzen. In beer, they are considered aroma hops (as opposed to bittering hops); see Pilsner Urquell as a classic example of the Bohemian Pilsener style, which showcases Noble hops. Their low relative bitterness but strong aromas are often distinguishing characteristics of European-style lager beer, such as Pilsener, Dunkel, and Oktoberfest/Märzen. In beer, they are considered aroma hops (as opposed to bittering hops); see Pilsner Urquell as a classic example of the Bohemian Pilsener style, which showcases Noble hops. As with grapes, land where the hops were grown affects the hops' characteristics. Much as Dortmunder beer may only within the EU be labeled "Dortmunder" if it has been brewed in Dortmund, Noble hops may only officially be considered "Noble" if they were grown in the areas for which the hops varieties were named.

Some consider the English varieties Fuggle and East Kent Goldings to be noble. They are characterized through analysis as having an alpha:beta ratio of 1:1, low alpha-acid levels (2-5%) with a low cohumulone content, low myrcene in the hop oil, high humulene in the oil, a ratio of humulene:caryophyllene above three, and poor storability resulting in them being more prone to oxidation. In reality this means that they have a relatively consistent bittering potential as they age, due to beta-acid oxidation, and a flavor that improves as they age during periods of poor storage.

The term Noble Hop is a traditional designation for hops grown in four areas in Southern Germany, mainly Bavaria. Saaz in Austrian Bohemia resp. Sudetenland, though, became part of Czechoslovakia after 1918, as Zatec, and the German population was expelled in 1945. The traditional names are like the French appellations for grapes & wine. Historically, these regions produced superior quality hops, particularly well suited for continental European style beers. Hops grown outside these regions cannot be 'Noble Hops' but nonetheless may be excellent hops.
* Hallertau or Hallertauer - The original German lager hop; named after Hallertau or Holledau region in central Bavaria. Due to susceptibility to crop disease, it was largely replaced by Hersbrucker in the 1970s and 1980s. (Alpha acid 3.5-5.5% / beta acid 3-4%)
* Saaz - Noble hop used extensively in Bohemia to flavor pale Czech lagers such as Pilsner Urquell. Soft aroma and bitterness. (Alpha acid 3-4.5% /Beta acid 3-4.5%)
* Spalt - Traditional German noble hop from the Spalter region south of Nuremberg. With a delicate, spicy aroma. (Alpha acid 4-5% / beta acid 4-5%)
* Tettnang - Comes from Tettnang, a small town in southern Baden-Württemberg in Germany. The region produces significant quantities of hops, and ships them to breweries throughout the world. Noble German dual use hop used in European pale lagers, sometimes with Hallertau. Soft bitterness. (Alpha Acid 3.5-5.5% / Beta Acid 3.5-5.5%).

The only major commercial use for hops is in beer, although hops are also an ingredient in Julmust, a carbonated beverage similar to cola soda that is popular in Sweden during December, as well as malta, a Latin American soft drink. Tom's of Maine deodorant uses hops for its antibacterial activity.

Hops are also used in herbal medicine in a way similar to valerian, as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. A pillow filled with hops is a popular folk remedy for sleeplessness. Hops may be used alone, but more frequently they are combined with other herbs, such as valerian.

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Horehound

(White Horehound or Common Horehound)

Marrubium vulgare

Horehound or hoarhound is a common name applied to two related genera of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae:
* Ballota
* Marrubium Specifically, it may refer to the following species:
* White Horehound or Common Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
* Black Horehound (Ballota nigra)
* Horehound beer, a carbonated soft drink

Marrubium vulgare (White Horehound or Common Horehound) is a flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to Europe, northern Africa and Asia. It is a gray-leaved herbaceous perennial plant, somewhat resembling mint in appearance, which grows to 25-45 cm tall. The leaves are 2-5 cm long with a densely crinkled surface, and are covered in downy hairs. The flowers are white, borne in clusters on the upper part of the main stem. The leaves and young shoots are harvested for medicinal preparations. The flavor of such preparations can perhaps best be described as an almost berry flavored rootbeer. Horehound flavored stick candy, as well as candy "drops" (used as throat lozenges) can be found and purchased at various locations.

Preparations of horehound are still largely used as expectorants and tonics. It may, indeed, be considered one of the most popular pectoral remedies, being given with benefit for chronic cough, asthma, and some cases of consumption. For children's cough and croup, it is given to advantage in the form of syrup. It is also useful as a tonic and a corrective of the stomach. Taken in large doses, it acts as a gentle purgative.

The powdered leaves have also been employed as a vermifuge and the green leaves, bruised and boiled in lard, are made into an ointment which is good for wounds.

For ordinary cold, a simple infusion of horehound (horehound tea) is generally sufficient in itself. The tea may be made by pouring boiling water on the fresh or dried leaves, 1 oz. of herb per pint. A wineglassful may be taken three or four times a day. Two or three teaspoonfuls of the expressed juice of the herb may also be given as a dose in severe colds.

Horehound is sometimes combined with hyssop, rue, liquorice root and marshmallow root, 1/2 oz. of each boiled in 2 pints of water, to 1 1/2 pint, strained and given in 1/2 teacupful doses, every two to three hours.

Horehound for candy is best made from the fresh plant by boiling it down until the juice is extracted, then adding sugar before boiling again, until it becomes thick enough in consistency to pour into a paper case to be cut into squares when cool.

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Horseradish

Armoracia rusticana

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbages. The plant is probably native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, but is popular around the world today. It grows up to 1.5 meters (five feet) tall and is mainly cultivated for its large white, tapered root.

The intact horseradish root has hardly any aroma. When cut or grated, however, enzymes from the damaged plant cells break down sinigrin (a glucosinolate) to produce allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil), which irritates the sinuses and eyes. Once grated, if not used immediately or mixed in vinegar, the root darkens and loses its pungency and becomes unpleasantly bitter when exposed to air and heat.

Both root and leaves were used as a medicine during the Middle Ages and the root was used as a condiment on meats in Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain.

Although grown in many regions of the world, Collinsville, Illinois is the self-proclaimed "Horseradish Capital of the World" and hosts an annual International Horseradish Festival each June.

Cooks use the terms "horseradish" or "prepared horseradish" to refer to the grated root of the horseradish plant mixed with vinegar. Prepared horseradish is white to creamy-beige in color. It will keep for months refrigerated but eventually will start to darken, indicating it is losing flavor and should be replaced.

The leaves of the plant, which while edible are not commonly eaten, are referred to as "horseradish greens". Although technically a root, horseradish is generally treated as a condiment or ingredient. Horseradish sauce made from grated horseradish root, vinegar and cream is a popular condiment in the United Kingdom. It is usually served with roast beef, often as part of a traditional Sunday roast, but can be used in a number of other dishes also, including sandwiches or salads. Also popular in the UK is Tewkesbury mustard, a blend of mustard and grated horseradish originally created in medieval times and mentioned by Shakespeare.

In the U.S., the term Horseradish Sauce refers to grated horseradish combined with mayonnaise or Miracle Whip salad dressing (such as Arby's "Horsey Sauce"). Kraft Foods and other large condiment manufacturers sell this type of Horseradish Sauce. Horseradish contains potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as volatile oils, such as mustard oil (which has antibacterial properties.

Known to have diuretic properties, the roots have been used to treat various minor health problems, including urinary tract infections, bronchitis, sinus congestion, in growing toenails and coughs. Compounds found in horseradish have been found to kill some bacterial strains.

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Horsetail

( Candock, Scouring-rush)

Equisetum telmateia

Equisetum is the only living genus in the Equisetaceae, a family of vascular plants that reproduce by spores rather than seeds. They are commonly known as horsetails. Equisetum is a "living fossil," as it is the only known genus of the entire class Equisetopsida, which for over one hundred million years was very diverse and dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests. Some Equisetopsida were large trees reaching to 30 meters tall; the genus Calamites of family Calamitaceae for example is abundant in coal deposits from the Carboniferous period.

Other names include candock for branching individuals and scouring-rush for unbranched or sparsely branched individuals. The latter name refers to the plants' rush-like appearance, and to the fact that the stems are coated with abrasive silicates, making them useful for scouring (cleaning) metal items such as cooking pots or drinking mugs, particularly those made of tin.

As mentioned above, all living horsetails are placed in the genus Equisetum. But there are some fossil species that are not assignable to the modern genus:
* Pseudobornia contains the oldest known Equisetaceae; it grew in the late Devonian, about 375 million years ago.
* Equisetites is a "wastebin taxon" uniting all sorts of large horsetails from the Mesozoic; it is almost certainly paraphyletic and would probably warrant to be subsumed in Equisetum. But while some of the species placed there are likely to be ancestral to the modern horsetails, there have been reports of secondary growth in other Equisetites, and these probably represent a distinct and now-extinct horsetail lineage.

Equicalastrobus is the name given to fossil horsetail strobili, which probably mostly or completely belong to the (sterile) plants placed in Equisetites. The strobili are highly appreciated as a spring delicacy. After removing the bitterness they are eaten in Japan where they are called tsukushi. The leaves are used as a dye and give a soft green color.

Its extract is often used to provide silica for supplementation.

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Houttuynia

( Heartleaf, Lizardtail, Fishwort

Houttuynia cordata

English lizard tail and chameleon plant; ), the sole species in the genus Houttuynia, is a flowering plant native to Japan, Korea, southern China and Southeast Asia, where it grows in moist, shady places. The plant grows well in moist to wet soil and even slightly submerged in water in partial or full sun. Plants can become invasive in gardens and difficult to eradicate. Propagation is via division.

Houttuynia in temperate gardens is usually in one of its cultivated forms, including: Chameleon (synonymous with H.c. 'Court Jester', H.c. 'Tricolour', H.c. 'Variegata') this variety is slightly less vigorous than the species and has leaves broadly edged in yellow and flecked with red; Flore Pleno has masses of white bracts and the vigor of the parent species.

Grown as a leaf vegetable, particularly in Vietnam, where it is used as a fresh herbal garnish. The leaf has an unusual taste that is often described as fishy (earning it the nickname "fish mint"), so it is not enjoyed as universally as basil, mint, or other more commonly used herbs.

In the southwestern Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan, roots are used as a root vegetable. English names include heartleaf, lizardtail, and fishwort. Houttuynia is also used in herbal medicine.

The beverage dokudami cha (; literally "Houttuynia cordata tea") is an infusion made from Houttuynia cordata leaves, Oolong tea leaves, and Job's Tears.

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Hyssop

Hyssopus officinalis

Hyssop (Hyssopus) is a genus of about 10-12 species of herbaceous or semi-woody plants in the family Lamiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to central Asia. They are aromatic, with erect branched stems up to 60 cm long covered with fine hairs at the tips. The leaves are narrow oblong, 2-5 cm long. The small blue flowers are borne on the upper part of the branches during summer.

By far the best-known species is the Herb Hyssop (H. officinalis), widely cultivated outside its native area in the Mediterranean.

The name 'hyssop' can be traced back almost unchanged through the Greek (hyssopos) and Hebrew (ezov). The Book of Exodus records that the blood of the sacrifices was applied to the doorposts using hyssop on the night of Passover. Its purgative properties are also mentioned in the Book of Psalms. In the New Testament, a sponge soaked in sour wine or vinegar was stuck on a branch of hyssop and offered to Jesus of Nazareth on the cross just before he died. Both Matthew and Mark mention the occasion but refer to the plant using the general term (kalamos), which is translated as "reed" or "stick."

Hyssop is used as an ingredient in eau de Cologne and the liqueur Chartreuse. It is also used to color the liquor Absinthe, along with Melissa and Roman wormwood.

Hyssop is also used, usually in combination with other herbs such as liquorice, in herbal remedies, especially for lung conditions.

It is a convulsant due to its Effect on CNS. A plant referred to as hyssop appears repeatedly in the Hebrew Bible. In Exodus 12:22 the Israelites in Egypt are instructed to "Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning." It is used by the priests in the Temple of Solomon for purification rites of various kinds in Leviticus 14:4-7, 14:49-52, 19:6, 18. Accordingly, hyssop is also often used to fill the Catholic ceremonial Aspergillum, which the priest dips into a bowl of holy water, and sprinkles onto the congregation to bless them. However, researchers have suggested that the Biblical accounts refer not to the plant currently known as hyssop, but rather one of a number of different herbs."

Hyssop leaves have a slightly bitter minty flavour and can be added to soups, salads or meats, although should be used sparingly as the flavour is very strong.

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Indian Bay-leaf

Malabathrum, Tejpat

Cinnamomum tamala, C. tejpata

Cinnamomum is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs belonging to the Laurel family, Lauraceae. The species of Cinnamomum have aromatic oils in their leaves and bark. The genus contains over 300 species, distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of North America, Central America, South America, Asia, Oceania and Australasia. Notable Cinnamomum species include Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum or C. zeylanicum, also known as "true cinnamon" or Ceylon Cinnamon), Cassia (C. aromaticum or C. cassia), Camphor Laurel (C. camphora), Saigon Cinnamon (C. loureiroi, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon, Vietnamese cassia, or Saigon cassia), Malabathrum (C. tamala, also known as C. tejpata; tejpat or tej pat in Hindi; or, inaccurately, "Indian bay leaf"). In ancient Greece and Rome, the leaves were used to prepare a fragrant oil, called Oleum Malabathri, and were therefore valuable.

The leaves are mentioned in the 1st century Greek text Periplus Maris Erytraei as one of the major exports of the Tamil kingdoms of southern India. The name is also used in mediaeval texts to describe the dried leaves of a number of trees of the genus Cinnamomum, which were thought to have medicinal properties. They are often erroneously labeled as "Indian bay leaves," though the bay leaf is from the Bay Laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus, and the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different.

Bay leaves are shorter and light to medium green in color, with one large vein down the length of the leaf; while tejpat are about twice as long as and wider than laurel leaves. They are usually olive green in color, may have some brownish spots and have three veins down the length of the leaf.

True tejpat leaves impart a strong cassia- or cinnamon-like aroma to dishes, while the bay leaf's aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon.

The bark is also sometimes used for cooking, although it is regarded as inferior to true cinnamon or cassia.

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Indonesian Bay-Leaf

Daun salam

Eugenia polyantha

Eugenia is a genus of flowering plants in the myrtle family Myrtaceae. It has a worldwide, although highly uneven, distribution in tropical and subtropical regions.

The bulk of the approximately 1,000 species occur in the New World tropics, especially in the northern Andes, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Forest (coastal forests) of eastern Brazil. Other centers of diversity include New Caledonia and Madagascar.

Many species new to science have been and are in the process of being described from these regions. For example, 37 new species of Eugenia have been described from Mesoamerica in the past few years. At least 20 new species are currently in the process of being described from New Caledonia, and approximately the same number of species new to science may occur in Madagascar.

Despite the enormous ecological importance of the myrtle family in Australia (e.g. Eucalyptus, Corymbia, Angophora, Melaleuca, Callistemon, Rhodamnia, Gossia), only one species of Eugenia, E. reinwardtiana, occurs on that continent.

The genus also is represented in Africa south of the Sahara, but it is relatively species-poor on that continent. In the past some botanists included the morphologically similar Old World genus Syzygium in Eugenia, but research by Rudolf Schmid in the early 1970s convinced most botanists that the genera are easily separable. Research by van Wyk and colleagues in South Africa suggests the genus may comprise at least two major lineages, recognizable by anatomical and other features.

All species are woody evergreen trees and shrubs. Several are grown as ornamental plants for their attractive glossy foliage, and a few produce edible fruit that are eaten fresh or used in jams and jellies.

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Indonesian Cinnamon

( Padang Cassia, Korintje)

Cinnamomum burmannii

Cinnamomum burmannii, also known as Indonesian Cinnamon, Padang Cassia, or Korintje, it is one of several plants in the genus Cinnamomum whose bark is sold as the spice cinnamon.

The spice is the least expensive of the three common forms of cinnamon as it has the lowest essential oil content. The most common and cheapest type of cinnamon in the US is made from powdered Cinnamomum burmanni. As a result of the low oil content, Indonesian Cinnamon may have less of the mildly toxic substance coumarin than does C. cassia. It is also sold as neat thick quills which are made of one layer. Cinnamomum burmanii is native to Southeast Asia and Indonesia. It is normally found in West Sumatra in the region known as Kerinci a regency of Jambi province (hence the name Korintje) near the city of Padang.

It is an introduced species in other parts of the subtropical world, particularly in Hawaii, where it is naturalized and invasive, spreading slowly on several islands.

The essential oil from Indonesian cinnamon bark (1 to 4%) is dominated by cinnamaldehyde, but does not contain eugenol.

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Jalap

Jalap is a cathartic drug consisting of the tuberous roots of Ipomoea purga, a convolvulaceous plant growing on the eastern declivities of the Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico at an elevation of 5000 to 8000 ft. above sea level, more especially about the neighborhood of Chiconquiaco on the eastern slope of the Cofre de Perote in the state of Veracruz. Jalap has been known in Europe since the beginning of the 17th century, and derives its name from the city of Xalapa in Mexico, near which it grows, but its botanical source was not accurately determined until 1829, when Dr. J. R. Coxe of Philadelphia published a description. The ordinary drug is distinguished in commerce as Vera Cruz jalap, from the name of the port whence it is shipped.

Jalap has been cultivated for many years in India, chiefly at Ootacamund, and grows there as easily as a yam, often producing clusters of tubers weighing over 9 lb; but these, as they differ in appearance from the commercial article, have not as yet obtained a place in the English market. They are found, however, to be rich in resin, containing 18%. In Jamaica also the plant has been grown, at first amongst the cinchona trees, but more recently in new ground, as it was found to exhaust the soil.

Besides Mexican or Vera Cruz jalap, a drug called Tampico jalap has been imported for some years in considerable quantity. It has a much more shriveled appearance and paler color than ordinary jalap, and lacks the small transverse scars present in the true drug. This kind of jalap, the Purga de Sierra Gorda of the Mexicans, was traced by Daniel Hanbury to Ipomoea simulans. Second, the genus includes food crops; the tubers of Sweet Potato (I. batatas) and the leaves of Water Spinach (I. aquatica) are commercially important food items and have been for millennia.

The Sweet Potato is one of the Polynesian "canoe plants", transplanted by settlers on islands throughout the Pacific. The third way humans use Ipomoea is due to these plants' content of medically and psychoactive compounds, mainly alkaloids.

Some species are renowned for their properties in folk medicine and herbalism; for example Vera Cruz Jalap (I. jalapa) and Tampico Jalap (I. simulans) are used to produce jalap, a cathartic preparation accelerating the passage of stool. Kiribadu Ala (Giant Potato, I. mauritiana) is one of the many ingredients of chyawanprash, the ancient Ayurvedic tonic called "the elixir of life" for its wide-ranging properties. Other species were and still are used as a potent entheogen.

Seeds of Mexican Morning Glory (tlitliltzin, I. tricolor) were thus used by Aztecs and Zapotecs in shamanistic and priestly divination rituals, and at least by the former also as a poison, to give the victim a "horror trip"; see also Aztec entheogenic complex. Beach Moonflower (I. violacea) was also used thus, and the cultivars called Heavenly Blue Morning Glory, touted today for their psychoactive properties, seem to represent an indeterminable assembly or hybrids of these two species.

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Jasmine

Jasminum spp.

Jasmine which is from the Persian yasmin, i.e. "gift from God", via Arabic is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae), with about 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the Old World. Most species grow as climbers on other plants or on structures such as chicken wire, gates or fences. The leaves can be either evergreen (green all year round) or deciduous (falling in autumn).

Species include:
* Jasminum adenophyllum Wall. - Pinwheel Jasmine, Bluegrape jasmine, Princess jasmine, Che vang, Lai la co tuyen
* Jasminum dichotomum Vahl - Gold Coast Jasmine
* Jasminum grandiflorum L. - Spanish Jasmine,
* Jasminum polyanthum Franch.
* Jasminum sambac'' (L.) Aiton - * Arabian Jasmine

Widely cultivated for its flowers, jasmine is enjoyed in the garden, as a house plant, and as cut flowers. The flowers are worn by women in their hair in southern and southeast Asia. The delicate jasmine flower opens only at night and may be plucked in the morning when the tiny petals are tightly closed, then stored in a cool place until night. The petals begin to open between six and eight in the evening, as the temperature lowers.

Jasmine tisane is consumed in China, where it is called jasmine flower tea (pinyin: mò lì hua chá). Jasminum sambac flowers are also used to make tea, which often has a base of green tea, but sometimes an Oolong base is used. Flowers and tea are "mated" in machines that control temperature and humidity. It takes four hours or so for the tea to absorb the fragrance and flavour of the jasmine blossoms, and for the highest grades, this process may be repeated as many as seven times. Because the tea has absorbed moisture from the flowers, it must be refired to prevent spoilage. The spent flowers may or may not be removed from the final product, as the flowers are completely dry and contain no aroma. Giant fans are used to blow away and remove the petals from the denser tea leaves. If present, they simply add visual appeal and are no indication of the quality of the tea.

The French are known for their jasmine syrup, most commonly made from an extract of jasmine flowers. In the United States, this French jasmine syrup is used to make jasmine scones.

Jasmine essential oil is in common use. Its flowers are either extracted by the labor-intensive method of effleurage or through chemical extraction. It is expensive due to the large number of flowers needed to produce a small amount of oil. The flowers have to be gathered at night because the odor of jasmine is more powerful after dark. The flowers are laid out on cotton cloths soaked in olive oil for several days and then extracted leaving the true jasmine essence.

Some of the countries producing jasmine essential oil are India, Egypt, China and Morocco. Its chemical constituents include methyl anthranilate, indole, benzyl alcohol, linalool, and skatole. Many species also yield an absolute, which is used in perfumes and incense.

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Jiaogulan

Gynostemma pentaphyllum

Gynostemma pentaphyllum, also called jiaogulan (, literally "twisting-vine-orchid") is an herbaceous vine of the family Cucurbitaceae (cucumber or gourd family) indigenous to the southern reaches of China, southern Korea and Japan. Jiaogulan is best known as an herbal medicine reputed to have powerful antioxidant and adaptogenic effects that increase longevity.

The plant is best known for its use as an herbal medicine in traditional Chinese medicine. A botany book by Wu Qi-Jun from 1848 Zhi Wu Ming Shi Tu Kao Chang Bian discusses a few medicinal uses and seems to be the earliest known documentation of the herb. Jiaogulan had been cited previously as a survival food in Zu Xio's 1406 book Materia Medica for Famine. Until recently it was a locally known herb used primarily in regions of southern China. It is described by the local inhabitants as the immortality herb; because people within Guizhou Province, where jiaogulan tea is drunk regularly, are said have a history of living to a very old age.

Jiaogulan is most often consumed as an herbal tea, and is also available as an alcohol extract and in capsule or pill form. It is known as an adaptogen and antioxidant. Because of its adaptogenic effects it is frequently referred to as "Southern Ginseng," although it is not closely related to true Panax ginseng. Its adaptogenic constituents include the triterpenoid saponins gypenosides which are closely structurally related to the ginsenosides from the well-known medicinal plant ginseng. Jiaogulan is a calming adaptogen which is also useful in formula with codonopsis for jet lag and altitude sickness.

Most research has been done since the 1960s when the Chinese realized that it might be an inexpensive source of adaptogenic compounds, taking pressure off of the ginseng stock. Jiaogulan tea is also marketed in the United States under the trade names Panta tea or Penta tea, depending on the supplier.

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Joe Pye weed

Gravelroot, Boneset, Sweet Joe-Pye Weed, Green-stemmed Joe-Pye Weed, Queen of the Meadow, Gravel Root, Kidney Root, Purple Boneset

Eutrochium is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in Asteraceae. They are commonly referred to as Joe-Pye weeds. They are native to Eastern North America and have non-dissected foliage and pigmented flowers. It includes all the purple flowering North American species of the genus Eupatorium as traditionally defined.

Thoroughwort or Boneset is a very common and familiar plant in low meadows and damp ground in North America, extending from Nova Scotia to Florida.

Eupatorium has recently undergone some revision and has been broken up into smaller genera. Eutrochium is the senior synonym of Eupatoriadelphus. Eupatorium in the revised sense (about 42 species of white-flowered plants from the temperate Northern hemisphere) is apparently a close relative of Eutrochium.

Another difference between Eutrochium and Eupatorium is that the former has mostly whorled leaves and the latter mostly opposite ones.

Eupatorium and Eutrochium are both placed in the sub-tribe Eupatoriinae, but South American plants which have sometimes been placed in that subtribe, such as Stomatanthes, seem to belong elsewhere in the tribe Eupatorieae.

The taxa that belong to Eutrochium are:
* Eutrochium dubium (Willdenow ex Poiret) E. E. Lamont - Coastal Plain Joe-Pye Weed
* Eutrochium fistulosum (Barratt) E. E. Lamont - Hollow Joe-Pye Weed
* Eutrochium maculatum (Linnaeus) E. E. Lamont - Spotted Joe-Pye Weed [8]
* Eutrochium maculatum var. bruneri (A. Gray) E. E. Lamont
* Eutrochium maculatum var. foliosum (Fernald) E. E. Lamont
* Eutrochium maculatum var. maculatum
* Eutrochium purpureum (Linnaeus) E. E. Lamont - Sweet Joe-Pye Weed, Green-stemmed Joe-Pye Weed, Queen of the Meadow, Gravel Root, Kidney Root, Purple Boneset
* Eutrochium purpureum var. holzingeri (Rydberg) E. E. Lamont
* Eutrochium purpureum var. purpureum
* Eutrochium steelei (E. E. Lamont) E. E. Lamont

Joe Pye, an Indian healer from New England, used E. purpureum to treat a variety of ailments, which led to the name Joe-Pye weed for these plants.

Medicinal Use
Stimulant, febrifuge and laxative. It acts slowly and persistently, and its greatest power is manifested upon the stomach, liver, bowels and uterus.
It is regarded as a mild tonic in moderate doses, and is also diaphoretic, more especially when taken as a warm infusion, in which form it is used in attacks of muscular rheumatism and general cold.
In large doses it is emetic and purgative.

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John the Conqueror

John the Conqueror, also known as High John the Conqueror, John de Conquer, and many other folk variants, is a folk hero from African-American folklore. He is associated with a certain root, the John the Conquer root, or John the Conqueroo, to which magical powers are ascribed in American folklore, especially among the voodoo tradition of folk magic.

The root and its magical uses are mentioned in a number of blues lyrics. Regardless of which name is used, in these contexts "conqueror" is pronounced "conker" or sometimes "conqueroo". John the Conqueror was an African prince who was sold as a slave in the Americas. Despite his enslavement, his spirit was never broken and he survived in folklore as a sort of a trickster figure, because of the tricks he played to evade his masters.

Zora Neale Hurston wrote of his adventures ("High John de Conquer") in her collection of folklore, The Sanctified Church. She also makes reference to the root in her famous book, "Their Eyes Were Watching God."

The root known as High John the Conqueror or John the Conqueror root is said to be the root of Ipomoea jalapa, also known as Ipomoea purga, an Ipomoea species related to the morning glory and the sweet potato. The plant is known in some areas as bindweed or jalap root. It has a pleasant, earthy odor, but it is a strong laxative if taken internally.

It is not used for this purpose in folk magic; it is instead used as one of the parts of a mojo bag. It is typically used in sexual spells of various sorts and it is also considered lucky for gambling. It is likely that the root acquired its sexual magical reputation because, when dried, it resembles the testicles of a dark-skinned man. Because of this, when it is employed as an amulet, it is important that the root used be whole and unblemished. Dried pieces and chips of the root are used in formulating oils and washes that are used in other sorts of spells.

Cecil Adams has claimed that John the Conquer root is the root of St. John's wort; however, according to Cat yronwode, Cecil Adams is mistaken. St. John's wort root is thin and thread-like root, while John the Conquer root is a tuber. As the blues lyrics below make clear, John the Conquer root is carried by the user, and the spell is cast by rubbing the root, which could not be done with a filamentous root. Other roots are linked to the same body of legends.

Low John is the root of the trillium or wake-robin, Trillium grandiflorum. It is carried on the person for assistance in family matters. It is also known as Dixie John or Southern John, and additionally is the basis for a voodoo formula called Dixie Love Oil.

"Chewing John" is galangal, Alpinia galanga -- a member of the ginger family. This is chewed much as chewing tobacco is chewed, to sweeten the breath and to calm the stomach. It is said that if you spit the juice from chewing this root onto the floor of a courtroom before the judge enters, you will win your case. Other names for this root are Little John and Little John to Chew. (This is called "Low John" in the Deep South.). The magic of John the Conqueroo became known beyond the circle of African American hoodoo practitioners by being mentioned in a number of well known blues lyrics.

In 1961 Willie Dixon wrote a song called "Rub My Root" and in 1964 it was recorded by Muddy Waters under the title "My John the Conquer Root." The first verse goes: ''My pistol may snap, my mojo is frail But I rub my root, my luck will never fail When I rub my root, my John the Conquer root Aww, you know there ain't nothin' she can do, Lord, I rub my John the Conquer root'' In 1954, Muddy Waters recorded a very popular version of Willie Dixon's "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" song with an additional verse mentioning John the Conquer root: ''I got a black cat bone, I got a mojo too, I got a John the Conquer root, I'm gonna mess with you, I'm gonna make you girls lead me by my hand, Then the world will know the hoochie coochie man.'' In 1955, Bo Diddley wrote and released "I'm A Man" with the following verse: ''I goin' back down, To Kansas to Bring back the second cousin, Little John the conqueroo.''

In 1971, Dr John (Mac Rebennack) recorded a song called 'Black John the Conqueror' on his 'Sun Moon & Herbs' album which describes some of the legends surrounding the folk hero and as well as the powers of the herb.

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Juniper berry

Juniperus communis

A juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially Juniperus communis, are used as a spice, particularly in European cuisine, and also give gin its distinguishing flavour.

According to one FAO document, juniper berries are the only spice derived from conifers, though tar and inner bark (used as a sweetener by Apache cuisines) from pine trees is sometimes considered a spice as well.

All juniper species grow berries, but some are considered too bitter to eat. In addition to J. communis, other edible species include Juniperus drupacea, Juniperus oxycedrus, Juniperus phoenicea, Juniperus deppeana, and Juniperus californica. Some species, for example Juniperus sabina, are toxic and consumption is inadvisable.

The berries are green when young, and mature to a purple-black color over about 18 months in most species, including J. communis (shorter, 8-10 months in a few species, and about 24 months in J. drupacea). The mature, dark berries are usually but not exclusively used in cuisine, while gin is flavored with fully grown but immature green berries.

The flavour profile of young, green berries is dominated by pinene; as they mature this piney, resinous backdrop is joined by what McGee describes as "green-fresh" and citrus notes. The outer scales of the berries are relatively flavorless, so the berries are almost always at least lightly crushed before being used as a spice. They are used both fresh and dried, but their flavour and odor is at their strongest immediately after harvest and decline during drying and storage.

Juniper berries are used in northern European and particularly Scandinavian cuisine to "impart a sharp, clear flavour" They also season pork, cabbage, and sauerkraut dishes. Traditional recipes for choucroute garnie, an Alsatian dish of sauerkraut and meats, universally include juniper berries. Besides Norwegian and Swedish dishes, juniper berries are also sometimes used in German, Austrian, Czech and Hungarian cuisine, often with roasts.

Gin was developed in the 17th century in the Netherlands. It was first intended as a medication; juniper berries are a diuretic and were also thought to be an appetite stimulant and a remedy for rheumatism and arthritis. The name gin itself is derived from either the French genièvre or the Dutch jenever, which both mean "juniper".

A few North American juniper species produce a seed cone with a sweeter, less resinous flavour than those typically used as a spice. For example, one field guide describes the flesh of the berries of Juniperus californica as "dry, mealy, and fibrous but sweet and without resin cells". Such species have been used not just as a seasoning but as a nutritive food by some Native Americans.

In addition to medical and culinary purposes, Native Americans have also used the seeds inside juniper berries as beads for jewellery and decoration.

An essential oil extracted from juniper berries is used in aromatherapy and perfumery. The essential oil can be distilled out of berries which have already been used to flavour gin.

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Juniper

Juniperus communis

Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the mountains of Central America.

Junipers vary in size and shape from tall trees, 20-40 m tall, to columnar or low spreading shrubs with long trailing branches. They are evergreen with needle-like and/or scale-like leaves. They can be either monoecious or dioecious. The female seed cones are very distinctive, with fleshy, fruit-like coalescing scales which fuse together to form a "berry"-like structure, 4-27 mm long, with 1-12 unwinged, hard-shelled seeds. In some species these "berries" are red-brown or orange but in most they are blue; they are often aromatic (for their use as a spice, see juniper berry). The seed maturation time varies between species from 6-18 months after pollination. The male cones are similar to those of other Cupressaceae, with 6-20 scales; most shed their pollen in early spring, but some species pollinate in the autumn.

Many junipers (e.g. J. chinensis, J. virginiana) have two types of leaves: seedlings and some twigs of older trees have needle-like leaves 5-25 mm long; and the leaves on mature plants are (mostly) tiny (2-4 mm long), overlapping and scale-like. When juvenile foliage occurs on mature plants, it is most often found on shaded shoots, with adult foliage in full sunlight. Leaves on fast-growing 'whip' shoots are often intermediate between juvenile and adult. In some species (e. g. J. communis, J. squamata), all the foliage is of the juvenile needle-like type, with no scale leaves. In some of these (e.g. J. communis), the needles are jointed at the base, in others (e.g. J. squamata), the needles merge smoothly with the stem, not jointed. The needle-leaves of junipers are hard and sharp, making the juvenile foliage very prickly to handle. This can be a valuable identification feature in seedlings, as the otherwise very similar juvenile foliage of cypresses (Cupressus, Chamaecyparis) and other related genera is soft and not prickly.

The number of juniper species is in dispute, with two recent studies giving very different totals, Farjon (2001) accepting 52 species, and Adams (2004) accepting 67 species. The junipers are divided into several sections, though (particularly among the scale-leaved species) which species belong to which sections is still far from clear, with research still on-going.

The section Juniperus is an obvious monophyletic group though.
* 'Juniperus sect. Juniperus:' Needle-leaf junipers. The adult leaves are needle-like, in whorls of three, and jointed at the base (see below right).
* Juniperus sect. Juniperus subsect. Juniperus: Cones with 3 separate seeds; needles with one stomatal band.
* Juniperus communis - Common Juniper
* Juniperus communis subsp. alpina - Alpine Juniper
* Juniperus conferta - Shore Juniper (syn. J. rigida var. conferta)
* Juniperus rigida - Temple Juniper or Needle Juniper
* Juniperus sect. Juniperus subsect. Oxycedrus: Cones with 3 separate seeds; needles with two stomatal bands.
* Juniperus brevifolia - Azores Juniper
* Juniperus phoenicea - Pashtune Juniper in Ziarat
* Juniperus cedrus - Canary Islands Juniper
* Juniperus deltoides - Eastern Prickly Juniper
* Juniperus formosana - Chinese Prickly Juniper
* Juniperus lutchuensis - Ryukyu Juniper
* Juniperus navicularis - Portuguese Prickly Juniper
* Juniperus oxycedrus - Western Prickly Juniper or Cade Juniper
* Juniperus macrocarpa (J. oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa) - Large-berry Juniper
* Juniperus sect. Juniperus subsect. Caryocedrus: Cones with 3 seeds fused together; needles with two stomatal bands.
* Juniperus drupacea - Syrian Juniper
* 'Juniperus sect. Sabina:' Scale-leaf junipers. The adult leaves are mostly scale-like, similar to those of Cupressus species, in opposite pairs or whorls of three, and the juvenile needle-like leaves are not jointed at the base (including in the few that have only needle-like leaves).

Provisionally, all the other junipers are included here, though they form a paraphyletic group.
* 'Old World species
* Juniperus chinensis - Chinese Juniper
* Juniperus chinensis var. sargentii'' - Sargent's Juniper
* Juniperus chinensis L. var. tsukusiensis Masummune
* Juniperus chinensis Kaizuka
* Junipers chinensis var. Procumbens
* Junipers chinensis Globosa
* Junipers chinensis Aurea'
* Juniperus convallium - Mekong Juniper
* Juniperus excelsa - Greek Juniper
* Juniperus polycarpos - Persian Juniper
* Juniperus foetidissima - Stinking Juniper
* Juniperus indica - Black Juniper
* Juniperus komarovii - Komarov's Juniper
* Juniperus phoenicea - Phoenicean Juniper
* Juniperus procera - East African Juniper
* Juniperus procumbens - Ibuki Juniper
* Juniperus pseudosabina - Xinjiang Juniper
* Juniperus recurva - Himalayan Juniper
* Juniperus recurva var. coxii - Cox's Juniper
* Juniperus sabina - Savin Juniper
* Juniperus sabina var. davurica - Daurian Juniper
* Juniperus saltuaria - Sichuan Juniper
* Juniperus semiglobosa - Russian Juniper
* Juniperus squamata - Flaky Juniper
* Juniperus thurifera - Spanish Juniper
* Juniperus tibetica - Tibetan Juniper
* Juniperus wallichiana - Himalayan Black Juniper
* 'New World species
* Juniperus angosturana - Mexican One-seed Juniper
* Juniperus ashei - Ashe Juniper
* Juniperus barbadensis - West Indies Juniper
* Juniperus bermudiana - Bermuda Juniper
* Juniperus blancoi'' - Blanco's Juniper
* Juniperus californica - California Juniper
* Juniperus coahuilensis - Coahuila Juniper
* Juniperus comitana - Comitán Juniper
* Juniperus deppeana - Alligator Juniper
* Juniperus durangensis - Durango Juniper
* Juniperus flaccida - Mexican Weeping Juniper
* Juniperus gamboana - Gamboa Juniper
* Juniperus horizontalis - Creeping Juniper
* Juniperus jaliscana - Jalisco Juniper
* Juniperus monosperma - One-seed Juniper
* Juniperus monticola - Mountain Juniper
* Juniperus occidentalis - Western Juniper
* Juniperus occidentalis subsp. australis - Sierra Juniper
* Juniperus osteosperma - Utah Juniper
* Juniperus pinchotii - Pinchot Juniper
* Juniperus saltillensis - Saltillo Juniper
* Juniperus scopulorum - Rocky Mountain Juniper
* Juniperus standleyi - Standley's Juniper
* Juniperus virginiana - Eastern Juniper (Eastern Redcedar)
* Juniperus virginiana subsp. silicicola - Southern Juniper

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Kaffir Lime Leaves

Citrus hystrix, C. papedia

The kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix DC., Rutaceae), also known as kieffer lime and limau purut is a type of lime native to Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, and widely grown worldwide as a backyard shrub.

The kaffir lime is a rough, bumpy green fruit that grows on very thorny bush with aromatic and distinctively shaped "double" leaves. It is well suited to container growing. The green lime fruit is distinguished by its bumpy exterior and its small size (approx. 4 cm wide).

Other names for Citrus x hystrix:
* Burma: shauk-nu, shauk-waing
* Cambodia: krauch soeuch
* China: ning meng ye (Mandarin), fatt-fung-kam (Cantonese), Thài-kok-kam (Hokkien/Min Nan)
* India: kolumichai in Tamil)
* Indonesia: jeruk purut, jeruk limo, jeruk sambal
* Laos: makgeehoot
* Malaysia: limau purut
* Philippines: Kubot, per-res (Sagada)
* Reunion Island: combava
* Sri Lanka: kahpiri dehi, odu dehi, kudala-dehi
* Thailand: makrud som makrud

The word Kaffir have may come from German Käfer, meaning bug. The leaves of the Kaffir Lime do bear a slight resemblance to an insect, especially the leaf insects native to Southeast Asia, with which they may have co-evolved.

The Oxford Companion to Food (ISBN 0-19-211579-0) recommends avoiding the name kaffir lime and instead using makrud lime because kaffir is offensive in some cultures. (For this reason, some South Africans refer to the fruit as K-lime.) However, kaffir lime appears to be much more common. The rind of the kaffir lime is commonly used in Lao and Thai curry paste, adding an aromatic, astringent flavor. Its hourglass-shaped leaves (comprising the leaf blade plus a flattened, leaf-like leaf-stalk or petiole) are also widely used in Thai and Lao cuisine (for dishes such as tom yum), and Cambodian cuisine (for the base paste known as "Krueng"). The leaves are also popular in Indonesian cuisine (especially Balinese and Javanese), for foods such as sayur asam - literally sour vegetables, and are also used along with Indonesian bay leaf for chicken and fish. They are also found in Malaysian and Burmese cuisines. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen.

The juice and rinds of the kaffir lime are used in traditional Indonesian medicine; for this reason the fruit is sometimes referred to in Indonesia as jeruk obat - literally "medicine citrus". The oil from the rind also has strong insecticidal properties. The juice is generally regarded as too acidic to use in food preparation, but finds use as a cleanser for clothing and hair, mainly in Thailand. The zest of the fruit is widely used in creole cuisine and to impart flavor to "arranged" rums in the Réunion island and Madagascar.

* In the 2007 motion picture No Reservations, Catherine Zeta-Jones' character (Kate, a chef) uses kaffir lime leaves as the secret ingredient in her saffron sauce recipe.

* Smirnoff makes a ready-to-drink mojito flavored with Kaffir lime.

* MolsonCoors produces Blue Moon Rising Moon beer, flavored with kaffir lime leaves.

* Hangar One produces a Kaffir Lime infused artisanal vodka in Alameda, California.

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Kaala masala

The secret of the masterly art of Indian cooking requires a thorough knowledge of the properties of each spice and its blend with other spices. So one can say that the characteristic of each curry relies entirely on the balance of herbs and spices that go into its creations. Local influence distinguishes curries from one region to another.

Masala is a word that is often used in an Indian kitchen. It literally means a blend of several spices.

Garam (hot) masala is the most important blend masala and an absolute essential to north Indian preparations, added just before serving the dish to enhance its flavour.

The rational garam masala is a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper. Masala may be in dry, rosted ground or paste form.

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Knotweed

Polygonum

Polygonum is a genus in the buckwheat family Polygonaceae. Common names of polygonum species include knotweed, knotgrass, bistort, tear-thumb, mile-a-minute, and several others. In the Middle English glossary of herbs "Alphita" (ca. 1400-1425), it was known as ars-smerte. There have been various opinions about how broadly the genus should be defined. Buckwheat for example has sometimes been included in the genus.

Several species can be eaten cooked, for example during famines. The variety polygonum cognatum known locally as "madimak" is regularly consumed in central parts of Turkey.

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Kokam

Garcinia indica

Garcinia indica or kokum is a fruit tree, of culinary, pharmaceutical, and industrial uses. The tree is also ornamental, with a dense canopy of green leaves and red-tinged tender emerging leaves. It is indigenous to the Western Ghats region of India, along the western coast. It is found in forest lands, riversides, and wasteland, and also gets cultivated on a small scale. It does not require irrigation, spraying or fertilizers. These plants prefer evergreen forests, but some also thrive in relatively low-rainfall areas.

Garcinia indica is known by various names across India -- including Amsol/Aamsul, Bindin, Biran, Bhirand, Bhinda, Bhrinda, Brinda, Kokum/Kokam, Katambi, Panarpuli, Kudam Puli or Ratamba. In the English language, it is known by various names, such as mangosteen, wild mangosteen, or red mango. Further, the extract/concentrate of this fruit is called Aagal in Marathi. It is ready to use for preparation of Sol Kadhi when mixed with coconut milk.

Called kokum, kokam, or ''bin'na in parts of western India, the Garcinia indica'' seed contains 23-26% oil, which remains solid at room temperature and is used in the preparations of confectionery, medicines and cosmetics.

The outer cover of fruit is dried in the Sun to get Aamsul or Kokam/Kokum. It is used as a slightly sour spice in recipes from Maharashtra that yields peculiar taste and dark red color. It is a preferred substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes from Konkan. It is also used in Konkani cuisine, in Gujarat, and some cuisines of South India. It is an essential ingredient of traditional fish recipes of Kerala.

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Labrador tea

(Northern Labrador Tea, also known as Rhododendron tomentosum)

Ledum palustre

Labrador tea, is a name commonly applied to two species: Ledum palustre (Northern Labrador Tea, also known as Rhododendron tomentosum) and Ledum groenlandicum (Bog Labrador Tea).

In Labrador itself, Labrador Tea is also frequently called Indian Tea. Both are plants in the Heath family (Ericaceae) with strongly aromatic leaves that can be used to make a very palatable herbal tea. Labrador tea has been a favorite beverage among Athabaskan and Eskimo people for many years.

Labrador tea is a low shrub with evergreen leaves. The leaves are smooth on top with often wrinkled edges, and fuzzy white to red-brown underneath. The tiny white flowers grow in hemispherical clusters and are very fragrant and sticky and highly attractive to bees.

The Athabaskans use it as a beverage and also as medicine for weak blood, colds, tuberculosis, dizziness, stomach problems, heartburn, kidney problems and hangover. Ledum palustre grows in peaty soils, shrubby areas, moss and lichen tundra. Ledum groenlandicum grows in bogs and wet shores, and sometimes on rocky alpine slopes. Both species are generally northern (north temperate to tundra) in distribution, with the range of L. groenlandicum somewhat farther south. Both Ledum palustre and Ledum groenlandicum grow slowly, so pick individual leaves rather than whole branches, and harvest from different shrubs. In addition, Labrador tea grows in abundance in large patches so it should not be difficult to move from plant to plant to avoid over-harvesting.

Labrador tea is an evergreen plant and will be available all year long.

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Lady's Bedstraw

Galium verum

Galium verum (Lady's Bedstraw or Yellow Bedstraw) is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Rubiaceae, native to Europe and Asia. It is a low scrambling plant, with the stems growing to 60-120 cm long, frequently rooting where they touch the ground. The leaves are 1-3 cm long and 2 mm broad, shiny dark green, hairy underneath, borne in whorls of 8-12. The flowers are 2-3 mm in diameter, yellow, and produced in dense clusters.

Lady's Bedstraw

It is related to the plant Cleavers, or Sticky Willy (Gallium Aparine).

In the past the dried plants were used to stuff mattresses, as the coumarin scent of the plants acts as a flea killer. The flowers were also used to coagulate milk in cheese manufacture and, in Gloucestershire, to color the cheese Double Gloucester. The plant is also used to make red madder-like and yellow dyes.

In Denmark, the plant (known locally as gul snerre) is traditionally used to infuse spirits, making the uniquely Danish drink bjæsk.

Frigg was the goddess of married women, in Norse mythology. She helped women give birth to children, and as Scandinavians used the plant Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum) as a sedative, they called it ''Frigg's grass''.

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Lady's Mantle

Alchemilla

'''Lady's Mantle' is a genus of rosaceous herbs (Alchemilla), which has leaves with rounded and finely serrated lobes, of which a few species have been cultivated for their unobtrusive beauty and herbal properties for centuries. Green to bright chartreuse small, insignificant flowers, without the showy petals that their cousins like roses (Rosa) and cinquefoils (Potentilla) have are held in clusters above the foliage in late spring and summer.

The grey-green leaves of Lady's Mantle blend well with many colors in the garden, including purple, blue, pink, yellow and white.
* Cultivars of A. mollis
* Aphanes arvensis'': Field Lady's Mantle or Parsley Piert; it used to be an Alchemilla but it has been reclassified as an Aphanes. Not so popular for cultivation but it has a history of being helpful for relieving diseases of the prostrate.
* Alchemilla alpina: One of the species used by gardeners in rock gardens.

These plants are used as a food plant by some Lepidoptera species, including Emperor Moth and Grizzled Skipper. Horses and sheep like to eat the plant, but it was an unpractical as profitable fodder as the grazing animals will not eat the leaves unless they are dried.

Species of Alchemilla have been widely used in folk medicine throughout Europe, due to the astringent and styptic properties of the tannins it contains and was formerly considered one of the best wound herbs. As an astringent Lady's Mantle paradoxically both promotes delayed menstrual flow (an emmenagogue) and reduces abnormally heavy or prolonged menstruation (menorrhagia) or bleeding from the uterus that is not due to menstruation (metrorrhagia). It also has a role to play in easing the changes of menopause.

The same astringency can play a role in the treatment of diarrhea and as a mouthwash for sores and ulcers and as a gargle for laryngitis.

M. Grieve quoted Culpeper this way: "Lady's Mantle is very proper for inflamed wounds and to stay bleeding, vomiting, fluxes of all sorts, bruises by falls and ruptures. It is one of the most singular wound herbs and therefore highly prized and praised, used in all wounds inward and outward, to drink a decoction thereof and wash the wounds therewith, or dip tents therein and put them into the wounds which wonderfully driest up all humidity of the sores and abateth all inflammations thereof. It quickly health green wounds, not suffering any corruption to remain behind and cured old sores, though fistulous and hollow."

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Land cress

Barbarea verna

Barbarea (Bar-ba-ré-a, Winter cress or Yellow rocket) is a genus of about 22 species of flowering plants in the family Brassicaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in southern Europe and southwest Asia. They are small herbaceous biennial or perennial plants with dark green, deeply lobed leaves and yellow flowers with four petals. They grow quickly into dandelion-like rosettes of edible, cress-like foliage.

B. verna, also known as Upland Cress, Early Winter Cress, American Cress, Belle Isle Cress and Scurvy Grass, is used in salads or to add a nippy taste to mixed greens for cooking.

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Lavender

Lavandula spp.

The Lavenders Lavandula are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to the Mediterranean region south to tropical Africa and to the southeast regions of India. The genus includes annuals, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs.

The native range extends across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, south Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia, and India.

Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens world-wide, they are occasionally found growing wild, as garden escapees, well beyond their natural range. Because Lavender cross-pollinates easily, however, there are countless variations within the species.

The color of Lavender flowers has come to be called lavender.

The most common "true" species in cultivation is the Common Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (formerly L. officinalis). A wide range of cultivars can be found. Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida. Lavandula x intermedia or "Lavendin" is the most cultivated species for commercial use, since its flowers are bigger and the plants are easier to harvest, but Lavendin oil is regarded to be of a lower quality.

Lavenders are widely grown in gardens. Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Dried and sealed in pouches, they are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and as a deterrent to moths.

The plant is also grown commercially for extraction of lavender oil from the flowers. This oil is used as an antiseptic and for aromatherapy. Lavender is also used extensively as herbal filler inside sachets used to freshen linens and discourage moths from closets and drawers. Dried lavender flowers have become recently popular used as confetti for tossing after a wedding.

Lavender flowers yield abundant nectar which yields a high-quality honey for beekeepers. Lavender monofloral honey is produced primarily in the nations around the Mediterranean, and marketed worldwide as a premium product.

Lavender flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender is also used to flavour baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), as well as used to make "lavender sugar".

Lavender flowers are occasionally sold in a blend with black, green, or herbal tea, adding a fresh, relaxing scent and flavour.

Chefs in and around Provence, France, have been incorporating this herb into their cuisine for centuries, either alone or as an ingredient of herbes de Provence. Lavender lends a floral, slightly sweet, and elegant flavour to most dishes, and pairs beautifully with various sheep's and goat's cheeses. For most cooking applications it is the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) of lavender that are used, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well.

Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, which is where both the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived. The French are also known for their lavender syrup, most commonly made from an extract of lavender.

In the United States, both French lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones.

Lavender has been used extensively in herbalism. English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Lavandin, Lavandula x intermedia (also known as French lavender), yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of terpenes including camphor, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance.

Spanish lavender, Lavandula stoechas is not used medicinally, but mainly for landscaping.

Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used in hospitals during WWI to disinfect floors and walls. These extracts are also popularly used as fragrances for bath products.

An infusion of lavender is claimed to soothe and heal insect bites. Bunches of lavender are also said to repel insects. If applied to the temples, lavender oil is said to soothe headaches. Lavender is frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation: Seeds and flowers of the plant are added to pillows, and an infusion of three flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water is recommended as a soothing and relaxing bedtime drink. Lavender oil (or extract of Lavender) is claimed to heal acne when used diluted 1:10 with water, rosewater, or witch hazel; it is also used in the treatment of skin burns and inflammatory conditions (it is a traditional treatment for these in Iran and nearby regions).

Health precautions: There is scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of some of these remedies, especially the anti-inflammatory effects, but they should be used with caution since lavender oil can also be a powerful allergen. Ingesting lavender should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Topically, lavender oil is cytotoxic. It increases photosensitivity as well. A study demonstrated that lavender oil is cytotoxic to human skin cells in vitro (endothelial cells and fibroblasts) at a concentration of 0.25%.

Linalool, a component of lavender oil, reflected the activity of the whole oil, indicating that linalool may be the active component of lavender oil. Another study showed that aqueous extracts reduced mitotic index, but induced chromosome aberrations and mitotic aberrations in comparison with control, significantly. Aqueous extracts induced breaks, stickiness, pole deviations and micronuclei. Furthermore, these effects were related to extract concentrations. Two essential oils, lavender and tea tree oil have been implicated in causing gynaecomastia, an abnormal breast tissue growth in prepubescent boys. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine claimed that the use of shampoo and similar products, containing lavender and tea tree oils, in three boys resulted in this condition. Professor Ieuan Hughes, a child hormone specialist at the University of Cambridge has claimed "... these oils can mimic oestrogens" and "people should be a little bit careful about using these products".

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Laser

Silphium

Silphium (also known as silphion or laser) was a plant of the genus Ferula. Generally considered to be an extinct "giant fennel" (although some claim that the plant is really Ferula tingitana it once formed the crux of trade from the ancient city of Cyrene for its use as a rich seasoning and as a medicine. It was so critical to the Cyrenian economy that most of their coins bore a picture of the plant.

Silphium was an important species in prehistory, as evidenced by the Egyptians and Knossos Minoans developing a specific glyph to represent the Silphium plant. The valuable product was the resin (laser, laserpicium, or lasarpicium) of the plant. It was harvested in a manner similar to asafoetida, a plant with similar enough qualities to silphium that Romans, including the geographer Strabo, used the same word to describe both. Aside from its uses in Greco-Roman cooking (as in recipes by Apicius), many medical uses were ascribed to the plant. It was said that it could be used to treat cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, aches and pains, warts, and all kinds of maladies. Chief among its medical uses, according to Pliny the Elder, was its role as a herbal contraceptive. Given that many species in the parsley family have estrogenic properties, and some (such as wild carrot) have been found to work as an abortifacient, it is quite possible that the plant was pharmacologically active in the prevention or termination of pregnancy. Legend said that it was a gift from the god Apollo. It was used widely by most ancient Mediterranean cultures; the Romans considered it "worth its weight in denarii."

The reason for silphium's extinction is not entirely known. The plant grew along a narrow coastal area, about 125 by 35 miles, in Cyrenaica (in present-day Libya). Much of the speculation about the cause of its extinction rests on a sudden demand for animals that grazed on the plant, for some supposed effect on the quality of the meat. Overgrazing combined with overharvesting may have led to its extinction. The climate of the maghreb has been drying over the millennia, and desertification may also have been a factor. Another theory is that when Roman provincial governors took over power from Greek colonists, they over-farmed silphium and rendered the soil unable to yield the type that was said to be of such medicinal value.

Theophrastus reports that the type of ferula specifically referred to as "silphium" was odd in that it only grew in the wild, but could not be successfully grown as a crop in tilled soil. The validity of this report is questionable, however, as Theophrastus was merely passing on a report from another source. Pliny reported that the last known stalk of silphium was given to the Emperor Nero "as a curiosity".

Silphium retained a ghostly literary half-life in lists of aromatics copied one from another, until it makes perhaps its last, spectral appearance in the list of spices that the Carolingian cook should have at hand- Brevis pimentorum que in domo esse debeant ("A short list of condiments that should be in the home") - by a an author named Vinidarius, whose excepts of Apicius survive in one eighth century uncial manuscript. Vinidarius' own dates may not be much earlier. There has been some speculation about the connection between silphium and the traditional heart shape. The symbol is remarkably similar to the Egyptian "heart soul". The sexual nature of that concept, combined with the widespread use of silphium in ancient Egypt for birth control, and the fact that the seeds of silphium are shaped like a heart as shown in the left illustration, leads to speculation that the character for may have been derived from the shape of the silphium seed.

Contemporaneous writings help tie silphium to sexuality and love, as laserpicium makes an appearance in a poem (Catullus 7) of Catullus to his lover Lesbia. As well as in Pausanias' Description of Greece in which he says "For it so happened that his maiden daughter was living in it. By the next day this maiden and all her girlish apparel had disappeared, and in the room were found images of the Dioscuri, a table, and silphium upon it." In the Italian military heraldry Il silfio d'oro reciso di Cirenaica (silphium couped or of Cyrenaica) was the symbol granted to the units that fought in the campaigns in North Africa during World War II.

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Ledum

Ledum groenlandicum

Ledum is a genus name formerly widely recognised in the family Ericaceae, including 8 species of evergreen shrubs native to cool temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and commonly known as Labrador Tea.

Recent genetic evidence has shown that the species previously treated in this genus are correctly placed in the genus Rhododendron, where they are now treated as 'Rhododendron subsect. Ledum'. Because some of the species names used in Ledum could not be used in Rhododendron (the names already having been used for other species already in this large genus), new names had to be coined for them.
* Species
The species formerly listed in Ledum, with their current accepted names in Rhododendron, are:
* Ledum decumbens = Rhododendron subarcticum Harmaja
* Ledum glandulosum = Rhododendron neoglandulosum Harmaja
* Ledum groenlandicum = Rhododendron groenlandicum (Oeder) Kron & Judd
* Ledum hypoleucum = Rhododendron hypoleucum (Kom.) Harmaja
* Ledum macrophyllum = Rhododendron tolmachevii Harmaja
* Ledum palustre = Rhododendron tomentosum Harmaja
* Ledum palustre var. diversipilosum = Rhododendron diversipilosum (Nakai) Harmaja
* Ledum subulatum = Rhododendron subulatum (Nakai) Harmaja
* Hybrids One natural hybrid also occurs: Ledum columbianum = Rhododendron × columbianum (R. groenlandicum × R. neoglandulosum)

Some species (e.g. L. groenlandicum) have been used to produce Labrador Tea. Other species have varying levels of toxicity (e.g. L. glandulosum).

Evergreen Labrador Tea grows slowly, but retains its leaves year-round. Users should take care not to over-harvest leaves from any single plant.

Ledum sp. often grows together with poisonous plants such as Bog-laurel and Bog-rosemary, but certain species (e.g. L. groenlandicum and L. palustre) are easily distinguished by the distinctive rust colored fuzz on the bottom of leaves.

According to a Russian study from 1991, Ledum was able to almost completely inactivate the Tick-Borne indolent bacterial infection caused by the Genus Borrelia, some people believe to be involved in the pathogenesis of Lyme Disease which can lead to many chronic conditions.

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Lemonade Berry

Rhus integrifolia

Rhus integrifolia, also known as Lemonade Berry, Lemonade berry, or Lemonade Sumac is a shrub to small tree that is one to eight meters in height, with a sprawling form. It is native to Southwestern and Pacific coastal California from Santa Barbara County to western Riverside County with its range extending to north-central Pacific coastal Baja California and some offshore islands like Cedros.

It is a member of the chaparral plant community and is often found in canyons and on north-facing slopes below elevations of 900 meters. It often hybridizes with Rhus ovata.

The Lemonade Berry's leaves are simple (unusual in a genus where most species are trifoliate), alternating, evergreen and leathery, ranging from two to four centimeters wide on reddish twigs; length of leaves is five to seven centimeters. Leaves are toothed with a waxy appearance above and a paler tone below. The flowers which appear from February to May are small, clustered closely together, and may be either bisexual or pistillate.

These fragrant flowers exhibit radial symmetry with five green sepals, five white to rosy-pink petals, and five stamens. The small flowers are only six millimeters across. The ovary is superior and usually has a single ovule; although in pistillate flowers, the stamens are small and infertile. The mature fruit of Rhus integrifolia is sticky, reddish, covered with hairs, and about seven to ten millimeters in diameter. The elliptical fruit presents tight clusters at the very ends of twigs. Young plants manifest smooth reddish bark, while more mature individuals have cracked, even scaly, grayish bark with the smooth red bark displayed underneath. Twigs are rather stout and flexible, and reddish bud ends are diminutive and pointed. There is often a multi-furcate branching structure from the base of the plant. A mature plant is large and thicket-like with a sprawling arrangement.

Many plants within this genus are considered toxic, although some reports indicate the berries of this species can be used to make lemonade flavored drinks (hence its common name).

Allergic reactions may also result from skin contact with sap from some of the genera. Rhus integrifolia can also be used as a landscape shrub and is suitable for hedging and espalier. The plant is vulnerable to frost, but often the plant will regrow by summer, after it appears to have died from cold. The growth habit is slow to moderate and, as a garden plant, this species is quite resistant to deer. Its cultural requirements should mimic its natural environment with ample drainage and little summer water.

Lemonade Berry leaves are rich in tannins. Even though the species is evergreen, there is some leaf fall in autumn, at which time the fallen leaves may be used as a brown dye or mordant. Oil can be extracted from Lemonade Berry seeds; moreover, this oil achieves a tallow consistency when left to stand. Thereafter the oil can be employed to manufacture candles, which burn brightly, albeit emitting a pungent scent. The wood of mature plants is dense and hard, making it prized for wood-burning fireplace kindling.

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Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), not to be confused with bee balm, Monarda species, is a perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. It grows to 70-150 cm tall. The leaves have a gentle lemon scent, related to mint. At the end of the summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear. These attract bees, hence the genus name Melissa (Greek for 'honey bee'). Its flavour comes from the terpenes citronellal, citronella, citral, and geraniol.

This herb can be easy to cultivate in United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. In zone 4, it needs winter mulch and a well-drained sandy soil to survive. In zone 7, it can be harvested at least until the end of November. While it prefers full sun (as described on most plant tags), it is moderately shade-tolerant, much more so than most herbs. In dry climates, it grows best in partial shade. It can also be easily grown as an indoor potted herb. Lemon Balm requires light and at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate so it is best to plant indoors or in spring and not to cover the seeds.

Lemon Balm grows in clumps and spreads vegetatively as well as by seed. In mild temperate zones, the stems of the plant die off at the start of the winter, but shoot up again in spring. It can be easily grown from stem cuttings rooted in water, or from seeds. Under ideal conditions, it will seed itself prolifically and can become a nuisance in gardens.

lemon balm
Source: from ''Koehler's Medicinal-Plants'' 1887 {{GFDL-DD}} Category:Koehler1887\
Lemon balm is often used as a flavouring in ice cream and herbal teas, both hot and iced, often in combination with other herbs such as spearmint.

Lemon balm is often used as a flavoring in ice cream and herbal teas, both hot and iced, often in combination with other herbs such as spearmint. It is also frequently paired with fruit dishes or candies.

The crushed leaves, when rubbed on the skin, are used as a repellant for mosquitoes.

Lemon Balm is also used medicinally as a herbal tea, or in extract form. It is claimed to have antibacterial, antiviral properties (it is effective against herpes simplex), and it is also used as a mild sedative or calming agent. At least one study has found it to be effective at reducing stress, although the study's authors call for further research.

Its antibacterial properties have also been demonstrated scientifically, although they are markedly weaker than those from a number of other plants studied. The extract of Lemon balm was also found to have exceptionally high antioxidant activity.

Lemon balm is mentioned in the scientific journal Endocrinology where it is explained that Melissa officinalis exhibits antithyrotropic activity, inhibiting TSH from attaching to TSH receptors, hence making it of possible use in the treatment of Graves' disease or hyperthyroidism. Lemon balm essential oil is very popular in aromatherapy. The essential oil is commonly co-distilled with lemon oil, citronella oil, or other oils.

Lemon balm is used in some variations of the Colgate Herbal toothpaste for its soothing and aromatic properties. Lemon balm should be avoided by those on thyroid medication (such as thyroxine) as it is believed that the herb inhibits the absorption of this medicine.

Despite extensive traditional medicinal use, melissa oil has been prohibited by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA)'s 42nd amendment.

Lemon Balm contains eugenol which kills bacteria and has been shown to calm muscles and numb tissues. It also contains tannins that contribute to its anti-viral effects, as well as terpenes that add to its soothing effects. Traditionally this herb has been used for grave's disease, as a sedative, and as an antispasmodic.

Shop for lemon balm extract, teas, leaf, essential oil and suppliments.

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Lemon Basil

Ocimum citriodorum

Lemon basil (Ocimum × citriodorum) is a hybrid between basil (Ocimum basilicum) and African basil (Ocimum americanum)). It is an herb grown primarily in northeastern Africa and southern Asia, for its strong fragrant lemon scent is used in cooking. Lemon basil has stems that can grow to 20-40 cm tall. It has white flowers in late summer to early fall. The leaves are similar to basil leaves, but tend to be narrower. Seeds form on the plant after flowering and dry on the plant. Lemon basil is a popular herb in Lao, Indonesian, Malaysia, Thai, Arabian, and Persian cuisine.

In Laos, lemon basil is typically used in certain Lao curries, stews, and stir-fried dishes. Lemon basil is also popular in the cuisine of Indonesia (where is it called 'kemangi'). It is often eaten raw as lalab (raw fresh vegetables) and may be used a seasoning for soups and salads, or as a garnish. It is also a main ingredient in pepes (marinated steamed meat).

Lemon basil requires the same care as other basil varieties. Being a tropical plant it should be in a spot receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight. It is actually quite hardy and will grow continuously given only water, but flavor will be at risk if not given any fertilizer, chemical or organic. It can really grow in a matter of weeks. The only pointer to remember about watering is it should be watered whenever the topmost part of the soil is dry. At this time the plant will wilt, but will be back to normal once watered.

Basil should never reach flowering during the harvesting periods. If given a chance to flower, its flavor will be sacrificed and the leaves become smaller and rather leathery. Once the flower clusters form, they should be removed so that the plant will continue its vegetative growth. It is, however, a good idea for it to be left to flower and set seeds that will be collected during fall, because the cold winter frosts will kill the basil plant anyway so sowing the seeds 2 weeks indoors before the last frost will provide next year's harvest.

Harvesting once a week for each plant will make it bushy due to the side shoots that will develop. The plant should never be completely defoliated.

Propagation is achieved by sowing seeds and from stem cuttings. Seedlings will reach six inches in 3-4 weeks and should be harvested at this time to let them branch out. Stem cuttings will gain roots after a week of being soaked in water. The setup is simply a mason jar filled with water and a square of mesh with big enough holes to hold the plant in place while the roots grow. As many cuttings as the gardener wishes can be planted, preferably the most vigorous stems that can be found because they will root faster. The water should be changed every few days. After 2-3 weeks, the roots will be long enough for it to be transplanted into a pot or to its permanent position in the garden.

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Lemongrass

Cymbopogon citratus, C. flexuosus, and other species

Cymbopogon (lemongrass) is a genus of about 55 species of grasses, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World and Oceania. It is a tall perennial grass. Common names include lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, fever grass or Hierba Luisa amongst many others.

Lemon grass is native to India. It is widely used as a herb in Asian cuisine. It has a citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh.

Lemon grass is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African and Latin American countries (e.g., Togo, Mexico, and DR Congo). Research also shows that lemon grass oil has anti-fungal properties.

Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) is similar to the species above but grows to 2 m and has red base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as a insect repellent in insect sprays and candles, and also in aromatherapy, which is famous in Bintan, Indonesia. The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, in tea and as a flavoring.

Lemon Grass Oil, used as a pesticide and preservative, is put on the ancient manuscripts found in India in Oriental Research Institute Mysore. The lemon grass oil also injects natural fluidity into the brittle palm leaves and the hydrophobic nature of the oil keeps the manuscripts dry so that the text is not lost to decay due to humidity.

East-Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), also called Cochin Grass or Malabar Grass (Malayalam: (inchippull), is native to Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand while the West-Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), also known as serai in Malay, is assumed to have its origins in Malaysia.

Indonesian people used to call it serai too or sereh. While both can be used interchangeably, C. citratus is more suited for cooking. In India C. citratus is used both as a medical herb and in perfumes. Cymbopogon citratus is consumed as a tea for anxiety in Brazilian folk medicine, but a study in humans found no effect. The tea caused a recurrence of contact dermatitis in one case.

Lemon grass is also known as "Gavati Chaha" in the Marathi language(Gavat-grass; chaha-tea), and is used as an addition to tea, and in preparations like 'kadha' which is a traditional herbal 'soup' against cough, cold etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicines. It is supposed to help with relieving cough and nasal congestion.

In 2006 a research team from the Ben Gurion University in Israel found that Lemon grass (cymbopogon citratus) caused apoptosis (programmed cell death) in malignant cancer cells. According to the research team citral is the substance that causes the cancer cells to kill themselves. The influence of citral on normal cells and malignant cancer cells that were grown on a Petri dish. The quantity added in the concentrate was equivalent to the amount in a cup of regular tea using one gram of lemon grass in hot water. While the citral killed the cancer cells, it left the normal cells unharmed showing selective toxicity which amazed the researchers.

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Lemon Ironbark

Eucalyptus staigeriana

Eucalyptus staigeriana, Lemon Ironbark or Lemon-scented Ironbark, is a small rough barked sclerophyll tree that grows naturally in pure stands on hills in the Palmer River region of Cape York, North Queensland, Australia.

The complex essential oil is distilled from the leaves and used for flavoring and aromatherapy. The leaf is also used as a bushfood spice and herb-tea ingredient. E. staigeriana fresh weight leaves yield 2.9-3.4% essential oil. It contains a range of essential oil components, including geranial, methyl geranate, geranyl acetate, limonene, phellandrene, neral, terpinolene and geraniol.

It is used like a bay-leaf in savory cooking, and is also used in confectionery and teas. It has a fruity-lemon flavor, with a rosemary-like edge. Until recently Brazil was the only producer of E.staigeriana oil, producing up to 60 tonnes pa. E. staigeriana has been grown in small-scale plantations in Queensland and Northern New South Wales since the 1990s, including for the leaf as a bushfood spice.

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Lemon Mint

Monarda citriodora

Monarda (bee balm, horsemint, Oswego tea, or bergamot) is a genus consisting of roughly 16 species of erect, herbaceous annual or perennial plants in the Lamiaceae, indigenous to North America. Ranging in height from 1 to 3 feet (0.2 to 0.9 m), the plants have an equal spread, with slender and long-tapering (lanceolate) leaves; the leaves are opposite on stem, smooth to nearly hairy, lightly serrated margins, and range from 3 to 6 inches (7 to 14 cm) long.

In all species, the leaves, when crushed, exude a spicy, highly fragrant oil. Of the species listed, M. didyma (Oswego Tea) contains the highest concentration of this oil. The genus was named for Nicolás Monardes who wrote a book in 1574 describing plants found in the New World. Monarda species include annual and perennial upright growing herbaceous plants with lanceolate to ovate shaped leaves. The flowers are tubular with bilateral symmetry and bilabiate; with upper lips narrow and the lower ones broader and spreading or deflexed. The flowers are single or in some cultivated forms double, generally hermaphroditic with two stamens.

Plants bloom in mid- to late summer and the flowers are produced in dense profusion at the ends of the stem and/or in the stem axils. The flowers typically are crowded into head-like clusters with leafy bracts. Flower colors vary, with wild forms of the plant having crimson-red to red, pink and light purple hues. M. didyma has bright, carmine red blossoms; M. fistulosa-the "true" wild bergamot-has smoky pink flowers. M. citriodora and M. pectinata have light lavender to lilac-colored blooms and have slightly decreased flower quantities. Both species are commonly referred to as "Lemon Mint." There are over 50 commercial cultivars and hybrids, ranging in color from candy-apple red to pure white to deep blue, but these plants tend to be smaller than wild species, and often developed to combat climatic or pest conditions.

The Monarda plants prefer full sun and moist yet well-drained soil. Plants established in partial shade or filtered sun has higher incidences of rapid horizontal spread and flower less.

An aggressive plant in the southeastern United States, bergamots can grow in a wide variety of soil conditions. Powdery mildew, rust, and (rarely) tobacco mosaic viruses disrupt established plants on occasion, but the plants are in general highly resistant to most wilts and viruses and are not easily damaged. Used most frequently in areas in need of naturalization, Monarda is often used in beds and borders to encourage and increase the appearance of hummingbirds, pollinating insects, and because of oils present in its roots is sometimes used as a companion plant around small vegetable crops susceptible to subterranean pests. While seed should be stratified briefly before starting, seed may be cast directly or started in cold frames or greenhouses at soil temperatures approaching 70° Fahrenheit.

Generally, propagation occurs by hardwood and softwood cuttings, root cuttings, layering, and division; the latter, quite frequently, is the most popular method out of necessity: the plant should be divided every 3 to 5 years to reduce spread, keep the central core of the plant healthy, preclude root rot, and improve air circulation about the foliage. Bee balm is considered a good plant to grow with tomatoes, ostensibly improving both health and flavor. It also is a good companion plant in general, attracting pollinators and some predatory/parasitic insects that hunt garden pests.

The Bergamot of the Monarda species should not be confused with the popular flavoring used in Earl Grey tea. Dried leaves may be used for teas or aromatherapies, but the odor is subtly different from Citrus bergamia, the Earl Grey flavoring. Several bee balm species (Monarda fistulosa and Monarda didyma) have a long history of use as a medicinal plants by many Native Americans including the Blackfoot, Menominee, Ojibwa, Winnebago and others.

The Blackfoot Indians recognized the strong antiseptic action of these plants, and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis. Bee balm is the natural source of the antiseptic Thymol, the primary active ingredient in modern commercial mouthwash formulas.

The Winnebago used a tea made from bee Balm as a general stimulant. Bee balm was also used as a carminative herb by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence. An infusion of crushed Monarda leaves in boiling water has been known to treat headaches and fevers. Although somewhat bitter, due to the thymol content in the plants leaves and buds, the plant tastes like a mix of spearmint and peppermint with oregano, to which it is closely related. Bee balm was traditionally used by Native Americans as a seasoning for wild game, particularly birds.

The plants are widespread across North America and can be found in moist meadows, hillsides, and forest clearings up to 5,000 feet in elevation.

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Lemon Myrtle

Backhousia citriodora

Backhousia citriodora (common names lemon myrtle, lemon scented myrtle, lemon scented ironwood) is a flowering plant in the family Myrtaceae, genus Backhousia, native to subtropical rainforests of Queensland, Australia.

Other common names are sweet verbena tree, sweet verbena myrtle, lemon scented verbena, and lemon scented backhousia.

Lemon myrtle was given the botanical name Backhousia citriodora in 1853 after the English botanist, James Backhouse. The common name reflects the strong lemon smell of the crushed leaves. Lemon myrtle is sometimes confused with "lemon ironbark", which is Eucalyptus staigeriana. B.citriodora has two essential oil chemotypes:
* The citral chemotype is more prevalent and is cultivated in Australia for flavoring and essential oil. Citral as an isolate in steam distilled lemon myrtle oil is typically 90-98%, and oil yield 1-3% from fresh leaf. It is the highest natural source of citral.
* The citronellal chemotype is uncommon, and can be used as an insect repellent.

Indigenous Australians have long used lemon myrtle, both in cuisine and as a healing plant. The oil has the highest citral purity; typically higher than lemongrass. It is also considered to have a "cleaner and sweeter" aroma than comparable sources of citral - lemongrass and Litsea cubeba.

Lemon myrtle is one of the well known bushfood flavors and is sometimes referred to as the "Queen of the lemon herbs", with the new growth preferred for its sweetness.

The leaf is often used as dried flakes, or in the form of an encapsulated flavor essence for enhanced shelf-life. It has a range of uses, such as lemon myrtle flakes in shortbread; flavoring in pasta; whole leaf with baked fish; infused in macadamia or vegetable oils; and made into tea, including tea blends. It can also be used as a lemon flavor replacement in milk-based foods, such as cheesecake, lemon flavored ice-cream and sorbet without the curdling problem associated with lemon fruit acidity.

Lemon myrtle essential oil possesses antimicrobial properties; however the undiluted essential oil is toxic to human cells in vitro. When diluted to approximately 1%, absorption through the skin and subsequent damage is thought to be minimal.

Use of lemon myrtle oil as a treatment for skin lesions caused by molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV), a disease affecting children and immuno-compromised patients, has been investigated. Nine of sixteen patients who were treated with 10% strength lemon myrtle oil showed a significant improvement, compared to none in the control group. The oil is a popular ingredient in health care and cleaning products, especially soaps, lotions and shampoos.

Lemon myrtle history:
* Pre 1788 - Aboriginal people use B.citriodora for medicine and flavoring.
* 1853 - Scientifically named Backhousia citriodora by botanist, Ferdinand von Mueller, with the genus named after friend, James Backhouse, Quaker missionary and botanist.
* 1888 - Bertram isolates citral from B.citriodora oil, and Messrs. Schimmel and Co., Dresden, write about the essential oil as having "…probably a future."
* 1900s-1920s - B.citriodora distilled on a small-scale commercial basis around Eumundi, Queensland.
* 1920s - Discovery of antimicrobial qualities of steam-distilled B.citriodora oil, by A.R. Penfold and R.Grant, Technological Museum, Sydney.
* 1940s - Tarax Co. use B.citriodora oil as a lemon flavoring during World War II.
* 1950s - Some production of oil carried out in the Maryborough and Miriam Vale areas from bush stands by JR Archibold, but the small industry falls into decline.
* 1989 - B.citriodora investigated as a potential leaf spice and commercial crop by Peter Hardwick, Wilderness Foods Pty Ltd. Hardwick commissions Dr Ian Southwell, The Essential Oils Unit, Wollongbar Agricultural Institute, to analyze B.citriodora selections using gas chromatography.
* 1990 - Restaurants and food manufacturers supplied with dried B.citriodora leaf by Vic Cherikoff, Bush Tucker Supply Pty Ltd, produced by Russell and Sharon Costin, Limpinwood Gardens.
* 1991 - B.citriodora plantation established by Dennis Archer and Rosemary Cullen-Archer, Toona Essential Oils Pty Ltd., and subsequent commercial supply of plantation produced B.citriodora oil in 1993.
* 1997 - Large-scale plantations of B.citriodora established in north Queensland, by Australian Native Lemon Myrtle Ltd.
* Late 1990s - B.citriodora begins to be supplied internationally for a range of flavoring, cosmetic and anti-microbial products. Agronomic production of B.citriodora starts to exceed demand.
* 2001 - Standards for Oil of B.citriodora established by The Essential Oils Unit, Wollongbar, and Standards Australia.
* 2004 - Monograph published on B.citriodora by Toona Essential Oils pty Ltd.
* 2008 - Lemon myrtle sells out in London after Jamie Oliver describes it as "Pukka" on his TV show.

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Lemon Thyme

Thymus citriodorus

Thyme is a well known herb; in common usage the name may refer to:
* any or all members of the plant genus Thymus,
* common thyme, Thymus vulgaris, and some other species that are used as culinary herbs or for medicinal purposes.

Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing that thyme was a source of courage. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks 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.

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 retains its flavor on drying better than many other herbs. Thyme is a good source of iron and is used widely in cooking. Thyme is a basic ingredient in French, Greek, Italian, Albanian, Lebanese, Persian, Portuguese, Libyan, Spanish, Syrian, and Turkish cuisines, and in those derived from them. It is also widely used in Arab and Caribbean cuisines.

Thyme is often used to flavor meats, soups and stews. It has a particular affinity to and is often used as a primary flavor with lamb, tomatoes and eggs.

Thyme, while flavorful, does not overpower and blends well with other herbs and spices. In French cuisine, along with bay and parsley it is a common component of the bouquet garni, and of herbes de Provence.

In some Levantine countries, the condiment ''za'atar (Arabic for thyme) contains thyme as a vital ingredient.

Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. The fresh form is more flavorful but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week. While summer-seasonal, fresh thyme is often available year-round. Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of sprigs. A sprig is a single stem snipped from the plant. It is composed of a woody stem with paired leaf or flower clusters ("leaves") spaced ½ to 1" apart. A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon. If the recipe does not specify fresh or dried, assume that it means fresh.

Depending on how it is used in a dish, the whole sprig may be used (e.g. in a bouquet garni''), or the leaves removed and the stems discarded. Usually when a recipe specifies 'bunch' or 'sprig' it means the whole form; when it specifies spoons it means the leaves. It is perfectly acceptable to substitute dried for whole thyme.

Leaves may be removed from stems either by scraping with the back of a knife, or by pulling through the fingers or tines of a fork. Leaves are often chopped.

Thyme retains its flavor on drying better than many other herbs. Dried and especially powdered thyme occupies less space than fresh, so less of it is required when substituted in a recipe. As a rule of thumb, use one third as much dried as fresh thyme - a little less if it is ground.

Substitution is often more complicated than that because recipes can specify sprigs and sprigs can vary in yield of leaves. Assuming a 4" sprig (they are often somewhat longer), estimate that 6 sprigs will yield one tablespoon of leaves. The dried equivalent is 1:3, so substitute 1 teaspoon of dried or ¾ tsp of ground thyme for 6 small sprigs.

As with bay, thyme is slow to release its flavors so it is usually added early in the cooking process. The essential oil of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is made up of 20-54% thymol. Thymol, an antiseptic, is the main active ingredient in Listerine mouthwash. Before the advent of modern antibiotics, it was used to medicate bandages. A tea made by infusing the herb in water can be used for cough 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 3 times a day. The inflammation will normally disappear in 2 - 5 days. 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.

Important species:
Thymus vulgaris (Common Thyme or Garden Thyme) is a commonly used culinary herb. It also has medicinal uses. Common thyme is a Mediterranean perennial which is best suited to well-drained soils and enjoys full sun.
Thymus herba-barona (Caraway Thyme) is used both as a culinary herb and a groundcover, and has a very strong caraway scent due to the chemical carvone.
Thymus × citriodorus (Citrus Thyme; hybrid T. pulegioides × T. vulgaris) is also a popular culinary herb, with cultivars selected with aromas of various citrus fruit (lemon thyme, etc.)
Thymus pseudolanuginosus (Woolly Thyme) is not a culinary herb, but is grown as a ground cover.
Thymus serpyllum (Wild Thyme) is an important nectar source plant for honeybees. All thyme species are nectar sources, but wild thyme covers large areas of droughty, rocky soils in southern Europe (Greece is especially famous for wild thyme honey) and North Africa, as well as in similar landscapes in the Berkshire Mountains and Catskill Mountains of the northeastern US.
Popular cultivars: There are a number of different cultivars of thyme with established or growing popularity, including:
* English thyme -- the most common
* Lemon thyme -- smells of lemons
* Variegated lemon thyme -- with bi-color leaves
* Orange thyme -- an unusually low-growing, ground
cover thyme that smells like orange
* Creeping thyme -- the lowest-growing of the widely used thyme, good for walkways
* Silver thyme -- white/cream variegate
* Summer thyme -- unusually strong flavour
* Caribbean thyme -- Same flavor as English thyme but 10 times stronger.

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Lemon verbena

Lippia citriodora

Lemon verbena or Lemon beebrush, Aloysia triphylla is a deciduous perennial shrub native to Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru.

This plant was brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 17th century. It grows to a height of 3 to 7 meters and exudes a powerful lemony scent. It prefers full sun, a lot of water, and a light loam soil. It is sensitive to cold, losing leaves at temperatures below 0°C although the wood is hardy to -10°C. Lemon verbena, if covered with some straw, cut down and kept free from very moist conditions, will also withstand up to a -15°C frost and will make new leaves in spring. The light green leaves are lancet-shaped, and its tiny flowers bloom lavender or white in August or September.

Lemon verbena leaves are used to add a lemony flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas and can make a refreshing sorbet. In addition, it has anti-Candida albicans activity.

The major isolates in lemon verbena oil are citral (30-35%), nerol and geraniol. Synonyms for Lemon Verbena are Verbena triphylla L'Hér., Verbena citriodora Cav., Lippia triphylla, Lippia citriodora, and Aloysia citriodora (Cav.) Ort.

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Lesser galangal

Alpinia officinarum

Lesser galangal or Alpinia officinarum (synonym Languas officinarum) is a plant in the ginger family.

The rhizome was widely used in ancient and medieval Europe. The rhizome is smaller than greater galangal. The skin and the flesh are reddish brown whereas greater galangal has light yellow or white flesh. It was preferred to greater galangal because of its stronger, sweeter taste. Its use has dramatically declined, however, and it is now only found in the cuisine of South Eastern Asia.

The dried rhizome is commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine. The word lesser galangal properly refers to Alpinia officinarum. In common usage, however, it is also applied to Kaempferia galanga, also called Kencur, Sand ginger, Aromatic Ginger or Resurrection Lily. Kaempferia Galanga, which is grown for medicine and as a spice, is an almost stem-less plant that develops its few short-lived leaves and the flower at ground level, whereas the stem of A. officinarum is two to four feet high.

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Licorice
Liquorice

Glycyrrhiza glandulifera

Glycyrrhiza glandulifera Waldst. & Kit. The flavor of licorice comes mainly from a sweet-tasting compound called anethole ("trans"-1-methoxy-4-(prop-1-enyl) benzene), an aromatic, unsaturated ether compound also found in anise, fennel, and other herbs. Additional sweetness in licorice comes from glycyrrhizic acid, an anti-viral compound significantly sweeter than sugar.

Liquorice grows best in deep, fertile, well-drained soils, with full sun, and is harvested in the autumn, two to three years after planting.

Liquorice extract is traded both in solid and syrup form. Its active principle is glycyrrhizin, a sweetener more than 50 times as sweet as sucrose which also has pharmaceutical effects. Liquorice flavour is found in a wide variety of liquorice candies. The most popular in the United Kingdom are liquorice allsorts.

In continental Europe, however, far stronger, saltier candies are preferred. It should be noted, though, that in most of these candies the taste is reinforced by aniseed oil, and the actual content of liquorice is very low.

In the Netherlands, where liquorice candy ("drop") is one of the most popular forms of sweet, only a few of the many forms that are sold contain aniseed (although mixing it with mint, menthol or with laurel is popular, and mixing it with ammonium chloride creates the very popular salty liquorice known in Dutch as zoute drop.)

Pontefract in Yorkshire was the first place where liquorice mixed with sugar began to be used as a sweet in the same way it is in the modern day. Pontefract Cakes were originally made there. In Yorkshire and Lancashire it is colloquially known as Spanish, supposedly because Spanish monks grew liquorice root at Rievaulx Abbey near Thirsk.

Liquorice flavoring is also used in soft drinks, and is in some herbal teas where it provides a sweet after-taste. The flavour is common in medicines to disguise unpleasant flavors. Dutch youth often make their own "dropwater" (liquorice water) by putting a few pieces of laurel liquorice and a piece of liquorice root in a bottle with water and then shake it to a frothy liquid. Also popular in the Netherlands is a liquorice based liqueur called "dropshot".

Liquorice is popular in Italy (particularly in the South) and Spain in its natural form. The root of the plant is simply dug up, washed and chewed as mouth-freshener. Throughout Italy unsweetened liquorice is consumed in the form of small black pieces made only from 100% pure liquorice extract; the taste is bitter and intense. In Calabria a popular liqueur is made from pure liquorice extract.

Liquorice is also very popular in Syria where it is sold as a drink. Dried liquorice root can be chewed as a sweet. Black liquorice contains approximately 100 calories per ounce (15 kJ/g).

Chinese cuisine uses liquorice as a culinary spice for savory foods. It is often employed to flavor broths and foods simmered in soy sauce.

Other herbs and spices of similar flavour include anise, star anise, tarragon, and fennel. Powdered liquorice root is an effective expectorant, and has been used for this purpose since ancient times, especially in Ayurvedic medicine where it is also used in tooth powders and is known as Jastimadhu. Modern cough syrups often include liquorice extract as an ingredient. Additionally, liquorice may be useful in conventional and naturopathic medicine for both mouth ulcers and peptic ulcers. Non-prescription aphthous ulcer treatment CankerMelts incorporates glycyrrhiza in a dissolving adherent troche.

Liquorice is also a mild laxative and may be used as a topical antiviral agent for shingles, ophthalmic, oral or genital herpes.

The compound glycyrrhizic acid, found in liquorice, is now routinely used throughout Japan for the treatment and control of chronic viral hepatitis, and its transaminase-lowering effect is clinically well recognized. Recent studies indicate that glycyrrhizic acid disrupts latent Kaposi sarcoma (as also demonstrated with other herpesvirus infections in the active stage), exhibiting a strong anti-viral effect. Liquorice affects the body's endocrine system as it contains isoflavones (phytoestrogens). It can lower the amount of serum testosterone, but whether it affects the amount of free testosterone is unclear. Consuming liquorice is recommended for reducing high sex drive in men. Consuming liquorice can prevent hyperkalemia. Large doses of glycyrrhizinic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid in liquorice extract can lead to hypokalemia and serious increases in blood pressure, a syndrome known as apparent mineralocorticoid excess. These side effects stem from the inhibition of the enzyme 11ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (type 2) and subsequent increase in activity of cortisol on the kidney. 11ß-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase normally inactivates cortisol in the kidney; thus, liquorices' inhibition of this enzyme makes the concentration of cortisol appear to increase. Cortisol acts at the same receptor as the hormone aldosterone in the kidney and the effects mimic aldosterone excess, although aldosterone remains low or normal during liquorice overdose. To decrease the chances of these serious side effects, deglycyrrhizinated liquorice preparations are available. The disabling of similar enzymes in the gut by glycyrrhizinic acid and glycyrrhetinic acid also causes increased mucus and decreased acid secretion. It inhibits Helicobacter pylori, is used as an aid for healing stomach and duodenal ulcers, and in moderate amounts may soothe an upset stomach. Liquorice can be used to treat ileitis, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease as it is antispasmodic in the bowels.

The compounded carbenoxolone is derived from liquorice. Studies indicate it may inhibit an enzyme in the brain that is involved in making stress-related hormones, which have been associated with age-related mental decline. In traditional Chinese medicine, liquorice is commonly used in herbal formulae to "harmonize" the other ingredients in the formula and to carry the formula into all 12 of the regular meridians and to relieve a spasmodic cough.

In herbalism it is used in the Hoxsey anti-cancer formula, and is a considered adaptogen which helps reregulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. It can also be used for auto-immune conditions including lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and animal dander allergies. Liquorice adds a mellow, sweet woody flavour, and it enhances the taste of tobacco. The burning liquorice also generates some toxins found in the smoke, and the glycyrrhizin expands the airways, which allows users to inhale more smoke.

Excessive consumption of liquorice or liquorice candy is known to be toxic to the liver and cardiovascular system, and may produce hypertension and oedema. There have been occasional cases where blood pressure has increased with excessive consumption of liquorice tea, but such occasions are rare and reversible when the herb is withdrawn. Most cases of hypertension from liquorice were caused by eating too much concentrated liquorice candy. Doses as low as of liquorice daily for two weeks can cause a significant rise in blood pressure. The European Commission 2008 report suggested that "people should not consume any more than 100mg of glycyrrhizic acid a day, for it can raise blood pressure or cause muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, headaches or swelling, and lower testosterone levels in men." Haribo, manufacturer of Pontefract cakes, stated: "Haribo advises, as with any other food, liquorice products should be eaten in moderation." A 56-year-old Yorkshire woman was hospitalized after liquorice overdose (a day), which caused muscle failure. The hospital restored her potassium levels, by intravenous drip and tablets, allowing her to recover after 4 days.

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Lime Flower

Tilia spp.

Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees, native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere, in Asia (where the greatest species diversity is found), Europe and eastern North America; it is not native to western North America. Under the Cronquist classification system, this genus was placed in the family Tiliaceae, but genetic research by the APG has resulted in the incorporation of this family into the Malvaceae.

The trees are generally called lime in Britain and linden in parts of Europe and North America (where they are also known as basswood). Lime is an altered form of Middle English lind, in the 16th century also line, from Old English feminine lind or linde, Proto-Germanic *lenda, cognate to Latin lentus "flexible" and Sanskrit lata "liana". Within Germanic, English lithe, German lind "lenient, yielding" are from the same root. Linden was originally the adjective, "made from lime-wood", and from the late 16th century also used as a noun, probably influenced by translations of German romance, as an adoption of Linden, the plural of German Linde. Neither the name nor the tree is related to the citrus fruit called "lime" (Citrus aurantifolia, family Rutaceae).

Another widely-used common name used in North America is Basswood, derived from bast, the name for the inner bark The Linden's sturdy trunk stands like a pillar and the branches divide and subdivide into numerous ramifications on which the spray is small and thick. In summer this is profusely clothed with large leaves and the result is a dense head of abundant foliage.

The leaves of all the lindens are one-sided, always heart-shaped, and the tiny fruit, looking like peas, always hangs attached to a curious, ribbon-like, greenish yellow bract, whose use seems to be to launch the ripened seed-clusters just a little beyond the parent tree. The flowers of the European and American lindens are similar, except that the American bears a petal-like scale among its stamens and the European varieties are destitute of these appendages. All of the lindens may be propagated by cuttings and grafting as well as by seed. They grow rapidly in a rich soil, but are subject to the attacks of many insect enemies.

Lime flowers are used in colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. New evidence shows that the flowers may be hepatoprotective. The flowers were added to baths to quell hysteria, and steeped as a tea to relieve anxiety-related indigestion, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. The leaves are used to promote sweating to reduce fevers. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection, such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg.

In Europe, Lime trees are known to have reached ages measured in centuries, if not longer. A coppice of T. cordata in Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, for example, is estimated to be 2,000 years old.

In the courtyard of the Imperial Castle at Nuremberg is a lime which tradition says was planted by the Empress Cunigunde, the wife of Henry II of Germany. This would make the tree about nine hundred years old (when it was described). It looks ancient and infirm, but in 1900 was sending forth thrifty leaves on its two or three remaining branches and was of course cared for tenderly.

The famous Lime of Neustadt on the Kocher in Württemberg was computed to be one thousand years old when it fell. The Alte Linde tree of Naters, Switzerland, is mentioned in a document in 1357 and described by the writer at that time as already "magnam" (huge). A plaque at its foot mentions that in 1155 a Lime tree was already on this spot.
* The excellence of the honey of far-famed Hybla was due to the lime trees that covered its sides and crowned its summit.
* The name of Linnaeus, the great botanist, was derived from a lime tree.
* Tilia appears in the tertiary formations of Grinnel Land in 82° north latitude, and in Spitsbergen. Sapporta believed that he found there the common ancestor of the limes of Europe and America. Other literary references:
* Samuel Taylor Coleridge features lime trees as an important symbol in his poem "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison" (written 1797; first published 1800).
* The short poems (Fraszki) of Polish poet Jan Kochanowski commonly feature lime trees, especially "Na Lipe" (To The Lime Tree), published in 1584. Kochanowski was heavily influenced by the Czarnolas, or the Polish Black Forest, where the dominant tree species is lime.
* The linden tree is featured as a symbol of supernatural dread in Hannah Crafts' ''The Bondwoman's Narrative.''
* A road lined with linden trees is cursed by the narrator of the famous censored poem, "Ich was ein chint so wolgetan" (I was such a lovely child), from the Carmina Burana.
* A poem from Wilhelm Müller's Winterreise cycle of poems is called "Der Lindenbaum" (The Linden Tree). The cycle was later set to music by Franz Schubert.
* The linden tree features throughout Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther; Werther is finally buried under one.
* Linden trees are featured in Tolstoy's War and Peace.
* In ''Swann's Way'', the first book of Proust's In Search of Lost Time, the narrator dips a petite madeleine into a cup of linden or lime blossom tea. The aroma and taste of cake and tea triggers his first conscious involuntary memory.

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Limnophila romatica,

Rice Paddy Herb (in Vietnamese cuisine)

Limnophila romatica

Limnophila aromatica (synonym: Limnophila chinensis var. aromatica; also called rice paddy herb) is a tropical flowering plant in the plantain family, Plantaginaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia, where it flourishes in hot temperatures and grows most often in watery environments, particularly in flooded rice fields. It is used in Vietnamese cuisine as an herb and also cultivated for use as an aquarium plant.

The plant was introduced to North America in the 1970s due to Vietnamese immigration following the Vietnam War. L. aromatica was formerly classified as a member of the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae. L. aromaticoides is actually not a distinct species, but a variety of L. aromatica. L. aromatica has a flavor and aroma reminiscent of both lemon and cumin. It is used most often in Vietnamese cuisine, where it is called ngò om. It is an ingredient in canh chua, a sweet and sour seafood soup which also includes tamarind, and is sometimes also added as an accompaniment to the noodle soup called ph?.

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Lingzhi

Ganoderma lucidum

Língzhi is the name for one form of the mushroom Ganoderma lucidum, and its close relative Ganoderma tsugae, which grows in the northern Eastern Hemlock forests. These two species of bracket fungus have a worldwide distribution in both tropical and temperate geographical regions, including North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia, growing as a parasite or saprotroph on a wide variety of trees.

Ganoderma lucidum enjoys special veneration in Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine as a herbal medicine for more than 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used in medicine. Similar species of Ganoderma have been found growing in the Amazon.

The word lingzhi, in Chinese, means "herb of spiritual potency" and has also been described as "mushroom of immortality". Because of its presumed health benefits and apparent absence of side-effects, it has attained a reputation in the East as the ultimate herbal substance.

Lingzhi has now been added to the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. The name Ganoderma is derived from the Greek ganos/?a??? "brightness, sheen", hence "shining" and derma/de?µa "skin", while the specific epithet lucidum in Latin for "shining" and tsugae refers to being of the Hemlock (Tsuga).

Another Japanese name is mannentake, meaning "10 000 year mushroom". There are multiple species of lingzhi, scientifically known to be within the Ganoderma lucidum species complex and mycologists are still researching the differences between species within this complex of species. Lingzhi is a polypore mushroom that is soft (when fresh), corky, and flat, with a conspicuous red-varnished, kidney-shaped cap and, depending on specimen age, white to dull brown pores underneath. Only two or three out of 10,000 such aged trees will have Lingzhi growth, and therefore its wild form is generally rare.

Today, Lingzhi is effectively cultivated both indoors under sterile conditions and outdoors on either logs or woodchip beds. ''Shen Nong's Herbal Classic'', a 2000-year old medicinal Chinese book considered today as the oldest book on oriental herbal medicine states "The taste is bitter, its energy neutral, it has no toxicity. It cures the accumulation of pathogenic factors in the chest. It is good for the Qi of the head, including mental activities. Long term consumption will lighten the body; you will never become old. It lengthens years." Pen T'sao Kang Mu ("Great pharmacopoeia"), a Chinese medical book published in the 16th century, also shows a possible link between modern research and folk knowledge when describing the Reishi mushroom: "It positively affects the Qi of the heart, repairing the chest area and benefiting those with a knotted and tight chest. Taken over a long period of time agility of the body will not cease and the years are lengthened..." Depictions of the Reishi mushroom as a symbol for health are shown in many places of the Emperors residences in the Forbidden City as well as the Summer Palace. The Chinese goddess of healing Kuan Yin is sometimes depicted holding a Reishi mushroom.

Lingzhi may possess some anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by some studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus (reviewed by R. R. Paterson). Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer. In an animal model, Ganoderma has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis, with potency comparable to Lentinan from shiitake mushrooms. The mechanisms by which G. lucidum may affect cancer are unknown and may target different stages of cancer development: inhibition of angiogenesis (formation of arterial vessels within the tumor) mediated by cytokines, cytoxicity, inhibiting migration of the cancer cells and metastasis, and inducing and enhancing apoptosis of tumor cells. Variation between preparations and potential negative side effects may exist. ''G. lucidum' extracts may be adaptogenic, anti-allergenic and anti-hypertensive due to the presence of triterpenes. Apart from these properties, lingzhi has been found to be anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, antidiabetic, anti-hypotensive, and protective of the liver. It has also been found to inhibit platelet aggregation, and to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Lingzhi may act as a blood pressure stabilizer, antioxidant, and analgesic, a kidney and nerve tonic. It has been used in bronchitis prevention and in cardiovascular treatment, and in the treatment of high triglycerides, high blood pressure, hepatitis, allergies, chemotherapy support, HIV support, and fatigue and altitude sickness.

Peer-reviewed studies indicate that ganoderic acid has some protective effects against liver injury by viruses and other toxic agents in mice, suggesting a potential benefit of this compound in the treatment of liver diseases in humans. Several Ganoderma species have been used in traditional Asian medicines for thousands of years.
* immunoregulatory properties
* antioxidant activity
* liver-protective properties
* hypoglycemic properties
* antibacterial properties
* antiviral properties
* antifungal properties
* reducing blood cholesterol
* inhibiting blood vessel regeneration (angiogenesis)
* antifibrotic properties
* protection against radiation-induced damage
* reducing lower urinary tract symptoms
* increasing endurance for vigorous exercise

Lingzhi is traditionally prepared by simmering in water. Thinly sliced or pulverized lingzhi (either fresh or dried) is added to a pot of boiling water, the water is then brought to a simmer, and the pot is covered; the lingzhi is then simmered for two hours. The resulting liquid should be fairly bitter in taste, with the more active red lingzhi more bitter than the black. The process may be repeated.

Alternatively, it can be used as an ingredient in a formula decoction or used to make an extract (in liquid, capsule, or powder form). The more active red forms of lingzhi are far too bitter to be consumed in a soup, as long cooked shiitake mushrooms might be.

Alcohol extractions have also been found to have various medicinal effects, including antiviral properties in a number of scientific studies.

From a scientific perspective, lingzhi tinctures may be more effective than lingzhi teas for some diseases, despite the prevalence of teas in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Linseed

Linum usitatissimum

Flax (also known as common flax or linseed) (binomial name: Linum usitatissimum) is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. This is called as Jawas/Javas or Alashi in Marathi.

Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt. New Zealand flax is not related to flax, but was named after it as both plants are used to produce fibers. Flax is grown both for its seeds and for its fibers. Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, and paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels and soap. It is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. Flax seeds come in two basic varieties, brown and yellow or golden, with most types having similar nutritional values and equal amounts of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called Linola or solin, which has a completely different oil profile and is very low in omega-3.

Although brown flax can be consumed as readily as yellow, and has been for thousands of years, it is better known as an ingredient in paints, fiber and cattle feed.

Flax seeds produce a vegetable oil known as flaxseed or linseed oil, which is one of the oldest commercial oils and solvent-processed flax seed oil has been used for centuries as a drying oil in painting and varnishing. One hundred grams of ground flax seed supplies about 450 kilo-calories, 41 grams of fat, 28 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein.

One tablespoon of ground flax seeds and three tablespoons of water may serve as a replacement for one egg in baking by binding the other ingredients together. Ground flax seeds can also be mixed in with oatmeal, yogurt, water (similar to Metamucil), or any other food item where a nutty flavor is appropriate.

Flax seed sprouts are edible, with a slightly spicy flavor. Excessive consumption of flax seeds can cause diarrhea. Flax seeds are chemically stable while whole and milled flaxseed can be stored at least 4 months at room temperature with minimal or no changes in taste, smell, or chemical markers of rancidity.

Ground flaxseed can go rancid at room temperature in as little as one week. Refrigeration and storage in sealed containers will keep ground flax from becoming rancid for even longer. Flax seeds contain high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans may benefit the heart; possess anti-cancer properties and studies performed on mice found reduced growth in specific types of tumors. Initial studies suggest that flaxseed taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers. However, the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flaxseed/AN01712) reports that the alpha linolenic acid in flaxseed may be associatied with higher risk of prostate cancer, and cautions that those with, or at risk for, prostate cancer should not take flaxseed. There is some support for the use of flax seed as a laxative due to its dietary fiber content Consuming large amounts of flax seed can impair the effectiveness of certain oral medications, due to its fiber content. The mature plant is cut with mowing equipment, similar to hay harvesting, and raked into windrows. When dried sufficiently, a combine then harvests the seeds similar to wheat or oat harvesting. The amount of weeds in the straw affects its marketability, and this coupled with market prices determined whether the farmer chose to harvest the flax straw. If the flax was not harvested, it was typically burnt, since the straw stalk is quite tough and decomposes slowly (i.e., not in a single season), and still being somewhat in a windrow from the harvesting process, the straw would often clog up tillage and planting equipment. It was common, in the flax growing regions of western Minnesota, to see the harvested flax straw (square) bale stacks start appearing every July, the size of some stacks being estimated at 10-15 yards wides by 50 or more yards long, and as tall as a two-story house. The mature plant is pulled up with the roots (not cut), so as to maximize the fiber length. After this the flax is allowed to dry, the seeds are removed, and is then retted. Dependent upon climatic conditions, characteristics of the sown flax and fields, the flax remains in the ground between two weeks and two months for retting. As a result of alternating rain and the sun, an enzymatic action degrades the pectins which bind fibers to the straw. The farmers turn over the straw during retting to evenly rett the stalks. When the straw is retted and sufficiently dry, it is rolled up. It will then be stored by farmers before scutching to extract fibers.

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Liverwort

Hepatica

Hepatica is a genus of herbaceous perennial plants belonging to the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. A native of central and northern Europe, Asia and northeastern North America, Hepatica is sometimes called liverleaf or "liverwort". It should not be confused with liverworts, which may also be called "Hepaticae". Some botanists include Hepatica within a wider interpretation of Anemone.

Between two and ten species of Hepatica are recognised, with some of the taxa more often treated as varieties.

Hepatica cultivation has been popular in Japan since the 18th Century (mid-Edo period), where flowers with doubled petals and a range of color patterns have been developed. Noted for their tolerance of alkaline limestone-derived soils, Hepatica may grow in a wide range of conditions; it can be found either in deeply shaded deciduous (especially beech) woodland and scrub or grassland in full sun. Hepatica will also grow in both sandy and clay-rich substrates, being associated with limestone. Moist soil and winter snowfall is a requirement; Hepatica is tolerant of winter snow cover, but less so of dry frost. Hepatica reaches a height of 10 cm and produces hermaphroditic flowers from February to May. The leaves are basal and dark leathery green, each with three lobes. The flowers may be white, bluish purple or pink; they are supported singly on hairy, largely leafless stems. Butterflies, moths, bees, flies and beetles are known to act as pollinators for Hepatica.

Hepatica is named from its leaves, which, like the human liver (Greek hepar), have three lobes. It was once used as a medicinal herb. Owing to the doctrine of signatures, the plant was thought an effective treatment for liver disorders.

Although poisonous in large doses, the leaves and flowers may be used as an astringent, demulcent for slow-healing injuries and as a diuretic.

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Long pepper

Piper longum

Long pepper (Piper longum), sometimes called Javanese, Indian or Indonesian Long Pepper, is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning.

Long pepper is a close relative of Piper nigrum giving black and white pepper, and has a similar, though generally hotter, taste. The word pepper itself is derived from the Sanskrit word for long pepper, pippali.

The Aryans were the first exporters of both kinds of pepper from the tropical forests of South Asia. The fruit of the pepper consists of many minuscule fruits - each about the size of a poppy seed - embedded in the surface of a flower spike that closely resembles a hazel tree catkin. The fruits contain the alkaloid piperine, which contributes to their pungency. Another species of long pepper, Piper retrofractum, is native to Java, Indonesia.

Long pepper reached Greece in the sixth or fifth century BCE, though Hippocrates, the first writer to mention it, discussed it as a medicament rather than a spice. Among the Greeks and Romans and prior to the European discovery of the New World, long pepper was an important and well-known spice. The ancient history of black pepper is often interlinked with (and confused with) that of long pepper, though Theophrastus distinguished the two in the first work of botany. The Romans knew of both and often referred to either as just piper; Pliny erroneously believed that dried black pepper and long pepper came from the same plant.

Round or black pepper began to compete with long pepper in Europe from the twelfth century and had displaced it by the fourteenth. The quest for cheaper and more dependable sources of black pepper fueled the Age of Discoveries; only after the discovery of the New World and of chili pepper, called by the Spanish pimiento, employing their word for long pepper, did the popularity of long pepper fade away.

Chile peppers, some of which, when dried, are similar in shape and taste to long pepper, were easier to grow in a variety of locations more convenient to Europe. Today long pepper is a rarity in general commerce.

Today, long pepper is an extremely rare ingredient in European cuisines, but it can still be found in Indian vegetable pickles, some North African spice mixtures, and in Indonesian and Malaysian cooking. It is readily available at Indian grocery stores, where it is usually labeled Thippili.

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Lovage

Levisticum officinale

Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a plant, the leaves and seeds or fruit of which are used to flavor food, especially in South European cuisine. It is a tall (3 to 9 ft) perennial that vaguely resembles its cousin celery in appearance and in flavor.

Lovage also sometimes gets referred to as smallage, but this is more properly used for celery. The fruit of the lovage plant can be used as a spice, but what appears in the trade as lovage seed is usually ajwain, not lovage. On the other hand, what is sold as 'celery seed' is often partially or entirely ground lovage seed.

The root of lovage, which contains a heavy, volatile oil, is used as a mild aquaretic. Lovage root contains furanocoumarins which can lead to photosensitivity.

Lovage is considered a "magic bullet" companion plant; much as borage helps protect almost all plants from pests, so lovage is thought to improve the health of almost all plants.

In Germany and Holland, one of the common names of Lovage is Maggikraut (German) or Maggiplant (Dutch) because the plant's taste is reminiscent of Maggi soup seasoning.

In many other European languages the word for lovage derives from Latin ligusticus (meaning "of Liguria", as the herb used to grow heartily in the Liguria region of northwest Italy), through its alteration levisticum: Italian levistico, French livèche, Romanian leustean, Hungarian lestyán, etc. The official German name is Liebstöckel, literally 'love sticklet'. In English the word became love parsley, and mistakenly, due to the name, lovage was often used in over-the-counter love tonics. Lovage tea can be applied to wounds as an antiseptic, or drunk to stimulate digestion. In the UK, Lovage cordial is traditionally mixed with brandy in the ratio of 2:1 as a winter drink. Lovage is second only to capers in its quercetin content.

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Luohanguo

Siraitia grosvenorii

Siraitia grosvenorii is an herbaceous perennial vine native to southern People's Republic of China and Northern Thailand and best known for its fruit, the luo han guo (, monk's fruit or la hán qu? in Vietnamese). It is one of four species in the genus Siraitia. Botanical synonyms include Momordica grosvenorii and Thladiantha grosvenorii. The fruit is one of several that have been called longevity fruit. The other species of the genus Siraitia are: S. siamensis from Thailand, S. sikkimensis and S. silomaradjae from India, and S. taiwaniana from the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The vine grows to 3 to 5 m long, climbing over other plants by means of tendrils which twine round anything they touch. The narrow, heart-shaped leaves are 10-20 cm long. The fruit is globose, 5-7 cm in diameter, and contains a sweet, fleshy, edible pulp and numerous seeds. The fruit extract is nearly 300 times sweeter than sugar and has been used as a natural sweetener in China for nearly a millennium due to its flavor and lack of food energy, only 2.3 kcal/g (9.6 kJ/g). It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

It is grown primarily in the southwestern Chinese province of Guangxi (mostly in the mountains of Guilin), as well as in Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan, and Jiangxi. These mountains lend the plants shadows and often are surrounded by mists; because of this the plants are protected from the sun. Nonetheless, the climate in this southern province is warm.

The plant is rarely found in the wild and has hence been cultivated for hundreds of years. Records as early as 1813 mention the cultivation of this plant in the Guangxi province. At present, the Guilin mountains harbor a plantation of 16 square kilometers with a yearly output of about 10,000 fruits. Most of the plantations are located in Yongfu County and Lingui County, which in China are renowned for the extraordinary number of centenarians. This is usually attributed to the consumption of this fruit and the unspoiled nature. The inhabitants themselves, however, are of the opinion that the reason lies in their calm lifestyle and simple nutrition.

Longjiang town ("Dragon River") in Yongfu County has acquired the name "home of the Chinese luohanguo fruit"; a number of companies specialized in making luohanguo extracts and finished products have been set up in the area. The Yongfu Pharmaceutical Factory is the oldest of these. The plant is most prized for its sweet fruits, which are used for medicinal purposes, and as a sweetener. The fruits are generally sold in dried form, and traditionally used in herbal tea or soup. They are used for respiratory ailments, sore throats and reputed to aid longevity. The best way to describe the medicinal use of luohan guo in southern China during the 20th century can be found in the book written by Dai and Liu. It was written in Chinese in 1982 and translated into English in 1986.

Here is their description: The dried fruit may be bought in a market. The surface of the fruit is round and smooth; it has a yellow-brownish or green-brownish color, and is covered by fine hairs. The fruit has a hard but thin shell. Inside, one finds a partially dried, soft substance which contains the juice and a large quantity of seeds. All components are very sweet. Their nature is cool and not toxic. The fruit can act as a remedy for sun stroke, wet the lungs, remove phlegm, stop cough and aid defecation.

Luohan guo is harvested in the form of a round green fruit, which becomes brown on drying. It is rarely used in its fresh form, as it is hard to store. Furthermore, it develops a rotten taste on fermentation, which adds to the unwanted flavors already present.

Thus the fruits are usually dried before further use and are sold in precisely this fashion in Chinese herbal shops. The fruits are slowly dried in ovens, which preserves it and removes most of the unwanted aromas. However, this technique also leads to the formation of several bitter and astringent aromas. This limits the use of the dried fruits and extracts to the preparation of diluted tea, soup, and as a sweetener for products that would usually have sugar or honey added to them.

The process for the manufacture of a useful sweetener from luohan guo was patented in 1995 by Procter & Gamble. The patent states that, while luohan guo is very sweet, it has too many interfering aromas, which render it useless for general application. Thus the company developed a process for the removal of the interfering aromas.

In this process, the fresh fruit is harvested before it is fully mature, and is then matured in storage so that it may be processed precisely when it is mature. The shell and seeds are then removed, and the pulped fruit is made into a fruit concentrate or puree. This is then used in the further production of food. Solvents are used, amongst other things, to remove the interfering aromas.

There are a number of commercially prepared luohan guo products:
One of the most famous ones is powdered instant luohan guo, which is also sold by the Yongfu company. It is sold in China, Hong Kong and in Chinese shops in the West. In addition, there are a number of other products which contain luohan guo either on its own or in a mix with other herbs. For example it is used with Ginkgo against cough, with chrysanthemum against heatstroke and headache or with asparagus, Oldenlandia, Scutellaria, and pearl powder to detoxify.

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Mace

Myristica fragrans

Mace (spice), a cooking spice obtained from dried covering of the nutmeg fruit seed.

Nutmeg or Myristica fragrans is an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia, or Spice Islands. Until the mid 19th century this was the world's only source. The nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit, nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 20 mm to 30 mm (1 inch) long and 15 mm to 18 mm (¾ inch) wide, and weighing between 5 g and 10 g (¼ ounce and ½ ounce) dried, while mace is the dried "lacy" reddish covering or arillus of the seed.

This is the only tropical fruit that is the source of two different spices. Several other commercial products are also produced from the trees, including essential oils, extracted oleoresins, and nutmeg butter. The outer surface of the nutmeg bruises easily. The pericarp (fruit/pod) is used in Grenada to make a jam called "Morne Delice". In Indonesia, the fruit is also made into jam, called selei buah pala, or sliced finely, cooked and crystallised to make a fragrant candy called manisan pala ("nutmeg sweets").

The most important species commercially is the Common or Fragrant Nutmeg Myristica fragrans, native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia; it is also grown in Penang Island in Malaysia and the Caribbean, especially in Grenada. It also grows in Kerala, a state in the south part of India. Other species include Papuan Nutmeg M. argentea from New Guinea, and Bombay Nutmeg M. malabarica from India, called Jaiphal in Hindi; both are used as adulterants of M. fragrans products. Nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavor. Mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like hue it imparts. Nutmeg is a tasty addition to cheese sauces and is best grated fresh (see nutmeg grater). Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog.

In Penang cuisine, nutmeg is made into pickles and these pickles are even shredded as toppings on the uniquely Penang Ais Kacang. Nutmeg is also blended (creating a fresh, green, tangy taste and white color juice) or boiled (resulting in a much sweeter and brown juice) to make Iced Nutmeg juice or as it is called in Penang Hokkien, "Lau Hau Peng".

In Indian cuisine, nutmeg is used in many sweet as well as savory dishes (predominantly in Mughlai cuisine). It is known as Jaiphal in most parts of India and as Jatipatri and Jathi seed in Kerala. It may also be used in small quantities in garam masala. Ground nutmeg is also smoked in India.

In Middle Eastern cuisine, nutmeg grounds are often used as a spice for savory dishes. In Arabic, nutmeg is called Jawzt at-Tiyb.

In Greece and Cyprus nutmeg is called (moschokarydo) (Greek: "musky nut" and is used in cooking and savory dishes.

In European cuisine, nutmeg and mace are used especially in potato dishes and in processed meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces, and baked goods.

In Dutch cuisine nutmeg is quite popular; it is added to vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and string beans.

Japanese varieties of curry powder include nutmeg as an ingredient.

In the Caribbean, nutmeg is often used in drinks such as the Bushwhacker, Painkiller, and Barbados rum punch. Typically it is just a sprinkle on the top of the drink.

Penang boasts of its industry of nutmeg oil for external medicinal use, although the manufacturing may be sourced throughout Malaysia. The essential oil is obtained by the steam distillation of ground nutmeg and is used heavily in the perfumery and pharmaceutical industries. The oil is colorless or light yellow, and smells and tastes of nutmeg. It contains numerous components of interest to the oleochemical industry, and is used as a natural food flavoring in baked goods, syrups, beverages, and sweets. It replaces ground nutmeg as it leaves no particles in the food. The essential oil is also used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, for instance, in toothpaste, and as a major ingredient in some cough syrups. In traditional medicine nutmeg and nutmeg oil were used for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems.

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Mahlab

Prunus mahaleb

Mahlab, Mahleb, or Mahlepi, is an aromatic spice made from the seeds of the St Lucie Cherry (Prunus mahaleb). The cherry stones are cracked to extract the seed kernel, which is about 5 mm diameter, soft and chewy on extraction, but ground to a powder before use. Its strong aroma means that it only need be used in very small quantities, the flavor being similar to a combination of bitter almond and cherry (Christian 1982).

It has been used for centuries in the Middle East and the surrounding areas (especially in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Kuwait, Armenia, Iran, Libya and Greece) as a sweet/sour, nutty addition to breads, cheese, cookies and biscuits.

In the United States it has long been a staple in Greek-American holiday cake and pastry recipes. Thanks to renewed interest in Mediterranean cooking it has been recently mentioned in several cookbooks.

Mahleb is used in Greece, where it is known as "Mahlepi" for holiday cakes such as tsoureki and similar egg-rich yeast cakes and cookies. In Turkey it is used for "Pogaca". In the Middle East and Anatolia it is also associated with Ramadan sweets, including "Çörek", "Kandil simidi", "Ka'kat" and "Ma'amoul". In Egypt the powdered Mahlab is made into a jam like paste with honey, sesame and nuts, eaten as a dessert or a snack with bread. It is also used to flavor the traditional Armenian holiday cake, "Choereg". In Cyprus, it is used in a special Easter cheese pie or cheese cake on Cyprus called 'flaounes.

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Malabathrum

Tejpat

In ancient Greece and Rome, the leaves were used to prepare fragrant oil, called Oleum Malabathri, and were therefore valuable. The leaves are mentioned in the 1st century Greek text Periplus Maris Erytraei as one of the major exports of the Tamil kingdoms of southern India. The name is also used in mediaeval texts to describe the dried leaves of a number of trees of the genus Cinnamomum, which were thought to have medicinal properties.

The leaves, known as tejpat in Nepali, tejapatta or tejpatta in Hindi, Tejpat in Assamese and tamalpatra in Marathi, are used extensively in the cuisines of India, Nepal, and Bhutan, particularly in the Moghul cuisine of North India and Nepal and in Tsheringma herbal tea in Bhutan. It is called Biryani Aaku or Bagharakku in Telugu.

They are often erroneously labeled as "Indian bay leaves," though the bay leaf is from the Bay Laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus, and the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different. Bay leaves are shorter and light to medium green in color, with one large vein down the length of the leaf; photo while tejpat are about twice as long as and wider than laurel leaves. They are usually olive green in color, may have some brownish spots and have three veins down the length of the leaf. True tejpat leaves impart a strong cassia- or cinnamon-like aroma to dishes, while the bay leaf's aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon.

Indian grocery stores usually carry true tejpat leaves. Some grocers may only offer Turkish bay leaves, in regions where true tejpat is unavailable. The bark is also sometimes used for cooking, although it is regarded as inferior to true cinnamon or cassia.

"Malabar" is the name of a region on the west coast of southern India that forms the northern portion of the present-day state of Kerala. The word "Mala" or "Malaya" means "Mountain" in the Tamil and Malayalam languages, as also in Sanskrit. The word "Malabathrum" is also thought to have been derived from the Sanskrit tamalapattram, literally meaning "dark-tree leaves." Related species: * Cassia * Cinnamon * Saigon cinnamon

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Manchurian Thorn Tree

Aralia manchurica

Aralia Mandshurica, also called Manchurian Thorn Tree, is Thought to Increase Energy.

It is an adaptogen, found and used in Russia for many years. The extract of Aralia was approved for official therapeutic use in the Soviet Union in 1957. This plant is said to benefit the mind and body by helping with stress, anxiety and fatigue.

The Aralia Mandshurica is also purported to stimulate the immune system and stamina. Athletic performance is also thought to improve. Like another adaptogen Eleutherococcus, Aralia Mandshurica is believed to stimulate the central nervous system, more effectively than other adaptogens. Most of this stimulation comes from the liquid extract of Aralia Mandshurica.

Because it affects the central nervous system and is stimulating, this plant helps to increase energy, work capacity and memory. Some think that Aralia Mandshurica helps patients when recovering from serious illnesses, prevents lipid metabolism disorders, decreases high cholesterol and increases the production of phospholipids. Adaptogens are said to help balance a person's body and mind. Although Aralia Mandshurica is an adaptogen that works well to stimulate the central nervous system, other adaptogens can also help with your metabolism, lungs, kidneys, memory as well as a whole host of other things. In fact, many believe it to have numerous benefits, including alleviating ulcers, jaundice, and even coughs and colds.

This herb works in synergy with other plant ingredients to stimulate the central nervous system, which helps improve immune system function and increase stamina. The Aralia species contain some ginseng-like triterpenoid saponins (Aralosides A, B, and C), which contribute to Aralia's ability to increase athletic performance. The extract of Aralia was officially approved for therapeutic use in the USSR, as a tonic, in 1957. Soviet research on Aralia manchurica (AM) liquid extract has shown that it's stimulating action on the central nervous system is higher than Panax ginseng and Eleutherococcus.

AM is effective against colds, flus, and nocturnal enuresis, and protects from radiation. AM extract is employed as an adjuvant in the treatment of disorders of the nervous system, as a stimulant to increase energy, increase work capacity, and aid patients recovering from severe illnesses. AM has been shown to increase long-term memory. AM prevents lipid metabolism disorders and decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while simultaneously increasing the production of phospholipids. AM extract prevents stress-induced gastric ulcers and inhibits gastric acid secretion.

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Mandrake

Mandragora officinarum

Magicians would form this root into a crude resemblance to the human figure, by pinching a constriction a little below the top, so as to make a kind of head and neck, and twisting off the upper branches except two, which they leave as arms, and the lower, except two, which they leave as legs.) The mandrake, Mandragora officinarum, is a plant called by the Arabs luffâh, or beid el-jinn ("djinn's eggs"). The parsley-shaped root is often branched. This root gives off at the surface of the ground a rosette of ovate-oblong to ovate, wrinkled, crisp, sinuate-dentate to entire leaves, long, somewhat resembling those of the tobacco-plant. A number of one-flowered nodding peduncles spring from the neck bearing whitish-green flowers, nearly broad, which produce globular, succulent, orange to red berries, resembling small tomatoes, which ripen in late spring. All parts of the mandrake plant are poisonous. The plant grows natively in southern and central Europe and in lands around the Mediterranean Sea, as well as on Corsica. In Genesis 30, Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob and Leah finds mandrakes in a field. Rachel, Jacob's infertile second wife and Leah's sister, is desirous of the mandrakes and barters with Leah for them. The trade offered by Rachel is for Leah to spend the next night in Jacob's bed in exchange of Leah's mandrakes. Leah gives away the plant to her barren sister, but soon after this (Genesis 30:14-22), Leah, who had previously had four sons but had been infertile for a long while, became pregnant once more and in time gave birth to two more sons, Issachar and Zebulun, and a daughter, Dinah. Only years after this episode of her asking for the mandrakes did Rachel manage to get pregnant? There are classical Jewish commentaries which suggest that mandrakes help barren women to conceive a child though. Magic, spells, and witchcraft: According to the legend, when the root is dug up it screams and kills all who hear it. Literature includes complex directions for harvesting a mandrake root in relative safety. For example Josephus (c. 37 AD Jerusalem - c. 100) gives the following directions for pulling it up: A furrow must be dug around the root until its lower part is exposed, then a dog is tied to it, after which the person tying the dog must get away. The dog then endeavors to follow him, and so easily pulls up the root, but dies suddenly instead of his master. After this the root can be handled without fear.

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Marjoram

Origanum majorana

Marjoram (Origanum majorana, Lamiaceae) is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavors. It is also called Sweet Marjoram or Knotted Marjoram and Majorana hortensis.

The name marjoram (Old French majorane, Medieval Latin majorana) does not directly derive from the Latin word maior (major). Marjoram is indigenous to the Mediterranean area and was known to the Greeks and Romans as a symbol of happiness.

Marjoram is cultivated for its aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes; the tops are cut as the plants begin to flower and are dried slowly in the shade. It is often used in herb combinations such as Herbes de Provence and Za'atar. The flowering leaves and tops of Marjoram are steam distilled to produce an essential oil that is yellowish in color (darkening to brown as it ages). It has many chemical components, some of which are borneol, camphor, origanol and pinene.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare, sometimes listed with Marjoram as Origanum majorana) is also called Wild Marjoram. It is a perennial common in southern Europe in dry copses and on hedge-banks, with many stout stems 30-80 cm high, bearing short-stalked somewhat ovate leaves and clusters of purple flowers. It has a stronger flavor and a more penetrating quality.

Pot Marjoram or Cretan Oregano (Origanum onites) has similar uses to marjoram. Hardy Marjoram or French marjoram is a cross of marjoram with oregano that is much more resistant to cold, but is slightly less sweet. Origanum pulchellum, Showy Marjoram or Showy Oregano.

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Marsh Labrador Tea

Rhododendron tomentosum

Rhododendron tomentosum (syn. Ledum palustre), commonly known as Marsh Labrador tea, northern Labrador tea or wild rosemary, is a flowering plant in the subsection Ledum of the large genus Rhododendron in the family Ericaceae.

In North America it is found growing in northern latitudes in Greenland, Canada, and Alaska, in Europe in the northern and central parts, and in Asia south to northern China, Korea and Japan. It grows in peaty soils, shrubby areas, and moss and lichen tundra. All parts of the plant contain poisonous terpenes that affect central nervous system, causing aggressive behavior. First symptoms of over dosage are dizziness and disturbances in movement, followed by spasms, nausea and unconsciousness. The mere smell of the plant may cause headache to some people.

This species is not to be confused with the traditionally-used one Rhododendron groenlandicum, found essentially in the Labrador region in Canada (where its name comes from). Marsh Labrador tea has traditionally been used as a gruit in brewing beer in the Middle Ages. Due to its strong fragrance, it has also formerly been used as a natural anti-moth (for Clothing Moth) in Scandinavia. For traditional uses in herbal medicine, see Labrador tea.

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Marshmallow

Althaea officinalis

Althaea officinalis (Marshmallow, Marsh Mallow, or Common Marshmallow) is a species native to Africa, which is used as a medicinal plant and ornamental plant.

The common Mallow is frequently called by country people, 'Marsh Mallow,' but the true Marsh Mallow is distinguished from all the other Mallows growing in Great Britain, by the numerous divisions of the outer calyx (six to nine cleft), by the hoary down which thickly clothes the stems, and foliage, and by the numerous panicles of blush-colored flowers, paler than the Common Mallow.

The roots are perennial, thick, long and tapering, very tough and pliant, whitish yellow outside, white and fibrous within. The whole plant, particularly the root, abounds with mild mucilage, which is emollient to a much greater degree than the common Mallow.

The generic name, Althaea, is derived from the Greek, altho (to cure), from its healing properties. The name of the family, Malvaceae, is derived from the Greek, malake (soft), from the special qualities of the Mallows in softening and healing. Most of the Mallows have been used as food, and are mentioned by early classic writers with this connection.

Mallow was an esculent vegetable among the Romans; a dish of Marsh Mallow was one of their delicacies. The Chinese use some sort of Mallow in their food, and Prosper Alpinus stated in 1592 that a plant of the Mallow kind was eaten by the Egyptians. Many of the poorer inhabitants of Syria - especially the Fellahs, Greeks and Armenians - subsist for weeks on herbs, of which Marsh Mallow is one of the most common.

When boiled first and fried with onions and butter, the roots are said to form a palatable dish, and in times of scarcity consequent upon the failure of the crops, this plant, which fortunately grows there in great abundance, is much collected for food.

The leaves, flowers and the root of A. officinalis (marshmallow) all have medicinal properties. The leaves, which are collected in summer as the plant begins to flower, have demulcent, expectorant, diuretic, and emollient properties. It is generally used in ailments of the lungs and the urinary systems, specifically in urethritis and kidney stones. The root, which is harvested in late autumn, has demulcent, diuretic, emollient, and vulnerary properties. It is generally used for digestive and skin problems, specifically inflammations of the mouth, gastritis, peptic ulcer, enteritis, and colitis (Medline.com). It increases the flow of breast milk and soothes the bronchial tubes. It has been used to treat constipation as well as irritable bowel syndrome. Externally the root is used in treating varicose veins, ulcers, abscesses, and boils.

The root extract (halawa extract) is sometimes used as flavoring in the making of a middle eastern snack called halva.

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Mastic

Pistacia lentiscus

Pistacia lentiscus, which is cultivated for its aromatic resin, mainly on the Greek island of Chios. It is native throughout the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Iberia in the west through southern France and Turkey to Syria and Israel in the east. It is also native to the Canary Islands.

The word mastic derives either from the Greek verb mastichein ("to gnash the teeth", origin of the English word masticate) or massein ("to chew").

Within the European Union, Mastic spice production in Chios is granted protected designation of origin (PDO) and a protected geographical indication (PGI) name. These are granted because, although the tree is native to the Mediterranean region, only the mastic trees of southern Chios "weep" the masticha resin when their bark is scored The island's mastic production is controlled by a co-operative of medieval villages, collectively known as the 'Mastichochoria', which are also located in the southern part of Chios.

The aromatic, ivory colored resin, also known as mastic (or mastix), is harvested as a spice from the cultivated mastic trees grown in the south of the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, where it is also known by the name "Chios Tears". Originally liquid, it is sun dried into drops of hard, brittle, translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The resin is collected by bleeding the trees from small cuts made in the bark of the main branches, and allowing the sap to drip onto the specially prepared ground below. The harvesting is done during the summer months between June and September.

After the mastic is collected it is washed manually and spread in the sun to dry. Mastic resin is a relatively expensive kind of spice, which has been used, principally, as a chewing gum, for at least 2,400 years The flavor can be described as a strong slightly smoky, resin aroma and can be an acquired taste.

Some scholars identify the bakha mentioned in the Bible - as in the Valley of Baca of Psalm 84 - with the mastic plant. The word bakha appears to be derived from the Hebrew word for crying or weeping, and is thought to refer to the "tears" of resin secreted by the mastic plant, along with a sad weeping noise which occurs when the plant is walked on and branches are broken. The Valley of Baca is thought to be a valley near Jerusalem that was covered with low mastic shrubbery, much like some hillsides in northern Israel today. In an additional biblical reference, King David receives divine counsel to place himself opposite the Philistines coming up the Valley of Rephaim, southwest of Jerusalem, such that the sound of the "sound of walking on the tops of the bakha shrubs" signals the moment to attack.

(II Samuel V: 22-24) Mastic is known to have been popular in Roman times when children chewed it, and in Medieval times it was highly prized for the Sultan's harem both as a breath freshener and for cosmetics. It was the Sultan's privilege to chew mastic, and it was considered to have healing properties. The spice's use was widened when Chios became part of the Ottoman Empire, and it remains popular in North Africa and the Near East. Within the European Union, Chios Mastic production is granted protected designation of origin (PDO) and a protected geographical indication (PGI) name. Mastic resin is a key ingredient in Dondurma (Turkish ice cream), and Turkish puddings granting those confections its unusual texture and bright whiteness.

In Lebanon and Egypt, the spice is used to flavour many sauces, ranging from soups to meats to desserts, while in Morocco smoke from the resin is used to flavour water. In Turkey, Mastic is used as a flavor of Turkish delight. Recently, a Mastic flavoured fizzy drink has also been launched. Mastic resin is a key ingredient in Greek festival breads, for example the sweet bread tsoureki and the traditional New Year's Vasilopita. Furthermore, masticha also is essential to myron, the holy oil used for chrismation by the Orthodox Churches.

As well as its culinary uses, Mastic continues to be used for its gum and medicinal properties. The resin is used as a primary ingredient in the production of cosmetics such as toothpaste, lotions for the hair and skin, and perfumes. Mastic resin is also chewed as a gum to soothe the stomach. People in the Mediterranean region have used mastic as a medicine for gastrointestinal ailments for several thousand years. The first century Greek physician and botanist, Dioscorides, wrote about the medicinal properties of mastic in his classic treatise De Materia Medica ("About Medical Substances"). Some centuries later Markellos Empeirikos and Pavlos Eginitis.

In ancient Jewish halachic sources, it is indicated that chewing mastic was a treatment for bad breath. "Mastic is not chewed on shabbat. When (is it not permissible to chew mastic on shabbat)? When the intention is medicinal. If it is against a bad odor, it is permissible." Mastic resin has been proven to reduce bacterial plaque, which explains why many toothpastes and mouthwashes have mastic as one of their main ingredients. Another 1998 University of Nottingham study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, claims that mastic can heal peptic ulcers by killing Helicobacter pylori, which causes peptic ulcers, gastritis, and duodenitis. Some in vivo studies have shown that mastic gum has no effect on Helicobacter pylori when taken for short periods of time.

Apart from its medicinal properties, cosmetics and culinary uses, Mastic gum is also used in the production of high grade varnish. The Mastic tree has been introduced into Mexico as an ornamental plant, where it is very prized and fully naturalized. The trees are grown mainly in suburban areas in semi-arid zones and remain undamaged although the regime of summer rainfall is contrary to its original Mediterranean climate.

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Meadowsweet

Filipendula ulmaria

Filipendula ulmaria, commonly known as Meadowsweet, is a perennial herb in the family Rosaceae, which grows in damp meadows. It is native throughout most of Europe and western Asia though it has been successfully introduced and naturalized in North America. Meadowsweet has also been referred to as Queen of the Meadow, Pride of the Meadow, Meadow-Wort, Meadow Queen, Lady of the Meadow, Dollof, Meadsweet and Bridewort.

Meadowsweet has delicate, graceful, creamy-white flowers clustered close together in handsome irregularly-branched cymes, having a very strong, sweet smell. They flower from June to early September. The name ulmaria means "elm like", an odd epithet as it does not resemble the elm (Ulmus) in any way. However, like slippery elm bark, the plant contains salicylic acid, which has long been used as a painkiller, and this may be the source of the name. However, the generic name, Filipendula, comes from filum, meaning "thread" and pendulus, meaning "hanging." This is possibly said to describe the root tubers that hang characteristically on the genus, on fibrous roots. The whole herb possesses a pleasant taste and flavor, the green parts having a similar aromatic character to the flowers, leading to the use of the plant as a strewing herb, strewn on floors to give the rooms a pleasant aroma, and its use to flavor wine, beer and many types of vinegar.

The flowers can be added to stewed fruit and jams, giving them a subtle almond flavor. It has many medicinal properties. The whole plant is a traditional remedy for an acidic stomach and the fresh root is often used in minute quantities in homeopathic preparations. It is effective on its own as a treatment for diarrhea. The flowers, when made into a tea, are a comfort to flu sufferers. Dried, the flowers make lovely pot pourri.

Active ingredients: compounds of salicylic acid, flavones-glycosides, essential oils and tannins.

In 1897 Felix Hoffmann created a synthetically altered version of salicin, derived from the species, which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally Acetylsalicylic acid, was named aspirin by Hoffman's employer Bayer AG after the old botanical name for meadowsweet, Spiraea ulmaria. This gave rise to the hugely important class of drugs known as No Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs.

This plant contains the chemicals used to make aspirin, a small section of root, when peeled and crushed smells like Germolene, and when chewed is a good natural remedy for relieving headaches. A natural black dye can be obtained from the roots by using a copper mordant.

Meadowsweet has been shown to cause tightening of the air passages in the lungs. Such tightening, known as a bronchospasm, can cause or worsen an asthma attack. Individuals with asthma should therefore avoid using meadowsweet.

It is known by many other names, and in Chaucer's ''The Knight's Tale'' it is known as Meadwort and was one of the ingredients in a drink called "save." It was also known as Bridewort, because it was strewn in churches for festivals and weddings, and often made into bridal garlands. In Europe, it took its name "queen of the meadow" for the way it can dominate a low-lying, damp meadow. In the 16th century, when it was customary to strew floors with rushes and herbs (both to give warmth underfoot and to overcome smells and infections), it was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. She desired it above all other herbs in her chambers.

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Melegueta pepper

Aframomum melegueta

Aframomum melegueta is a species in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. This spice commonly known as Grains of paradise, Melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains or Guinea pepper is obtained from the plant's ground seeds; it gives a pungent, peppery flavor. Although it is native to West Africa, it is an important cash crop in the Basketo special woreda of southern Ethiopia.

A. melegueta is a herbaceous perennial plant native to swampy habitats along the West African coast. Its trumpet-shaped, purple flowers develop into 5 to 7 cm long pods containing numerous small, reddish-brown seeds.

The pungent, peppery taste of the seeds is caused by aromatic ketones; e.g., (6)-paradol (systematic name: 1-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-decan-3-one). Essential oils, which are the dominating flavor components in the closely related cardamom, occur only in traces. Grains of paradise are commonly employed in the cuisines of West Africa and of North Africa, where they have been traditionally imported via caravan routes in a series of transshipments through the Sahara desert and whence they were distributed to Sicily and Italy. Mentioned by Pliny as "African pepper" but subsequently forgotten in Europe, grains of paradise became a very fashionable substitute for black pepper in 14th- and 15th-century Europe, especially in northern France, one of the most populous regions in Europe at the time. The Ménagier de Paris recommends it for improving wine that "smells stale". Through the Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period, the theory of the Four Humours governed theorizing about nourishment on the part of doctors, herbalists and druggists: in this context, "graynes of paradise, hoot & moyste þey be" John Russell observed, in The Boke of Nurture.

Later, the craze for the spice waned, and its uses were reduced to a flavoring for sausages and beer. In the eighteenth century its importation to Great Britain collapsed after a Parliamentary act of George III forbade its use in malt liquor, aqua vita and cordials. By 1880 the Encyclopedia Britannica (9th edition) was reporting, "Grains of paradise are to some extent used in veterinary practice but for the most part illegally to give a fictitious strength to malt liquors, gin and cordials".

Today it is largely unknown outside of West and North Africa, except for its use as a flavoring in some beers (including Samuel Adams Summer Ale), gins, and Norwegian aquavit.

In America, Grains of Paradise are starting to enjoy a slight resurgence in popularity due to their use by some well-known chefs. Alton Brown is a fan of its use, and he uses it in his apple pie recipe on an episode of the TV cooking show Good Eats. They are also used by people on certain diets, such as a raw-food diet, because they are less irritating to digestion than black pepper.

In West African folk medicine, grains of paradise are valued for their warming and digestive properties, and among the Efik people in Nigeria have been used for divination and ordeals determining guilt. A. melegueta has been introduced to the Caribbean Islands, where it is used as medicine and for religious voodoo rites.

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Mint

Pennyroyal, Mosquito Plant, Fleabane, Tickweed, Stinking Balm, Hedeoma

Mentha spp.

Mint (Mentha), a genus of strongly-scented herbs, some of which are used for flavoring
* The mint family (Lamiaceae or Labiatae), a plant family which includes Mentha and many other plants
* Mint sage (Salvia dorrii), a plant in the mint family not closely related to Mentha. Mentha (mint) is a genus of about 25 species (and many hundreds of varieties) of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae (Mint Family).

Species within Mentha have a subcosmopolitan distribution across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America. Several mint hybrids commonly occur. Mints are aromatic, almost exclusively perennial, rarely annual, herbs. They have wide-spreading underground rhizomes and erect, branched stems. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, from simple oblong to lanceolate, often downy, and with a serrated margin. Leaf colors range from dark green and gray-green to purple, blue, and sometimes pale yellow.

All mints prefer, and thrive in, cool, moist spots in partial shade. In general, mints tolerate a wide range of conditions, and can also be grown in full sun. They are fast growing, extending their reach along surfaces through a network of runners. Due to their speedy growth, one plant of each desired mint, along with a little care, will provide more than enough mint for home use.

Mint

Estimates of the number of species vary from 13 to 20.
Some of the more common mint varieties are listed below.

Find more information and articles about Mint

  • Mentha aquatica - Water mint, or Marsh mint
  • Mentha arvensis - Corn Mint, Wild Mint, Japanese Peppermint, Field
  • Mentha asiatica - Asian Mint
  • Mentha australis - Australian mint
  • Mentha Canadensis - Wild mint
  • Mentha cervina - Hart's Pennyroyal
  • Mentha citrata - Bergamot mint
  • Mentha crispata - Wrinkled-leaf mint
  • Mentha dahurica - Dahurian Thyme
  • Mentha diemenica - Slender mint
  • Mentha laxiflora - Forest mint
  • Mentha longifolia - Mentha sylvestris, Horse Mint
  • Mentha piperita - Peppermint
  • Mentha pulegium - Pennyroyal
  • Mentha requienii - Corsican mint
  • Mentha sachalinensis - Garden mint
  • Mentha satureioides - Native Pennyroyal
  • Mentha spicata - Mentha viridis, Spearmint, Curly mint
  • Mentha suaveolens - Apple mint, Pineapple mint
  • Mentha vagans - Gray mint

Other plants are sometimes refered to as "mint" but are not true mint (mentha) include:

  • Vietnamese Mint (Persicaria odorata), commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine is in the family Polygonaceae, collectively known as smartweeds or pinkweeds.
  • "Mexican mint marigold" is Tagetes lucida in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
  • Yerba Beuna (Clinopodium douglasii) a North American native and substitute for mint in many recipes.

Some mint species are more invasive than others. Even with the less invasive mints, care should be taken when mixing any mint with any other plants, lest the mint take over.

To control mints in an open environment, mints should be planted in deep, bottomless containers sunk in the ground, or planted above ground in tubs and barrels.

The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. Fresh mint is usually preferred over dried mint when storage of the mint is not a problem. The leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams.

In Middle Eastern cuisine, mint is used on lamb dishes. In British cuisine, mint sauce is popular with lamb.

Mint is a necessary ingredient in Touareg tea, a popular tea in northern African and Arab countries. Alcoholic drinks sometimes feature mint for flavor or garnish, namely the Mint Julep and the Mojito. Crème de menthe is a mint-flavored liqueur used in drinks such as the grasshopper.

Mint essential oil and menthol are extensively used as flavorings in breath fresheners, drinks, antiseptic mouth rinses, toothpaste, chewing gum, desserts, and candies; see mint (candy) and mint chocolate.

The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol (the main aroma of Peppermint and Japanese Peppermint) and Pulegone (in Pennyroyal and Corsican Mint). The compound primarily responsible for the aroma and flavor of spearmint is R-carvone. Methyl salicylate, commonly called "oil of wintergreen", is often used as a mint flavoring for foods and candies due to its mint-like flavor.

Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains, and it is commonly used in the form of tea as a home remedy to help alleviate stomach pain. During the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. Mint tea is a strong diuretic. Mint also aids digestion, in a way that it breaks down the fats. In recent years, it has been often recommended for treating obesity.

Menthol from mint essential oil (40-90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also much used in medicine as a component of many drugs, and are very popular in aromatherapy. Mint is also used in some shampoo products. A common use is as an antipruritic, especially in insect bite treatments (often along with camphor).

Menthol is also used in cigarettes as an additive, because it blocks out the bitter taste of tobacco and soothes the throat. The strong, sharp flavor and scent of mint is sometimes used as a mild decongestant for illnesses such as the common cold.

Mint leaves are often used by many campers to repel mosquitoes. It is also said that extracts from mint leaves have a particular mosquito-killing capability. Mint oil is also used as an environmentally-friendly insecticide for its ability to kill some common pests like wasps, hornets, ants and cockroaches.

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Milk Thistle

Silybum marianum

Find more on Milk Thistle

Milk thistles are thistles of the genus Silybum Adans., flowering plants of the daisy family (Asteraceae). They are native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The name "milk thistle" derives from two features of the leaves: they are mottled with splashes of white and they contain a milky sap. However, it is the seeds of milk thistle that herbalists have used for 2000 years to treat chronic liver disease and protect the liver against toxins.

Increasing research is being undertaken on the physiological effects, therapeutic properties and possible medical uses of milk thistle. Members of this genus grow as annual or biennial plants. The erect stem is tall, branched and furrowed but not spiny. The large, alternate leaves are waxy-lobed, toothed and thorny, as in other genera of thistle. The lower leaves are cauline (attached to the stem without petiole). The upper leaves have a clasping base. They have large, disc-shaped pink-to-purple, rarely white, solitary flower heads at the end of the stem. The flowers consist of tubular florets. The phyllaries under the flowers occur in many rows, with the outer row with spine-tipped lobes and apical spines. The fruit is a black achene with a white pappus.

S. marianum is by far the more widely known species. Milk thistle is believed to give some remedy for liver diseases (e.g. viral hepatitis) and the extract, silymarin, is used in medicine. Mild gastrointestinal distress is the most common adverse event reported for milk thistle. The incidence is the same as for placebo. A laxative effect for milk thistle has also been reported infrequently.

For many centuries extracts of milk thistle have been recognized as "liver tonics." Research into the biological activity of silymarin and its possible medical uses has been conducted in many countries since the 1970s, but the quality of the research has been uneven.

Reviews of the literature covering clinical studies of silymarin vary in their conclusions. A review using only studies with both double-blind and placebo protocols concluded that milk thistle and its derivatives "does not seem to significantly influence the course of patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C liver diseases."

A different review of the literature, performed for the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that, while there is strong evidence of legitimate medical benefits, the studies done to date are of such uneven design and quality that no firm conclusions about degrees of effectiveness for specific conditions or appropriate dosage can yet be made.

A review of studies of silymarin and liver disease which are available on the web shows an interesting pattern in that studies which tested low dosages of silymarin concluded that silymarin was ineffective, while studies which used significantly larger doses concluded that silymarin was biologically active and had therapeutic effects.

Research suggests that milk thistle extracts both prevent and repair damage to the liver from toxic chemicals and medications. Workers who had been exposed to vapors from toxic chemicals (toluene and/or xylene) for 5-20 years were given either a standardized milk thistle extract (80% silymarin) or placebo for 30 days. The workers taking the milk thistle extract showed significant improvement in liver function tests (ALT and AST) and platelet counts vs. the placebo group.

The efficacy of silymarin in preventing drug-induced liver damage in patients taking psychotropic drugs long-term has been investigated. This class of drugs is known to cause liver damage from oxidation of lipids. Patients taking silymarin in the study had less hepatic damage from the oxidation of lipids than patients taking the placebo. The efficacy of thirty different treatments was analyzed in a retrospective study of 205 cases of Amanita phalloides (death cap) mushroom poisoning. Both penicillin and hyperbaric oxygen independently contributed to a higher rate of survival. When silybin silibinin was added to the penicillin treatment, survival was increased even more. In another 18 cases of death cap poisoning, a correlation was found between the time elapsed before initiation of silybin therapy, and the severity of the poisoning. The data indicates that severe liver damage in Amanita phalloides poisoning can be prevented effectively when administration of silybin begins within 48 hours of mushroom intake.

In a recent 2007 event, a family of six was treated with milk thistle and a combination of other treatment to save them from ingested poisonous mushrooms. While five of the six made a full recovery, the grandmother showed liver recovery but was overcome by kidney failure related to the poisonous mushrooms.

Beside benefits for liver disease and treatment claims include:
* Used as a post (oral steroid) cycle therapy for body builders and/or in the hopes of reducing or eliminating liver damage
* Lowering cholesterol levels
* Reducing insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have cirrhosis
* Reducing the growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers.
* Used in many products claiming to reduce the effects of a hangover
* Used by individuals withdrawing from opiates, especially during the Acute Withdrawal Stage.
* Used by those taking oral steroids

Around the 16th Century this plant became quite popular and almost all parts of it were eaten. The roots can be eaten raw or boiled and buttered or par-boiled and roasted. The young shoots in spring can be cut down to the root and boiled and buttered. The spiny bracts on the flower head were eaten in the past like globe artichoke, and the stems (after peeling of course) can be soaked overnight to remove bitterness and then stewed. The leaves can be trimmed of prickles and boiled and make a good spinach substitute, they can also be added raw to salads.

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Motherwort

Leonurus cardiaca

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is a flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae. Other common names include Throw-wort, ''Lion's Ear, and Lion's Tail. The latter two are also common names for Leonotis leonurus. Originally from Central Asia it is now found worldwide, spread largely due to its use as an herbal remedy.

L. cardiaca'' has a square stem and opposite leaves. The leaves are palmately lobed; basal leaves are wedge shaped with three points and while the upper leaves are more latticed. Flowers appear in leaf axils on the upper part of the plant and it blooms between June and August.

The flowers are small, pink to lilac in color often with furry lower lips. The plant grows to about 60-100 cm in height. It can be found along roadsides and in vacant fields and other waste areas.

Motherwort has a long history of medicinal use originating in Central Europe, Asia and North America. It is very useful for a variety of ills, and is very nourishing, much like stinging nettle or dandelion. The herb contains the alkaloid leonurine, which is a mild vasodilator and has a relaxing effect on smooth muscles. For this reason, it has long been used as a cardiac tonic, nervine, and an emmenagogue. Among other biochemical constituents, it also contains bitter iridoid glycosides; diterpinoids, flavonoids (including rutin and quercetin), tannins, volatile oils, and vitamin A.

Midwives use it for a variety of purposes, including uterine tonic and prevention of uterine infection. Susun Weed recommends it for combating stress and promoting relaxation during pregnancy, also claiming that, given during labor, it prevents hemorrhage. Michael Tierra, on the other hand, contraindicates it for internal use during pregnancy, claiming that it has the tendency to cause bleeding and may induce miscarriage.

It was historically used in China to prevent pregnancy and to regulate menstruation. Motherwort is also used to ease stomach gas and cramping, menopausal problems, and insomnia; although Susun Weed warns it may be habit forming if used regularly to combat sleeplessness.

According to Tierra, the traditional Chinese medicine energy and flavors are bitter, spicy, and slightly cold, and the systems affected are the pericardium and liver. The fresh or dried leaves (which are called yìmucao) are used, and the recommended dosage is the standard infusion of one ounce herb to one pint boiling water or 10-30 drops of tincture three times daily.

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Mountain Skullcap

Scutellaria montana

The Mountain Skullcap (Scutellaria montana) plant is native to the eastern parts of the United States of America. It is found throughout the Appalachian Mountains stretching from New York down south to Alabama and is actually an endangered species of herb, and is also known as the Large-flowered Skullcap.

Mountain Skullcap can be used both as a nerve tonic and as a sedative. In the "olden" days, Mountain Skullcap was used to treat rabies. Part Used: Aerial parts. Medicinal Actions: Tonic, Nervine, Antispasmodic, slightly Astringent.

Indications: Nervous tension, exhaustion, spasms, hysteria1, pre-menstrual syndrome, (PMS), insomnia, stress, headaches, seizures, and epilepsy. Skullcap is generally sold commercially as a liquid extract, as a tea, in dried form, and capsules.

Skullcap was once called mad-dog weed because of its use during the eighteenth century to treat rabies.

Native Americans used skullcap as a sedative, tranquilizer, and digestive aid. Other cultures have used it as sedative and lower fevers.

A perennial herb of the mint family, the rare large-flowered skullcap grows only in scattered sites in Tennessee and Georgia. The plant stands 12 to 22 inches tall on solitary, erect stems and bears hairy leaves 2 to 3 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. It blossoms with lovely blue and white flowers in May and early June.

Its fruit, a light brown nutlet, matures in late June and early July. Pollination is performed almost exclusively by bees. Large-flowered skullcaps are easily recognized by their namesake, the protruding cap on the upper lobe of the calyx.

One reason that the herb is so rare is that the mature, undisturbed hardwood stands in which is grows are also rare in its range. When it was listed as Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1986, less than 7,000 plants in 10 sites were known to exist. Additional populations have since been discovered, totaling over 50,000 individuals in 48 known sites. Reflecting these discoveries, the large-flowered skullcap was reclassified as Threatened in 2002. Although the Conservancy protects some populations, such as the ones at Black's Bluff and Marshall Forest, habitat loss remains a threat, as does competition with invasive species like Japanese honeysuckle and privet.

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Mullein

Verbascum thapsus

Verbascum, a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae). They are native to Europe and Asia, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region.

They are biennial or perennial plants, rarely annuals or subshrubs, growing to 0.5-3 m tall. The plants first form a dense rosette of leaves at ground level, subsequently sending up a tall flowering stem. The leaves are spirally arranged, often densely hairy, though glabrous (hairless) in some species. The flowers have five symmetrical petals; petal colors in different species include yellow (most common), orange, and red-brown, purple, blue or white. The fruit is a capsule containing numerous minute seeds.

The entire plant contains coumarin and rotenone, with the highest concentrations of these compounds present in the plant's seeds. The plant has a long history of use as a medicine, and is an effective treatment for asthma and respiratory disorders. Extracts made from the plant's flowers are a very effective treatment for ear infections. Although this plant is a recent arrival to North America, Native Americans used the ground seeds of this plant as a paralytic fish poison due to their high levels of rotenone.

The seeds of this plant should not be consumed and can cause internal hemmoraging if ingested.

The high coumarin content of the seeds makes the plant an effective blood thinner. Coumarin is the primary ingredient used in rat poisons. Ingestion of rotenone has been linked as a causative agent of Parkinson's disease.

Various species have been introduced (and in some case naturalized) in the Americas, Australia and Hawaii.

Since the year 2000 a number of new hybrid cultivars have come out that have increased flower size with shorter heights and tend to be longer lived plants. A number have new colors for this genus. Many are raised from seed, both the short lived perennial and biennial types. In the landscape they are valued for their tall narrow stature and for flowering over a long period of time, even in dry soils.

One species, Verbascum thapsus (Great mullein), is used as a herbal remedy for sore throat, cough and lung diseases.

Mullein is also the active ingredient in many alternative smoking blends.

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Mustard

Sinapis hirta

Mustards are several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis whose small mustard seeds are used as a spice and, by grinding and mixing them with water, vinegar or other liquids are turned into the condiment known as mustard.

The seeds are also pressed to make mustard oil, and the edible leaves can be eaten as mustard greens.

Mild white mustard (Sinapis hirta) grows wild in North Africa, the Middle East and Mediterranean Europe and has spread farther by long cultivation; brown or Indian mustard (B. juncea), originally from the foothills of the Himalaya, is grown commercially in the UK, Canada, Denmark and the US; black mustard (B. nigra) in Argentina, Chile, the US and some European countries. Canada grows 90% of all the mustard seed for the international market. The Canadian province of Saskatchewan produces almost half of the world's supply of mustard seed.

In addition to the mustards, the genus Brassica also includes cabbages, cauliflower, rapeseed, and turnips. Although some varieties of mustard plants were well-established crops in Hellenistic and Roman times, Zohary and Hopf note that: "There are almost no archeological records available for any of these crops." Wild forms of mustard and its relatives the radish and turnip can be found over west Asia and Europe, suggesting that their domestication took place somewhere in that area. However, Zohary and Hopf conclude: "Suggestions as to the origins of these plants are necessarily based on linguistic considerations."

There has been recent research into varieties of mustards that have high oil content for use in the production of biodiesel, a renewable liquid fuel similar to diesel fuel. The biodiesel made from mustard oil has good cold flow properties and cetane ratings. The leftover meal after pressing out the oil has also been found to be an effective pesticide.

An interesting genetic relationship between many species of mustard has been observed. Mustard is a thick yellowish-brown paste with a sharp taste made from the ground seeds of a mustard plant (white or yellow mustard, Sinapis hirta; brown or Indian mustard, Brassica juncea; or black mustard, Brassica nigra). The ground mustard seeds are mixed with water, vinegar or other liquids, and sometimes other flavorings and spices.

Strong mustard can cause the eyes to water, sting the palate and inflame the nasal passages. It can also cause allergic reactions: since 2005, products in the European Union must be labeled as potential allergens if they contain mustard. There are many varieties of mustard which come in a wide range of strengths and flavors. The basic taste and "heat" of the mustard is largely determined by seed type, preparation and ingredients. Black seeded mustard is generally regarded as the hottest type. Preparation also plays a key role in the final outcome of the mustard.

Mustard, in its powdered form, lacks any potency and needs to be fixed; it is the production of allyl isothiocyanate from the reaction of myrosinase and sinigrin during soaking that causes gustatory heat to emerge. One of the factors that determine the strength of prepared mustard is the temperature of the water, vinegar, or other liquid mixed with the ground seeds: hotter liquids are more hostile to the strength-producing compounds. Thus, hot mustard is made with cold water, while using hot water results in milder mustard (other factors remaining the same).

The pungency of mustard is always reduced by heating, not just at the time of preparation; if added to a dish during cooking much of the effect of the mustard is lost.

Locations renowned for their mustard include Dijon (medium strength) and Meaux in France; Norwich (very hot) and Tewkesbury, famed for its variety, in the United Kingdom; and Düsseldorf (hot) and Bavaria in Germany. There are variations in the subsidiary spices and in the preparation of the mustard seeds. The husks may be ground with the seeds, or winnowed away after the initial crushing; "whole-grain mustard" retains some un-ground or partially ground mustard seeds.

Bavarian "sweet mustard" contains very little acid, substituting copious amounts of sugar for preservation. Sometimes prepared mustard is simmered to moderate its bite, sometimes it is aged. Irish mustard is a wholegrain type blended with whiskey and/or honey.

Mustard is often used at the table as a condiment on meat. It is also used as an ingredient in mayonnaise, vinaigrette, marinades and barbecue sauce. It can also be used as a base for salad dressing when combined with vinegar and/or olive oil. Mustard is a popular accompaniment to hot dogs, pretzels, and Bratwurst.

Dry mustard, typically sold in cans, is used in cooking and can be mixed with water to become prepared mustard.

Prepared mustard is generally sold at retail in glass jars or plastic bottles although in Europe it is often marketed in metal, squeezable tubes. Some types of prepared mustard stored for a long time may separate, causing mustard water, which can be corrected by stirring or shaking. If stored for a long time unrefrigerated mustard acquires a bitter taste.

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Mustard seed

Sinapis hirta

Mustard seeds are the small seeds of the various mustard plants. The seeds are about 2 mm in diameter, and may be colored from yellowish white to black. They are important spices in many regional cuisines.

The seeds can come from three different plants: black mustard (B. nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), and white mustard (B. hirta/Sinapis alba). It is often referred to as "eye of newt." The French have used mustard seeds as a spice since 800 AD, and it was amongst spices taken by the Spanish on explorations throughout the fifteenth century.

Gautama Buddha told the story of the grieving mother and the mustard seed. When a mother loses her only son, she takes his body to the Buddha to find a cure. The Buddha asks her to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a family that has never lost a child, husband, parent or friend. When the mother is unable to find such a house in her village, she realizes that death is common to all, and she cannot be selfish in her grief.

In the Quran, God states that the scales of justice will be established on the Day of Judgment, and no soul will suffer the least injustice. Even the equivalent of a mustard seed will be accounted for because God is the most efficient reckoner.

Jewish texts compare the knowable universe to the size of a mustard seed to demonstrate the world's insignificance and to teach humility.

Mustard seeds generally take 3-10 days to germinate if placed under the proper conditions, which include a cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil. Mature mustard plants grow into shrubs. Mustard grows well in temperate regions. Major producers of mustard seeds include Hungary, Great Britain, India, Canada (90%) and the United States. Brown and black mustard seeds return higher yields than their yellow counterparts.

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Nashia inaguensis

Moujean Tea, Bahamas Berry, Pineapple Verbena

Nashia inaguensis

Nashia inaguensis is an evergreen shrub, commonly referred to as Moujean Tea, Bahamas Berry, or Pineapple Verbena.

Bahamas Berry is native to the east Caribbean islands, in particular the island of Inagua in the Bahamas, after which the species is named. In its native environment, the plant crawls along sunny, rocky outcroppings, semi-protected from steady high winds. It is a loose, spreading shrub with many branches up to 2 m high, with mature trunks of 5-10 cm diameter.

The leaves are aromatic, simple, opposite (or fascicled), elliptic to obovate or spatulate, 5-10 mm long, with revolute margins. The flowerheads are axillary, sessile, few-flowered, with a strigose calyx; the corolla is whitish, about 2 mm long, four-lobed, and with four stamens. The fragrant foliage and tiny white flowers are highly attractive to pollinators, in particular the Atala butterfly.

The Bahamas Berry is often used as a bonsai plant due to its miniaturized features. The flowers form in clusters and are followed by reddish orange berries. It prefers full sun, warmth (a minimum temperature of 5 °C) and must be kept under high humidity. Even a brief spell of dryness can kill the plant. It can be propagated from cuttings, preferably in the spring and early summer during warm nights.

A decoction of the fragrant leaves, variously described as having the scent and flavor of citrus, vanilla, or pineapple, is used as an herbal tea.

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Nasturtium

Tropaeolum majus

Nasturtium literally "nose-twister" or "nose-tweaker"), as a common name, refers to a genus of roughly 80 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Tropaeolum ("trophy"), one of three genera in the family Tropaeolaceae. It should not be confused with the Watercress's of the genus Nasturtium, of the Mustard family.

The genus Tropaeolum, native to South and Central America, includes several very popular garden plants, the most commonly grown being T. majus, T. peregrinum and T. speciosum.

The hardiest species is T. polyphyllum from Chile, the perennial roots of which can survive underground when air temperatures drop as low as -15°C (5°F). They have showy, often intensely bright flowers (the intense color can make macrophotography quite difficult), and rounded, peltate (shield-shaped) leaves with the petiole in the center. The flowers have five petals (sometimes more), a three-carpelled ovary, and a funnel-shaped nectar tube in the back.

Tropaeolum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Dot Moth and Garden Carpet. A very common "pest" found on Nasturtium in particular is the caterpillar of the Large White (Cabbage White) Butterfly.

The Nasturtiums receive their name from the fact that they produce an oil that is similar to that produced by Watercress (Nasturtium officinale), from the family Brassicaceae. In cultivation, most varieties of nasturtiums prefer to be grown in direct or indirect sunlight, with a few preferring partial shade.

The most common use of the asturtium plant in cultivation is as an ornamental flower. It grows easily and prolifically, and is a self-seeding annual.

All parts of the plant are edible. The flower has most often been consumed, making for an especially ornamental salad ingredient; it has a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress, and is also used in stir fry.

The unripe seed pods can be harvested and pickled with hot vinegar, to produce a condiment and garnish, sometimes used in place of capers, although the taste is strongly peppery.

The mashua (T. tuberosum) produces an edible underground tuber that is a major food source in parts of the Andes. Nasturtium is a genus of five species in the Family Brassicaceae (cabbage family), best known as containing the edible watercress's Nasturtium microphyllum (Rorippa microphylla) and Nasturtium officinale (R. nasturtium-aquaticum). Nasturtium was previously synonymised with Rorippa, but molecular evidence supports its maintenance as a distinct genus more closely related to Cardamine than to Rorippa sensu stricto (Al-Shehbaz & Price, 1998; Al-Shehbaz, Beilstein & Kellogg, 2006).

These plants are related to garden cress and mustard, noteworthy for a peppery, tangy (pungent) flavor. The name Nasturtium comes from the Latin nasus tortus, meaning "twisted nose", in reference to the effect on the nasal passages of eating the plants.

Nasturtium is not related to the genus Tropaeolum (Tropaeolaceae), popularly known as "nasturtiums".

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Neem

Azadirachta indica

Neem (Azadirachta indica, syn. Melia azadirachta L., Antelaea azadirachta (L.) Adelb.) is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Other vernacular names include Neem (Bengali), Arya Veppu (Malayalam), Azad Dirakht (Persian), Nimba (Sanskrit and Marathi), DogonYaro (in some Nigerian languages), Margosa, Neeb (Arabic), Nimtree, Vepu, Vempu, Vepa (Telugu), Bevu (Kannada), Kohomba (Sinhala), Vempu (Tamil), Tamar (Burmese) and Indian Lilac (English).

In East Africa it is also known as Mwarobaini (Swahili), which means the tree of the 40, as it is said to treat 40 different diseases.

The neem tree is very similar in appearance to the Chinaberry, all parts of which are extremely poisonous.

In India, the tree is variously known as "Divine Tree," "Heal All," "Nature's Drugstore," "Village Pharmacy" and "Panacea for all diseases."

Products made from neem have proven medicinal properties, being anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fertility, and sedative. It is considered a major component in Ayurvedic medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin disease.
* All parts of the tree (seeds, leaves, flowers and bark) are used for preparing many different medical preparations.
* Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, shampoo, balms and creams, example Margo (soap)), and is useful for skin care such as acne treatment, and keeping skin elasticity. Neem oil has been found to be an effective mosquito repellent.
* Neem derivatives neutralise nearly 500 pests worldwide, including insects, mites, ticks, and nematodes, by affecting their behaviour and physiology. Neem does not normally kill pests right away; rather it repels them and affects their growth. As neem products are cheap and non-toxic to higher animals and most beneficial insects, it is well-suited for pest control in rural areas.
* Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine the neem tree is of great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a good carbon dioxide sink.
* Practitioners of traditional Indian medicine recommend that patients suffering from chicken pox sleep on neem leaves.
* Neem gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose food (those for diabetics).
* Aqueous extracts of neem leaves have demonstrated significant antidiabetic potential.
* Traditionally, a tooth cleaning was conducted by the chewing of slender neem branches. Neem twigs are still collected and sold in markets for this use, and in India one often sees youngsters in the streets chewing on neem twigs.
* A decoction prepared from neem roots is ingested to relieve fever in traditional Indian medicine.
* Neem leaf paste is applied to the skin to treat acne.
* Neem blossoms are used in Andhra Pradesh to prepare "Ugadi pacchadi.

Extract of neem leaves is thought to be helpful as malaria prophylaxis despite the fact that no comprehensive clinical studies are yet available. Private initiatives in Senegal were successful in several cases to prevent malaria. However, major NGOs such as USAID are not supposed to use neem tree extracts unless the medical benefit has been proved with clinical studies.

Neem is a source of environment-friendly biopesticides. The unique feature of neem products is that they do not directly kill the pests, but alter the life-processing behavior in such a manner that the insect can no longer feed, breed or undergo metamorphosis. However, this does not mean that the plant extracts are harmful to all insects. Since, to be effective, the product has to be ingested; only the insects that feed on plant tissues succumb. Those that feed on nectar or other insects, such as butterflies, bees, and ladybugs, hardly accumulate significant concentrations of neem products.

Neem is deemed very effective in the treatment of scabies although only preliminary scientific proof exists which still has to be corroborated, and is recommended for those who are sensitive to permethrin, a known insecticide which might be an irritant. Also, the scabies mite has yet to become resistant to neem, so in persistent cases neem has been shown to be very effective. There is also anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness in treating infestations of head lice in humans.

A tea made of boiled neem leaves, sometimes combined with other herbs such as ginger, can be ingested to fight intestinal worms.

The oil is also used in sprays against fleas in cats and dogs.

The tender shoots and flowers of the neem tree are eaten as a vegetable in India. Neem flowers are very popular for their use in Ugadi Pachadi (soup-like pickle) which is made on Ugadi day in the South Indian States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. A soup like dish called Veppampoo Rasam (translated as "juice of neem flower") made of the flower of neem is prepared in Tamil Nadu.

Neem is also used in parts of mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in Cambodia, Laos (where it is called kadao), Thailand (where it is known as sadao or sdao), Myanmar (where it is known as tamar) and Vietnam. Even lightly cooked, the flavor is quite bitter and thus the food is not enjoyed by all inhabitants of these nations, though it is believed to be good for one's health.

Neem Gum is a rich source of protein. In Myanmar, young neem leaves and flower buds are boiled with tamarind fruit to soften its bitterness and eaten as a vegetable. Pickled neem leaves are also eaten with tomato and fish paste sauce in Myanmar.

Leaf or bark is considered an effective pitta pacifier due to its bitter taste. Hence, it is traditionally recommended during early summer in Ayurveda (that is, month of Chaitra as per the Hindu Calendar which usually falls in the month of March - April), and during Gudi Padva which is the New Year in the state of Maharashtra, we find an ancient practice of drinking a small quantity of neem juice or paste on that day before starting festivities. Like many Hindu festivals and their association with some food to avoid negative side-effects of that season or season change, neem juice is associated with Gudi Padva to remind people of using it during that particular month or season to pacify summer pitta. Leaf or bark is considered an effective pitta pacifier due to its bitter taste. Hence, it is traditionally recommended during early summer in Ayurveda (that is, month of Chaitra as per the Hindu Calendar which usually falls in the month of March - April), and during Gudi Padva which is the New Year in the state of Maharashtra, we find an ancient practice of drinking a small quantity of neem juice or paste on that day before starting festivities.

Like many Hindu festivals and their association with some food to avoid negative side-effects of that season or season change, neem juice is associated with Gudi Padva to remind people of using it during that particular month or season to pacify summer pitta.

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Nepeta

Nepeta cataria

Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their famous effect on cats-nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromones' receptors, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. It can also induce mild euphoria in humans.

The genus is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is now also common in North America. Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. They have sturdy stems with opposite heart-shaped, green to grayish-green leaves. The flowers are white, blue, pink or lilac and occur in several clusters toward the tip of the stems. The flowers are tubular and spotted with tiny purple dots.

Oil isolated from catnip by steam distillation is a repellent against insects, in particular mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites. Research suggests that in a test tube, distilled nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip, repels mosquitoes ten times more effectively than DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents, but that it is not as effective a repellent when used on the skin. Additionally, catnip and catnip-laced products designed for use with domesticated cats are available to consumers.

Catnip and catmints are mainly known for the behavioral effects they have on cats, particularly domestics. When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, or heavily salivate. Some will growl, meow, scratch, or bite the hand holding it. Two thirds of cats are susceptible to catnip. The phenomenon is hereditary; for example, most Australian cats do not react to it. There is some disagreement about the susceptibility of lions and tigers to catnip. Cats detect it through their olfactory epithelium, not through their vomeronasal organ. At the olfactory epithelium, the nepetalactone binds to one or more olfactory receptors where it probably mimics a cat pheromone, such as the hypothetical feline facial pheromone or the cat urine odorant MMB.

Other plants that also have this effect on cats include valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and plants that contain actinidine or dihydroactinidiolide (Smith, 2005). Selected species: * Nepeta cataria (Catnip, True Catnip, Catmint or Field Balm) is a 50-100 cm tall perennial herb resembling mint in appearance, with grayish-green leaves; the flowers are white, finely spotted with purple. It has been introduced to many countries, including the United States. A lemon-scented cultivar, N. cataria 'Citriodora', looks exactly like true catnip but has the scent of lemons and can be used like Lemon balm.
* Nepeta grandiflora (Giant Catmint or Caucasus Catmint) is lusher than true catnip and has dark green leaves and dark blue, almost purple flowers.
* Nepeta × faassenii (N. racemosa × N. nepetella; Faassen's Nepeta or Faassen's Catnip) is mostly grown as an ornamental plant. This hybrid is far smaller than either of above and is almost a ground cover. It has grayish-green leaves and light purple flowers.
* Some Dracocephalum, Glechoma and Calamintha species were formerly classified in Nepeta.
* Nepeta species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including Coleophora albitarsella.

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Nettle

Urtica dioica

Stinging nettle or common nettle, Urtica dioica, is an herbaceous perennial flowering plant, native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America, and is the best-known member of the nettle genus Urtica.

Though the fresh leaves can cause painful stings and acute urticaria, these are rarely seriously harmful. Otherwise most species of nettles are extremely safe and some are even eaten as vegetables after being steamed. Stinging nettle is a dioecious herbaceous perennial, tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. It has widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, and these, like the roots, are bright yellow. The soft green leaves are long and are borne oppositely on an erect wiry green stem. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin, a cordate base and an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals. It bears small greenish or brownish 4-merous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT or serotonin, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds cause a sting or paresthesia from which the species derives its common name, as well as the colloquial names burn nettle, burn weed, burn hazel. This sting can last from only a few minutes to as long as a week.

Stinging nettles are abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia, usually found in the countryside. It is less gregarious in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil.

In North America it is widely distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii and also can be found in northernmost Mexico. In North America the stinging nettle is far less common than in northern Europe.

The European subspecies has been introduced into North America as well as South America. In the UK stinging nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings. The presence of nettles may indicate that a building has been long abandoned. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for stinging nettles. This seems particularly evident in Scotland where the sites of crofts razed to the ground during the Highland Clearances can still be identified.

As Old English Stioe, nettle is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century.

Nettle is believed to be a galactagogue and a clinical trial has shown that the juice is diuretic in patients with congestive heart failure. Urtication, or flogging with nettles, is the process of deliberately applying stinging nettles to the skin in order to provoke inflammation. An agent thus used is known as a rubefacient (i.e. something that causes redness). This is done as a folk remedy for rheumatism, as it provides temporary relief from pain.

Extracts can be used to treat arthritis, anemia, hay fever, kidney problems, and pain. Nettle leaf is a herb that has a long tradition of use as an adjuvant remedy in the treatment of arthritis in Germany. Nettle leaf extract contains active compounds that reduce TNF and other inflammatory cytokines.

Stinging Nettle has a flavor similar to spinach when cooked, and is rich in vitamins A, C, D, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Young plants were harvested by Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce. A soup made from the young shoots is considered a spring delicacy in Denmark and Sweden. Cooking or drying completely neutralizes the toxic components found in this plant.

After Stinging Nettle enters its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles called "cystoliths", which can irritate the urinary tract. Crushing or chopping disables the stinging hairs. Stinging nettle leaves are high in nutrients, and the leaves can be mixed with other ingredients to create a soup rich in calcium and iron.

Nettle soup is a good source of nutrients for people who lack meat or fruit in their diets. The young leaves are edible and make a very good pot-herb. The leaves are also dried and may then be used to make a tisane, as can also be done with the nettle's flowers. Anti-itch drugs, usually in the form of creams containing antihistaminics or hydrocortisone, can provide relief from the symptoms of being stung by nettles.

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Nigella Sativa

Kalonji, Black caraway

Nigella sativa

Nigella sativa is an annual flowering plant, native to southwest Asia. It grows too tall, with finely divided, linear (but not thread-like) leaves. The flowers are delicate, and usually coloured pale blue and white, with 5-10 petals. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule composed of 3-7 united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. The seed is used as a spice.

In English, Nigella sativa seed is variously called fennel flower, nutmeg flower, Roman coriander, blackseed, black caraway, or black onion seed. Other names used, sometimes misleadingly, are onion seed and black sesame, both of which are similar-looking but unrelated.

The seeds are frequently referred to as black cumin, but this is also used for a different spice, Bunium persicum.

The scientific name is a derivative of Latin niger "black". Nigella sativa has a pungent bitter taste and a faint smell of strawberries. It is used primarily in confectionary and liquors. The variety of naan bread called Peshawari naan is as a rule topped with kalonji seeds.

In herbal medicine, Nigella sativa has antihypertensive, carminative, and anthelmintic properties. They are eaten by elephants to aid digestion.

According to Zohary and Hopf, archeological evidence about the earliest cultivation of N. sativa "is still scanty", but they report that N. sativa seeds have been found in several sites from ancient Egypt, including Tutankhamun's tomb. Although its exact role in Egyptian culture is unknown, it is known that items entombed with a pharaoh were carefully selected to assist him in the after life.

The earliest written reference to N. sativa is thought to be in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament where the reaping of nigella and wheat is contrasted (Isaiah 28: 25, 27). Easton's Bible dictionary states that the Hebrew word ketsah refers to without doubt to N. sativa (although not all translations are in agreement).

According to Zohary and Hopf, N. sativa "was another traditional condiment of the Old World during classical times; and its black seeds were extensively used to flavor food." (Perhaps explaining its use to relieve the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, and coughing). The presence of an anti-tumor sterol, beta-sitosterol, lends credence to its traditional use to treat abscesses and tumors of the abdomen, eyes, and liver.

Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer at Jefferson in Philadelphia have found that thymoquinone, an extract of nigella sativa seed oil, blocked pancreatic cancer cell growth and killed the cells by enhancing the process of programmed cell death, (apoptosis). While the studies are in the early stages, the findings suggest that thymoquinone could eventually have some use as a preventative strategy in patients who have gone through surgery and chemotherapy or in individuals who are at a high risk of developing cancer.

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Noni

Morinda citrifolia

Morinda citrifolia, commonly known as great morinda, Indian mulberry, Mengkudu (Malaysia), beach mulberry, Tahitian noni, cheese fruit or noni (from Hawaiian) is a tree in the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Morinda citrifolia is native to Southeast Asia but has been extensively spread throughout the Indian subcontinent, Pacific islands, French Polynesia, Puerto Rico and recently the Dominican Republic. Tahiti remains the most prominent growing location.

Noni grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores. It reaches maturity in about 18 months and then yields between of fruit every month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils, drought conditions, and secondary soils. It is therefore found in a wide variety of habitats: volcanic terrains, lava-strewn coasts, and clearings or limestone outcrops. It can grow up to tall, and has large, simple, dark green, shiny and deeply veined leaves. The plant flowers and fruits all year round and produces a small white flower.

The fruit is a multiple fruit that has a pungent odor when ripening, and is hence also known as cheese fruit or even vomit fruit. It is oval and reaches in size. At first green, the fruit turns yellow then almost white as it ripens. It contains many seeds. It is sometimes called starvation fruit. Despite its strong smell and bitter taste, the fruit is nevertheless eaten as a famine food and, in some Pacific islands, even a staple food, either raw or cooked. Southeast Asians and Australian Aborigines consume the fruit raw with salt or cook it with curry. The seeds are edible when roasted. Noni was explored unsuccessfully by medical researchers for possible use in treating cancer.

In Hawaii, ripe fruits are applied to draw out pus from an infected boil. The green fruit, leaves and the root/rhizome have traditionally been used to treat menstrual cramps and irregularities, among other symptoms, while the root has also been used to treat urinary difficulties.

There have been recent applications for the use of oil from noni seeds. Noni seed oil is abundant in linoleic acid that may have useful properties when applied topically on skin, e.g., anti-inflammation, acne reduction, moisture retention.

In Surinam and some other countries, the tree serves as a wind-break, as support for vines and as shade for coffee trees.

In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad.

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Nutmeg

Myristica fragrans

Nutmeg or Myristica fragrans is an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia, or Spice Islands. Until the mid 19th century this was the world's only source.

The nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit, nutmeg and mace.

Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 20 mm to 30 mm (1 inch) long and 15 mm to 18 mm (¾ inch) wide, and weighing between 5 g and 10 g (¼ ounce and ½ ounce) dried, while mace is the dried "lacy" reddish covering or arillus of the seed. This is the only tropical fruit that is the source of two different spices.

Several other commercial products are also produced from the trees, including essential oils, extracted oleoresins, and nutmeg butter. The outer surface of the nutmeg bruises easily.

The pericarp (fruit/pod) is used in Grenada to make a jam called "Morne Delice". In Indonesia, the fruit is also made into jam, called selei buah pala, or sliced finely, cooked and crystallised to make a fragrant candy called manisan pala ("nutmeg sweets").

The most important species commercially is the Common or Fragrant Nutmeg Myristica fragrans, native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia; it is also grown in Penang Island in Malaysia and the Caribbean, especially in Grenada. It also grows in Kerala, a state in the south part of India. Other species include Papuan Nutmeg M. argentea from New Guinea, and Bombay Nutmeg M. malabarica from India, called Jaiphal in Hindi; both are used as adulterants of M. fragrans products.

Nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavour. Mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like hue it imparts. Nutmeg is a tasty addition to cheese sauces and is best grated fresh (see nutmeg grater). Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog.

In Penang cuisine, nutmeg is made into pickles and these pickles are even shredded as toppings on the uniquely Penang Ais Kacang. Nutmeg is also blended (creating a fresh, green, tangy taste and white color juice) or boiled (resulting in a much sweeter and brown juice) to make Iced Nutmeg juice or as it is called in Penang Hokkien, "Lau Hau Peng".

In Indian cuisine, nutmeg is used in many sweet as well as savory dishes (predominantly in Mughlai cuisine). It is known as Jaiphal in most parts of India and as Jatipatri and Jathi seed in Kerala. It may also be used in small quantities in garam masala. Ground nutmeg is also smoked in India.

In Middle Eastern cuisine, nutmeg grounds are often used as a spice for savory dishes. In Arabic, nutmeg is called Jawzt at-Tiyb. In Greece and Cyprus nutmeg is called (moschokarydo) (Greek: "musky nut" and is used in cooking and savory dishes.

In European cuisine, nutmeg and mace are used especially in potato dishes and in processed meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces, and baked goods.

In Dutch cuisine nutmeg is quite popular; it is added to vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and string beans.

Japanese varieties of curry powder include nutmeg as an ingredient. In the Caribbean, nutmeg is often used in drinks such as the Bushwhacker, Painkiller, and Barbados rum punch. Typically it is just a sprinkle on the top of the drink. Penang boasts of its industry of nutmeg oil for external medicinal use, although the manufacturing may be sourced throughout Malaysia.

The essential oil is obtained by the steam distillation of ground nutmeg and is used heavily in the perfumery and pharmaceutical industries. The oil is colorless or light yellow, and smells and tastes of nutmeg. It contains numerous components of interest to the oleochemical industry, and is used as natural food flavouring in baked goods, syrups, beverages, and sweets. It replaces ground nutmeg as it leaves no particles in the food.

The essential oil is also used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, for instance, in toothpaste, and as a major ingredient in some cough syrups. In traditional medicine nutmeg and nutmeg oil were used for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems.

Nutmeg butter is obtained from the nut by expression. It is semi-solid, reddish brown in colour, and tastes and smells of nutmeg. Approximately 75% (by weight) of nutmeg butter is trimyristin, which can be turned into myristic acid, a 14-carbon fatty acid which can be used as a replacement for cocoa butter, can be mixed with other fats like cottonseed oil or palm oil, and has applications as an industrial lubricant.

There is some evidence to suggest that Roman priests may have burned nutmeg as a form of incense, although this is disputed. It is known to have been used as a prized and costly spice in medieval cuisine, used as flavorings, medicines, preserving agents, which were at the time highly valued in European markets. Saint Theodore the Studite (ca. 758 - ca. 826) was famous for allowing his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on their pease pudding when required to eat it.

In Elizabethan times it was believed that nutmeg could ward off the plague, so nutmeg was very popular. The small Banda Islands were the world's only source of nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg was traded by Arabs during the Middle Ages and sold to the Venetians for exorbitant prices, but the traders did not divulge the exact location of their source in the profitable Indian Ocean trade and no European was able to deduce their location.

In August 1511, on behalf of the king of Portugal, Afonso de Lbuquerque conquered Malacca, which at the time was the hub of Asian trade. In November of that year, after having secured Malacca and learning of the Bandas' location, Albuquerque sent an expedition of three ships led by his good friend António de Abreu to find them. Malay pilots, either recruited or forcibly conscripted, guided them via Java, the Lesser Sundas and Ambon to Banda, arriving in early 1512. The first Europeans to reach the Bandas, the expedition remained in Banda for about one month, purchasing and filling their ships with Banda's nutmeg and mace, and with cloves in which Banda had a thriving entrepôt trade.

The first written accounts of Banda are in Suma Oriental, a book written by the Portuguese apothecary Tomé Pires based in Malacca from 1512 to 1515. But full control of this trade was not possible and they remained largely participants, rather than overlords since the authority Ternate held over the nutmeg-growing centre of the Banda Islands was quite limited. Therefore, the Portuguese failed to gain a foothold in the islands themselves. The trade in nutmeg later became dominated by the Dutch in the 17th century. The British and Dutch engaged in prolonged struggles to gain control of Run island, then the only source of nutmeg.

At the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War the Dutch gained control of Run in exchange for the British controlling New Amsterdam (New York) in North America. The Dutch managed to establish control over the Banda Islands after an extended military campaign that culminated in the massacre or expulsion of most of the islands' inhabitants in 1621. Thereafter, the Banda Islands were run as a series of plantation estates, with the Dutch mounting annual expeditions in local war-vessels to extirpate nutmeg trees planted elsewhere. As a result of the Dutch interregnum during the Napoleonic Wars, the English took temporary control of the Banda Islands from the Dutch and transplanted nutmeg trees to their own colonial holdings elsewhere, notably Zanzibar and Grenada.

Today, a stylised split-open nutmeg fruit is found on the national flag of Grenada. Connecticut gets its nickname ("the Nutmeg State", "Nutmegger") from the legend that some unscrupulous Connecticut traders would whittle "nutmeg" out of wood, creating a "wooden nutmeg" (a term which came to mean any fraud).

World production of nutmeg is estimated to average between 10,000 and 12,000 tonnes per year with annual world demand estimated at 9,000 tonnes; production of mace is estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes. Indonesia and Grenada dominate production and exports of both products with a world market share of 75% and 20% respectively. Other producers include India, Malaysia (especially Penang where the trees are native within untamed areas), and Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Caribbean islands such as St. Vincent. The principal import markets are the European Community, the United States, Japan, and India. Singapore and the Netherlands are major re-exporters.

At one time, nutmeg was one of the most valuable spices. It has been said that in England, several hundred years ago, a few nutmeg nuts could be sold for enough money to enable financial independence for life.

The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place 7-9 years after planting and the trees reach their full potential after 20 years.

In low doses, nutmeg produces no noticeable physiological or neurological response. Large doses can be dangerous (potentially inducing convulsions, palpitations, nausea, eventual dehydration, and generalized body pain). In large amounts it is reputed to be a strong deliriant. Users report both negative and positive experiences, involving strong hallucinations, and in some cases quite severe anxiety. Users may feel a sensation of blood rushing to the head, or a strong euphoria and dissociation. Nutmeg contains myristicin, a weak monoamine oxidase inhibitor.

Speculative comparisons between the effects of nutmeg intoxication and MDMA have been made. However, nutmeg contains no amphetamine derivatives nor are any formed in the body from the main chemical components of nutmeg. Use of nutmeg as a recreational drug is unpopular due to its unpleasant taste and its possible negative side effects, including dizziness, flushes, dry mouth, accelerated heartbeat, temporary constipation, and difficulty in urination, nausea, and panic. In addition, experiences usually last well over 24 hours making recreational use rather impractical.

A risk in any large-quantity ingestion of nutmeg is the onset of 'nutmeg poisoning', an acute psychiatric disorder marked by thought disorder, a sense of impending doom/death, and agitation. Some cases have resulted in hospitalization. In a Beavis & Butthead episode featuring a music video for the song "Dang" by John Spencer Blues Explosion, Beavis asks Butthead at the end of the video if he "has any more nutmeg." This refers to nutmeg's psychoactive properties, as the strange video intentionally makes no sense yet greatly appeals to the two music video critics. In his autobiography, Malcom X mentions incidences of prison inmates consuming nutmeg powder, usually diluted in a glass of water, in order to become inebriated. The prison guards eventually catch on to this practice and crack down on nutmeg's use as a psychoactive in the prison system.

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Oenothera

Kings cureall, Evening-primrose, Suncups

Oenothera biennis et al

Oenothera is a genus of about 125 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbaceous flowering plants, native to North and South America. It is the type genus of the family Onagraceae. Common names include evening-primrose, suncups, and sundrops.

The species vary in size from small alpine plants 10 cm tall (e.g. O. acaulis from Chile), to vigorous lowland species growing to 3 m (e.g. O. stubbei from Mexico). The leaves form a basal rosette at ground level and spiral up to the flowering stems; the leaves are dentate or deeply lobed (pinnatifid).

The flowers open in the evening, hence the name "evening-primrose", and are yellow in most species but white, purple, pink or red in a few. Most native California species are white.

The fragrant evening-primrose Oenothera caespitosa, a California species, first blooms white but turns pink or light magenta.

Young roots can be eaten like a vegetable (with a peppery flavor), or the shoots can be eaten as a salad.

The whole plant was used to prepare an infusion with astringent and sedative properties. It was considered to be effective in healing asthmatic coughs, gastro-intestinal disorders, and whooping cough and as a sedative pain-killer.

Poultices containing O. biennis were at one time used to ease bruises and speed wound healing.

One of the common names for Oenothera, "Kings cureall", reflects the wide range of healing powers ascribed to this plant, although it should be noted that its efficacy for these purposes has not been demonstrated in clinical trials.

The mature seeds contain approximately 7-10% gamma-linolenic acid, a rare essential fatty acid. The oil also contains around 70% linoleic acid. The O. biennis seed oil is used to reduce the pains of premenstrual stress syndrome. Gamma-linolenic acid also shows promise against breast cancer.

Evening-primroses are very popular ornamental plants in gardens. For propagation, the seeds can be sown in situ from late spring to early summer. The plant will grow successfully in fertile soils if competing species are kept at bay. Evening-primrose species can be planted in any ordinary, dry, well-drained garden soil (preferably sandy loam) in an open site that is sunny to partly shady. They are fairly drought-resistant.

The first plants to arrive in Europe reached Padua from Virginia in 1614 and were described by the English botanist John Goodyer in 1621. Some species are now also naturalized in parts of Europe and Asia, and can be grown as far north as 65° N in Finland. The UK National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, based at Wisley, maintains an Oenothera collection as part of its National Collections scheme.

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Olida

Strawberry Gum

Eucalyptus olida

Eucalyptus olida, also known as the Strawberry Gum, is a medium-sized tree to 20 m, restricted to sclerophyll woodlands on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, in Eastern Australia. The bark is fibrous in mature trees. Flowers are cream colored and are followed by small woody capsules. The juvenile leaves are ovate (7 cm long) and dull green. Adult leaves are lanceolate and glossy green (to 17 cm).

The leaves are intensely aromatic and are used as a bushfood spice. E.olida is classified as a threatened species in the wild, but is becoming more common in cultivation due to its essential oil and spice qualities. The leaf of E.olida is distilled for its crystal-like essential oils used in flavoring and perfumery.

The leaf has very high levels of methyl cinnamate (98%). Methyl cinnamate is a flavor component of strawberry, and E. olida essential oil is commercially used as a natural fruit flavor and perfumery component. As a flavoring it has acquired several trade names, including 'olida' and 'forestberry herb'. E. olida leaf is used as a dried spice product in bushfood cooking, especially with fruit. It is also used in herbal teas and contains anti-oxidants. The oil yield is high at 2-6% fresh weight.

Plantations supply the current industry demand.

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Oregano

Origanum vulgare, O. heracleoticum, and other species

There are a number of subspecies, e.g. O vulgare hirtum (Greek Oregano), O vulgare gracile, as well as cultivars, each with distinct flavors.

Oregano is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Turkish, Greek, and Spanish and in Italian cuisine. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavorful than the fresh.

Oregano is often used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes. It is commonly used by local chefs in southern Philippines when boiling carabao or cow meat to eliminate the odor of the meat, and to add a nice, spicy flavor.

Oregano combines nicely with pickled olives, capers, and lovage leaves. Unlike most Italian herbs, oregano works with hot and spicy food, which is popular in southern Italy.

Oregano is an indispensable ingredient in Greek cuisine. Oregano adds flavor to Greek salad and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles. It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste. It varies in intensity; good quality oregano is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates have often unsatisfactory flavor. The influence of climate, season and soil on the composition of the essential oil is greater than the difference between the various species.

The related species Origanum onites (Greece, Asia Minor) and O. heracleoticum (Italy, Balkan peninsula, and West Asia) have similar flavors.

A closely related plant is marjoram from Asia Minor, which, however, differs significantly in taste, because phenolic compounds are missing in its essential oil. Some breeds show a flavor intermediate between oregano and marjoram.

* Pizza
The dish most commonly associated with oregano is pizza. Its variations have probably been eaten in Southern Italy for centuries. Oregano became popular in the US when returning WWII soldiers brought back with them a taste for the "pizza herb".

Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Additionally, oregano has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, and painful menstruation. It is strongly sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep.

Used topically, oregano is one of the best antiseptics because of its high thymol content. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used oregano as an antiseptic as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments.

A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece to soothe a sore throat. Oregano has recently been found to have extremely effective properties against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), showing a higher effectiveness than 18 currently used drugs.

Mexican oregano, Lippia graveolens (Verbenaceae) is closely related to lemon verbena. It is a highly studied herb that is said to be of some medical use and is common in curandera female shamanic practices in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Mexican oregano has a very similar flavor to oregano, but is usually stronger. It is becoming more commonly sold outside of Mexico, especially in the United States. It is sometimes used as a substitute for epazote leaves; this substitution would not work the other way round.

Several other plants are also known as oregano in various parts of Mexico, including Poliomintha longiflora, Lippia berlandieri, and Plectranthus amboinicus (syn. Coleus aromaticus), also called Cuban oregano. In the Philippines, oregano, Plectranthus amboinicus, is not commonly used as a cooking ingredient but is primarily considered a medicinal plant, useful for relieving children's coughs.

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Orris Root

Iris germanica, I. florentina, I. pallida

Orris root is the root of some species of iris, grown principally in southern Europe: Iris germanica, Iris florentina, and Iris pallida. Once important in western herbal medicine, it is now used mainly as a fixative and base note in perfumery, as well as an ingredient in many brands of gin (perhaps most famously in Bombay Sapphire gin).

Orris root must generally be hung and aged for 5 years before it can be used for perfumery. This substance is left out of products that are labeled hypo-allergenic. Fabienne Pavia, in her book ''L'univers des Parfums'' (1995, ed. Solar), states that in the manufacturing of perfumes using orris, the scent of the iris root differs from that of the flower. After preparation the scent is reminiscent of the smell of violets. This unique smell only wins over time in the drying process. After the drying process the root is ground, dissolved in water and then distilled.

One ton of iris root produces two kilos of extremely expensive essential oil. The scent then is marvelous and incomparable, as powerful as it is subtle. It has been described as tenaciously flowery, heavy and woody. (Paraphrasing Pavia, Dutch translation, page 40.)

Typical iris-perfumes (where the compound of the ingredient prevails over the other components) are: "Infusion d'iris"(Prada*);
"Tumulte"(Christian Lacroix*);
"Aqua di Parma"* and "Iris nobile"(Aqua di Parma*);
"Irisia"(Creed*);
"Y"(Yves Saint Laurent*) and "Vol de nuit"(Guerlain*).

Once banned in many parts of Europe, it was smoked and made into pottery.

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Osmorhiza

Sweet Cicely, Sweetroot

Osmorhiza

Osmorhiza is a genus of North American and Asian perennial herbs, known generally as Sweet Cicely or Sweetroot. Osmorhiza longistylis was used by Native Americans to treat digestive disorders and as a wash for wounds.

The seeds of this plant have barbs on the end allowing them to stick to clothing, fur, or feathers. This plant is widespread and can be found in mountainous areas up to 8,500 feet from British Columbia south into the mountains of California and throughout the Rocky Mountains.

These plants are very commonly found in stands of quaking aspen and require moist, well drained soils. Unlike poison hemlock or water hemlock, highly toxic relatives in the parsley family which sweetroot resembles, sweetroot does not tolerate poorly drained soils and is usually found on moist hillsides with good drainage.

Sweetroot is frequently found growing in the same habitat and side by side with Osha, a closely related medicinal plant in the parsley family. Sweetroot closely resembles both Water Hemlock and Baneberry. Sweetroot is taller than baneberry and has a strong anise-like "spicy celery" odor which is lacking in Baneberry.

Water Hemlock has leaf veins which terminate in the notches between the leaf blades, and sweetroot has leaf veins which terminate on the tips of the leaves.

Sweetroot has large ' jet black ' seeds which are hooked on one end. Most species of Sweetroot lack the characteristic carrot-like taproot system typical of members of the parsley family. The roots of Sweetroot tend to be stringy and divided and more closely resemble a rhizome than a carrot-like taproot, hence the name Osmorhiza (Scented Root).

Both water hemlock and poison hemlock can both be found in areas of the Mountain West in North America growing in the same habitat with Sweetroot, but lack the strong anise-like odor of sweetroot. Given the high toxicity of poison hemlock and water hemlock, if the plant cannot be positively identified as sweetroot, it must be avoided or discarded. Sweetroot has a strong, almost overpowering licorice or anise-like odor and flavor.

The plant is a potent fungicide and is useful for treating fungal infections and has been clinically shown to stabilize blood sugar levels. A tea made from the plant was ingested internally and was also used by Native Americans as an external wash or douche to treat fungal infections of the digestive and reproductive systems. The root of the plant is very sweet and can be used as a sweetener. Native Americans refer to this plant as "licorice root" or "sweetroot".

Sweetroot and Osha both contain oxytoxin and should not be ingested or used by women who are nursing or pregnant.

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Olive Leaf

Olea europaea

Olive leaf is the leaf of the olive tree (Olea europaea). While olive oil is well known for its flavor and health benefits, the leaf has been used medicinally in various times and places. Natural olive leaf and olive leaf extracts (OLE) are now marketed as anti-aging, immunostimulators, and even antibiotics. Clinical evidence has proven the blood pressure lowering effects of carefully extracted Olive Leaf Extracts.

Bioassays support its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects at a laboratory level. A liquid extract made directly from fresh olive leaves recently gained international attention when it was shown to have an antioxidant capacity almost double green tea extract and 400% higher than Vitamin C. Olive leaf extract is derived from the leaves of the olive tree.

Recorded evidence of olive leaf's medicinal use dates back thousands of years: it was used by ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures to treat a variety of health conditions.

Olive leaf and extracts are utilized in the complementary and alternative medicine community for its perceived ability to act as a natural pathogens killer by inhibiting the replication process of many pathogens. Olive leaf is commonly used to fight colds and flu, yeast infections, and viral infections such as the hard-to-treat Epstein-Barr disease, shingles and herpes. Olive leaf is also good for the heart.

Olive leaf has shown to reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or bad cholesterol. Free radicals are highly reactive chemical substances that, when oxidized, can cause cellular damage if left unchecked. Some recent research on the olive leaf has shown its antioxidants to be effective in treating some tumors and cancers such as liver, prostate, and breast cancer but the research on this is preliminary.

Olive leaf can be taken as a liquid concentrate, dried leaf tea, powder, or capsule. The leaf extracts can be taken in powder, liquid concentrate, or capsule form though the fresh-picked leaf liquid extracts are quickly gaining popularity due to the broader range of healing compounds they contain. These may be significant, and may include lowering blood pressure and blood glucose; both of these effects can be life-threatening if the user already has a low blood pressure and glucose level. Sufferers of low blood pressure and diabetes are particularly at risk.

Interactions with pharmaceutical drugs which force the body to lower its blood pressure and glucose level may be dangerous.

Olive leaf extracts are combined with olive oil in soaps and skin creams for application to the skin or other body surfaces.

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Panax quinquefolius

Jyutping, Xiyangshen Jyutping

Xiyangshen

Jyutping: or Xiyangshen Jyutping: is an herbaceous perennial in the ivy family that is commonly used in medicine. It is native to eastern North America, though it also cultivated beyond its range in places such as China.

The plant's forked root and leaves were traditionally used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans. Since the 1800s, the roots have been collected by "'sang hunters," and sold to Chinese or Hong Kong traders, who often pay very high prices for particularly old wild roots.

American Ginseng was formerly particularly widespread in the Appalachian and Ozark regions (and adjacent forested regions such as Pennsylvania and New York State), but due its popularity the wild plant has been overharvested, and is thus rare in most parts of the United States.

It is also grown commercially, under artificial shade, in fields in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and usually harvested after three to four years when ripe. Many ginseng growers in Wisconsin are represented by the "Ginseng Board of Wisconsin" whose seal is often sought after on ginseng products to certify they are genuine. Ginseng is also widely grown in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada.

Like Panax ginseng, American ginseng contains dammarane type ginsenosides as the major biologically active constituents. Dammarane type ginsenosides includes 2 classifications: the 20(S)-protopanaxadiol ppd and 20(S)-protopanaxatriol ppt classifications. American ginseng contains high levels of Rb1, Rd (ppd classification) and Re (ppt classification) ginsenosides-higher than that of P. ginseng in one study. When taken orally, ppd-type ginsenosides are mostly metabolized by intestinal bacteria (anaerobes) to ppd monoglucoside, 20-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol (M1).

In humans, M1 is detected in plasma from 7 hours after the intake of ppd-type ginsenosides and in urine from 12 hours after the intake. These findings indicate that M1 is the final metabolite of ppd-type ginsenosides. M1 is referred to in some articles as IH-901, and in others as compound-K.

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Pandan flower

Kewra

Pandanus odoratissimus

Screw Pine (Pandanus fascicularis, syn. P. odoratissimus, and nom. illeg.) is a species of Pandanus native to southern Asia, from southern India east to Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands south of Japan, and south to Indonesia. Common names include Kewra, Kaitha or Ketaki. It is a shrub with fragrant flowers. The flower is mentioned in the Brahma's story as the cursed flower. It is also known as keora (keura or keori) or keya (kia).

It is used as perfume. Aromatic oil (kevda oil) and fragrant distillation (otto) called "keorra-ka-arak". These are stimulant and antispasmodic and are used in headache and rheumatism.

The flowers are also used to flavor food. Pandanus tectorius is a species of Pandanus (screwpine), occurring from near Port Macquarie in New South Wales to northern Queensland, Australia and Indonesia east through the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean to Hawaii (where it is known locally as the hala tree). Its exact native range is unknown due to extensive cultivation; it may be an early Polynesian introduction to many of the more isolated Pacific islands on which it occurs. Medium-sized trees up to tall, typically with a broad canopy and moderate growth rate. The trunk is stout, wide-branching, and ringed with many leaf scars. They commonly have many thick prop roots near the base, which provide support as the tree grows top-heavy with leaves, fruit, and branches. The leaves are strap-shaped, varying between species from up to or more long, and from up to broad. They are dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on different plants. The flowers of the male tree are long and fragrant, surrounded by narrow, white bracts. The female tree produces flowers with round fruits that are also bract-surrounded. The fruits are globose, in diameter, and have many prism-like sections, resembling the fruit of the pineapple. Typically, the fruit changes from green to bright orange or red as it matures. The fruit of some species are edible.

Pandanus fruit are eaten by animals including bats, rats, crabs, elephants and monitor lizards, but the vast majority of species are dispersed primarily by water.

Pandan is used for handicrafts. Craftswomen collect the pandan leaves from plants in the wild. Only the young leaves are cut so the plant will naturally regenerate. The young leaves are sliced in fine strips and sorted for further processing. Later, the weavers will produce basic pandan mats of standard size or roll the leaves into pandan ropes for other designs. This is followed by the coloring process, in which the pandan mats are placed in drums with water-based colors. After drying, the colored mats are shaped into the final product, for instance a place mat or a jewelry box. Final color touch-ups are applied to assure a product of high quality. The whole process from harvesting of raw materials to finished product is handled by craftswomen, making this a truly community-based handicraft product.

Pandan (P. amaryllifolius) leaves are used in Southeast Asian cooking to add a distinct aroma to rice and curry dishes such as nasi lemak, kaya ('jam') preserves, and desserts such as pandan cake. Pandan leaf can be used as a complement to chocolate in many dishes, such as ice cream. Fresh leaves are typically torn into strips, tied in a knot to facilitate removal, placed in the cooking liquid, and then removed at the end of cooking. Dried leaves and bottled extract may be bought in some places.

The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and is a major source of food in Micronesia, especially in the atolls. The fibrous nature of the fruit also serves as a natural dental floss. The tree's leaves are often used as flavoring for sweet dishes such as kaya jam, and are also said to have medicinal properties. Leaves were used by the Polynesians to make baskets, mats, outrigger canoe sails, thatch roofs, and grass skirts.

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Paprika

Capsicum annuum

Paprika is a spice made from the grinding of dried fruits of Capsicum annuum (e.g., bell peppers or chili peppers). In many European countries, the word paprika also refers to bell peppers themselves. The seasoning is used in many cuisines to add color and flavor to dishes. Paprika can range from sweet (mild, not hot) to spicy (hot). Flavors also vary from country to country. The word "paprika" comes through Hungarian (where it stands for the fruit) from a Serbo-Croatian diminutive of papar "pepper", probably ultimately from Sanskrit pippali "long pepper".

Paprika is used as an ingredient in a broad variety of dishes throughout the world. Paprika is principally used to season and color rice's, stews, and soups, such as goulash, and in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices.

Hungary is a major source of high-quality paprika, in grades ranging from very sweet with a deep bright red color (különleges "special") to rather hot with a brownish orange color (eros "strong"). In Spain, paprika is known as pimentón, and is quite different in taste; pimentón has a distinct, smokey flavor and aroma, as it is dried by smoking, typically using oak wood. Pimentón is a key ingredient in several Spanish sausage products, such as chorizo or sobrasada, as well as much Spanish cooking. Outside of Spain pimentón is often referred to as simply "smoked paprika" and can be found in varying intensities from sweet and mild (dulce), medium hot (agridulce), or very hot and spicy (picante).

Capsicum peppers used for paprika are unusually rich in vitamin C, a fact discovered in 1932 by Hungary's 1937 Nobel prize-winner Albert Szent-Györgyi. Much of the vitamin C content is retained in paprika, which contains more vitamin C than lemon juice by weight.

High heat leaches the vitamins from peppers; thus commercially-dried peppers are usually not as nutritious as those that are sun-dried. Paprika is also high in other antioxidants, containing about 10% of the level found in açaí berries. Prevalence of nutrients, however, must be balanced against quantities ingested, which are generally negligible for spices.

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Paracress

Spilanthes acmella, S oleracea

Acmella oleracea, also known under its old names Spilanthes oleracea and Spilanthes acmella, is a flowering herb in the plant family Asteraceae, also known as toothache plant or paracress as the leaves and flower heads contain an analgesic agent spilanthol used to numb toothache. It is native to the tropics of Brazil, and is grown as an ornamental (and occasionally as a medicinal) in various parts of the world. A small, erect plant, it grows quickly and sends up gold and red flower inflorescences. It is frost-sensitive but perennial in warmer climates.

The English common name, toothache plant, is synonymous with the Swedish common name tandvärksplanta; both stem from the analgesic alkylamides the plant contains. The name paracress is in reference to the Northern Brazil state Pará. For culinary purposes, a small amount of shredded fresh leaves add a unique flavor to salads. Cooked leaves lose their strong flavor and may be used as leafy greens. Both fresh and cooked leaves are used in dishes (such as stews) in Northern parts of Brazil, especially in the state of Pará, often combined with chilies and garlic to add flavor and vitamins to other foods.

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Parsley

(Petroselinum crispum)

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a bright green biennial herb, often used as spice. It is common in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. Parsley is used for its leaf in much the same way as coriander (which is also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro), although parsley has a milder flavor.

Two forms of parsley are used as herbs: curly leaf and Italian, or flat leaf (P. neapolitanum). Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The use of curly leaf parsley may be favored by some because it cannot be confused with poison hemlock, like flat leaf parsley or chervil.

In Central and Eastern Europe and in West Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Green parsley is often used as a garnish. The fresh flavor of the green parsley goes extremely well with potato dishes (french fries, boiled buttered potatoes or mashed potato), with rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), with fish, fried chicken, lamb or goose, steaks, meat or vegetable stews[2] (like Beef Bourguignon, Goulash or Chicken paprikash).

In Southern and Central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used to flavor stocks, soups, and sauces. Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups like chicken soup, green salads or salads like Salade Olivier, on open sandwiches with cold cuts or pâtés. Parsley is a key ingredient in several West Asian salads, e.g., tabbouleh (the national dish of Lebanon). Persillade is mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley in the French cuisine. Gremolata is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian veal stew, Ossobuco alla milanese, a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest.

In addition, the consumption of parsley is thought to contribute to sweet smelling breath.

Root parsley is very common in Central and Eastern European cuisines, where it is used as soup vegetable in many soups and in most meat or vegetable stews and casseroles.

Parsley is widely used as a companion plant in gardens. Like many other umbellifers, it attracts predatory insects, including wasps and predatory flies to gardens, which then tend to protect plants nearby. For example, they are especially useful for protecting tomato plants as the wasps that kill tomato hornworms also eat nectar from parsley. While parsley is biennial, not blooming until its second year, even in its first year it is reputed to help cover up the strong scent of the tomato plant, reducing pest attraction.

Parsley should not be consumed as a drug or supplement by pregnant women. Parsley as an oil, root, leaf, or seed could lead to uterine stimulation and preterm labor.

Parsley is high (1.70% by mass, ) in oxalic acid, a compound involved in the formation of kidney stones and nutrient deficiencies. Parsley oil contains furanocoumarins and psoralens which leads to extreme photosensitivity if used orally.

In certain parts of the British Isles it used to be believed that the gift of a parsley plant would make a woman pregnant or increase her fertility.

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Passion Flower

Passiflora

The passion flowers or passion vines (Passiflora) are a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants, the namesakes of the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous. For information about the fruit of the passiflora plant, see passionfruit. The monotypic genus Hollrungia seems to be inseparable from Passiflora, but further study is needed.

The family Passifloraceae is found worldwide, except in Europe and Antarctica. Passiflora is also absent from Africa, where many other members of the family Passifloraceae occur (e.g. the more plesiomorphic Adenia). Nine species of Passiflora are native to the USA, found from Ohio to the north, west to California and south to the Florida Keys.

Most other species are found in South America, as well as China and Southern Asia (17 species), New Guinea, Australia (four, possibly more species) and New Zealand (a single endemic species). But new species continue to be described: for example, P. pardifolia and P. xishuangbannaensis are only known to science since 2006 and 2005, respectively.

Species of Passiflora have been naturalized beyond their native ranges. For example, Blue Passion Flower (P. caerulea) now grows wild in Spain. The purple passionfruit (P. edulis) and its yellow relative flavicarpa are introduced in many tropical regions as commercial crops. The decorative passion flowers have a unique flower structure, which in most requires a large bee to effectively pollinate. In the American tropics, wooden beams are mounted very near passionfruit plantings to encourage carpenter bees to nest. The size and structure of flowers of other Passiflora species is optimized for pollination by hummingbirds (especially hermits like Phaethornis), bumble bees, wasps or bats, while yet others are self-pollinating.

The Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) with its immensely elongated bill has co-evolved with certain passion flowers, such as P. mixta.

Most species have round or elongated edible fruit from two to eight inches long and an inch to two inches across, depending upon the species or cultivar. The passion fruit or maracujá (P. edulis) is cultivated extensively in the Caribbean and south Florida and South Africa for its fruit, which is used as a source of juice. A small purple fruit which wrinkles easily and a larger shiny yellow to orange fruit are traded under this name. The latter is usually considered just a variety flavicarpa, but seems to be more distinct in fact. Sweet Granadilla (P. ligularis) is another widely-grown species. In large parts of Africa and Australia it is the plant called "passionfruit": confusingly, in South African English it's the latter species that is called "granadilla" (without an adjective) more often than not. Its fruit is somewhat intermediate between the two sold as P. edulis.

Maypop (P. incarnata), a common species in the southeastern US. This is a subtropical representative of this mostly tropical family. However, unlike the more tropical cousins, this particular species is hardy enough to withstand the cold down to -4°F (-20°C) before its roots die (it is native as far north as Pennsylvania and has been cultivated as far north as Boston and Chicago.) The fruit is sweet, yellowish, and roughly the size of a chicken's egg; it enjoys some popularity as a native plant with few pests and edible fruit. Giant Granadilla (Giant Tumbo or badea, P. quadrangularis), Water Lemon (P. laurifolia) and Sweet Calabash (P. maliformis) are Passiflora species locally famed for their fruit, but not widely known elsewhere yet. Wild Maracuja are the fruit of P. foetida, which are popular in Southeast Asia. Banana passionfruits are the very elongated fruits of P. tripartita var. mollissima and P. tarminiana. These are locally eaten, but its invasive properties make it hardly worthwhile to grow at least the latter species on purpose.

Maypop (P. incarnata) leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans in North America and were adapted by the colonists. The fresh or dried leaves of Maypop are used to make an infusion, a tea that is used to treat insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy, and is also valued for its painkilling properties. Maracujá (P. edulis) and a few other species are used in Central and South America for similar purposes. P. Incarnata has aromatase properties due to the presence of two flavonoid compounds: chrysin and benzoflavone moiety, the latter being more potent. Popularly, passionflowers and especially passionfruit are frequently used with sexual or romantic innuendo, giving rise to such uses as a one-time soft drink named Purple Passion.

The "Passion" in "passion flower" does not refer to sex and love however, but to the passion of Jesus Christ. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus Christ and especially the Crucifixion:
* The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance.
* The tendrils represent the whips used in the Flagellation of Christ. Br/>* The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (less St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
* The flower's radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the Crown of Thorns.
* The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
* The 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
* The blue and white colors of many species' flowers represent Heaven and Purity.

The flower has been given names related to this symbolism throughout Europe since that time. In Spain, it is known as espina de Cristo ("Christ's Thorn"). Old German names are Christus-Krone ("Christ's Crown"), Christus-Strauss ("Christ's Bouquet"), Dorn-Krone ("Crown of Thorns"), Jesus-Leiden ("Jesus' Passion"), Marter ("Passion") or Muttergottes-Stern ("Mother of God's Star").

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Patchouli

Pogostemon cablin

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Benth; also patchouly or pachouli) is a species from the genus Pogostemon and a bushy herb of the mint family, with erect stems, reaching two or three feet (about 0.75 meter) in height and bearing small pale pink-white flowers.

The plant is native to tropical regions of Asia and is now extensively cultivated in Caribbean countries, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, West Africa and Vietnam. The scent of patchouli is heavy and strong. It has been used for centuries in perfumes and continues to be so today.

The word derives from the Tamil patchai (green), ellai (leaf). In Assamese it is known as xukloti.

Pogostemon cablin, P. commosum, P. hortensis, P. heyneasus and P. plectranthoides are all cultivated for their oils and all are known as 'patchouli' oil, but P. cablin is considered superior.

Extraction of the essential oil is by steam distillation, requiring the cell walls of the leaves to be first ruptured. This can be achieved by steam scalding, light fermentation, or by drying. Leaves are harvested several times a year, and where dried may be exported for distillation of the oil. Sources disagree over how to obtain the best quality oil. Some claim the highest quality oil is usually produced from fresh leaves, distilled close to the plantation, while others claim baling the dried leaves and allowing them to ferment a little is best.

In Europe and the US, patchouli oil and incense underwent a surge in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly among devotees of the free love and hippie lifestyles. It has also been used as a hair conditioner for dreadlocks. One study suggests Patchouli oil may serve as an all-purpose insect repellent.

In several Asian countries, such as Japan and Malaysia, Patchouli is also used as an antidote for venomous snakebites. The plant and oil have a number of claimed health benefits in herbal folk-lore, and its scent is used with the aim of inducing relaxation.

Chinese medicine uses the herb to treat headaches, colds, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Patchouli oil can be purchased from mainstream Western pharmacies and alternative therapy sources as aromatherapy oil.

Patchouli is also in widespread use in modern industry. It is a popular component in perfumes, including more than half of perfumes for men. Patchouli is also an important ingredient in East Asian incense. It is also used as a scent in products like paper towels, laundry detergents, and air fresheners. Two important components of the essential oil are patchoulol and norpatchoulenol.

During the 18th and 19th century silk traders from China travelling to the Middle East packed their silk cloth with dried patchouli leaves to prevent moths from laying their eggs on the cloth. Many historians speculate that this association with opulent eastern goods is why patchouli was considered by Europeans of that era to be a luxurious scent. It is said that Patchouli was used in the linen chests of Queen Victoria in this way.

Patchouli grows well in warm to tropical climates. It thrives in hot weather but not direct sunlight. If the plant withers due to lack of watering it will recover well and quickly once it has been watered. The seed-bearing flowers are very fragrant and bloom in late fall. The tiny seeds may be harvested for planting, but they are very delicate and easily crushed. Cuttings from the mother plant can also be rooted in water to produce further plants.

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Pelargonium

Geraniums or Storksbills

Pelargonium spp.

Pelargonium is a genus of flowering plants which includes about 200 species of perennials, succulents, and shrubs, commonly known as geraniums or storksbills. Confusingly, Geranium is the correct botanical name of a separate genus of related plants often called Cranesbills. Both genera are in the Family Geraniaceae. Linnaeus originally included all the species in one genus, Geranium, but they were later separated into two genera by Charles L'Heritier in 1789. Gardeners sometimes refer to the members of Genus Pelargonium as "pelargoniums" in order to avoid the confusion, but the older common name "geranium" is still in regular use.

The first species of Pelargonium known to be cultivated was Pelargonium triste, a native of South Africa. It was probably brought to the botanical garden in Leiden before 1600 on ships which stopped at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1631, the English gardener, John Tradescant the elder, bought seeds from Rene Morin in Paris and introduced the plant to England. The name Pelargonium was introduced by Johannes Burman in 1738, from the Greek, pelargos, stork, because part of the flower looks like a stork's beak.

Other than grown for their beauty, species of Pelargonium such as P. graveolens are important in the perfume industry and are cultivated and distilled for its scent. Although scented Pelargonium exist which have smells of citrus, mint, or various fruits, the varieties with rose scents are most commercially important. Pelargonium distillates and absolutes, commonly known as "scented geranium oil" are sometimes used to supplement or adulterate expensive rose oils.

Pelargonium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Angle Shades. Pelargoniums are believed to deter mosquitoes. Species of Pelargonium are indigenous to Southern Africa and are drought and heat tolerant, and can tolerate only minor frosts. Pelargoniums are extremely popular garden plants, grown as annuals in temperate climates, and thousands of ornamental cultivars have been developed from about 20 of the species.
* Zonal varieties, also known as P. × hortorum, are mainly derived from P. zonale and P. inquinans.
* Ivy-leaved varieties are mainly derived from P. peltatum.
* Regal varieties, also known as French geraniums or P. × domesticum are mainly derived from P. cucullatum and P. grandiflorum.
* Scented-leaf varieties are derived from a great number of species, amongst others P. graveolens.

Pelargoniums have a wide variety of uses. Scented-leafed pelargoniums can be used to flavor jellies, cakes, butters, ice cream, iced tea and other dishes. The pelargoniums most often used in food are the rose-lemon and peppermint-scented species and cultivars. Commonly used lemon-scented culinary species include P. crispum and P. citronellum. Rose-scenteds include P. graveolens and members of the P.

'Graveolens' cultivar group. Other species and cultivars with culinary use include the lime-scented P. 'Lime,' the lemon balm-scented P. 'Lemon Balm,' the strawberry-lemon-scented P. 'Lady Scarborough' and the Peppermint-scented P. tomentosum. There are many rose and citrus-scented cultivars with culinary use including those with hints of peach, cinnamon and orange. P. 'Rose'/P. 'Old Fashioned Rose' is a culinary favorite among HSA's Pelargonium aficionados.

Many Pelargonium species have a long history of medicinal use in their native Africa. The primary uses have been for intestinal problems, wounds and respiratory ailments, but Pelargonium species have also been used to treat fevers, kidney complaints and other conditions. Geranium (Pelargonium) oil is considered a relaxant in aromatherapy, and in recent years, respiratory/cold remedies made from P. sidoides and P. reniforme have been sold in Europe and the United States. Pelargoniums can also be used in crafts and cosmetics.

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Pennyroyal

Mentha pulegium

Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides), known as American pennyroyal, and Mentha pulegium, known as English or European pennyroyal, are both members of the Lamiaceae or mint family. These two beneficial herbs, though classified in different genera, have similar chemical constituents and medicinal properties.

American pennyroyal is also known as mock pennyroyal, mosquito plant, fleabane, tickweed, stinking balm, and hedeoma. This aromatic American native thrives in limestone-rich soil, in fields, and in sunny patches of open woodlands throughout North America. American pennyroyal was used extensively by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments from headache and stomach distress to itching, watery eyes, and fevers.

For external use, the leaves were crushed and applied to the skin to repel mosquitoes and other insects. American pennyroyal came to be called squawmint and squaw balm because of its traditional use by native women to promote menstrual flow. Women in some Native American tribes reportedly drank hot pennyroyal tea regularly as a method of contraception.

Pennyroyal was commonly used as a cooking herb by the Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greeks often flavored their wine with pennyroyal. A large number of the recipes in the Roman cookbook of Apicius call for the use of pennyroyal, often along with such herbs as lovage, oregano and coriander. Although still commonly used for cooking in the Middle Ages, it gradually fell out of use as a culinary herb and is seldom used so today.

Mint

Estimates of the number of species vary from 13 to 20.
Some of the more common mint varieties are listed below.

Find more information and articles about Mint

  • Mentha aquatica - Water mint, or Marsh mint
  • Mentha arvensis - Corn Mint, Wild Mint, Japanese Peppermint, Field
  • Mentha asiatica - Asian Mint
  • Mentha australis - Australian mint
  • Mentha Canadensis - Wild mint
  • Mentha cervina - Hart's Pennyroyal
  • Mentha citrata - Bergamot mint
  • Mentha crispata - Wrinkled-leaf mint
  • Mentha dahurica - Dahurian Thyme
  • Mentha diemenica - Slender mint
  • Mentha laxiflora - Forest mint
  • Mentha longifolia - Mentha sylvestris, Horse Mint
  • Mentha piperita - Peppermint
  • Mentha pulegium - Pennyroyal
  • Mentha requienii - Corsican mint
  • Mentha sachalinensis - Garden mint
  • Mentha satureioides - Native Pennyroyal
  • Mentha spicata - Mentha viridis, Spearmint, Curly mint
  • Mentha suaveolens - Apple mint, Pineapple mint
  • Mentha vagans - Gray mint

Other plants are sometimes refered to as "mint" but are not true mint (mentha) include:

  • Vietnamese Mint (Persicaria odorata), commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine is in the family Polygonaceae, collectively known as smartweeds or pinkweeds.
  • "Mexican mint marigold" is Tagetes lucida in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
  • Yerba Beuna (Clinopodium douglasii) a North American native and substitute for mint in many recipes.

Pennyroyal tea is the use of an infusion made from the herb; the infusion is widely reputed as safe to ingest in restricted quantities. It has been traditionally employed and reportedly successful as an emmenagogue (menstrual flow stimulant) or as an abortifacient. In 1994 a young woman died from an undetected ectopic pregnancy while performing a self-induced abortion using pennyroyal tea; reports say that she had consumed the tea for longer than the recommended five days.

The most popular current use of the tea is to settle the stomach. Other reported medicinal uses through history include fainting, flatulence, gall ailments, gout, hepatitis (presumably Hepatitis A), a lung cleanser, a gum strengthener and, when ground with vinegar, a tumor remedy, although there is little to no medical evidence on any of these treatments.

Pennyroyal essential oil is extremely concentrated, it should not ever be taken internally because it is highly toxic; even in small doses, the poison can lead to death. Complications have been reported from attempts to use the oil for self-induced abortion. The oil can be used for aromatherapy, a bath additive and as an insect repellent. There are numerous studies that show pennyroyal's toxicity to humans and animals.

Since the U.S. Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in October 1994, all manufactured forms of pennyroyal have carried a warning label against its use by pregnant women. This substance is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dried pennyroyal should not be used as a natural flea repellent due to its toxicity to pets, even at extremely low levels.

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Pepper

Piper nigrum

The English word for pepper is derived from the Old English pipor. The Latin word is also the source of German Pfeffer, French poivre, Dutch peper, and other similar forms. In the 16th century, pepper started referring to the unrelated New World chili peppers as well. "Pepper" was used in a figurative sense to mean "spirit" or "energy" at least as far back as the 1840s; in the early 20th century, this was shortened to pep.

Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe berries of the pepper plant. The berries are cooked briefly in hot water, both to clean them and to prepare them for drying. The heat ruptures cell walls in the pepper, speeding the work of browning enzymes during drying. The berries are dried in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the pepper around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer. Once dried, the spice is called black peppercorn.

White pepper consists of the seed only, with the skin of the pepper removed. This is usually accomplished by process known as retting, where fully ripe peppers are soaked in water for about a week, during which the flesh of the pepper softens and decomposes. Rubbing then removes what remains of the fruit, and the naked seed is dried. Alternative processes are used for removing the outer pepper from the seed, including decortication, the removal of the outer layer from black pepper from small peppers through mechanical, chemical or biological methods. In the U.S., white pepper is often used in dishes like light-colored sauces or mashed potatoes, where ground black pepper would visibly stand out. There is disagreement regarding which is generally spicier. They have differing flavor due to the presence of certain compounds in the outer fruit layer of the berry that are not found in the seed.

Green pepper, like black, is made from the unripe berries. Dried green peppercorns are treated in a manner that retains the green color, such as treatment with sulfur dioxide or freeze-drying. Pickled peppercorns, also green, are unripe berries preserved in brine or vinegar. Fresh, unpreserved green pepper berries, largely unknown in the West, are used in some Asian cuisines, particularly Thai cuisine. Their flavor has been described as piquant and fresh, with a bright aroma. They decay quickly if not dried or preserved.

A product called orange pepper or red pepper consists of ripe red pepper berries preserved in brine and vinegar. Ripe red peppercorns can also be dried using the same color-preserving techniques used to produce green pepper.

Pink pepper from Piper nigrum is distinct from the more-common dried "pink peppercorns", which are the fruits of a plant from a different family, the Peruvian pepper tree, Schinus molle, and its relative the Brazilian pepper tree, Schinus terebinthifolius. In years past there was debate as to the health safety of pink peppercorns, which is mostly no longer an issue. Sichuan peppercorn is another "pepper" that is botanically unrelated to black pepper.

Peppercorns are often categorized under a label describing their region or port of origin. Two well-known types come from India's Malabar Coast: Malabar pepper and Tellicherry pepper. Tellicherry is a higher-grade pepper, made from the largest, ripest 10% of berries from Malabar plants grown on Mount Tellicherry. Sarawak pepper is produced in the Malaysian portion of Borneo, and Lampong pepper on Indonesia's island of Sumatra. White Muntok pepper is another Indonesian product, from Bangka Island. The pepper plant is a perennial woody vine growing to four meters in height on supporting trees, poles, or trellises. It is a spreading vine, rooting readily where trailing stems touch the ground. The leaves are alternate, entire, five to ten centimeters long and three to six centimeters broad. The flowers are small, produced on pendulous spikes four to eight centimeters long at the leaf nodes, the spikes lengthening to seven to 15 centimeters as the fruit matures.

Black pepper is native to India. Within the genus Piper, it is most closely related to other Asian species such as Piper caninum. Peppercorns were a much prized trade good, often referred to as "black gold" and used as a form of commodity money. The term "peppercorn rent" still exists today. The ancient history of black pepper is often interlinked with (and confused with) that of long pepper, the dried fruit of closely related Piper longum. The Romans knew of both and often referred to either as just "piper". In fact, it was not until the discovery of the New World and of chili peppers that the popularity of long pepper entirely declined. Chile peppers, some of which when dried are similar in shape and taste to long pepper, were easier to grow in a variety of locations more convenient to Europe. Until well after the Middle Ages, virtually all of the black pepper found in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa travelled there from India's Malabar region. By the 16th century, pepper was also being grown in Java, Sunda, Sumatra, Madagascar, Malaysia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, but these areas traded mainly with China, or used the pepper locally.

Black pepper, along with other spices from India and lands farther east, changed the course of world history. It was in some part the preciousness of these spices that led to the European efforts to find a sea route to India and consequently to the European colonial occupation of that country, as well as the European discovery and colonization of the Americas. Pepper was so valuable that it was often used as collateral or even currency. The taste for pepper (or the appreciation of its monetary value) was passed on to those who would see Rome fall. It is said that Alaric the Visigoth and Attila the Hun each demanded from Rome a ransom of more than a ton of pepper when they besieged the city in 5th century. After the fall of Rome, others took over the middle legs of the spice trade, first the Persians and then the Arabs; Innes Miller cites the account of Cosmas Indicopleustes, who travelled east to India, as proof that "pepper was still being exported from India in the sixth century". By the end of the Dark Ages, the central portions of the spice trade were firmly under Islamic control. Once into the Mediterranean, the trade was largely monopolized by Italian powers, especially Venice and Genoa. The rise of these city-states was funded in large part by the spice trade. It is commonly believed that during the Middle Ages, pepper was used to conceal the taste of partially rotten meat. There is no evidence to support this claim, and historians view it as highly unlikely: in the Middle Ages, pepper was a luxury item, affordable only to the wealthy, who certainly had unspoiled meat available as well. In addition, people of the time certainly knew that eating spoiled food would make them sick. Similarly, the belief that pepper was widely used as a preservative is questionable: it is true that piperine, the compound that gives pepper its spiciness, has some antimicrobial properties, but at the concentrations present when pepper is used as a spice, the effect is small. Salt is a much more effective preservative, and salt-cured meats were common fare, especially in winter. However, pepper and other spices probably did play a role in improving the taste of long-preserved meats. Its exorbitant price during the Middle Ages-and the monopoly on the trade held by Italy-was one of the inducements which led the Portuguese to seek a sea route to India. In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first person to reach India by sailing around Africa; asked by Arabs in Calicut (who spoke Spanish and Italian) why they had come, his representative replied, "we seek Christians and spices." Though this first trip to India by way of the southern tip of Africa was only a modest success, the Portuguese quickly returned in greater numbers and used their superior naval firepower to eventually gain complete control of trade on the Arabian sea. It was given additional legitimacy (at least from a European perspective) by the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, which granted Portugal exclusive rights to the half of the world where black pepper originated.

The Portuguese proved unable to maintain their stranglehold on the spice trade for long. The old Arab and Venetian trade networks successfully smuggled enormous quantities of spices through the patchy Portuguese blockade, and pepper once again flowed through Alexandria and Italy, as well as around Africa. In the 17th century, the Portuguese lost almost all of their valuable Indian Ocean possessions to the Dutch and the English. The pepper ports of Malabar fell to the Dutch in the period 1661-1663. As pepper supplies into Europe increased, the price of pepper declined (though the total value of the import trade generally did not). Pepper, which in the early Middle Ages had been an item exclusively for the rich, started to become more of an everyday seasoning among those of more average means. Today, pepper accounts for one-fifth of the world's spice trade.

Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used. Black peppercorns figure in remedies in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicine in India. The 5th century Syriac Book of Medicines prescribes pepper (or perhaps long pepper) for such illnesses as constipation, diarrhea, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches. Various sources from the 5th century onward also recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. There is no current medical evidence that any of these treatments has any benefit; pepper applied directly to the eye would be quite uncomfortable and possibly damaging.

Pepper has long been believed to cause sneezing; this is still believed true today. Some sources say that piperine, a substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the sneezing; some say that it is just the effect of the fine dust in ground pepper, and some say that pepper is not in fact a very effective sneeze-producer at all. Few, if any, controlled studies have been carried out to answer the question. It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B and beta-carotene as well as other nutrients.

Pepper contains small amounts of safrole, a mildly carcinogenic compound. Also, it is eliminated from the diet of patients having abdominal surgery and ulcers because of its irritating effect upon the intestines, being replaced by what is referred to as a bland diet. Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from the piperine compound, which is found both in the outer fruit and in the seed. Refined piperine, milligram-for-milligram, is about one percent as hot as the capsaicin in chilli peppers. The outer fruit layer, left on black pepper, also contains important odour-contributing terpenes including pinene, sabinene, limonene, caryophyllene, and linalool, which give citrusy, woody, and floral notes. These scents are mostly missing in white pepper, which is stripped of the fruit layer. White pepper can gain some different odours (including musty notes) from its longer fermentation stage.

Pepper loses flavor and aroma through evaporation, so airtight storage helps preserve pepper's original spiciness longer. Pepper can also lose flavor when exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless isochavicine. Peppercorns are, by monetary value, the most widely traded spice in the world, accounting for 20 percent of all spice imports in 2002. The price of pepper can be volatile, and this figure fluctuates a great deal year to year; for example, pepper made up 39 percent of all spice imports in 1998. By weight, slightly more chilli peppers are traded worldwide than peppercorns. The International Pepper Exchange is located in Kochi, India. As of 2008, Vietnam is the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the worlds Piper nigrum crop as of 2008. Other major producers include Indonesia (9%), India (19%), Brazil (13%), Malaysia (8%), Sri Lanka (6%), Thailand (4%), and China (6%). Global pepper production peaked in 2003 with over, but has fallen to just over by 2008 due to a series of issues including poor crop management, disease and weather.

Vietnam dominates the export market, using almost none of its production domestically; however its 2007 crop fell by nearly 10% from the previous year to about. Similar crop yields occurred in 2007 across the other pepper producing nations as well.

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Peng

Staff Trees, Bittersweet

Celastrus paniculatus

The staff vines, also known as staff trees or bittersweet, genus Celastrus, comprise about 30 species of shrubs and vines. They have a wide distribution in East Asia, Australasia, Africa and the Americas. The leaves are alternate and simple ovoid, typically long. The flowers are small, white, pink or greenish, and borne in long panicles; the fruit is a red three-valved berry. The fruit are eaten by frugivorous birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings. All parts of the plants are poisonous to humans if eaten.

In North America, they are known as bittersweet, presumably a result of confusion with the unrelated Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) by early colonists. C. orbiculatus is a serious invasive weed in much of eastern North America. According to Ayurveda, leaves are emmenagogue whereas seeds are acrid, bitter, hot, appetizer, laxative, emetic, aphrodisiac, powerful brain tonic, cause burning sensation. Oil enriches blood and cures abdominal complains. According on Unani system of medicine, seeds are bitter, expectorant, brain and liver tonic, cure joint-pains, paralysis and weakness. Oil stomachic, tonic, good for cough and asthma; used in leprosy, cures headache and leucoderma.

The seeds and seed - oil have great medicinal value. Externally, the seed oil is used for massage with great benefit, especially in vata diseases like sciatica, lumbago, paralysis, arthritis and facial palsy. As a stimulant, the oil is applied externally by itself, on penis in erectile failure. It is also beneficial in glandular swellings like cervical adenitis. In scabies, the seeds mashed in cow's urine are applied in the form of a paste. The seed oil is useful to hasten the healing in non healing wounds and ulcers. It is said to prevent suppuration in such conditions. The seeds mashed in water are applied on the piles for relief.

The seed oil is extremely beneficial as a sirovirecana cleansing nasal therapy, wherein the drops instilled into nostrils, ward off mucous secretions in colds and cough. Internally, jyotismati is used in vast range of diseases. It is one of the best nervine and its seed oil is given along with ghee (prepared from cow's milk) to stimulate intellect and to promote memory. The leave's juice, daily 50 ml. relieves the opium addiction. The seed oil tackles the digestive problems of anorexia and flatulence. Being hot and sharp in properties, jyotismati is rewarding in cough and bronchial asthma to alleviate kapha dosa. It also is stimulant to kidneys, hence useful in dysuria to augment the urinary output. In males, it works well as an aphrodisiac and in females it is salutary to regulate the menstrual cycle, In arthritis, the seeds are given along with sunthi and ajamoda in equal quantity, with honey.

Jyotismati works well as anti pruritic in skin diseases. It is also used as a tranquillizer in anxiety neurosis. It is diaphoretic and also digests ama, hence benevolent in fever. Jyotismati stimulates the heart, improves circulation and alleviates the edema. The leaves, cooked as vegetables, are recommended in dysmenorrhea to alleviate the pain.

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Peppermint

Mentha piperata

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita, also known as M. balsamea Willd.) is a hybrid mint, a cross between the watermint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). The plant, indigenous to Europe, is now widespread in cultivation throughout all regions of the world It is found wild occasionally with its parent species. It is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing to tall, with smooth stems, square in cross section. The rhizomes are wide-spreading, fleshy, and bare fibrous roots. The leaves are from long and cm broad, dark green with reddish veins, and with an acute apex and coarsely toothed margins. The leaves and stems are usually slightly hairy. The flowers are purple, long, with a four-lobed corolla about diameter; they are produced in whorls (verticillasters) around the stem, forming thick, blunt spikes. Flowering is from mid to late summer. The chromosome number is variable, with 2n counts of 66, 72, 84, and 120 recorded. Peppermint typically occurs in moist habitats, including stream sides and drainage ditches. Being a hybrid, it is usually sterile, producing no seeds and reproducing only vegetative, spreading by its rhizomes. If placed, it can grow anywhere, with a few exceptions.

Peppermint is sometimes regarded as 'the world's oldest medicine', with archaeological evidence placing its use at least as far back as ten thousand years ago.

Mint

Estimates of the number of species vary from 13 to 20.
Some of the more common mint varieties are listed below.

Find more information and articles about Mint

  • Mentha aquatica - Water mint, or Marsh mint
  • Mentha arvensis - Corn Mint, Wild Mint, Japanese Peppermint, Field
  • Mentha asiatica - Asian Mint
  • Mentha australis - Australian mint
  • Mentha Canadensis - Wild mint
  • Mentha cervina - Hart's Pennyroyal
  • Mentha citrata - Bergamot mint
  • Mentha crispata - Wrinkled-leaf mint
  • Mentha dahurica - Dahurian Thyme
  • Mentha diemenica - Slender mint
  • Mentha laxiflora - Forest mint
  • Mentha longifolia - Mentha sylvestris, Horse Mint
  • Mentha piperita - Peppermint
  • Mentha pulegium - Pennyroyal
  • Mentha requienii - Corsican mint
  • Mentha sachalinensis - Garden mint
  • Mentha satureioides - Native Pennyroyal
  • Mentha spicata - Mentha viridis, Spearmint, Curly mint
  • Mentha suaveolens - Apple mint, Pineapple mint
  • Mentha vagans - Gray mint

Other plants are sometimes refered to as "mint" but are not true mint (mentha) include:

  • Vietnamese Mint (Persicaria odorata), commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine is in the family Polygonaceae, collectively known as smartweeds or pinkweeds.
  • "Mexican mint marigold" is Tagetes lucida in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
  • Yerba Beuna (Clinopodium douglasii) a North American native and substitute for mint in many recipes.

Peppermint has high menthol content, and is often used as a flavoring in tea, ice cream, confectionery, chewing gum, and toothpaste. The oil also contains menthone and menthyl esters, particularly menthyl acetate. It is the oldest and most popular flavour of mint-flavoured confectionery. Peppermint can also be found in some shampoos and soaps, which give the hair a minty scent and produce a cooling sensation on the skin.

In 2007, Italian investigators reported that 75% of the patients in their study who took peppermint oil capsules for four weeks had a major reduction in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, compared with just 38% of those who took a placebo. Similarly, some poorly designed earlier trials found that peppermint oil has the ability to reduce colicky abdominal pain due to IBS with an NNT (number needed to treat) around 3.1, but the oil is an irritant to the stomach in the quantity required and therefore needs wrapping for delayed release in the intestine. Peppermint relaxes the gastro-esophageal sphincter, thus promoting belching. Restaurants usually take advantage of this effect by taking advantage of its use as a confectionery ingredient, which they then call "after-dinner mints." Peppermint flowers are large nectar producers and honey bees as well as other nectar harvesting organisms forage them heavily. A mild, pleasant varietal honey can be produced if there is a sufficient area of plants.

Peppermint oil is used by commercial pesticide applicators, in the EcoSmart Technologies line of products, as a natural insecticide. Outside of its native range, areas where peppermint was formerly grown for oil often have an abundance of feral plants, and it is considered invasive in Australia, the Galápagos Islands, New Zealand, and in the United States. Peppermint generally thrives in shade and expands quickly by underground stolons. If you choose to grow peppermint, it is advisable to plant it in a container; otherwise it can rapidly take over a whole garden. It needs a good water supply, and is ideal for planting in part-sun to shade areas.

The leaves and flowering tops are the usable portion of the plant. They are collected as soon as the flowers begin to open and then are carefully dried. The wild form of the plant is less suitable for this purpose, with cultivated plants having been selected for more and better oil content. Seeds sold at stores labeled peppermint generally will not germinate into true peppermint, but into a particularly poor-scented spearmint plant. The true peppermint might rarely produce seeds, but only by fertilization from a spearmint plant, and contribute only their own spearmint genes.

A candy cane is a hard cane-shaped candy stick. It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint or cinnamon (also known respectively as a peppermint stick or cinnamon stick); however, it is also made in a variety of other flavors and may be decorated with stripes of different colors and thicknesses. The candy cane is a traditional candy surrounding the Christmas holiday, particularly in the Western world, although it is possible to find them throughout the year.

Chewing gum is a type of confection traditionally made of chicle, a natural latex product, or synthetic rubber known as polyisobutylene, which is a non-vulcanisable form of the butyl rubber (isoprene-isobutylene) used for inner tubes or to line tubeless tires. For reasons of economy and quality, many modern chewing gums use rubber instead of chicle. Chicle is nonetheless still the base of choice for some regional markets, such as in Japan.

Mint chocolate, also known as Chocolate Mint, is a popular variety of flavored chocolate. It is created when mint flavoring, such as peppermint, spearmint, or crème de menthe, is added to plain chocolate.

Chocolate mint also refers to an herb, specifically a hybrid mint plant, that tastes and especially smells like a combination of mint and chocolate.

Peppermint tea is a drink that is either a mixture of tea and peppermint (Mentha piperita) or a tisane (infusion) of peppermint alone. This drink is said to have health benefits. It is sometimes called mint tea, a phrase that could also refer to tea. Tea made solely from peppermint leaves is naturally caffeine-free, but if blended with Camellia sinensis leaves it will contain caffeine. A tea made from blending peppermint and spearmint leaves is referred to as a Doublemint tea.

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Peppermint Gum Leaf

Eucalyptus dives

Eucalyptus dives or broad-leaved peppermint is a small tree native to temperate dry sclerophyll woodlands and forests of south-eastern Australia. The juvenile leaves are ovate and glaucus, and adult leaves are lanceolate to broad-lanceolate. Leaves are aromatic and high in essential oils, with two notable chemical forms: a piperitone and cineole chemotype. Oil yield fresh weight is 4.7%. The piperitone chemotype of E.dives has a peppermint like flavor and aroma. It is distilled for piperitone, which is used in the production of synthetic menthol. The leaves were also used as a colonial condiment, especially in combination with a brewed black Camellia sinensis 'billy tea'. The cineole chemotype of E.dives is generic type eucalyptus oil, and is harvested and distilled commercially. It is especially good for reducing thick mucus, great for that cold or flu that you just can't get rid of and the congestion that is driving you crazy! You can steam with it, or put it into a chest rub, cream or oil. It has a lovely aroma, is great to use with kids and adults, and is deeply effective. Also great for getting rid of headaches when combined with Frankincense.

Therapeutic Properties:
* Anti-fungal
* Antiseptic - assists in fighting germs/infections (urinary, pulmonary)
* Bactericidal - destructive to bacteria
* Cooling
* Decongestant - reduces nasal mucus production and swelling
* Expectorant - removes excess mucus from respiratory system
* Mucolytic - breaks down thick mucus

Emotional and Energetic Qualities:
Calming
Clears the mind and aids concentration
Cools and cleanses to reduce negative emotions
Soothes exhaustion and encourages sense of extra support

Recipe: Eucalyptus Steam Blend
10 drops Eucalyptus Dives
10 drops Siberian Fir (Abies siberica)
10 drops Ravintsara

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Perilla

Purple Mint

Shiso Perilla frutescens var. japonica

Perilla frutescens var. japonica or shiso which is mainly grown in India and East Asia. There are both green-leafed and purple-leafed varieties which are generally recognized as separate species by botanists. The leaves resemble stinging nettle leaves, being slightly rounder in shape. It is also widely known as the Beefsteak plant. In North America, it is increasingly commonly called by its Japanese name, shiso, in addition to being generally referred to as perilla. Its essential oils provide for a strong taste whose intensity might be compared to that of mint or fennel. It is considered rich in minerals and vitamins, has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to help preserve and sterilize other foods.

In Nepal and parts of India, it is called silam. Its seeds are ground with chili and tomatoes to make a savory dip/side dish. It is sometimes known as purple mint, Japanese basil, or wild coleus (like basil and coleus, it is a member of the mint family). Perilla is traditionally used in Chinese medicine and has been shown to stimulate interferon activity and thus, the body's immune system. The Japanese name for perilla is. The Japanese call the green type, aoba ("green leaf"), oba (corruption of aoba) or aoshiso and often eat it with sashimi (sliced raw fish) or cut into thin strips in salads, spaghetti, and meat and fish dishes. It is also used as a flavorful herb in a variety of dishes, even as a pizza topping (initially it was used in place of basil). The purple type is called and is used to dye umeboshi (pickled ume) red or combined with ume paste in sushi to make umeshiso maki. An inflorescence of shiso is called hojiso (ear shiso). Its young leaves and flower buds are used for pickling in Japan and Taiwan.

Vietnamese cuisine uses a variety similar to the Japanese hojiso but with greenish bronze on the top face and purple on the opposite face. The leaves are smaller and have a much stronger fragrance than hojiso.

In Vietnamese, it is called, derived from the characters whose standard pronunciation in Vietnamese is. It is usually eaten as a garnish in rice vermicelli dishes called and a number of stews and simmered dishes. The plant's Korean name means 'wild sesame'. The same word is also used when referring to its seed, which has many uses in Korean cuisine, just as the leaves (kkaennip,) do.

The literal translations of deulkkae ("wild sesame") and kkaennip ("sesame leaf") are in spite of perilla's not being closely related to sesame, and Korean cookbooks translated to English sometimes use these translations. Cans of pickled kkaennip can be found in Korean shops all over the world, with some ground red pepper between every two leaves in the can. The leaves' essential oils provide for their strong taste. Fresh leaves have an aroma reminiscent of apples and mint and are eaten in salad dishes. The flavor is distinct from Japanese perilla, and the leaf appearance is different as well - larger, rounder, flatter, with a less serrate edge and often, a violet coloring on the reverse side. Perilla oil (deulgireum,) is extracted from the seeds; the cake can be used as animal food. Perilla oil has a rich taste and scent slightly resembling dark sesame oil (chamgireum,). Perilla seed can be cooked with meals, roasted, crushed to intensify its taste and/or mixed with sesame and salt.

Perilla oil is obtained by pressing the seeds of perilla, which contain 35 to 45 percent oil. In parts of Asia, perilla oil is used as edible oil that is valued more for its medicinal benefit than its flavor. Perilla oil is a very rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. As a drying oil similar to tung oil or linseed oil, perilla oil has been used for paints, varnishes, linoleum, printing ink, lacquers, and for protective waterproof coatings on cloth. Perilla oil can also be used for fuel.

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Pink Pepper

Schinus terebinthifolius

Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius; also known as Aroeira, Florida holly, Rose Pepper, and Christmasberry) is a sprawling shrub or small tree (7-10 m tall) that is native to subtropical and tropical South America, in southeastern Brazil, northern Argentina and Paraguay. It is found in the following states of Brazil: Alagoas, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, and Sergipe.

The branches can be upright, reclining, or nearly vine-like, all on the same plant. The leaves are alternate, 10-22 cm long, pinnately compound with (3-) 5-15 leaflets; the leaflets are roughly oval (lanceolate to elliptical), 3-6 cm long and 2-3.5 cm broad, and have finely toothed margins, an acute to rounded apex and yellowish veins. The leaf rachis between the leaflets is usually (but not invariably) slightly winged. The plant is dioeceous, with small white flowers borne profusely in axillary clusters. The fruit is a small red spherical drupe 4-5 mm diameter, carried in dense clusters of hundreds of berries. There are two varieties:

* Schinus terebinthifolius var. acutifolius. Leaves to 22 cm, with 7-15 leaflets; fruit pink.

* Schinus terebinthifolius var. terebinthifolius. Leaves to 17 cm, with 5-13 leaflets; fruit red.

Like many other species in the family Anacardiaceae, Brazilian pepper has aromatic sap that can cause skin reactions (similar to poison-ivy burns) in some sensitive people. Brazilian pepper is an attractive small tree, widely grown as an ornamental tree in frost-free regions of South America for its decorative foliage and fruit. It is considered as a melliferous flower.

Although it is not a true pepper (Piper), its dried berries are often sold as pink peppercorns. The seeds can be used as a spice, if used in moderation, adding a pepper-like taste to food. They are usually sold in a dry state and have a bright pink color. They are less often sold pickled in brine, where they have a dull, almost green hue. It has been introduced in California, Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana. Planted originally as an ornamental outside of its native range, Brazilian pepper has become widespread and is considered an invasive species in many subtropical regions with moderate to high rainfall, including parts or all of Australia, the Bahamas, Bermuda, southern China, Cuba, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Puerto Rico, Réunion, South Africa, and the United States (primarily Florida and Hawaii). In drier areas, such as Israel and southern California, it is also grown but has not generally proved invasive.

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Piper Sarmentosum

Wild Betel

Piper sarmentosum

Piper sarmentosum is a plant in the Piperaceae family used in many Southeast Asian cuisines. The leaves are often confused with betel, but they lack the intense taste of the betel leaves and are significantly smaller. There is no "official" English name for it, but it is sometimes called "wild betel".

P. sarmentosum is found from the tropical areas of Southeast Asia, Northeast India and South China, and as far as the Andaman Islands. P. sarmentosum leaves are sold in bunches and are usually eaten raw.
* In Thai cuisine, it is used to wrap miang kam, a tasty snack.
* In Laotian cuisine, it is eaten as part of a salad.
* In Malay cuisine it is shredded for ulam, a type of Malay salad.

P. sarmentosum leaves are used in traditional Asian medicines. Chemical analysis has shown that the leaves contain high amounts of the antioxidant naringenin. Amides from P. sarmentosum fruit have been shown to have anti-tuberculosis and anti-plasmodial activities.

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Plantain

Musa acuminata

Musa acuminata, the Bananito, also known as apple bananas, manzana bananas, ladyfinger bananas or stubby bananas is a species of the genus Musa native to northern Australia. It gives a fruit that resembles a short fat banana. The fruit has a sweeter and more apple-like taste than the more common dessert banana. When they are ripe the peel is much blacker than the common banana, sometimes completely black.

Musa is one of three genera in the family Musaceae; it includes bananas and plantains. There are over 50 species of Musa with a broad variety of uses. The word "banana" came via Portuguese or Spanish from a West African language (possibly Wolof) circa 1597 and has since found its way into most Western languages. The scientific name for the genus is similar to and possibly derived from the Arabic, Persian mawz/mauz or Turkish (muz) names for the fruit. Though they grow as high as trees, banana and plantain plants are not woody and their apparent "stem" is just the bases of the huge leaf stalks. Thus they are technically gigantic herbs.

Musa species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Giant Leopard Moth and other Hypercompe species including H. albescens (only recorded on Musa), H. eridanus and H. icasia. A number of distinct groups of edible bananas have been developed from species of Musa. By far the largest and now the most widely distributed group is derived from Musa acuminata (mainly) and Musa balbisiana either alone or in various hybrid combinations. The next but much smaller group is derived from members of section Callimusa (previously classified as Australimusa) and is restricted in importance to Polynesia. Of even more restricted importance are small groups of hybrids in Papua New Guinea; a section Musa group to which Musa schizocarpa has also contributed, and a group of section Musa × section Callimusa hybrids.

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Pomegranate

Punica granatum

The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to between five and eight meters tall. The pomegranate is native to Southwest Asia and has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Syria, and Turkey, the drier parts of southeast Asia, Peninsular Malaysia, the East Indies, and tropical Africa.

Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production. In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is in season from March to May.

The pomegranate is native to the region of Persia and has been cultivated in Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Mediterranean region for several millennia. In Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, there are wild pomegranate groves outside of ancient abandoned settlements.

The cultivation of the pomegranate has a long history in Transcaucasia where decayed remains of pomegranates dating back to 1000 BC have been found. The Kur-Araz lowland is the largest area in this region where pomegranate is cultivated.

Carbonized exocarp of the fruit has been identified in Early Bronze Age levels of Jericho, as well as Late Bronze Age levels of Hala Sultan Tekke on Cyprus and Tiryns. A large, dry pomegranate was found in the tomb of Djehuty, the butler of Queen Hatshepsut; Mesopotamian cuneiform records mention pomegranates from the mid-Third millennium BC onwards. It is also extensively grown in South China and in Southeast Asia, whether originally spread along the route of the Silk Road or brought by sea traders.

The ancient city of Granada in Spain was renamed after the fruit during the Moorish period. Spanish colonists later introduced the fruit to the Caribbean and Latin America, but in the English colonies it was less at home: "Don't use the pomegranate inhospitably, a stranger that has come so far to pay his respects to thee," the English Quaker Peter Collinson wrote to the botanizing John Bartram in Philadelphia, 1762. "Plant it against the side of thy house; nail it close to the wall. In this manner it thrives wonderfully with us and flowers beautifully, and bears fruit this hot year. I have twenty-four on one tree... Doctor Fothergill says, of all trees this is most salutiferous to mankind." The pomegranate had been introduced as an exotic to England the previous century, by John Tradescant the elder, but the disappointment that it did not set fruit there led to its repeated introduction to the American colonies, even New England. It succeeded in the South: Bartram received a barrel of pomegranates and oranges from a correspondent in Charleston, South Carolina, 1764.

Thomas Jefferson planted pomegranates at Monticello in 1771: he had them from George Wythe of Williamsburg. After opening the pomegranate by scoring it with a knife and breaking it open, the arils (seed casings) are separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. Separating the red arils is simplified by performing this task in a bowl of water, wherein arils sink and pulp floats. It is also possible to freeze the whole fruit in the freezer, making the red arils easy to separate from the white pulp membranes. The entire seed is consumed raw, though the watery, tasty aril is the desired part.

The taste differs depending on subspecies of pomegranate and its ripeness. The pomegranate juice can be very sweet or sour, but most fruits are moderate in taste, with sour notes from the acidic tannins contained in the aril juice. Having begun wide distribution in the United States and Canada in 2002, pomegranate juice has long been a popular drink in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, India.

Grenadine syrup is thickened and sweetened pomegranate juice used in cocktail mixing. Before tomato arrived in the Middle East, grenadine was widely used in many Iranian foods and is still found in traditional recipes such as fesenjan; a thick sauce made from pomegranate juice and ground walnuts, usually spooned over duck or other poultry and rice, and in ash-e anar (pomegranate soup).

Wild pomegranate seeds are sometimes used as a spice known as anardana (which literally means pomegranate (anar) seeds (dana) in Persian), most notably in Indian and Pakistani cuisine but also as a replacement for pomegranate syrup in Middle Eastern cuisine. As a result of this, the dried whole seeds can often be obtained in ethnic Indian Sub-continent markets. The seeds are separated from the flesh, dried for 10-15 days and used as an acidic agent for chutney and curry production. Seeds may also be ground in order to avoid becoming stuck in teeth when eating dishes containing them. Seeds of the wild pomegranate daru from the Himalayas are regarded as quality sources for this spice.

In the Caucasus, pomegranate is used mainly as juice. In Azerbaijan a sauce from pomegranate juice (narsharab) is usually served with fish or tika kabab. In Turkey, pomegranate sauce is used as a salad dressing, to marinate meat, or simply to drink straight. Pomegranate seeds are also used in salads and sometimes as garnish for desserts such as güllaç. Pomegranate syrup or molasses is used in muhammara, a roasted red pepper, walnut, and garlic spread popular in Syria and Turkey.

Pomegranate wine is produced in Israel and Armenia. In Greece, pomegranate is used in many recipes, including kollivozoumi, a creamy broth made from boiled wheat, pomegranates and raisins, legume salad with wheat and pomegranate, traditional Middle Eastern lamb kebabs with pomegranate glaze, pomegranate eggplant relish, and avocado-pomegranate dip. Pomegranate is also made into a liqueur and popular fruit confectionery used as ice cream topping or mixed with yogurt or spread as jam on toast. In Cyprus as well as in Greece and among the Greek Orthodox Diaspora , ??d? is used to make kolliva, a mixture of wheat, pomegranate seeds, sugar, almonds and other seeds served at memorial services.

In 2008, 17 clinical trials were underway to examine the effects of pomegranate juice consumption on diseases shown below:
* prostate cancer
* prostatic hyperplasia
* diabetes
* lymphoma
* rhinovirus infection (completed, July 2008)
* common cold (completed, June, 2007)
* oxidative stress in hemodialysis
* atherosclerosis
* coronary artery disease (completed, September, 2005)

Pomegranates are a motif often found in Christian religious decoration. They are often woven into the fabric of vestments and liturgical hangings or wrought in metalwork. Pomegranates figure in many religious paintings by the likes of Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, often in the hands of the Virgin Mary or the infant Jesus. The fruit, broken or bursting open, is a symbol of the fullness of Jesus' suffering and resurrection.
* In Mexico, pomegranate seeds are an essential ingredient of chiles en nogada, a favored food symbolizing the red component of the national flag.
* Kandahar is famous in Afghanistan for its high quality pomegranates.
* Pomegranate is displayed on coins from the ancient city of Side, Pamphylia.
* Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska employs the pomegranate with its pulpy interior and lustrous, juicy seeds as a symbol of the promise of a new relationship with a man with whom the narrator has just fallen in love in her short story "El recado." ("The Message")
* The pomegranate fruit was an emblem in the coat of arms of Catherine of Aragon (1485 - 1536). She was the widow of Arthur, Prince of Wales but, more memorably, was King Henry VIII's first wife. However, when Queen Catherine didn't produce a male heir, His Majesty cast a furtive glance around the court for younger and more promising breeding stock, finally settling on Anne Boleyn. With a new queen ensconced in the Palace, her first decree was a new coat of arms, showing a white falcon pecking at a pomegranate.

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Ponch phoran

Panch phoran (also known as panch puran, panch phutana (Oriya), or five-spice mix) is an Indian-Bengal, Assamese and Oriya spice blend typically consisting of five whole spices in equal measure, as defined below.

In Axomiya or Bengali, panch phoran, and in Oriya, panch phutana, literally mean "five spices".
* Fenugreek (methi)
* Nigella seed (kalonji)
* Mustard seed (rai or shorshe), or Radhuni in Bengal
* Fennel seed (saunf or mouri)
* Cumin seed (jira)
(Celery seed can also be used as a replacement for radhuni.)

Panch phoran is traditionally used with vegetables, lentils, or fish and potato works well with the spice.

In the tradition of Oriya and Bengali cuisine, one usually first fries the panch phoron in cooking oil or ghee, which causes it to start popping immediately. This technique is called "baghaar" (literally "tempering") in Oriya, "phoron" in Bengali, and chaunk in Hindi. At this point, one adds the other ingredients to coat with the spice mixture. The term phoran in Bengali cooking is generally attributed to a mixture of any number of spices used in this way. However, the particular mixture of five spices in Panch phoran is a very popular form of "phoran".

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Poppy seed

Papaver somniferum

Poppy seed is used as an ingredient in many foods. The tiny kidney-shaped seeds are used whole or ground, often as a topping or filling in various baked goods. They are harvested from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) seed pods, and have been cultivated by various civilizations.

The Sumerians already grew them; and the seed is mentioned in ancient medical texts from many civilizations. For instance, the Egyptian papyrus scroll named Ebers Papyrus, written ca. 1550 BC, lists poppy seed as a sedative. The Minoan civilization (approximately 2700 to 1450 BC), a Bronze Age civilization which arose on the island of Crete, cultivated poppies for their seed.

Since poppy seeds are relatively expensive, they are sometimes mixed with the seeds of Amaranthus paniculatus, which closely resemble poppy seeds. Poppy seeds have long been used as a folk remedy to aid sleeping, promote fertility and wealth, and even to provide magical powers of invisibility.

Dried poppy seed pods next to glass jars of blue, gray, and white poppy seeds used for pastries in Germany.

Poppy seeds are often a component of bird seed mixtures for both wild and domestic birds as they are very nutritious and can also be given separately in higher amounts to treat gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and similar afflictions as well as pain and discomfort in many types of birds.

Poppy seeds are less than a millimeter in length, and minute: it takes 3,300 poppy seeds to make up a gram, and a pound contains between 1 and 2 million seeds.

The seeds of other poppy types are not eaten, but they are cultivated for the flowers they produce. Annual and biennial poppies are considered a good choice to cultivate from seed as they are not difficult to propagate by this method, and can be put directly in the ground in January. The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), for example, is a striking orange wildflower that grows in the Western and Northwestern, United States.

The seeds of the poppy are widely used in and on many food items such as rusk, bagels (like the Montreal-style bagel), bialys, muffins and cakes, for example, sponge cake flavoring. Most scones fillings are spices, including cinnamon and poppy seed. Poppy seeds are an ingredient in many baked goods. Across Europe, buns and soft white bread pastries are often sprinkled on top with black and white poppy seeds (for example Cozonac, Kalach Kolache and, Kolacz). The seeds themselves contain very low levels of opiates.

Poppy seed delicacies include:
* Kutia, a sweet grain and poppy seed pudding from Ukraine
* Makowiec, Polish poppy seed roll
* Makovnjaca, Croatian poppy seed roll
* Makos bejgli, Hungarian poppyseed roll, also known as "Christmas bread"
* Mohnstrudel, poppyseed strudel popular in Germany, Austria, and Czech
* Mohnstriezel, German poppyseed cake
* Makówki, a traditional Silesian Christmas dessert
* Hungarian poppyseed pasta
* Poppy seed bagels
* Poppy seed kolache (or kolachy)
* Lemon poppyseed muffins or cake
* Kluski z makiem, Polish noodles with poppy seeds
* Various rice puddings (esp. with black poppy seeds), such as "Mohnpielen," a Silesian chilled bread and poppy seed pudding, and a Senegalese-influenced lime-scented poppy-seed rice pudding by Marcus Samuelsson
* Prekmurska gibanica, a cake made with poppy seeds, cottage cheese, walnuts, and apples from Slovenia
* Mákos guba, a Hungarian bread pudding dessert made from crescent rolls, poppy seeds, and milk
* Makos kifli, a Hungarian crescent roll filled with poppy seed
* Germknödel, a yeast dumpling with a mix of poppy seeds and sugar
* Hamantashen, a triangular cookie filled with fruit preserves or honey and black poppy-seed, eaten during Purim
* Kalach, a traditional East Slavic bread used at various ritual meals

In India, Iran and Turkey poppy seeds are known as Khaskhas or Hashas (pronounced: "Hashhash" or in Persian: "Khash Khaash") and is considered a highly nutritious food item, mostly added in dough while baking bread, and is recommended for pregnant women and new mothers. In Maharashtra, India, Khaskhas is used to garnish Anarsa, a special sweet prepared during the festival of Diwali. In Bengal (West Bengal and Bangladesh) white poppy seeds are called Posto. They are very popular and are used as the main ingredient in a variety of dishes. One of the most popular dishes is aloo posto (potato and poppy seeds) which consists of a large amount of ground poppy seeds cooked together with potatoes and made into a smooth, rich product, which is sometimes eaten with rice. There are many variants to this basic dish, replacing or complementing the potatoes with such ingredients as onions (pnyaj posto), Ridged Luffa (jhinge posto), chicken (murgi posto), and possibly the most popular prawns (chingri posto).

The cooked poppy seeds are sometimes served without any accompanying ingredients at all. The consistency of the dish may vary depending on local or household traditions. There are many other posto dishes. One dish involves grilling patties made from posto, sometimes frying them (posto-r bora). Another dish involves simply mixing uncooked ground poppy seeds (kancha posto) with mustard oil, chopped green chili peppers, fresh onions and rice. The seeds can be pressed to form poppyseed oil, which can be used in cooking, moisturizing skin, varnishes and soaps, or as a carrier for oil-based paints. The primary flavor compound is 2-pentylfuran.

In the 19th century poppy seed oil found use in products such as paints, soaps, and illumination, and was sometimes added to olive and almond oils.

It's most important use these days is as a salad or dipping oil.

In Indian traditional medicine (Ayurveda), soaked poppy seeds are ground into a fine paste with milk and applied on the skin as a moisturizer.

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Primrose

(Candied flowers, Tea)

Primula

Primrose is a genus of 400-500 species of low-growing herbs in the family Primulaceae. They include primrose, auricula, cowslip and oxlip. Many species are grown for their ornamental flowers. They are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, south into tropical mountains in Ethiopia, Indonesia and New Guinea, and in temperate southern South America. Perennial primulas bloom mostly during the spring; their flowers can be purple, yellow, red, pink, or white. Generally, they prefer filtered sunlight. Many species are adapted to alpine climates.

The word primula is the Latin feminine diminutive of primus, meaning first (prime), applied to flowers that are among the first to open in spring. Primroses are used as food plants by the larvae (caterpillars) of some Lepidoptera species, including Duke of Burgundy butterfly, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character and Silver-ground Carpet. Some flowering forms of (cultivated) Primula are commonly known as polyanthus (P. elatior hybrids) as opposite to primrose (P.vulgaris hybrids).

Primula has extended its product offering with the launch of a brand new range of soft cheese. Available in three heavenly flavors, Soft Cheese, Soft Cheese with Cracked Black Pepper and Soft Cheese with Smoked Salmon, Primula Deli Soft Cheese introduces a fun, convenient and versatile format to the soft cheese market. For the very first time, soft white cheese is available in a squeeze tube which adds a host of new benefits and uses to the consumer experience. The tube, which includes a flip top lid for ease of use and a decorative star shaped nozzle for easy piping, is aimed at those who demand convenience, variety and flavor in their snacking - a demographic which has previously been overlooked in the soft cheese market. Craig Brooks, Marketing Director of Kavli comments: "Our new Deli range will help to challenge traditional perceptions of soft cheese as a spread for home use or as an ingredient for cheesecakes. The appetizing flavors and squeezed format will open the category up to a whole new world of portable snacking and we're sure it will soon become a shopping list staple." "The Deli range is ideal for simple snacks, elegant party foods and quick meals and its portable format means a no fuss, no mess transition from home to work without having to worry about spillage or spoiling. The tube format also keeps the contents fresher for longer, up to 14 days after opening, so will help to reduce food waste in the home."

Using high quality ingredients the range is set to retail at around £1.29 per 150g tube and has a variety of uses from snack toppings on crackers, blinis and bagels to sandwich and hot potato fillings. Flowers - raw, can make a very attractive addition to salads.

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Psyllium

Plantago ovata

Psyllium or Ispaghula is the common name used for several members of the plant genus Plantago whose seeds are used commercially for the production of mucilage. The genus Plantago contains over 200 species. P. ovata and P. psyllium are produced commercially in several European countries, the former Soviet Union, Pakistan, and India. Plantago seed, known commercially as black, French, or Spanish psyllium, is obtained from P. psyllium L., also known as P. arenaria. Seed produced from P. ovata is known in trading circles as white or blonde psyllium, Indian plantago, or Isabgol. Isabgol, the common name in Pakistan and India for P. ovata, comes from the Persian words asb and ghol, meaning "horse flower," which is descriptive of the shape of the seed. India dominates the world market in the production and export of psyllium.

Psyllium research and field trials in the U.S. have been conducted mainly in Arizona and Washington state.

Recent interest in psyllium has arisen primarily due to its use as an ingredient in high-fiber breakfast cereals, which is claimed to be effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels in those who consume it. Several studies point to a cholesterol reduction attributed to a diet that includes dietary fiber such as psyllium. Research reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that the use of soluble-fiber cereals is an effective and well-tolerated part of a prudent diet for the treatment of mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia. Research also indicates that psyllium incorporated into food products is more effective at reducing blood glucose response than use of a soluble-fiber supplement that is separate from the food. Although the cholesterol-reducing and glycemic-response properties of psyllium-containing foods are fairly well documented, the effect of long-term inclusion of psyllium in the diet has not been determined. Cases of allergic reaction to psyllium-containing cereal have been documented.

Psyllium is mainly used as a dietary fiber, which is not absorbed by the small intestine. The purely mechanical action of psyllium mucilage absorbs excess water while stimulating normal bowel elimination. Although its main use has been as a laxative, it is more appropriately termed a true dietary fiber and as such can help reduce the symptoms of both constipation and mild diarrhea.

Psyllium is produced mainly for its mucilage content, which is highest in P. ovata. The term mucilage describes a group of clear, colorless, gelling agents derived from plants. The mucilage obtained from psyllium comes from the seed coat. Mucilage is obtained by mechanical milling/grinding of the outer layer of the seed. Mucilage yield amounts to about 25% (by weight) of the total seed yield. Plantago-seed mucilage is often referred to as husk, or psyllium husk. The milled seed mucilage is a white fibrous material that is hydrophilic, meaning that its molecular structure causes it to attract and bind to water. Upon absorbing water, the clear, colorless, mucilaginous gel that forms increases in volume by tenfold or more.

The United States is the world's largest importer of psyllium husk, with over 60% of total imports going to pharmaceutical firms for use in products such as "Metamucil". In Australia, psyllium husk is used to make "Bonvit" psyllium products. In the UK, ispaghula husk is used in the popular constipation remedy "Fybogel". In India, psyllium husk is used to make "Gulab Sat Isabgol" psyllium products. Psyllium mucilage is also used as a natural dietary fiber for animals. The dehusked seed that remains after the seed coat is milled off is rich in starch and fatty acids, and is used in India as chicken feed and as cattle feed.

Psyllium mucilage possesses several other desirable properties. As a thickener, it has been used in ice cream and frozen desserts. A 1.5% weight/volume ratio of psyllium mucilage exhibits binding properties that are superior to a 10% weight/volume ratio of starch mucilage. The viscosity of psyllium mucilage dispersions are relatively unaffected between temperatures of 20°C and 50°C (68 to 122°F), by pH from 2 to 10 and by salt (sodium chloride) concentrations up to 0.15 M. These physical properties, along with its status as a natural dietary fiber, may lead to increased use of psyllium by the food-processing industry. Technical-grade psyllium has been used as a hydrocolloidal agent to improve water retention for newly-seeded grass areas, and to improve transplanting success with woody plants. The U.S. currently imports and consumes approximately 8,000 tonnes of psyllium annually. A continued expansion of this market seems likely due to the high level of interest in natural dietary fibers. No variety has been tested in the Upper Midwest but it would seem that the varieties that are grown in India would not be suited to production in this area. A major cultural problem limiting psyllium production in this area is the shattering characteristic of the mature crop. Some success has been achieved by cross-breeding high yielding Indian varieties with varieties that are more shatter resistant. Until shatter resistant varieties are available, production of Isabgol is likely to be restricted to environments that consistently provide a cool dry harvest season.

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Purslane

Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed

Portulaca oleracea

Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane, also known as Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed or Pusley), is an annual succulent in the family Portulacaceae, which can reach 40 cm in height. About 40 varieties are currently cultivated.. It is naturalised elsewhere and in some regions is considered an invasive weed. It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 mm wide. The flowers appear depending upon rainfall and may occur year round. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are ready. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor, compacted soils and drought.

Although purslane is considered a weed in the United States, it can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe, Asia and Mexico. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all good to eat. Purslane can be used fresh as a salad, stir-fried, or cooked like spinach, and because of its mucilaginous quality it is also suitable for soups and stews. Australian Aborigines used to use the seeds to make seedcakes.

Purslane contains more Omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant. Simopoulos states that Purslane has.01 mg/g of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). This is an extraordinary amount of EPA for land based vegetable sources. EPA is an Omega-3 fatty acid normally found mostly in fish, some algae and flax seeds. It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, and some vitamin B and carotenoids), as well as dietary minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Also present are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish betacyanins (visible in the coloration of the stems) and the yellow betaxanthins (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves). Both of these pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies.

In Greek popular medicine, purslane is used as a remedy for constipation and inflammation of the urinary system. A common plant in parts of India, purslane is known as "Sanhti", "Punarva", or "Kulfa". In North India it is known to act as a liver tonic and is used in diseases of the liver. Known as Ma Chi Xian (pinyin: translates literally as "horse tooth amaranth") in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is used to treat infections or bleeding of the genito-urinary tract as well as dysentery.

The fresh herb may also be applied topically to relieve sores and insect or snake bites on the skin.

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Quassia

Quassia amara

Quassia is a flora genus in the family Simaroubaceae. Its size is disputed; some botanists treat it as consisting of only one species, Quassia amara from tropical South America, while others treat it in a wide circumscription as a pantropical genus containing up to 40 species of trees and shrubs.

Quassia amara is a species in the genus Quassia, with some botanists treating it as the sole species in the genus. It is a shrub or rarely a small tree, growing to 3 m tall (rarely 8 m), native to Brazil. The leaves are compound and alternate, 15-25 cm long, and pinnate with 3-5 leaflets, the leaf rachis being winged. The flowers are produced in a panicle 15-25 cm long, each flower 2.5-3.5 cm long, bright red on the outside and white inside. The fruit is a small drupe 1-1.5 cm long. Q. amara is widely planted outside its native range.

It is famous and used for the bitterwood or quassia, its heartwood, used as a febrifuge; this contains quassin, a bitter-tasting substance (it is, in fact, the bitterest substance found in nature).

Extracts of Q. amara bark containing quassinoids are used as insecticides, being particularly useful against aphids on crop plants. What is interesting is the fact that no insect or pest ever bothers the tall and elegant quassia trees. The reason behind such a queer fact is that the entire tree, particularly the white colored timber, is infused with a tremendously astringent resin. The key chemical component of the resin is an amalgam known as quassin, which is said to be an effectual insecticide.

Apart from being a potent insecticide, quassin is valuable to the humans both medicinally and otherwise. The quassia is an ash like tree that is indigenous to Jamaica and many other islands of the West Indies. The tree which normally grows to 100 feet bears compound or composite leaves that are like pinnates or resembling a feather. Furthermore, the compound leaves bear numerous piercing leaflets. On the other hand, the tree bears an eye-catching bunch of flowers that are yellow colored.

The West Indians used the timber of quassia to make quassia cups that were filled with water and left to remain untouched for considerable period of time. They drank the resin colored water to treat ailments such as stomach upset, loss of appetite as well as fever. The West Indians also prepared more potent mixtures by adding finely chopped chips of the quassia wood and steeping them in water. These potent mixtures were normally used in enemas (liquids inserted through the rectum into the bowels) to eliminate parasitic threadworms. Such strong mixtures were also used as vital ingredients of lotions to avoid lice on the body.

The quassin extracted from the tree has been found to be 50 times bitterer than quinine and has been used as an ingredient in various medications similar to quinine with the same intention. Herbal medical practitioners use medications prepared from quassin to help to enhance secretion of enzymes in the stomach, liver, kidneys, gallbladder as well as the intestines. The medicines prepared with quassin possess both laxative as well as appetizing functions.

The quassia resin yields another extract or derivative known as quassimarin. According to several researchers studying the medicinal properties of the quassia tree, quassimarin is potentially beneficial to combat leukemia or blood cancer.

In addition to the above mentioned uses of quassin, the extract from the quassia tree is also accepted as a bitter constituent of tonic wines, aperitifs (alcoholic beverages taken before a meal), and liqueurs (sweetened alcoholic beverages usually drunk after meal), marmalades (clear thick jam prepared with citrus fruits), candies, baked items and sometimes even iced up dairy desserts (after meal sweat dish prepared with milk) and gelatin (semi-solid protein) puddings. The wood of the quassia tree is also useful for brewing beer and ale. Fine wood flakes of the quassia tree are often used as a substitute of hops (dried flowers of the hop plant) to brew these drinks.

Pesticides prepared with quassin are regarded to be among the safest, most effective as well as useful. When sprayed in the garden, the insecticides prepared from quassin not only eliminate all harmful pests and insects in the garden, but also protect beneficial insects such as bees and ladybird beetles.

Interestingly, while the resin on the quassia tree firmly repels all kinds of insects and pests, the flowers of the tree draws honey bees. This has been a cause of dilemma for the beekeepers, as the honey obtained from the quassia nectar too is bitter and unfit for use.

The quassia wood is also highly valued by farmers engaged in organic cultivation. Like the West Indians, they also purchase loads of quassia wood flakes, soak them in water and extract quassin. This mixture is then sprayed on crops to eliminate pests and insects such as mealy bugs, thrips, aphids, sawflies, leafhoppers and also slugs from the agricultural fields. Often the liquid is also sprayed on fruit trees to protect the fruits from the greedy birds.

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Quatre épices

Quatre épices is a spice used mainly in France, but also found in the Middle Eastern kitchen.

The name literally means "four spices"; the spice mix contains ground pepper (white, black, or both), cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Some variations of the mix use allspice instead of pepper, or cinnamon in place of ginger. The blend of spices will typically use a larger proportion of pepper (usually white pepper) than the other spices, but some recipes suggest using roughly equal parts of each spice. In French cooking it is typically used in soups, stews, vegetable preparations and also in sausages and salamis.

Ingredients:
* 1 heaping Tbsp black peppercorns
* 2 tsp whole cloves
* 2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
* 1 tsp ground ginger

Grind the peppercorns and cloves together in a spice grinder or coffee mill. Remove to a bowl and add nutmeg and ginger. Mix thoroughly. Funnel into an airtight jar and store in a cool, dark place.

"Four-spices" usually includes four of five spices and are commonly used to season charcuterie such as sausages and terrines.

There are actually two approaches to quatre epice, the most well known is a savory version and there is also a sweet version used in rich cakes and puddings.

Savory quatre épices goes well with rich meats such as game and adds extra flavor with peppery heat to rich, dark beef casseroles cooked in red wine. For each pound of meat use one teaspoon of savory quatre épices, or more according to taste. This spice mix is also that quintessential ingredient when added to deep, dark slow cooked beef and game dishes, especially when they contain wine.

There is a school of thought that suggests the need for a "sweet" quatre épices spice mix as well a "savory" quatre épices spice mix; this recipe, which is equally delicious in savory dishes, and when used with moderation in sweet puddings, rich cakes and biscuits.

My recipe contains five spices and will keep for a several weeks in an airtight tin or jar. This spice mix also makes a thoughtful gift for a foodie friend or host and hostess!

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Ramsons

Wood garlic, 'bear's garlic'

Allium ursinum

Ramsons (Allium ursinum) (also known as buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, sremuš or 'bear's garlic') is a wild relative of chives. The Latin name owes to the brown bear's taste for the bulbs and habit of digging up the ground to get at them; they are also a favorite of wild boar.

Ramsons grow in deciduous woodlands with moist soils, preferring slightly acidic conditions. They flower before deciduous trees leaf in the spring, filling the air with their characteristic garlic-like scent. The stem is triangular in shape and the leaves are similar to those of the lily of the valley. Unlike the related crow garlic and field garlic, the flower-head contains no bulbils, only flowers.

Ramsons leaves are edible; they can be used as salad, spice, boiled as a vegetable, in soup, or as an ingredient for pesto in lieu of basil. The bulbs and flowers are also very tasty. Ramsons leaves are also used as fodder.

Cows that have fed on ramsons give milk that slightly tastes of garlic, and butter made from this milk used to be very popular in 19th century Switzerland.

The first evidence of the human use of ramsons comes from the mesolithic settlement of Barkaer (Denmark) where an impression of a leaf has been found. In the Swiss neolithic settlement of Thayngen-Weier (Cortaillod culture) there is a high concentration of ramsons pollen in the settlement layer, interpreted by some as evidence for the use of ramsons as fodder.

Ramsons leaves are easily mistaken for lily of the valley, sometimes also those of Colchicum autumnale and Arum maculatum. All three are poisonous and possibly deadly. A good means of positively identifying ramsons is grinding the leaves between one's fingers, which should produce a garlic-like smell. When the leaves of ramsons and Arum maculatum first sprout they look similar, however unfolded Arum maculatum leaves have irregular edges and many deep veins while ramsons leaves are convex with a single main vein. The leaves of lily of the valley come from a single purple stem, while the ramsons leaves are have individual green-coloured stems.

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Ras el-hanout

Ras el hanout is a popular blend of herbs and spices that is used across the Middle East and North Africa. The name means "head of the shop" in Arabic, and refers to a mixture of the best spices a seller has to offer.

There is no definitive set combination of spices that makes up Ras el hanout. Each shop, company, and person would have their own secret combination containing over a dozen spices. Typically they would include cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers (also known as paprika), coriander, cumin, mace, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric. Some recipes include over one hundred ingredients, some quite unusual, such as ash berries, chufa, Grains of Paradise, orris root, Monk's pepper, cubebs, dried rosebud, and the potentially toxic belladonna and insects such as the beetle known as Spanish fly (however, the sale of Spanish fly was banned in the spice markets of Morocco in the 1990s). Usually all ingredients are toasted and then ground up together. Individual recipes are often improvised.

Ras el hanout is used in pastilla, the Moroccan squab/young pigeon and almond pastry, is sometimes rubbed on meats, and stirred into couscous or rice. It is often believed to be an aphrodisiac.

The contestants on Season 4 of Top Chef, specifically runner-up Richard Blais and eventual winner Stephanie Izard, were absolutely obsessed with Ras el hanout, using and/or referencing it numerous times every episode.

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Raspberry Leaf

Rubus idaeus

The Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) is a pale-green leaf produced by the Raspberry plant; an upright shrub with perennial roots and prickly, biennial canes. The leaf has many medical uses due to its rich content in vitamins, minerals, and tannins. The leaves contain high concentrations of several vitamins and minerals because of the plant's secondary compounds. As a result, it is used as an aid for pregnancy and delivery. Vitamin C and vitamin E are present in large amounts as well as Vitamin A and some B Complex.

Increased Vitamin A intake in the form of the carotenoids of red raspberry leaf can aid the women's immune system as well as facilitate healthy skin and bone development for the baby. Vitamin E serves to promote better circulation in the mother who is dramatically increasing her blood volume during pregnancy.

The Red raspberry leaf also contains many essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and an easily assimilated form of calcium. An increased availability of calcium is necessary in controlling nerve response to pain during childbirth and in aiding bone development in the fetus. It also contains fragrine, an alkaloid which help tone the muscles of the pelvic region including the uterus. This allows the uterus to contract more powerfully and effectively during labor. Also, many midwives report that it aids in focusing the pre-labor contractions that help a woman's uterus to prepare for delivery. The high vitamin and mineral content help replace those lost via blood loss during delivery. Also, the alkaloids will continue toning the uterus as it returns to its usual size. In some women, the high mineral content may even help their milk to come in. Some people believe it is not recommended for breast feeding and use of the leaf should conclude with in 6 weeks of birth. However, according to Every Woman's Herbal, raspberry leaf tea will enrich the mother's milk, especially during periods when the baby is going through a growth spurt. Continuing to consume raspberry leaf after the baby is 6 weeks old is not dangerous to the mother or the infant and may be beneficial.

The leaves are described as astringent in use. This is brought on by tannins found in a plant. The action of tannins as an astringent can be effective in soothing inflammation and constricting the tissues of the intestines to prevent water loss. As a result. The tannin content of red raspberry leaf provides an effective treatment to soothe diarrhea or intestinal inflammation, especially in children. It can also be used as a mouth wash to soothe mouth and throat irritations. Raspberry leaf tea also acts as an astringent on irritated skin by tightening the top layers of skin or mucous membranes effectively reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness.

Raspberry Leaf Tea can be made by the infusion of 1 ounce of the dried leaves in a pint of boiling water. Often taken cold, the tea can give immediate relief to mouth and stomach problems. The leaf may also be combined with the powdered bark of slippery elm to make a poultice for application to the skin to treat wounds, burns, and scalds.

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Reishi

Ganoderma lucidum

Lingzhi (Japanese: reishi; Korean: yeongji, hangul) is the name for one form of the mushroom Ganoderma lucidum, and its close relative Ganoderma tsugae, which grows in the northern Eastern Hemlock forests.

These two species of bracket fungus have a worldwide distribution in both tropical and temperate geographical regions, including North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia, growing as a parasite or saprotroph on a wide variety of trees. Ganoderma lucidum enjoys special veneration in Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine as a herbal medicine for more than 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used in medicine. Similar species of Ganoderma have been found growing in the Amazon.

The word lingzhi, in Chinese, means "herb of spiritual potency" and has also been described as "mushroom of immortality". Because of its presumed health benefits and apparent absence of side-effects, it has attained a reputation in the East as the ultimate herbal substance. Lingzhi has now been added to the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. The name Ganoderma is derived from the Greek,"brightness, sheen", hence "shining" and derma "skin", while the specific epithet lucidum in Latin for "shining" and tsugae refers to being of the Hemlock (Tsuga).

Another Japanese name is mannentake, meaning "10 000 year mushroom". There are multiple species of lingzhi, scientifically known to be within the Ganoderma lucidum species complex and mycologists are still researching the differences between species within this complex of species.

Lingzhi is a polypore mushroom that is soft (when fresh), corky, and flat, with a conspicuous red-varnished, kidney-shaped cap and, depending on specimen age, white to dull brown pores underneath. Only two or three out of 10,000 such aged trees will have Lingzhi growth, and therefore its wild form is generally rare.

Today, Lingzhi is effectively cultivated both indoors under sterile conditions and outdoors on either logs or woodchip beds. ''Shen Nong's Herbal Classic'', a 2000-year old medicinal Chinese book considered today as the oldest book on oriental herbal medicine states "The taste is bitter, its energy neutral, it has no toxicity. It cures the accumulation of pathogenic factors in the chest. It is good for the Qi of the head, including mental activities... Long term consumption will lighten the body; you will never become old. It lengthens years."

Pen T'sao Kang Mu ("Great Pharmacopoeia"), a Chinese medical book published in the 16th century, also shows a possible link between modern research and folk knowledge when describing the Reishi mushroom: "It positively affects the Qi of the heart, repairing the chest area and benefiting those with a knotted and tight chest. Taken over a long period of time agility of the body will not cease and the years are lengthened."

Depictions of the Reishi mushroom as a symbol for health are shown in many places of the Emperors residences in the Forbidden City as well as the Summer Palace. The Chinese goddess of healing Kuan Yin is sometimes depicted holding a Reishi mushroom. Lingzhi may possess some anti-tumor, immunomodulatory and immunotherapeutic activities, supported by some studies on polysaccharides, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds isolated from fruiting bodies and mycelia of this fungus (reviewed by R. R. Paterson). Laboratory studies have shown anti-neoplastic effects of fungal extracts or isolated compounds against some types of cancer. In an animal model, Ganoderma has been reported to prevent cancer metastasis, with potency comparable to Lentinan from shiitake mushrooms.

Several Ganoderma species have been used in traditional Asian medicines for thousands of years:
* immunoregulatory properties
* antioxidant activity
* liver-protective properties
* hypoglycemic properties
* antibacterial properties
* antiviral properties
* antifungal properties
* reducing blood cholesterol
* inhibiting blood vessel regeneration (angiogenesis)
* antifibrotic properties
* protection against radiation-induced damage
* reducing lower urinary tract symptoms
* increasing endurance for vigorous exercise

Lingzhi is traditionally prepared by simmering in water. Thinly sliced or pulverized lingzhi (either fresh or dried) is added to a pot of boiling water, the water is then brought to a simmer, and the pot is covered; the lingzhi is then simmered for two hours. The resulting liquid should be fairly bitter in taste, with the more active red lingzhi bitterer than the black. The process may be repeated.

Alternatively, it can be used as an ingredient in a formula decoction or used to make an extract (in liquid, capsule, or powder form). The more active red forms of lingzhi are far too bitter to be consumed in a soup, as long cooked shiitake mushrooms might be. Alcohol extractions have also been found to have various medicinal effects, including antiviral properties in a number of scientific studies. From a scientific perspective, lingzhi tinctures may be more effective than lingzhi teas for some diseases, despite the prevalence of teas in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Restharrow

Ononis

Ononis is a large genus of perennial herbs and shrubs from the legume family Fabaceae. The members of this genus are often called restharrows as some species are arable weeds whose tough stems would stop the harrow. They are natively distributed in Europe. In herbalism restharrow is used to treat bladder and kidney problems and water retention. The active ingredients in restharrow are essential oils, flavonoid-glycosides, and tannins.
* Ononis alopecuroides, Foxtail Restharrow
* Ononis arvensis, Field Restharrow
* Ononis natrix, Large Yellow Restharrow
* Ononis pusilla
* Ononis reclinata, Small Restharrow
* Ononis repens, Common Restharrow
* Ononis rotundifolia
* Ononis speciosa
* Ononis spinosa, Spiny Restharrow
Edible Uses:
The flowers; leaves; and roots are edible. The young shoots are cooked and can be used as a potherb. The roots can be chewed for their liquorice-like flavor. The flowers are eaten raw. They are used as decorations on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
The properties of this plant are antitussive; aperient; diuretic; and lithontripic. The roots, leaves and flowers are antitussive, aperient, diuretic and lithontripic. The root contains a fixed oil that is anti-diuretic and an essential oil that is diuretic. If the diuretic action is required then the root should be infused and not decocted or the essential oil will be evaporated. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, inflammation of the bladder and kidneys, rheumatism and chronic skin disorders. The roots are used occasionally; they are harvested in the autumn, cut into slices and carefully dried for later use. The young shoots are more commonly used, either fresh or dried. They can be harvested throughout the summer. A cough mixture is made from the bark.
Cultivation details:

This plant prefers a sunny position in a well-drained neutral to alkaline soil. It succeeds in poor soils, the plant often becoming spiny in such a situation. Similar to O. repens but this species is not rhizomatous. Mature roots are very tough and the plant gained its common name of 'Rest Harrow' because ploughs and harrows would be unable to break through it (in the days before heavy machinery was used on the land!). The whole plant is pleasantly scented when bruised. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

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Riberry

( Cherry Alder, Clove Lilli Pilli)

Syzygium luehmannii

Syzygium luehmannii is a medium sized coastal rainforest tree. Common names include Riberry, Small Leaved Lilli Pilli, Cherry Satinash, Cherry Alder, or Clove Lilli Pilli.

The habitat is Australian riverine, littoral, subtropical or tropical rainforest. It grows on volcanic soils or deep sandy soils in between the Macleay River in New South Wales to near Cairns in tropical Queensland. It is commonly grown as an ornamental tree, and for its fruit, known as a Riberry. The fruit matures from December to February, being a pear shaped red berry, known as a Riberry, growing to 13 mm long, covering a single seed, 4 mm in diameter.

Seed germination is unreliable, complete after 25 days, however cuttings strike readily. Fruit are eaten by Australasian Figbird and Emu. The tree commonly only reaches 7 meters in cultivation. The berry has a tart, cranberry-like flavor that has a hint of cloves. It has been popular as a gourmet bushfood since the early 1980's, and is commercially cultivated on a small-scale basis. The fruit is most commonly used to make a distinctively flavored jam, and is also used in sauces, syrups and confectionery.

The riberry plant is also very popular as a garden ornamental and street tree. It is easily maintained as a smaller tree by light pruning.

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Rocket

(Arugula)

Eruca sativa

Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell. Brassica eruca L.), also known as rocket or arugula, is an edible plant.

It is a species of Eruca native to the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal east to Jordan and Turkey. It is closely related to Eruca vesicaria and included by some botanists in that either as a subspecies E. vesicaria subsp. Sativa or not distinguished at all; it can be distinguished from E. vesicaria by its early deciduous sepals. Vernacular names include Garden Rocket, jarjir (Arabic), Arugula (American English), Rucola (Italian), Rukola (Macedonian, Serbian, Slovenian, Polish), Rugola (Italian), Rauke (German), Roquette (French), Rokka (Greek), Roka (Turkish), Ruca (Catalan), Beharki (Basque), Voinicica (Romanian) Rucula, Oruga and Arúgula (Spanish), Rúcula (Portuguese), Ruchetta (Italian). It typically grows on dry, disturbed ground. It is frequently cultivated, although domestication cannot be considered complete.

Arugula (Rocket)
Arugula (Rocket) a leaf vegetable,
is a longer leaved and open lettuce
rich in vitamin C and potassium.

It has been grown in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, and is considered an aphrodisiac. Before the 1990s it was usually collected in the wild and was not cultivated on a large scale or researched scientifically. In addition to the leaves, the flowers (often used in salads as an edible garnish), young seed pods and mature seeds are all edible. It is now cultivated in various places, especially in Veneto, Italy, but is available throughout the world. It is also locally naturalized away from its native range in temperate regions around the world, including northern Europe and North America.

In India, the mature seeds are known as Gargeer. It has a rich, peppery taste, and has an exceptionally strong flavor for a leafy green. It is generally used in salads but also cooked as a vegetable with pasta sauces or meats in northern Italy and in coastal Slovenia (especially Koper/Capodistria), where it is added to the cheese burek. In Italy, arugula is often used in pizzas, added just before the baking period ends or immediately afterwards, so that it won't wilt in the heat.

On the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples, a digestive alcohol called rucolino is made from the plant, a drink often enjoyed in small quantities following a meal. The liquor is a local specialty enjoyed in the same way as a limoncello or grappa and has a sweet peppery taste that washes down easily.

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Roman chamomile

( Ground apple, English chamomile, Whig plant)

Anthemis nobilis

Anthemis nobilis, commonly known as Roman Camomile, Chamomile, garden camomile, ground apple, low chamomile, English chamomile, or whig plant, is a low perennial plant found in dry fields and around gardens and cultivated grounds. It has daisy-like white flowers that are found in Europe, North America, and Argentina. The stem is procumbent, the leaves alternate, bipinnate, finely dissected, and downy to glabrous. The solitary, terminal flowerheads, rising 8 to twelve inches above the ground, consist of prominent yellow disk flowers and silver-white ray flowers. The flowering time is June and July, and its fragrance is sweet, crisp, fruity and herbaceous.

Chamomile is used cosmetically, primarily to make a rinse for blonde hair, and is popular in aromatherapy, whose practitioners believe it to be a calming agent to end stress and aid in sleep. The word chamomile comes from Greek (chamaimelon), "earth-apple" from (chamai), "on the ground" + (melon), "apple", so called because of the applelike scent of the plant. (Note: The "ch-" spelling is used especially in science and pharmacology.) Use of Chamomile dates back as far as ancient Egypt where it was dedicated to their gods.

Folk remedies using the plant include treatments for dropsy and jaundice. It was also believed to revive any wilting plant placed near it. The flowers were also used as a dye to lighten hair. Chamomile is considered to be an antiseptic, antibiotic, disinfectant, bactericidal & Vermifuge. Chamomile was used thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, where it was honored for its great curative properties. It was first used in Europe about 1600, to help with insomnia, back pain, rheumatism, neuralgia and nervousness.

Years ago, in both Europe and the United States, chamomile tea was a common cure for "the vapors." This malady was characterized by fainting, swooning and general anxiety, most often in women.

Chamomile grows throughout the world. The blossoms are the part of the plant that is used. Chamomile is also known as camomile. Other names for this herb include garden chamomile, low chamomile, Roman chamomile and whig plant.

Chamomile is used both internally, most often taken as a tea, and externally. Used as a tea, chamomile is known to relax smooth muscle tissue. In this way, it is useful in such things as calming a nervous stomach and relieving menstrual cramps. The tea is often used to promote relaxation and alleviate stress.

External uses of chamomile include reducing inflammation of the skin, soothing hemorrhoids, and relieving toothache.

Combined with bittersweet, chamomile may be used as an ointment. In this form, it can be rubbed on the skin and used to treat bruises, calluses, corns and sprains.

Possible benefits of chamomile:
* May help regulate menstrual periods.
* May be good for the kidneys.
* May be good for spleen health.
* May help alleviate symptoms of the common cold.
* May promote relaxation and relieve stress.
* May help induce sleep.
* May calm nervous stomach and improve digestion.
* May soothe skin irritations, including sunburn, heat rash and hemorrhoids.
* May relieve toothache.
* May improve bronchitis.
* May help with bladder troubles.
* May help to expel worms and other parasites.
* May improve liver function and relieve jaundice.
* May be used as a poultice for swelling and pain.
* May help prevent gangrene.
* May relieve back pain.
* May improve rheumatism.

Note: Chamomile should not be used during pregnancy. Caution: Chamomile is a member of the daisy family of plants, which includes ragweed. Those with allergies to ragweed should avoid the use of chamomile.

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Rooibos

Aspalathus linearis

Rooibos, (, like "roy-bos"), Afrikaans for "red bush"; scientific name Aspalathus linearis) is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants. The plant is used to make a herbal tea called rooibos tea, bush tea (esp. southern Africa), redbush tea (esp. UK), South African red tea (esp. USA), or red tea. The product has been popular in southern Africa for generations and is now consumed in many countries. It is sometimes spelled rooibosch in accordance with the old Dutch etymology, but this does not change the pronunciation.

Rooibos is grown only in a small area in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape province. Generally, the leaves are oxidised, a process often, and inaccurately, referred to as fermentation by analogy with tea-processing terminology. This process produces the distinctive reddish-brown color of rooibos and enhances the flavor.

Un-oxidised "green" rooibos is also produced, but the more demanding production process for green rooibos (similar to the method by which green tea is produced) makes it more expensive than traditional rooibos. It carries a malty flavor somewhat different from its red counterpart. In South Africa it is more common to drink rooibos with milk and sugar, but elsewhere it is usually served without.

The flavor of rooibos tea is often described as being sweet (without sugar added) and slightly nutty. Rooibos can be prepared in the same manner as black tea, and this is the most common method. Unlike black tea, however, rooibos does not become bitter when steeped for a long time; some households leave the tea to steep for days at a time. Rooibos tea is a reddish brown color, explaining why rooibos is sometimes referred to as "red tea". Unlike some higher quality oolong or green teas, rooibos is often only good for a very limited re-steeping as there is a sharp drop off in brewing after the first infusion.

Several coffee shops in South Africa have recently begun to sell red espresso, which is concentrated rooibos served and presented in the style of ordinary espresso (which is normally coffee-based). This has given rise to rooibos-based variations of coffee drinks such as red lattes and red cappuccinos. Iced tea made from rooibos has recently been introduced in South Africa as well, and in Australia as Lipton "Red Tea, Rooibos & Guarana".

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Rosehips

Rosa canina

The rose hip and rose haw, is the pomaceous fruit of the rose plant, that typically is red-to-orange, but might be dark purple-to-black in some species. Contrary to the fairly common myth, rosehips are not poisonous.

Rose hips of some species, especially Rosa canina (Dog Rose) and R. majalis, have been used as a source of Vitamin C. Rose hips are commonly used as an herbal tea, often blended with hibiscus and as oil. They can also be used to make jam, jelly, marmalade and wine.

Rose hip soup, "nyponsoppa," is especially popular in Sweden. Rhodomel, a type of mead, is made with rose hips. Some species of rose are sometimes referred to as rose hip, including Rosa canina (dog rose), R. rubiginosa, and R. moschata (Musk-rose).
* Particularly high in Vitamin C, with about 1700-2000 mg per 100 g in the dried product, one of the richest plant sources.
* RP-HPLC assays of fresh rose hips and several commercially available products revealed a wide range of L-ascorbic acid content, ranging from 0.03 to 1.3%.
* Rose hips contain vitamins C, D and E, essential fatty acids and antioxidant flavonoids.
* Rose hip powder is a remedy for rheumatoid arthritis.

Rose hips are used for herbal tea, jam, jelly, syrup, beverages, pies, bread, and marmalade.

A few rose species are sometimes grown for the ornamental value of their hips, such as Rosa moyesii, which has prominent large red bottle-shaped fruits. Rose hips have recently become popular as a healthy treat for pet chinchillas. Chinchillas are unable to manufacture their own Vitamin C, but lack the proper internal organs to process many vitamin-C rich foods. Rose Hips provide a sugarless, safe way to increase the Vitamin C intake of chinchillas and guinea pigs.

Nostradamus used rose hips amongst other ingredients to make rose pills that he fed to his sick patients during the black plague, with remarkable recovery rates. Rose hips are also fed to horses. The dried and powdered form can be fed at a maximum of 1 tablespoon per day to improve coat condition and new hoof growth.

The fine hairs found inside rose hips are used as itching powder. Dried rosehips are also sold for primitive crafts and home fragrance purposes. Rosehips are scented with essential oils and can be used as a potpourri room air freshener. Roses are propagated from hips by removing the seeds from the aril (the outer coating) and sowing just beneath the surface of the soil. Placed in a cold frame or a greenhouse, the seeds take at least three months to germinate.

In World War II, the people of England gathered wild-grown rose hips and made Vitamin C syrup for children. This was because German submarines were sinking many commercial ships: citrus fruits from the tropics were very difficult to import. Rose hips were used in many food preparations by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Rose hips are used for colds and influenza. The Latin binomial for this herb is Rosa laevigata. Also, Rose hips can be used to make Palinka, a traditional Hungarian alcoholic beverage.

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Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves. It is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which also includes many other herbs. The name rosemary has nothing to do with the rose or the name Mary, but derives from the Latin name, which is from "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea" - apparently because it is frequently found growing near the sea. Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach tall, rarely. The leaves are evergreen, long and 2-5 mm broad, green above, and white below with dense short woolly hair. Flowering, very common in a mature and healthy specimen, usually appears in winter or spring and is variable in color, being white, pink, purple, or blue.

Since it is attractive and tolerates some degree of drought, it is also used in landscaping, especially in areas having a Mediterranean climate. It is considered easy to grow for beginner gardeners, and is pest-resistant. Rosemary grows on friable loam soil with good drainage in an open sunny position, it will not withstand water logging and some varieties may be susceptible to frost. It grows best in neutral - alkaline conditions pH (pH 7-7.8) with average fertility. Rosemary is easily pruned into shapes and has been used for topiary. When grown in pots, it is best kept trimmed to stop it getting straggly and unsightly, though when grown in a garden, rosemary can grow quite large and still be attractive. It can be propagated from an existing plant by clipping a shoot long, stripping a few leaves from the bottom, and planting it directly into soil. Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use. The following are frequently sold:
* Albus - white flowers
* Arp - leaves light green, lemon-scented
* Aureus - leaves speckled yellow
* Benenden Blue - leaves narrow, dark green
* Blue Boy - dwarf, small leaves
* Golden Rain - leaves green, with yellow streaks
* Gold Dust -dark green leaves, with golden streaks but stronger than Golden Rain
* Irene - lax, trailing
* Lockwood de Forest - procumbent selection from Tuscan Blue
* Ken Taylor - shrubby
* Majorica Pink - pink flowers
* ''Miss Jessop's Upright - tall, erect
* Pinkie - pink flowers
* Prostratus
* Pyramidalis (a.k.a. Erectus) - pale blue flowers
* Roseus - pink flowers
* Salem - pale blue flowers, cold hardy similar to Arp
* Severn Sea - spreading, low-growing, with arching branches; flowers deep violet
* Tuscan Blue'' - upright

The fresh and dried leaves are used frequently in traditional Mediterranean cuisine; they have a bitter, astringent taste, which complements a wide variety of foods. A tisane can also be made from them. When burned they give off a distinct mustard smell, as well as a smell similar to that of burning which can be used to flavor foods while barbecuing. Rosemary is extremely high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6.

Hungary Water was first prepared for the Queen of Hungary to "renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs" and to treat gout. It was used externally and prepared by mixing fresh rosemary tops into spirits of wine.

Don Quixote (Chapter XVII, 1st volume) mixes it in his recipe of the miraculous balm of Fierabras with revolting results. Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory, and has been used as a symbol for remembrance (during weddings, war commemorations and funerals) in Europe and Australia. Mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." (Hamlet, iv. 5.) One modern study lends some credence to this reputation. When the smell of rosemary was pumped into cubicles where people were working, those people showed improved memory, though with slower recall.

In the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies - the bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary, and from this association with weddings rosemary evolved into a love charm. Newly wed couples would plant a branch of rosemary on their wedding day. If the branch grew it was a good omen for the union and family. In 'A Modern Herbal', Mrs. Grieves says "A rosemary branch, richly gilded and tied with silken ribands of all colors, was also presented to wedding guests, as a symbol of love and loyalty." Another example of rosemary's use as a love charm was that a young person would tap another with a rosemary sprig and if the sprig contained an open flower, it was said that the couple would fall in love. Rosemary was used as a divinatory herb-several types of herbs were grown in pots and assigned the name of a potential lover. Then they were left to grow and the plant that grew the strongest and fastest gave the answer. Rosemary was also stuffed into poppets (cloth dolls) in order to attract a lover or attract curative vibrations for illness.

It was believed that placing a sprig of rosemary under a pillow before sleep would repel nightmares, and if placed outside the home it would repel witches. Somehow, the use of rosemary in the garden to repel witches turned into signification that the woman ruled the household in homes and gardens where rosemary grew abundantly. By the 16th century, this practice became a bone of contention; and men were known to rip up rosemary bushes to show that they, not their wives, ruled the roost.

The results of a study suggest that carnosic acid, found in rosemary, may shield the brain from free radicals, lowering the risk of strokes and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's.

Rosemary in culinary or therapeutic doses is generally safe. A toxicity study of the plant on rats has shown hepatoprotective and antimutagenic activities, however, precaution is necessary for those displaying allergic reaction or prone to epileptic seizures. Rosemary essential oil may have epileptogenic properties, as a handful of case reports over the past century have linked its use with seizures in otherwise healthy adults or children.

Rosemary essential oil is potentially toxic if ingested. Large quantities of rosemary leaves can cause adverse reactions, such as coma, spasm, vomiting, and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) that can be fatal. Avoid consuming large quantities of rosemary if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Roseroot

Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola rosea (Golden Root, Roseroot, and Aaron's Rod) is a plant in the Crassulaceae family that grows in cold regions of the world. These include much of the Arctic, the mountains of Central Asia, the Rocky Mountains, and mountainous parts of Europe, such as the Alps, Pyrenees, Carpathian Mountains, Scandinavia, Iceland, Great Britain and Ireland. The perennial plant grows in areas up to 2280 meters elevation. Several shoots grow from the same thick root. Shoots reaches 5 to 35 cm in height. Rhodiola rosea is dioecious - having separate female and male plants.

Rhodiola rosea may be effective for improving mood and alleviating depression. Pilot studies on human subjects showed that it improves physical and mental performance, and may reduce fatigue. Rhodiola rosea's effects potentially are related to optimizing serotonin and dopamine levels due to monoamine oxidase inhibition and its influence on opioid peptides such as beta-endorphins, although these specific neurochemical mechanisms have not been clearly documented with scientific studies. Rhodiola is included among a class of plant derivatives called adaptogens which differ from chemical stimulants, such as nicotine, and do not have the same physiological effects.

In Russia and Scandinavia, Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root, has been used for centuries to cope with the cold Siberian climate and stressful life. Such effects were provided evidence in laboratory models of stress using the nematode, C. elegans, and in rats in which Rhodiola effectively prevented stress-induced changes in appetite, physical activity, weight gain and the estrus cycle.

Rhodiola rosea contains a variety of compounds that may contribute to its effects, including the class of rosavins which include rosavin, rosarin, and rosin. Several studies have suggested that the most active components are likely to be rhodioloside and tyrosol, with other components being inactive when administered alone, but showing synergistic effects when a fixed combination of rhodioloside, rosavin, rosarin and rosin was used. Also, the word Rosavin is a brand name for a particular brand of Rhodiola extract. Although rosavin, rosarin, rosin and salidroside (and sometimes p-tyrosol, rhodioniside, rhodiolin and rosiridin) are among suspected active ingredients of Rhodiola rosea, these compounds are mostly polyphenols for which no physiological effect in humans is proved to prevent or reduce risk of disease. Although these phytochemicals are typically mentioned as specific to Rhodiola extracts, there are many other constituent phenolic antioxidants, including proanthocyanidins, quercetin, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid and kaempferol.

While animal tests have suggested a variety of beneficial effects for Rhodiola rosea extracts, only for depression is there scientific evidence for Rhodiola components having anti-disease benefits in humans.

A clinical trial showed significant effect for a Rhodiola extract in doses of 340-680 mg per day in 18-70-year-old male and female patients with mild-to-moderate depression. Studies on whether Rhodiola improves physical performance have been inconclusive, with some studies showing some benefit, while others show no significant difference.

Rhodiola rosea extract is mainly used in the form of capsules or a tablet. These dosage forms usually contain 100 mg of a standardized amount of 3 percent rosavins and 0.8-1 percent salidroside because the naturally occurring ratio of these compounds in Rhodiola rosea root is approximately 3:1. Some companies believe that there are as many as 12 active biochemical compounds in the plant and do not subscribe to what they perceive as "artificial" standardization on only two of those compounds. One company states that 28 compounds have been identified in Rhodiola rosea, and that their proprietary extract is standardized to 13 of these in chromatographic assays.

A typical dosage is one or two capsules or tablets daily; one in the morning and when taking two, one in the early afternoon. Rhodiola rosea should be taken early in the day because for some it can interfere with sleep. Others can take it in the evening with no effect on sleep patterns. If a user becomes overly activated, jittery or agitated then a smaller dose with very gradual increases may be needed. It is contraindicated in excited states. The dose may be increased to 200 mg three times a day if needed. A high dose is considered to be daily intakes of 1,000 mg and above. This is good for people suffering from Hashimoto's disease. Increases energy and mental performance.

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Rowan Berries

Sorbus aucuparia

The rowans or mountain-ashes' are plants in the family Rosaceae, in the genus Sorbus, subgenus Sorbus. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the mountains of western China and the Himalaya, where numerous apomictic microspecies occur.

The name rowan was originally applied to the species Sorbus aucuparia. The name "rowan" is derived from the Old Norse name for the tree, raun. Linguists believe that the Norse name is ultimately derived from a proto-Germanic word *raudnian meaning "getting red" and which referred to the red foliage and red berries in the autumn.

Rowan is one of the most familiar wild trees in the British Isles, and has acquired numerous English folk names. The following are recorded folk names for the rowan: Delight of the eye (Luisliu), Mountain ash, Quickbane, Quickbeam, Quicken (tree), Quickenbeam, Ran tree, Roan tree, Roden-quicken, Roden-quicken-royan, Round wood, Round tree, Royne tree, Rune tree, Sorb apple, Thor's helper, Whispering tree, Whitty, Wicken-tree, Wiggin, Wiggy, Wiky, Witch wood, Witchbane, Witchen, Witchen Wittern tree. Many of these can be easily linked to the mythology and folklore surrounding the tree. In Gaelic, it is caorann, or Rudha-an (red one, pronounced quite similarly to English "rowan").

Rowan berries are a traditional source of tannins for mordanting vegetable dyes. The berries of European Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) can be made into a slightly bitter jelly which in Britain is traditionally eaten as an accompaniment to game, and into jams and other preserves, on their own, or with other fruits. The berries can also be a substitute for coffee beans, and have many uses in alcoholic beverages: to flavour liqueurs and cordials, to produce country wine, and to flavor ale.

Rowan cultivars with superior fruit for human food use are available but not common; mostly the fruits are gathered from wild trees growing on public lands. Rowan berries contain sorbic acid, an acid that takes its name from the Latin name of the genus Sorbus. Raw berries also contain parasorbic acid (about 0.4%-0.7% in the European rowan which causes indigestion and can lead to kidney damage, but heat treatment (cooking, heat-drying etc.) and, to a lesser extent, freezing, neutralizes it, by changing it to the benign sorbic acid. Luckily, they are also usually too astringent to be palatable when raw. Collecting them after first frost (or putting in the freezer) cuts down on the bitter taste as well.

The European rowan (S. aucuparia) has a long tradition in European mythology and folklore. It was thought to be a magical tree and protection against malevolent beings. It was said in England that this was the tree on which the Devil hanged his mother.

The density of the rowan wood makes it very usable for walking sticks and magician's staves. This is why druid staffs, for example, have traditionally been made out of rowan wood, and its branches were often used in dowsing rods and magic wands. Rowan was carried on vessels to avoid storms, kept in houses to guard against lightning, and even planted on graves to keep the deceased from haunting. It was also used to protect one from witches. Often birds' droppings contain rowan seeds, and if such droppings land in a fork or a hole where old leaves have accumulated on a larger tree, such as an oak or a maple, they may result in a rowan growing as an epiphyte on the larger tree. Such a rowan is called a "flying rowan" and was thought of as especially potent against witches and their magic, and as a counter-charm against sorcery. Rowan's alleged protection against enchantment made it perfect to be used in making rune staves (Murray, p. 26), for metal divining, and to protect cattle from harm by attaching sprigs to their sheds. Leaves and berries were added to divination incense for better scrying.

In Newfoundland, popular folklore maintains that a heavy crop of berries means a hard or difficult winter. Similarly, in Finland and Sweden, the number of berries on the trees was used as a predictor of the snow cover during winter. This is now considered mere superstition (however one can hear old men talk of it), as fruit production is related to weather conditions the previous summer, with warm, dry summers increasing the amount of stored sugars available for flower and fruit production; it has no predictive relationship to the weather of the next winter.

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Rue

Ruta graveolens

The leaves are bipinnate or tripinnate, with a feathery appearance, and green to strongly glaucous blue-green in color. The flowers are yellow, with 4-5 petals, about 1 cm diameter, and borne in cymes. The fruit is a 4-5 lobed capsule, containing numerous seeds.

It was used extensively in Middle Eastern cuisine in olden days, as well as in many ancient Roman recipes (according to Apicius), but because it is very bitter, it is usually not suitable for most modern tastes. However, it is still used in certain parts of the world, particularly in northern Africa.

In Italy rue leaves are sometimes added to grappa to obtain grappa alla ruta. According to The Oxford Book of Health Foods, extracts from rue have been used to treat eyestrain, sore eyes, and as an insect repellent. Rue has been used internally as an antispasmodic, as a treatment for menstrual problems, as an abortifacient, and as a sedative.

Caution should be taken with using rue topically. When applied to the skin with sun exposure, the oil and leaves can cause blistering. Rue oil can cause severe stomach pain, vomiting and convulsions and may be fatal. Some people are much more sensitive than others.

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Safflower

Carthamus tinctorius

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is a highly branched, herbaceous, thistle-like annual, usually with many long sharp spines on the leaves. Plants are 30 to 150 cm tall with globular flower heads (capitula) and commonly, brilliant yellow, orange or red flowers which bloom in July. Each branch will usually have from one to five flower heads containing 15 to 20 seeds per head. Safflower has a strong taproot which enables it to thrive in dry climates, but the plant is very susceptible to frost injury from stem elongation to maturity.

Traditionally, the crop was grown for its seeds, and used for coloring and flavoring foods, in medicines, and making red (carthamin) and yellow dyes, especially before cheaper aniline dyes became available.

For the last fifty years or so, the plant has been cultivated mainly for the vegetable oil extracted from its seeds. In April 2007 it was reported that genetically modified safflower has been bred to create insulin.

Safflower oil is flavorless and colorless, and nutritionally similar to sunflower oil. It is used mainly as cooking oil, in salad dressing, and for the production of margarine. It may also be taken as a nutritional supplement. INCI nomenclature is Carthamus tinctorius. Safflower flowers are occasionally used in cooking as a cheaper substitute for saffron, and are thus sometimes referred to as "bastard saffron." Safflower seed is also used quite commonly as an alternative to sunflower seed in birdfeeders, as squirrels do not like the taste of it. The pharmaceutical company SemBioSys Genetics is currently using transgenic safflower plants to produce human insulin as the global demand for the hormone grows. Safflower-derived human insulin is currently in the PI/II trials on human test subjects. Phillip Stephan, SemBioSys Genetics Inc, product bulletin June 2008.

There are two types of safflower that produce different kinds of oil: one high in monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) and the other high in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid). Currently the predominant oil market is for the former, which is lower in saturates than olive oil, for example.

Safflower oil is also used in painting in the place of linseed oil, particularly with white, as it does not have the yellow tint which linseed oil possesses.

Lana is a strain of Safflower that grows in the southwestern United States, most notably Arizona and New Mexico. In coloring textiles, safflower's dried flowers are used as a natural textile dye. Natural dyes derived from plants are not widely used in industry but it is getting more important world wide because of neutrality and fashion trends. The colorful matter in safflower is benzoquinone-based Carthamin, so it is one of the quinone type natural dyes. It is a direct dye (CI Natural Red 26) and soluble. Yellow, mustard, khaki, olive green or even red colors can be obtained on textiles, but it is mostly used for yellow colors. All hydrophilic fibres (all natural fibres, such as cotton, wool, etc.) can be dyed with this plant since it can be classified as a direct dye. Polyamide can also be dyed without a mordant agent because of its wool-like chemical structure. Polyester, polyacrylnitryl and others which are hydrophobic synthetic fibres can be dyed only in the existence of a mordant.

Safflower is one of humanity's oldest crops. Chemical analysis of ancient Egyptian textiles dated to the Twelfth dynasty identified dyes made from safflower, and garlands made from safflowers were found in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. John Chadwick reports that the Greek name for safflower occurs many times in Linear B tablets, distinguished into two kinds: a white safflower, which is measured, and red which is weighed. "The explanation is that there are two parts of the plant which can be used; the pale seeds and the red florets."

Safflower was also known as carthamine in the 19th century. It is a minor crop today, with about 600,000 tons being produced commercially in more than sixty countries worldwide. India, United States, and Mexico are the leading producers, with Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, China, Argentina and Australia accounting for most of the remainder.

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Saffron

Crocus sativus

Saffron is a spice derived from the dried stigma of the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The flower has three stigmas, which are the distal ends of the plant's carpels. Together with its style, the stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant, these components are dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and coloring agent. Saffron, for decades the world's most expensive spice by weight.

Saffron is characterized by a bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance; these are caused by the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. Safranum comes from the Arabic word, which means "yellow," via the Persian paronymous. Saffron is known as "Kasubha" in Filipino, "Kesar" in Hindi/Sanskrit, and "Kong" in Urdu. Saffron plants grow best in strong and direct sunlight and fare poorly in shady conditions. Planting is thus best done in fields that slope towards the sunlight (i.e. south-sloping in the Northern Hemisphere), maximizing the crocuses' sun exposure. Planting is mostly done in June in the Northern Hemisphere, with corms planted some 7-15 cm deep. Planting depth and corm spacing-along with climate-are both critical factors affecting plant yields. Mother corms planted more deeply yield higher-quality saffron, although they produce fewer flower buds and daughter corms. Italian growers have found that planting corms deep and in rows spaced 2-3 cm apart optimizes threads yields, whereas planting depths of 8-10 cm optimizes flower and corm production. Greek, Moroccan, and Spanish growers have devised different depths and spacing to suit their own climates.

Crocus sativus has been shown to have antidepressant effects; two active ingredients are crocin and safranal. The history of saffron cultivation reaches back more than 3,000 years. The wild precursor of domesticated saffron crocus was Crocus cartwrightianus. Human cultivators bred wild specimens by selecting for unusually long stigmas. Thus, a sterile mutant form of C. cartwrightianus, C. sativus, emerged in late Bronze Age Crete. Experts believe saffron was first documented in a 7th century BC Assyrian botanical reference compiled under Ashurbanipal. Since then, documentation of saffron's use over the span of 4,000 years in the treatment of some 90 illnesses has been uncovered. Minoans portrayed saffron in their palace frescoes by 1500-1600 BC, showing saffron's use as a therapeutic drug. Later, Greek legends told of sea voyages to Cilicia. There, adventurers hoped to procure what they believed was the world's most valuable saffron.

Another legend tells of Crocus and Smilax, whereby Crocus is bewitched and transformed into the original saffron crocus. Ancient Mediterranean peoples-including perfumers in Egypt, physicians in Gaza, townspeople in Rhodes, and the Greek hetaerae courtesans-used saffron in their perfumes, ointments, potpourris, mascaras, divine offerings, and medical treatments. Egyptian healers used saffron as a treatment for all varieties of gastrointestinal ailments. Saffron was also used as a fabric dye in such Levant cities as Sidon and Tyre. Aulus Cornelius Celsus prescribes saffron in medicines for wounds, cough, colic, and scabies, and in the mithridatium. Such was the Romans' love of saffron that Roman colonists took their saffron with them when they settled in southern Gaul, where it was extensively cultivated until Rome's fall.

Competing theories state that saffron only returned to France with 8th century AD Moors or with the Avignon papacy in the 14th century AD.

Saffron-based pigments have been found in 50,000 year-old depictions of prehistoric beasts in what is today Iraq. Later, the Sumerians used wild-growing saffron in their remedies and magical potions. Saffron was an article of long-distance trade before the Minoan palace culture's 2nd millennium BC peak.

Ancient Persians cultivated Persian saffron (Crocus sativus 'Hausknechtii') in Derbena, Isfahan, and Khorasan by the 10th century BC. At such sites, saffron threads were woven into textiles, ritually offered to divinities, and used in dyes, perfumes, medicines, and body washes. Thus, saffron threads would be scattered across beds and mixed into hot teas as a curative for bouts of melancholy. Non-Persians also feared the Persians' usage of saffron as a drugging agent and aphrodisiac.

During his Asian campaigns, Alexander the Great used Persian saffron in his infusions, rice, and baths as a curative for battle wounds. Alexander's troops mimicked the practice and brought saffron-bathing back to Greece. Some historians believe that saffron first came to China with Mongol invaders by way of Persia. On the other hand, saffron is mentioned in ancient Chinese medical texts, including the forty-volume Shennong Bencaojing Shennong's Great Herbal", also known as ''Pen Ts'ao or Pun Tsao) pharmacopoeia, a tome dating from 200-300 BC. Traditionally attributed to the legendary Yan'' ("Fire") Emperor Shennong, it documents 252 phytochemical-based medical treatments for various disorders. Yet around the 3rd century AD, the Chinese were referring to saffron as having a Kashmiri provenance. For example, Wan Zhen, a Chinese medical expert, reported that "the habitat of saffron is in Kashmir, where people grow it principally to offer it to the Buddha." Wan also reflected on how saffron was used in his time: "The saffron crocus flower withers after a few days, and then the saffron is obtained. It is valued for its uniform yellow color. It can be used to aromatize wine."

In Europe, saffron cultivation declined steeply following the Roman Empire's fall. Saffron was reintroduced when the Islamic civilization "Al-Andalus" spread to Spain, France, and Italy. During the 14th century Black Death, demand for saffron-based medicine skyrocketed, and much saffron had to be imported via Venetian and Genoan ships from southern and Mediterranean lands. The conflict and resulting fear of rampant saffron piracy spurred significant saffron cultivation in Basel, which grew prosperous. Cultivation and trade then spread to Nuremberg, where epidemic levels of saffron adulteration brought on the Safranschou Soon after, saffron cultivation spread throughout England, especially Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Essex town of Saffron Walden, named for its new specialty crop, emerged as England's prime saffron growing and trading center. However, an influx of more exotic spices such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and vanilla from newly contacted Eastern and overseas countries caused European cultivation and usage of saffron to decline. Only in southern France, Italy, and Spain, did significant cultivation endure.

Europeans brought saffron to the Americas when immigrant members of the Schwenkfelder Church left Europe with a trunk containing saffron corms; indeed, many Schwenkfelders had widely grown saffron in Europe. The trade with the Caribbean later collapsed in the aftermath of the War of 1812, when many saffron-transporting merchant vessels were destroyed. Yet the Pennsylvania Dutch continued to grow lesser amounts of saffron for local trade and use in their cakes, noodles, and chicken or trout dishes.

American saffron cultivation survived into modern times mainly in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Early studies show that saffron may protect the eyes from the direct effects of bright light and retinal stress apart from slowing down macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. Saffron has also been used as a fabric dye, particularly in China and India, and in perfumery. Most saffron is grown in a belt of land ranging from the Mediterranean in the west to India in the east. Annually, around 300 tonnes of saffron are produced worldwide.

Iran ranks first in the world production of saffron, with more than 94 percent of the world yield. Iran's annual saffron production is expected to hit 300 tons by the end of the nation's Fourth Five-Year Socioeconomic Development Plan in 2009. Other minor producers of saffron are Spain, India, Greece, Azerbaijan, and Italy. A pound of dry saffron (0.45 kg) requires 50,000-75,000 flowers, the equivalent of a football field's area of cultivation. Some forty hours of labor are needed to pick 150,000 flowers. Stigmas are dried quickly upon extraction and (preferably) sealed in airtight containers. Saffron prices at wholesale and retail rates range from US$500/pound to US$5,000/pound (US$1,100-US$11,000 per kilogram)-equivalent to £250/€350 per pound or £5,500/€7,500 per kilo. In Western countries, the average retail price is $1,000/£500/€700 per pound (US$2,200/£1,100/€1,550 per kilogram).

A pound comprises between 70,000 and 200,000 threads. Vivid crimson coloring, slight moistness, elasticity, and lack of broken-off thread debris are all traits of fresh saffron. Several saffron cultivars are grown worldwide. Spain's varieties, including the trade names 'Spanish Superior' and 'Crème', are generally mellower in color, flavor, and aroma; they are graded by government-imposed standards.

Italian varieties are slightly more potent than Spanish, while the most intense varieties tend to be Iranian in origin. Westerners may face significant obstacles in obtaining saffron from India. For example, India has banned the export of high-grade saffron abroad. Aside from these, various "boutique" crops are available from New Zealand, France, Switzerland, England, the United States, and other countries, some organically grown. In the U.S., Pennsylvania Dutch saffron-known for its earthy notes-is marketed in small quantities.

Consumers regard certain cultivars as "premium" quality. The "Aquila" saffron (''zafferano dell'Aquila'')-defined by high safranal and crocin content, shape, unusually pungent aroma, and intense color-is grown exclusively on eight hectares in the Navelli Valley of Italy's Abruzzo region, near L'Aquila. It was first introduced to Italy by a Dominican monk from Inquisition-era Spain. But in Italy the biggest saffron cultivation, for quality and quantity, is in San Gavino Monreale, Sardinia. There, saffron is grown on 40 hectares (60% of Italian production); it also has very high crocin, picrocrocin, and safranal content. Another is the Kashmiri "Mongra" or "Lacha" saffron (Crocus sativus 'Cashmirianus'), which is among the most difficult for consumers to obtain. Repeated droughts, blights, and crop failures in Kashmir, combined with an Indian export ban, contribute to its high prices.

Kashmiri saffron is recognizable by its extremely dark maroon-purple hue, among the world's darkest, which suggests the saffron's strong flavor, aroma, and color effect. Saffron types are graded by quality according to laboratory measurements of such characteristics as crocin (color), picrocrocin (taste), and safranal (fragrance) content. Other metrics include floral waste content (i.e. the saffron spice sample's non-stigma floral content) and measurements of other extraneous matter such as inorganic material ("ash"). A uniform set of international standards in saffron grading was established by the International Organization for Standardization, which is an international federation of national standards bodies. Namely, ISO 3632 deals exclusively with saffron. It establishes four empirical grades of colour intensity: IV (poorest), III, II, and I (finest quality).

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Sage

Salvia officinalis

Salvia officinalis (Sage, Common sage, Garden sage, Kitchen sage, Culinary sage, Dalmatian sage, Purple sage, Broadleaf sage, and Red sage) is a small perennial evergreen sub-shrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and commonly grown as a kitchen and medicinal herb or as an ornamental garden plant.

The word sage or derived names are also used for a number of related and non related species. Common sage is also grown in parts of Europe, especially the Balkans for distillation of an essential oil, though other species, such as Salvia fruticosa may also be harvested and distilled with it. As an herb, sage has a slight peppery flavor.

In Western cooking, it is used for flavoring fatty meats (especially as a marinade), cheeses (Sage Derby), and some drinks. In the United States, Britain and Flanders, sage is used with onion for poultry or pork stuffing and also in sauces. In French cuisine, sage is used for cooking white meat and in vegetable soups. Germans often use it in sausage dishes, and sage forms the dominant flavoring in the English Lincolnshire sausage. Sage is also common in Italian cooking. Sage is sautéed in olive oil and butter until crisp, then plain or stuffed pasta is added (burro e salvia). In the Balkans and the Middle East, it is used when roasting mutton.

The Latin name for sage, salvia means "to heal". Although the effectiveness of Common Sage is open to debate, it has been recommended at one time or another for virtually every ailment. Modern evidence supports its effects as an anhidrotic, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic. In a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial, sage was found to be effective in the management of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The strongest active constituents of Sage are within its essential oil, which contains cineole, borneol, and thujone. Sage leaf contains tannic acid, oleic acid, ursonic acid, ursolic acid, cornsole, cornsolic acid, fumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, niacin, nicotinamide, flavones, flavonoid glycosides, and estrogenic substances. Caution is indicated when used in conjunction with central nervous system stimulants or depressants.

Sage is used as a nootropic for its acetylcholine sterase inhibitor properties. Salvia officinalis has been used since ancient times for warding off evil, snakebites, increasing women's fertility, and more. The Romans likely introduced it to Europe from Egypt. Theophrastus wrote about two different sages, a wild under shrub he called sphakos, and a similar cultivated plant he called elelisphakos. Pliny the Elder said that the latter plant was called "Salvia" by the Romans, and used as a diuretic, a local anesthetic for the skin, a styptic, and for other uses. During the Carolingian Empire of the early Middle Ages, monastery gardens were cultivating the plant. Walafrid Strabo described it in his poem Hortulus as having a sweet scent and being useful for many human ailments-he went back to the Greek root for the name and called it Lelifagus. There are a number of cultivars, with the majority grown as ornamentals rather than for their herbal properties. All are valuable as small ornamental flowering shrubs, and for low ground cover, especially in sunny dry environments. They are easily raised from summer cuttings.

Named cultivars include:
* 'Purpurascens', a purple-leafed cultivar, considered by some to be strongest of the garden sages,
* 'Tricolor', a cultivar with white, yellow and green variegated leaves,
* 'Berggarten', a cultivar with large leaves,
* 'Icterina', a cultivar with yellow-green variegated leaves,
* 'Alba', a white-flowered cultivar,
* 'Extrakta', has leaves with higher oil concentrations.
* 'Lavandulaefolia', a small leaved cultivar.

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Saigon Cinnamon

Cinnamomum loureiroi

Saigon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia and Qu? Trà My or Qu? Thanh in Vietnam) is an evergreen tree in the genus Cinnamomum, indigenous to mainland Southeast Asia. Despite its name, it is more closely related to Cassia (C. aromaticum) than to Cinnamon (C. verum), though in the same genus as both. Saigon cinnamon has 1-5% essential oil in content and 25% cinnamaldehyde in essential oil, which is the highest of all the cinnamon species. Consequently, out of the three forms of Cassia, it commands the highest price.

Saigon Cinnamon is produced primarily in Vietnam, both for domestic use and export. The Vietnam War disrupted production, but since the beginning of the early 21st century Vietnam has resumed export of the spice, including to the United States, where it was unavailable for nearly 20 years. Although it is called Saigon Cinnamon, it is not produced in the area around the southern city of Saigon, but instead in the central and northern regions of the country, particularly the Qu?ng Nam Province of central Vietnam.

Saigon Cinnamon is used primarily for its aromatic bark, which is quite similar to that of Cassia but with a more pronounced, complex aroma.

In Vietnamese cuisine, Saigon Cinnamon bark is an important ingredient in the broth used to make a noodle soup called pho.

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Salad Burnet

Sanguisorba minor

Sanguisorba minor (Salad burnet, Garden burnet, Small burnet, burnet) is a plant in the family Rosaceae that is native to western, central and southern Europe; northwest Africa and southwest Asia; and which has naturalized in most of North America. It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to 40-90 cm tall, typically found in dry grassy meadows, often on limestone soils. It is drought-tolerant, and grows all year around.

It is used as an ingredient in both salads and dressings, having a flavor described as "light cucumber" and is considered interchangeable with mint leaves in some recipes, depending on the intended effect. Typically, the youngest leaves are used, as they tend to become bitter as they age. Salad burnet has the same medicinal qualities as medicinal burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis).

It was used as a tea to relieve diarrhea in the past. It also has a respectable history, called a favorite herb by Francis Bacon, and was brought to the New World with the first English colonists, even getting special mention by Thomas Jefferson.

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Salep

Orchis mascula, or Poterium sanguisorba

Salep refers to both the orchid as well as to the salep drink. It is flour made from grinding the dried tubers of Orchis mascula, Orchis militaris and related species of orchids, which contain a nutritious starch-like polysaccharide called glucomannan.

The name salep comes from the Arabic expression ' "fox testicles"-a graphic description of the appearance of orchid tubers; compare the classical Greek word órchis, which means both "testicle" and "orchid" (and is of course the etymon of the English word). The comparison to testes, naturally, accounts for salep being considered an aphrodisiac.

Salep is also the name of a beverage made from salep flour, whose popularity spread beyond Turkey and the Middle East to England and Germany before the rise of coffee and tea and later offered as an alternative beverage in coffee houses. In England, the drink was known as "saloop". Popular in the 17th and 18th centuries in England its preparation required that the salep powder be added to water until thickened whereupon it would be sweetened then flavored with orange flower or rose waters. Substitution of British orchid roots, known as 'dogstones', was acceptable in the 18th century for the original Turkish variants. The beverage salep is sometimes referred to as Turkish Delight, though that name is more commonly used for lokum.

Other desserts are also made from salep flour, including salep pudding and salep ice cream. The Kahramanmaras region of Turkey is a major producer of salep known as Salepi Maras. The popularity of salep in Turkey has led to a decline in the populations of wild orchids. As a result it is illegal to export true salep out of the country. Thus, many instant salep mixes are made with artificial flavoring.

The Ancient Romans also used ground orchid bulbs to make drinks, which they called by a number of names, especially satyrion and priapiscus. As the names indicate, they likewise considered it to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Of Salep, Paracelsus the famous toxicologist wrote: "Behold the Satyrion root, is it not formed like the male privy parts? Accordingly magic discovered it and revealed that it can restore a man's virility and passion". In Joan Aiken's novel Is, saloop is mentioned as conferring long life. The liner notes to the Aphrodite's Child album 666 include the note that the work "was recorded under the influence of 'sahlep'.

Many in the west, unaware of the plant and drink, interpreted the word as the name of "a drug or a demon", which contributed to the album being banned by several radio stations.

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Salvia

Salvia officinalis

Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with approximately 900 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. It is one of three genera commonly referred to as sage. When used without modifiers, sage generally refers to Salvia officinalis ("common sage"); however, it can be used with modifiers to refer to any member of the genus.

The ornamental species are commonly referred to by their scientific name Salvia.

The genus is distributed throughout the world, with the center of diversity and origin appearing to be Central and South Western Asia, while nearly 500 species are native to Mexico and Central and South America. The name is derived from the Latin salvere ("to save"), referring to the long-believed healing properties of salvia. The Latin was corrupted to 'sauja', to the French 'sauge', and to the old English 'sawge', and eventually became the modern day 'sage'. Pliny the Elder was the first to use the Latin name salvia. Salvia species include annual, biennial, or perennial herbs, along with woody based sub-shrubs. The stems are typically angled like other members in Lamiaceae. The flowers are produced in spikes, racemes, or panicles, and generally produce a showy display with flower colors ranging from blue to red, with white and yellow less common. The calyx is normally tubular or bell shaped, without bearded throats, and divided into two parts or lips, the upper lip entire or three-toothed, the lower two-cleft. The corollas are often claw shaped and are two-lipped with the upper lip entire or notched and spreading. The lower lip typically has three lobes with the middle lobe longest. The stamens are reduced to two short structures with anthers two-celled, the upper cell fertile, and the lower imperfect. The flower styles are two-cleft.

The fruits are smooth nutlets and many species have a mucilaginous coating. Many types of salvia have hairs growing on the leaves, stems, and flowers, which help to reduce water loss in some species. Sometimes the hairs are glandular and secrete volatile oils that typically give a distinct aroma to the plant. When the hairs are rubbed or brushed, some of the oil-bearing cells are ruptured, releasing the oil. This often results in the plant being unattractive to grazing animals and some insects.

Commonly used species:
* Salvia officinalis or "Common sage" is used widely in cooking and as an herbal medicine. It shows promise as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease patients.
* Red sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza) is used in Traditional Chinese medicine.
* Salvia splendens or "Scarlet sage" is a popular ornamental bedding or pot plant.
* Salvia apiana is the "white sage" used in smudge sticks in many U.S. Native American traditions.
* Salvia divinorum, or "Diviner's sage", is an unusual psychedelic plant; its legality is pending in some US states.

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Sassafras

Sassafras albidum

Sassafras has been used as a general tonic that restores and nourishes the body's overall good health. More importantly, it has also been used as an alterative, or agent that cleanses and stimulates the efficient removal of waste products from the system and purifies the blood, frequently favorably altering overall health.

As a diuretic, Sassafras promotes increased urine flow and helps to rid the kidneys and bladder of impurities, and this action also facilitates the flushing of uric acid and other toxins from the system, which makes it most useful in the treatment of gout, arthritis and rheumatic conditions. Moreover, these blood-cleansing qualities are also believed to make it an excellent treatment for all internally caused skin disorders such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

The diuretic action of increased urine flow, in addition to Sassafras's antiseptic properties, help to clear the urinary tract of various infections, such as cystitis, etc.

Sassafras is a diaphoretic that stimulates perspiration and sweating, which not only cools the body and lowers fever, but also helps to expel toxic wastes through the skin. It should be pointed that all the above cleansing actions work to purify the blood and rid the body of pollutants.

Sassafras has been known to help gastrointestinal complaints, particularly as a carminative, or substance that relieves intestinal gas pain and distension.

Sassafras is considered an antiseptic or substance that combats and neutralizes pathogenic bacteria and prevents infection. It has been used to treat syphilis, gonorrhea and dysentery.

Regarding women's health, Sassafras has been used to correct dysmenorrhea, a condition marked by painful and difficult menstruation, usually by promoting and regulating menstrual flow.

There are some claims that Sassafras may have antiviral properties, helping to relieve herpes, measles and shingles.

The branching is sympodial. The bark of the mature trunk is thick, red-brown, and deeply furrowed. The wood is light, hard and sometimes brittle. It can be used to make a serviceable bow if properly worked. All parts of the plants are very fragrant. The species are unusual in having three distinct leaf patterns on the same plant, unlobed oval, bilobed (mitten-shaped), and trilobed (three pronged; rarely the leaves can be five-lobed). They have smooth margins and grow 7-20 cm long by 5-10 cm broad. The young leaves and twigs are quite mucilaginous, and produce a citrus-like scent when crushed. The tiny, yellow flowers are five-petaled and bloom in the spring; they are dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees. The fruit are blue-black, egg-shaped, 1 cm long, produced on long, red-stalked cups, and mature in late summer. The largest Sassafras tree in the United States is located in Owensboro, Kentucky.

The name "Sassafras," applied by the botanist Nicolas Monardes in the sixteenth century, is said to be a corruption of the Spanish word for saxifrage.
* Sassafras albidum (Nuttall) Nees - Sassafras, White Sassafras, Red Sassafras or Silky Sassafras. Eastern North America, from southernmost Ontario, Canada through the eastern United States south to central Florida, and west to southern Iowa and eastern Texas.
* Sassafras hesperia (Berry) Wolfe & Wehr 1987 - From the Eocene Klondike Mountain Formation of Washington and British Columbia the lobes having a tapered acuminate apex (not rounded to weakly acute).
* Sassafras randaiense (Hayata) Rehd. - Taiwanese Sassafras. Taiwan.

Treated by some botanists in a distinct genus as Yushunia randaiensis (Hayata) Kamikoti, though this is not supported by recent genetic evidence which shows Sassafras to be monophyletic. Steam distillation of dried root bark produces an essential oil consisting mostly of safrole that once was extensively used as a fragrance in perfumes and soaps, food and for aromatherapy. The yield of this oil from American sassafras is quite low and great effort is needed to produce useful amounts of the root bark. Commercial "sassafras oil" generally is a by-product of camphor production in Asia or comes from related trees in Brazil. Safrole is a precursor for the clandestine manufacture of the drug MDMA (ecstasy), and as such, its transport is monitored internationally. Sassafras leaves and twigs are consumed by white-tailed deer in both summer and winter. In some areas it is an important deer food.

The dried and ground leaves are used to make filé powder, a spice used in the making of some types of gumbo. The roots of Sassafras can be steeped to make tea and were used in the flavoring of root beer until being banned by the FDA. Laboratory animals that were given oral doses of sassafras tea or sassafras oil that contained safrole developed permanent liver damage or various types of cancer. In humans liver damage can take years to develop and it may not have obvious signs. In 1960, the FDA banned the use of sassafras oil and safrole in foods and drugs based on the animal studies and human case reports.

Subsequently, both Canada and the United States have passed laws against the sale of any consumable products (beverages, foods, cosmetics, health products such as toothpaste, and others) that contain more than specific small amounts of safrole. Sassafras tea can also be used as an anticoagulant.

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Savory, Summer

Satureja hortensis, S. montana

Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) is the better known of the Savory species. It is an annual, but otherwise is similar in use and flavor to the perennial Winter savory. This herb has lilac tubular flowers which bloom from July to September. It grows to around 30 to 60 cm (1-2 feet) in height and has very slender bronze green leaves. Gardeners wishing to grow this plant should sow from late winter to spring 1.5-mm (1/16 in) deep in good seed compost. Germination usually takes 14 to 21 days at 18-20°C (65-70F). It should then be transplanted when large enough to handle into 7.5-cm (3-in) pots. Later harden off and plant out 38 cm (15 in) apart into ordinary well drained soil in full sun. Pick the leaves as required and for dried herbs August is the best month. Leave disposal of the finished plants until the following Spring to allow seeds to drop or when disposing of plants in Fall, just give them a shake over the ground, seeds will drop. Either way will provide plenty of new plants the following Spring.

Summer savory is a traditional popular herb in Atlantic Canada, where it is used in the same way sage is elsewhere. It is the main flavoring in dressing for turkey and chicken, in stews such as fricot, and in meat pies. Dried, it is available year round in local grocery stores and unlike other herbs, is always added to recipes in large generous heaping spoonfuls. Summer savory is preferred over winter savory for use in sausages because of the sweeter, more delicate aroma. It plays an important role in Bulgarian cuisine (the herb is called chubritsa, in Cyrllic), providing a strong and pungent flavor to the most simple and the most extravagant of dishes. Instead of salt and pepper, a Bulgarian table will have three condiments: salt, paprika and savory. When these are mixed it is called sharena sol (colorful salt). Summer savory is called cimbru in Romanian and is used in Romanian cuisine, especially in Sarmale (stuffed cabbage or grape leaf rolls).

Summer savory is called borsikafu in Hungarian, Bohnenkraut in German, sarriette in French, throúmbi, in Greek, and santoreggia in Italian. Is reported to be a helpful expectorant for lungs and head, a useful digestive aid for flatulence and colic, a general tonic and for the prevention of diarrhea. Rubbing a sprig of Summer Savory on a bee or wasp sting is said to give instant relief.

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Schisandra

Schisandra chinensis

Schisandra (Magnolia Vine) is a genus of shrub commonly grown in gardens. It is a hardy deciduous climber which thrives in virtually any soil; its preferred position is on a sheltered shady wall. It may be propagated by taking cuttings of half-matured shoots in August. Species include S. chinensis, S. glaucescens, S. rubriflora and S. rubrifolia.

Schisandra is native to East Asia, and its dried fruit is used medicinally. The berries of S. chinensis are given the name wu wei zi in Chinesewhich translates as "five flavor fruit" because they possess all five basic flavors in Chinese herbal medicine: salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used as a remedy for many ailments: to resist infections, increase skin health, and combat insomnia, coughing, and thirst. Over 19 species of the genus are said to be used in Chinese medicine, mostly as sedatives and tonic agents. Schisandra may also aid in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) when combined with wormwood, ginger, buplerum, and Codonopsis pilosula. However, there is insufficient evidence to support this claim at this time. Modern Chinese research suggests that schisandra and other lignans have a protective effect on the liver and an immunomodulating effect. Two human trials in China (one double-blind and the other preliminary) have shown that schisandra may help people with chronic viral hepatitis reports Liu KT from Studies on fructus Schizandre cinensis. Schisandra lignans appear to protect the liver by activating the enzymes that produce glutathione.

Recently, the extract of S. rubriflora, a native of the Yunnan province, was found to contain complex and highly oxygenated nortriterpenoids. The discoverers named those molecules Rubriflorins A-C. Schisandra chinensis (literally "five flavor berry") is a deciduous woody vine native to forests of Northern China and the Russian Far East.

It is hardy in USDA Zone 4. The plant likes some shade with moist, well-drained soil. The species itself is dioecious, thus flowers on a female plant will only produce fruit when fertilized with pollen from a male plant. However, there is a hybrid selection titled "Eastern Prince" which has perfect flowers and is self-fertile.

Gardeners should beware that seedlings of "Eastern Prince" are sometimes sold under the same name but are typically single-sex plants. Its Chinese name comes from the fact that its berries possess all five basic flavors: salty, sweet, sour, and pungent (spicy), and bitter.

Sometimes it is more specifically called bei wu wèi zi (literally "northern five flavor berry") to distinguish it from another traditionally medicinal schisandraceous plant Kadsura japonica that grows only in subtropical areas. Its berries are used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. They are most often used in dried form, and boiled to make a tea. Medicinally it is used as a tonic and restorative adaptogen with notable clinically documented liver protecting effects. The primary hepatoprotective (liver protecting) and immuno-modulating constituents are the lignans schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisins, and pregomisin, which are found in the seeds of the fruit.

It should not be used by pregnant women.

In China, a wine is made from the berries. In Korean the berries are known as omija and the tea made from the berries is called omija cha; see Korean tea. In Japanese, they are called gomishi. In 1998, Russia released a postage stamp depicting S. chinensis.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Schisandra chinensis (known as wu wei zi) is believed to:
* Astringe Lung Qi and nourish the Kidneys
* Restrain the essence and stop Diarrhea--astringent Kidneys
* Arrest excessive sweating from Yin or Yang deficiency
* Calm the Spirit by tonification of Heart and Kidney
* Generate body fluids and alleviate thirst

Wu wei zi is believed to enter the Lung, Heart and Kidney meridians and its properties are considered to be sour and warm. The typical dose is between 1.5 and 9 grams.

Contraindications include: Internal Excess Heat with External Syndrome, early stage cough, rash, rubella, or peptic ulcer, epileptic seizure, hypertension, and intercranial pressure.

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Senna

Senna obtusifolia

Senna (from Arabic sana), the sennas, is a large genus of around 250 species of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. This diverse genus is native throughout the tropics, with a small number of species reaching into temperate regions.

Almost all species were at one time or another placed in Cassia, a close relative which until recent decades served as a "wastebin taxon" to hold all Cassiinae. The species were reassigned by Howard Samuel Irwin and Rupert Charles Barneby, but this process is not entirely complete and some corrections may still take place.

Typically Senna species have yellowish flowers. They may be herbs, smallish trees or even a kind of liana, but typically are shrubs or sub-shrubs. Senna species make good ornamental plants and are used for landscape gardening. The wide variety of species and ecological adaptations makes at least a handful of sennas suitable for any climate warmer than cool-temperate. Cassia gum - a commonly-used thickening agent - despite its name is actually from Chinese Senna (S. obtusifolia) seeds. In some Southeast Asian cuisines (particularly those of Thailand and Laos), the leaves and flowers of Siamese Senna (S. siamea, called khi-lek in Thai), either fresh or pickled in brine, are used in cooking, particularly in gaeng khi-lek (khi-lek curry).

Another senna, Senna italica ssp. italica (= Cassia obovata), often called "neutral henna", is used as a hair treatment with effects similar to henna but without the red color. The active component is an anthraquinone derivative called chrysophanic acid, which is also found in higher concentrations in rhubarb root. It adds a slight yellow color. Sennas have for millennia played a major role in herbalism and folk medicine. Alexandrian Senna (S. alexandrina) was and still is a significant item of trans-national trade e.g. by the Ababdeh people and grown commercially, traditionally along the middle Nile but more generally in many regions around the northwestern Indian Ocean. Sennas act as purgatives and are similar to aloe and rhubarb in having as active ingredients anthraquinone derivatives and their glucosides. The latter are called sennosides or senna glycosides. Senna alexandrina is used in modern medicine as a laxative; acting on the lower bowel, it is especially useful in alleviating constipation. It increases the peristaltic movements of the colon by irritating the colonic mucosa. The plants are most often prepared as an infusion. Senna glycosides are listed as ATC code A06AB06 on their own and A06AB56 in combined preparations. As regards other chemicals, the anti-inflammatory compound resveratrol was first isolated from S. quinquangulata, and Siamese Senna S. siamea contains barakol used to counteract aconitine poisoning.

Chinese Senna (S. obtusifolia) seeds are also used in Kampo (traditional Japanese medicine) where they are called ketsumei-shi. The long-standing use of (mainly) Alexandrian Senna is reflected by its presence in many herbal remedies and tonics. These include for example Black draught, Catholicon, Daffy's Elixir, Diasenna (literally meaning "composed of senna") and Swedish bitters. On the other hand, it was contained in more dangerous "medications" such as the highly toxic antihelminthic Lumbricide and - because their purgative effects are a readily-observed "proof" that some concoction "works" - many generally useless and often poisonous "patent medicine". Senna is also the primary ingredient found in most "dieter's teas". The combination of acting as a stimulant which reduces a dieter's appetite, and the laxative properties that cause food to move through their system before as many calories can be absorbed is a combination that can lead to rapid and even dangerous weight loss.

The stimulant action of sennosides should be taken into account for those who suffer from any conditions where stimulants are contraindicated, such as past heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety attacks, etc. A (generally invisible and harmless) side effect of taking Senna medication regularly is Melanosis coli, a brown discoloration of the colon wall.

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Sesame seed

Sesamum indicum

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa. It is widely naturalized in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods. The flowers of the sesame seed plant are yellow, though they can vary in color with some being light cream or purple. It is an annual plant growing to 50 to 100 cm (2-3 feet) tall, with opposite leaves 4 to 14 cm (5.5 in) long with an entire margin; they are broad lanceolate, to 5 cm (2 in) broad, at the base of the plant, narrowing to just 1 cm (half an inch) broad on the flowering stem. The flowers are yellow to purple, tubular, 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) long, with a four-lobed mouth.

Despite the fact that the majority of the wild species of the genus Sesamum are native to sub-saharan Africa, Bedigian demonstrated that sesame was first domesticated in India, citing morphological and cytogenetic affinities between domesticated sesame and the south Indian S. mulayanum Nair., as well as archeological evidence that it was cultivated at Harappa in the Indus Valley between 1250 and 750 BC, and a more recent find of charred sesame seeds in Miri Qalat and Shahi Tump in the Makran region of Pakistan.

According to Assyrian legend, when the gods met to create the world, they drank wine made from sesame seeds.

In Hindu legends and beliefs, tales are told in which sesame seeds represent a symbol of immortality and the God Maha Vishnu's consort Maha Sri Devi herself representing the properties of the sesame seed, as such it is considered as the most auspicious oil next to Ghee used in Hindu rituals and prayers, the black sesame seeds are used in ancestral homage rituals called Darpanam (also called Tarpana in Kannada) and also the oil to pacify the malefic effect of Lord Shani (Saturn). In Tamil literature and medicine it has been mentioned as the "very good healthy" oil as such it is called Nala + Ney (Good Oil). In Tamil medicine gurgle with sesame oil in the mouth after brushing teeth will reduce gum disease, mouth ulcer and eliminate plaque and colorless film. Taking a sesame oil bath with a simple self massage are considered mandatory in Tamil tradition at least once in a week on Wednesday & Saturday for male and Fridays for female as per quoted by a Siddha Yogic Tamil medicine philosopher Auvaiyaar as quoted "Sani Neeraadu" means at least take a full shower once a week with oil which will reduce ones body heat on a rest day which is Saturday for those who live in the hot humid tropical regions.

"Open sesame," the famous phrase from the Arabian Nights, reflects the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity. Sesame is grown primarily for its oil-rich seeds, which come in a variety of colors, from cream-white to charcoal-black. In general, the paler varieties of sesame seem to be more valued in the West and Middle East, while the black varieties are preferred in China and Far East. The small sesame seed is used whole in cooking for its rich nutty flavour (although such heating damages their healthful polyunsaturated fats), and also yields sesame oil.

Sesame seeds are sometimes added to breads, including bagels and the tops of hamburger buns. Sesame seeds may be baked into crackers, often in the form of sticks. Sesame seeds are also sprinkled onto some sushi style foods. Whole seeds are found in many salads and baked snacks as well in Japan. Tan and black sesame seed varieties are roasted and used for making the flavoring gomashio.

In Greece seeds are used in cakes, while in Togo, seeds are a main soup ingredient. The seeds are also eaten on bread in Sicily and France (called "ficelle sésame", sesame thread). About one-third of the sesame crop imported by the United States from Mexico is purchased by McDonald's for their sesame seed buns (The Nut Factory 1999). In Manipur (North Eastern State of India) Black sesame is used extensively as a favorite side dish called 'Thoiding' and in 'Singju' (A kind of salad). Sesame is used extensively for preparing these two dishes. Unlike mainland Indians they are prepared with ginger in thoiding with chilli and with vegetables in Singu which is spicy and hot. In Assam, black sesame seeds are hugely used to make Til Pitha and Tilor laru (sesame seed balls) during bihu. In Punjab province of Pakistan and Tamil Nadu state of India, a sweet ball called "Pinni" in Urdu and 'Ell urundai' in Tamil, "Yellunde" (sesame ball, usually in jaggery) in Kannada and tilgul in Marathi is made of its seeds mixed with sugar. Also in Tamil Nadu, sesame oil used extensively in their cuisine, 'Milakai Podi', a ground powder made of sesame and dry chili is used to enhance flavor and consumed along with other traditional foods such as idli.

Sesame (benne) seed cookies and wafers, both sweet and savory, are still consumed today in places like Charleston, South Carolina - and the seeds are believed to have been brought into 17th century colonial America by West African slaves. In Cuban cuisine, sugar and white sesame seeds are combined into a bar resembling peanut brittle and sold in stores and street corners.

Ground and processed, the seeds can also be used in sweet confections. Sesame seeds can be made into a paste called tahini (used in various ways, including in hummus) and a Middle Eastern confection called halvah. In India, sections of the Middle East, and East Asia, popular treats are made from sesame mixed with honey or syrup and roasted (called pasteli in Greece). In Japanese cuisine goma-dofu is made from sesame paste and starch. East Asian cuisines, like Chinese cuisine use sesame seeds and oil in some dishes, such as dim sum, sesame seed balls (Cantonese: jin deui), and the Vietnamese bánh rán.

Sesame flavor (through oil and roasted or raw seeds) is also very popular in Korean cuisine, used to marinate meat and vegetables. Chefs in tempura restaurants blend sesame and cottonseed oil for deep-frying. Sesame oil was cooking oil in India until the advent of groundnut (peanut) oil.

Sesame seeds also contain phytosterols associated with reduced levels of blood cholesterol, but do not contain caffeine. The nutrients of sesame seeds are better absorbed if they are ground or pulverized before consumption, as in tahini. Women of ancient Babylon would eat halva, a mixture of honey and sesame seeds to prolong youth and beauty, while Roman soldiers ate the mixture for strength and energy.

Sesame seeds produce an allergic reaction in a small percentage of the general population (5-13 per 100,000). Sesame oil is used for massage and health treatments of the body in the ancient Indian ayurvedic system with the types of massage called abhyanga and shirodhara. Ayurveda views sesame oil as the most viscous of the plant oils and believes it may pacify the health problems associated with Vata aggravation.

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Sheep's Sorrel

Rumex acetosella

Rumex acetosella is a species of sorrel bearing the common names '''sheep's sorrel, red sorrel, sour weed, and field sorrel'''. The plant and its subspecies are common perennial weeds. It has green arrowhead-shaped leaves and red-tinted deeply ridged stems, and it sprouts from an aggressive rhizome. The flowers emerge from a tall, upright stem. Female flowers are maroon in color.

The plant is native to Eurasia but has been introduced to most of the rest of the northern hemisphere. In North America it is a common weed in fields, grasslands, and woodlands. It favors moist soil, so it thrives in floodplains and near marshes. It is often one of the first species to take hold in disturbed areas, such as abandoned mining sites, especially if the soil is acidic. Livestock will graze on the plant, but it is not very nutritious and contains oxalates which make the plant toxic if grazed in large amounts.

Sheep's sorrel is widely considered to be a noxious weed, and one that is hard to control due to its spreading rhizome. Blueberry farmers are familiar with the weed, due to its ability to thrive in the same conditions under which blueberries are cultivated. It is commonly considered by farmers as an Indicator plant of the need for liming.

There are several uses of sheep sorrel in the preparation of food including a garnish, a tart favoring agent and a curdling agent for cheese. The leaves have a lemony, tangy or nicely tart flavor. You can put the leaves in a salad.

It has a number of purported uses and folk remedies that include treatment for inflammation, cancer, diarrhea, scurvy and fever. A tea made from the stem and leaves can be made to act as a diuretic. It also has certain astringent properties and uses.

Other historical uses include that of a vermifuge, as the plant allegedly contains compounds toxic to intestinal parasites (worms). Its alleged use as a cancer treatment, generally considered a folk remedy, is as a primary ingredient in a preparation commonly referred to by the name Essiac.

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Shepherd's Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Capsella bursa-pastoris, known by its common name '''shepherd's-purse' because of its triangular, purse-like pods, is a small (up to 0.5m) annual and ruderal species, and a member of the Brassicaceae or mustard family.

It is native to eastern Europe and Asia minor but is naturalized and considered a common weed in many parts of the world, especially in colder climates, including Britain, where it is regarded as an archaeophyte, North America and China but also in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Capsella bursa-pastoris is closely related to the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana and is also used as a model organism due to the variety of genes expressed throughout its life cycle that can be compared to genes that are well studied in A. thaliana.

Unlike most flowering plants, it flowers almost all year round. Like many other annual ruderals exploiting disturbed ground, C. bursa-pastoris'' reproduces entirely from seed, has a long soil seed bank, and short generation time and is capable of producing several generations each year. C. bursa-pastoris is gathered from the wild for food.

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Sialagogue

An herb with sialagogue action stimulates the secretion of saliva from the salivary glands.

Herbs with sialagogue action include:
* Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
* Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)
* Cayenne pepper (Capsicum minimum)
* Centaury (Centaurium erythraea)
* Gentian (Gentiana lutea)
* Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
* Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum)
* Senega (Polygala senega)

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant native to eastern North America from Nova Scotia, Canada southward to Florida, United States. It is the only species in the genus Sanguinaria, and is included in the family Papaveraceae and most closely related to Eomecon of eastern Asia.

Bloodroot is also known as bloodwort, red puccoon root, and sometimes pauson. Bloodroot has also been known as tetterwort in America, although that name is used in Britain to refer to Greater Celandine. Bloodroot produces morphine-like benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, primarily the toxin sanguinarine. The alkaloids are transported to and stored in the rhizome. Comparing the biosynthesis of morphine and sanguinarine, the final intermediate in common is (S)-reticuline. A number of plants in Papaveraceae and Ranunculaceae, as well as plants in the genus Colchicum (family Colchicaceae) and genus Chondodendron (family Menispermaceae), also produce such benzylisoquinoline alkaloids.

The plant was used as a dye and for an herbal remedy by the native population. A break in the surface of the plant, especially the roots, reveals a reddish sap.

In physician William Cook's 1869 work The Physiomedical Dispensatory is recorded a chapter on the uses and preparations of bloodroot. described tinctures and extractions, and also included at least the following cautionary report:

"The U. S. Dispensatory says four persons lost their lives at Bellevue Hospital, New York, by drinking largely of blood root tincture in mistake for ardent spirits..."

Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus), a member of the Poppy family (Papaveraceae) was used in Colonial America as a wart remedy. Bloodroot has been similarly applied in the past. This may explain the multiple American and British definitions of "Tetterwort" in 1913.

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Siberian Chaga

Inonotus obliquus

Chaga, (Inonotus obliquus), also known as cinder conk, is a fungus in Hymenochaetaceae family. It is a parasitic fungus on Birch and other trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and has the appearance of burnt charcoal. The fertile fruit body can be found very rarely as a resupinate (crustose) fungus on or near the clinker, usually appearing after the host tree is completely dead. I. obliquus grows in birch forests of Russia, Korea, and Eastern Europe, Northern areas of the United States and in the North Carolina mountains.

Since the 16th century, there are records of chaga mushroom being used in folk medicine and the botanical medicine of the Eastern European countries as a remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers, and tuberculosis of the bones. In 1958, scientific studies in Finland and Russia found Chaga provided an epochal effect in breast cancer, liver cancer, uterine cancer, and gastric cancer, as well as in hypertension and diabetes. Herbalist David Winston maintains that it is the strongest anti-cancer medicinal mushroom. The antimutagenic action of the molecules found in the white part of birch bark where chaga feeds inhibits free-radical oxidation and also induces the production of interferons, which helps induce DNA repair. The substances, contained in white part of birch bark contribute to the decrease of hypoxia and to increase of the stability of organism to the oxygen deficiency, being antihypoxant correcting the metabolism of cells. The anti-cancer properties of betulin or betulinic acid, a chemical isolated from birch trees is now being studied for use as a chemotherapeutic agent. Chaga contains large amounts of betulinic acid in a form that can be ingested orally, and it also contains the full spectrum of immune-stimulating phytochemicals found in other medicinal mushrooms such as maitake mushroom and shiitake mushroom.

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Siberian Ginseng

Eleutherococcus senticosus

The herb grows in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming low undergrowth or is found in groups in thickets and edges. E. senticosus is sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland. Its native habitat is East Asia, China, Japan and Russia. E. senticosus is broadly tolerant of soils, growing in sandy, loamy and heavy clay soils with acid, neutral or alkaline chemistry and including soils of low nutritional value. It can tolerate sun or dappled shade and some degree of pollution. E. senticosus is a deciduous shrub growing to 2m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It flowers in July in most habitats. The flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects. E. senticosus is a new addition to Western natural medicine, but has quickly gained a reputation similar to that of the better known and more expensive Chinese Ginseng. Though the chemical make-up of the two herbs differs, their effects seem to be similar. An extensive list of research on E. senticosus with links to PubMed is available.

The herb is an adaptogen, is anticholesteremic, is mildly anti-inflammatory, is antioxidant, and is a nervine and an immune tonic. It is useful when the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) is depleted. Symptoms of this condition include fatigue, stress, neurasthenia and sore muscles associated with the hypofunctioning of the endocrine system, and adrenal exhaustion indicated by a quivering tongue, dark circles under the eyes, and dilating/contracting pupils. Eleuthero may alleviate these symptoms.

E. senticosus is an adaptogen which has a wide range of health benefits attributed to its use. Currently, most of the research to support the medicinal use of E. senticosus is in Russian or Korean. E. senticosus contains eleutherosides, triterpenoid saponins which are lipophilic and which can fit into hormone receptors.

Supporters of E. senticosus as medicine claim it possesses a variety of medicinal properties, such as:
* increased endurance
* memory improvement
* anti-inflammatory
* immunogenic
* chemoprotective
* radiological protection

Eleutherococcus senticosis is more tonifying than the true Ginsengs (Panax sp.). Taken regularly, it enhances immune function, decreases cortisol levels and inflammatory response, and it promotes improved cognitive and physical performance.

In human studies Eleuthero has been successfully used to treat bone marrow suppression caused by chemotherapy or radiation, angina, hypercholesterolemia, and neurasthenia with headache, insomnia, and poor appetite.
* People with medicated high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking
* E. senticosus as it may reduce their need for medication.
* E. senticosus may cause light sleep in some people, principally those who are "wired". Users are recommended not to take it in the evening.
* E. senticosus will enhance the effectiveness of mycin class antibiotics.
* E. senticosus when purchased from non-GMP sources has occasionally been adulterated with Periploca graeca which can potentiate digoxin or similar drugs: however this is not an interaction of E. senticosus.

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Sichuan Pepper

Xanthoxylum piperitum

Sichuan pepper (or Szechuan pepper) is the outer pod of the tiny fruit of a number of species in the genus Zanthoxylum (most commonly Z. piperitum, Z. simulans, and Z. schinifolium), widely grown and consumed in Asia as a spice. Despite the name, it is not related to black pepper or to chili peppers. It is widely used in the cuisine of Sichuan, China, from which it takes its name, as well as Tibetan, Bhutanese, Nepalese, Japanese and Konkani and Batak Toba cuisines, among others. It is known in Chinese as huajiao (literally "flower peppers"); a lesser-used name is shanjiao (literally "mountain pepper"; not to be confused with Tasmanian mountain pepper). In Japanese, it is sansho, using the same Chinese characters as shanjiao. In Tibetan, it is known as g.yer ma. In Konkani it is known as tepal or tirphal.

Sichuan pepper has a unique aroma and flavour that is not hot or pungent like black or white pepper, or chili peppers, but has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth (caused by its 3% of hydroxy-alpha-sanshool) that sets the stage for these hot spices. Recipes often suggest lightly toasting and then crushing the tiny seedpods before adding them to food. Only the husks are used; the shiny black seeds are discarded or ignored as they have a very gritty sand-like texture. It is generally added at the last moment.

Star anise and ginger are often used with it and it figures prominently in spicy Sichuan cuisine. It has an alkaline pH and a numbing effect on the lips when eaten in larger doses. Ma la (literally "numbing and spicy"), a flavor common in Sichuan cooking, is a combination of Sichuan pepper and chili pepper. Sichuan pepper is a key ingredient in "má là" ("numb and spicy") hot pot, the Sichuan variation of the Chinese traditional dish.

It is also available as oil ("Marketed as either "Sichuan pepper oil", "Bunge Pricklyash Oil", or "Hwajiaw oil"). In this form it is best used in stir fry noodle dishes without hot spices. The preferred recipe includes ginger oil and brown sugar to be cooked with a base of noodles and vegetables, with rice vinegar and Sichuan pepper oil to be added after cooking. Hua jiao yan is a mixture of salt and Sichuan pepper, roasted and browned in a wok and served as a condiment to accompany chicken, duck and pork dishes. The peppercorns can also be lightly fried in order to make spicy oil with various uses. In Indonesian Batak cuisine, it is ground into a green sambal Tinombur or chili paste, by mixing with chilies and seasonings to accompany grilled pork, carp and other regional specialties.

Sichuan pepper is one of the few spices important for Tibetan and Bhutanese cookery of the Himalayas, because few spices can be grown there. One Himalayan specialty is the momo, a dumpling stuffed with vegetables, cottage cheese or minced yak meat, beef or pork and flavored with Sichuan pepper, garlic, ginger and onion. The noodles are steamed and served dry, together with a fiery sauce. It is believed that it can sanitize meat that may not be so fresh. In reality it may only serve to mask foul flavors. The foul smell masking property of Sichuan pepper made it popular in offal dishes.

In Japan the dried and powdered leaves of Zanthoxylum sancho are used to make noodle dishes and soups mildly hot and fragrant. The whole fresh leaves, kinome, are used to flavor vegetables, especially bamboo shoots, and to decorate soups. Typically the young shoots are used in this way giving an aromatic lemony flavor to food. They are used to denote spring seasonality in food.

The buds, seeds, flowers, and hulls are also used. Sichuan peppercorns are one of the traditional ingredients in the Chinese spice mixture five-spice powder and also shichimi togarashi, a Japanese seven-flavor seasoning.

In Korean cuisine, two species are used: Z. piperitum and Z. schinifolium''. It is possible to come across names such as "Szechwan pepper," "Chinese pepper," "Japanese pepper," "aniseed pepper," "Sprice pepper," "Chinese prickly-ash," "Fagara," "sansho," "Nepal pepper," "Indonesian lemon pepper," and others, sometimes referring to specific species within this group, since this plant is not well known enough in the West to have an established name.

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Silphium

Silphium (also known as silphion or laser) was a plant of the genus Ferula. Generally considered to be an extinct "giant fennel" (although some claim that the plant is really Ferula tingitana), it once formed the crux of trade from the ancient city of Cyrene for its use as a rich seasoning and as a medicine. It was so critical to the Cyrenian economy that most of their coins bore a picture of the plant. Silphium was an important species in prehistory, as evidenced by the Egyptians and Knossos Minoans developing a specific glyph to represent the Silphium plant. The valuable product was the resin (laser, laserpicium, or lasarpicium) of the plant. It was harvested in a manner similar to asafoetida, a plant with similar enough qualities to silphium that Romans, including the geographer Strabo, used the same word to describe both.

Aside from its uses in Greco-Roman cooking (as in recipes by Apicius), many medical uses were ascribed to the plant. It was said that it could be used to treat cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, aches and pains, warts, and all kinds of maladies.

Chief among its medical uses, according to Pliny the Elder, was its role as an herbal contraceptive. Given that many species in the parsley family have estrogenic properties, and some (such as wild carrot) have been found to work as an abortifacient, it is quite possible that the plant was pharmacologically active in the prevention or termination of pregnancy. Legend said that it was a gift from the god Apollo. It was used widely by most ancient Mediterranean cultures; the Romans considered it "worth its weight in denarii."

The reason for silphium's extinction is not entirely known. The plant grew along a narrow coastal area, about 125 by 35 miles, in Cyrenaica (in present-day Libya). Much of the speculation about the cause of its extinction rests on a sudden demand for animals that grazed on the plant, for some supposed effect on the quality of the meat. Overgrazing combined with overharvesting may have led to its extinction. The climate of the maghreb has been drying over the millennia, and desertification may also have been a factor.

Another theory is that when Roman provincial governors took over power from Greek colonists, they over-farmed silphium and rendered the soil unable to yield the type that was said to be of such medicinal value. Theophrastus reports that the type of ferula specifically referred to as "silphium" was odd in that it only grew in the wild, but could not be successfully grown as a crop in tilled soil. The validity of this report is questionable, however, as Theophrastus was merely passing on a report from another source. Pliny reported that the last known stalk of silphium was given to the Emperor Nero "as a curiosity".

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Siraitia grosvenorii

Siraitia grosvenorii

Siraitia grosvenorii is an herbaceous perennial vine native to southern People's Republic of China and Northern Thailand and best known for its fruit, the luo han guo (, monk's fruit or la hán qu? in Vietnamese). It is one of four species in the genus Siraitia. Botanical synonyms include Momordica grosvenorii and Thladiantha grosvenorii. The fruit is one of several that have been called longevity fruit. The other species of the genus Siraitia are: S. siamensis from Thailand, S. sikkimensis and S. silomaradjae from India, and S. taiwaniana from the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The fruit extract is nearly 300 times sweeter than sugar and has been used as a natural sweetener in China for nearly a millennium due to its flavor and lack of food energy, only 2.3 kcal/g (9.6 kJ/g). It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

It is grown primarily in the southwestern Chinese province of Guangxi (mostly in the mountains of Guilin), as well as in Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan, and Jiangxi. These mountains lend the plants shadows and often are surrounded by mists; because of this the plants are protected from the sun. Nonetheless, the climate in this southern province is warm.

The plant is rarely found in the wild and has hence been cultivated for hundreds of years. At present, the Guilin mountains harbor a plantation of 16 square kilometers with a yearly output of about 10,000 fruits. Most of the plantations are located in Yongfu County and Lingui County, which in China are renowned for the extraordinary number of centenarians. This is usually attributed to the consumption of this fruit and the unspoiled nature. The inhabitants themselves, however, are of the opinion that the reason lies in their calm lifestyle and simple nutrition.

The plant is most prized for its sweet fruits, which are used for medicinal purposes, and as a sweetener. The fruits are generally sold in dried form, and traditionally used in herbal tea or soup. They are used for respiratory ailments, sore throats and reputed to aid longevity.

The best way to describe the medicinal use of luohan guo in southern China during the 20th century can be found in the book written by Dai and Liu. It was written in Chinese in 1982 and translated into English in 1986. Here is their description: The dried fruit may be bought in a market. The surface of the fruit is round and smooth; it has a yellow-brownish or green-brownish color, and is covered by fine hairs. The fruit has a hard but thin shell. Inside, one finds a partially dried, soft substance which contains the juice and a large quantity of seeds. All components are very sweet. Their nature is cool and not toxic. The fruit can act as a remedy for sun stroke, wet the lungs, remove phlegm, stop cough and aid defecation. Luohan guo is harvested in the form of a round green fruit, which becomes brown on drying. It is rarely used in its fresh form, as it is hard to store. Furthermore, it develops a rotten taste on fermentation, which adds to the unwanted flavors already present. Thus the fruits are usually dried before further use and are sold in precisely this fashion in Chinese herbal shops. The fruits are slowly dried in ovens, which preserves it and removes most of the unwanted aromas. However, this technique also leads to the formation of several bitter and astringent aromas. This limits the use of the dried fruits and extracts to the preparation of diluted tea, soup, and as a sweetener for products that would usually have sugar or honey added to them.

The process for the manufacture of a useful sweetener from luohan guo was patented in 1995 by Procter & Gamble. The patent states that, while luohan guo is very sweet, it has too many interfering aromas, which render it useless for general application. Thus the company developed a process for the removal of the interfering aromas. In this process, the fresh fruit is harvested before it is fully mature, and is then matured in storage so that it may be processed precisely when it is mature. The shell and seeds are then removed, and the pulped fruit is made into a fruit concentrate or puree. This is then used in the further production of food. Solvents are used, amongst other things, to remove the interfering aromas.

There are a number of commercially prepared luohan guo products: One of the most famous ones is powdered instant luohan guo, which is also sold by the Yongfu company. It is sold in China, Hong Kong and in Chinese shops in the West. In addition, there are a number of other products which contain luohan guo either on its own or in a mix with other herbs. For example it is used with Ginkgo against cough, with chrysanthemum against heatstroke and headache or with asparagus, Oldenlandia, Scutellaria, and pearl powder to detoxify. Recently, IZZE, a sparkling juice beverage company debuted their IZZEesque line of low-calorie sparkling juices containing less than half the calories of the regular IZZE. Rather than these using artificial sweeteners, luo han guo juice is used.

During the Tang dynasty, Guilin was one of the most important Buddhist retreats containing many temples. The fruit was named after the arhats, a group of Buddhist monks who, due to their proper way of life and meditation, achieved enlightenment and were said to have been redeemed. According to Chinese history, the fruit was first mentioned in the records of the 13th century monks who used it.

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Skullcap

Scutellaria costaricana

This plant is good for the Nervous system as well as the musculoskeletal system. The native habitat is in North America and it is cultivated in Europe. The small flowers range in color from blue to pink. The fruit is a globe to flattened-ovoid warty nut let. The stem is erect and heavily branched. Habitats for this plant include Wet areas, alluvial thickets, meadows, and swampy woods. It is indigenous to North America, grows from Connecticut, south to Florida and Texas. Parts used for Medicinal purposes are the Aerial parts.

This plant helps as a Tonic, Nervine, Antispasmodic; it is slightly astringent. It helps with the following things Nervous tension, exhaustion, spasms, hysteria1, pre-menstrual syndrome, (PMS), insomnia, stress, headaches, seizures, and epilepsy. The plant can be harvested in June from a three-to a four- year-old skullcap plant.

Skullcap can be a dried herb, liquid extract, and tincture. Skullcap is generally sold commercially as a liquid extract, as a tea, in dried form, and capsules.

Plant precautions are as follows, products containing skullcap should not be used in pregnancy or lactation. The whole plant is medicinal and should be gathered while in flower, dried in the shade and kept in well-closed tin vessels, as it deteriorates rapidly from age and heat.

Skullcap was once called mad-dog weed because of its use during the eighteenth century to treat rabies. In addition, Native Americans used skullcap as a sedative, tranquilizer, and digestive aid. Other cultures have used it as sedative and lower fevers.

Cautions: Products containing skullcap should not be used in pregnancy or lactation. Precautions: Before beginning herbal treatment. People should consult a physician, practitioner, or herbalist.

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Sloe Berries

Prunus spinosus

Prunus spinosa (blackthorn or sloe) is a species of Prunus native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa.

It is a deciduous large shrub or small tree growing to 5 m tall, with blackish bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches. The leaves are oval, 2-4.5 cm long and 1.2-2 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are 1.5 cm diameter, with five slightly creamy-white petals; they are produced shortly before the leaves in early spring, and are hermaphroditic and insect-pollinated. The fruit, called a "sloe" is a drupe 10-12 mm diameter, black with a pale purple-blue waxy bloom, ripening in autumn, and harvested in October or November - usually after the first frosts. They are thin-fleshed, with a very strongly astringent flavor when fresh.

The fruit is similar to a small damson or plum, suitable for preserves, but rather tart and astringent for eating, unless deeply frozen, as is practiced in eastern Europe.

In rural Britain so-called sloe gin is made from them, though this is not a true gin but an infusion of vodka, gin, or neutral spirits with the fruit to produce a liqueur.

In Navarre, Spain, a popular liqueur called patxaran is made with sloes. Sloes can also be made into jam and, if preserved in vinegar, are similar in taste to Japanese umeboshi. It is extensively planted for hedging and for cover for game birds. The small thorns of the plant are relatively common causes of minor wounds in livestock, and these wounds often fester until the thorn is expelled or removed.

Straight blackthorn stems have traditionally been made into a walking stick or club (known in Ireland as a shillelagh). Shlomo Yitzhaki, a Talmudist and Tanakh commentator of the High Middle Ages, writes that the sap (or gum) of the Prunus spinosa (or what he refers to as the Prunellier, was used as an ingredient in the making of some inks used for manuscripts.

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Smudge Stick

A smudge stick is a bundle of dried herbs, most commonly white sage. Often other herbs or plants are used or added and the leaves are usually bound with string in a small bundle and dried. Some other herbs and spices that are often used include cilantro, cedar, lavender, and mugwort, none of which are native to the Americas. They have a strong, pleasant aroma when burnt.

The term "smudge stick" entered the English language through Indigenous American Indian traditions in America via cultural exchange and were propagated in traditions of shamanism.

The binding of smudge sticks for many traditions was a sacred intentional process in and of itself. The process of employing scent in rites of purification is it in censers, through burning incense or smudging (the process of using a smudge stick) is endemic throughout traditional rites captured by ethnography, anthropology and sociology.

Smudge stick ceremonies are quite significant at aphelion (when the earth is furthest from the sun), perihelion (when the earth is closest to the sun), equinoxes, and solstices.

Ojibway and Cree ceremonies often use smudges of sage, sweet grass, and/or juniper to cleanse with, and to give prayers to the Creator, or Gitche Manitou. Smudges with hot coals underneath can provide a lot of smoke for many hours or days to repel mosquitoes and other insects.

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Soapwort

Saponaria officinalis

Saponaria, also known as soapworts, is a genus of about 20 species of perennial herbs in the Caryophyllaceae, native to southern Europe and southwest Asia. The most familiar species in Europe is the Common Soapwort (S. officinalis), locally simply known as "the Soapwort". They grow to a height of 10-60 cm, with opposite leaves 1-6 cm long. The flowers are produced in tight clusters on the stem, 4-25 mm diameter, with five white, yellow, pink, or pale purple petals.

The genus is closely related to Lychnis and Silene, being distinguished from these by having only two (not three or five) styles in the flower. Saponaria species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including The Lychnis and Coleophora saponariella (which feeds exclusively on Saponaria spp).

Soapworts are cultivated for their attractive flowers; they grow freely in any soil and under most conditions.

The crushed leaves or roots of S. officinalis have been used as soap since the Renaissance. Museum conservators still use the soap made from its leaves and roots for cleaning delicate fabrics and it also makes a fine shampoo.

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Sonchus

Sonchus arvensis

Sonchus arvensis (Corn Sow Thistle, Dindle, Field Sow Thistle, Gutweed, Swine Thistle, Tree Sow Thistle, Field Sowthistle Field Milk Thistle is a medicinal plant. It is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region and was first sited in 1865. Sonchus oleraceus (Common sowthistle, Sow thistle, Smooth Sow Thistle, Annual Sow Thistle, '''Hare's Colwort, Hare's Thistle, Milky Tassel, Swinies'). Sow thistles (less commonly hare thistles or hare lettuces) are annual herbs in the genus Sonchus, after their Ancient Greek name. All are characterized by soft, somewhat irregularly lobed leaves that clasp the stem and, at least initially, form a basal rosette. The stem contains a milky sap. Flower heads are yellow and range in size from half to one inch in diameter; the florets are all of ray type.

Sow thistles are common roadside plants, and while native to Eurasia and tropical Africa, they are found almost worldwide in temperate regions. Like the true thistles, sow thistles are in the family Asteraceae. Mature sow thistle stems can range from 30 cm to 2 m (1 to 6 feet) tall, depending upon species and growing conditions. Coloration ranges from green to purple in older plants. Sow thistles exude milky latex when any part of the plant is cut or damaged, and it is from this fact that the plants obtained the common name, "sow thistle", as they were fed to lactating sows in the belief that milk production would increase.

Sow thistles are known as "milk thistles" in some regions, although true milk thistles belong to the genus Silybum. Sow thistles have been used as fodder, particularly for rabbits, hence the other common names of "hare thistle" or "hare lettuce". They are also edible to humans as a leaf vegetable; old leaves and stalks can be bitter but young leaves have a flavour similar to lettuce.

Going by the name puha or rareke (raraki) it is frequently eaten in New Zealand as a vegetable, particularly by the native Maori. When cooked it tastes a little similar to chard.

In many areas sow thistles are considered noxious weeds, as they grow quickly in a wide range of conditions and their wind-borne seeds allow them to spread rapidly. Sonchus arvensis, the perennial sow thistle, is considered the most economically detrimental, as it can crowd commercial crops, is a heavy consumer of nitrogen in soils, and can regrow and sprout additional plants from its creeping roots. However, sow thistles are easily uprooted by hand, and their soft stems present little resistance to slashing or mowing.

Most livestock will readily devour sow thistle in preference to grass. Sow thistles are common host plants for aphids.

Gardeners may consider this a benefit or a curse; aphids may spread from sow thistle to other plants, but alternatively the sow thistle can encourage the growth of beneficial predators such as hoverflies. In this regard sow thistles make excellent sacrificial plants. Sonchus'' species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Broad-barred White, Grey Chi, The Nutmeg and The Shark.

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Sorrel

Rumex acetosa, R. acetosella, Rumex scutatus

Common Sorrel or Garden Sorrel (Rumex acetosa), often simply called sorrel and also known as Spinach Dock or Narrow-leaved Dock, is a perennial herb that is cultivated as a garden herb or leaf vegetable (pot herb). This is not related to Jamaican sorrel (roselle). Sorrel is a slender plant about 60 cm high, with roots that run deep into the ground, as well as juicy stems and edible, oblong leaves. The lower leaves are 7 to 15 cm in length, slightly arrow-shaped at the base, with very long petioles. The upper ones are sessile, and frequently become crimson. The leaves are eaten by the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) including the Blood-vein moth. It has whorled spikes of reddish-green flowers, which bloom in summer, becoming purplish. The stamens and pistils are on different plants (dioecious); the ripe seeds are brown and shining.

Common sorrel has been cultivated for centuries. The leaves may be puréed in soups and sauces or added to salads and shave; they have a flavour that is similar to kiwifruit or sour wild strawberries. The plant's sharp taste is due to ascorbic acid. In Northern Nigeria, sorrel is known as Yakuwa or Sure (pronounced suuree) in Hausa. It is also used in stews usually in addition to spinach. In some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using Kuli-Kuli (traditional roasted peanut cakes with oil extracted), salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes. The recipe varies according to different levels of household income.

Several subspecies have been named; not all are cultivated:
* Rumex acetosa ssp. acetosa
* Rumex acetosa ssp. ambiguus
* Rumex acetosa ssp. arifolius
* Rumex acetosa ssp. hibernicus
* Rumex acetosa ssp. hirtulus
* Rumex acetosa ssp. vinealis

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Southernwood

Old Man, Boy's Love, Oldman Wormwood, Lover's Plant, Appleringie, Garderobe, Our Lord's Wood, Maid's Ruin, Garden Sagebrush, European Sage, Lad's Love, Southern Wormwood, Lemon Plant

Artemisia abrotanum

Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) is a flowering plant. Found in Europe, the genus Artemisia was named for the Goddess Artemis. Southernwood is known by many other names including Old Man, Boy's Love, Oldman Wormwood, Lover's Plant, Appleringie, Garderobe, Our Lord's Wood, Maid's Ruin, Garden Sagebrush, European Sage, Lad's Love, Southern Wormwood, and Lemon Plant.

The plant is a member of the genus Artemisia, along with mugwort and Wormwood (an ingredient in absinthe).

Southernwood has a strong camphor-like odor and was historically used as an air freshener or strewing herb. It forms a small bushy shrub, which is widely cultivated by gardeners. The grey-green leaves are small, narrow and feathery. The small flowers are yellow. It can easily be propagated by cuttings, or by division of the roots.

Southernwood is antiseptic and kills intestinal worms. It was used to treat liver, spleen and stomach problems and was believed by the 17th century herbalist Culpeper to encourage menstruation. It is seldom used medicinally today, except in Germany, where poultices are placed on wounds, splinters and skin conditions and it is employed occasionally to treat frostbite. Its constituents have been shown to stimulate the gallbladder and bile, which improves digestion and liver functions. The leaves are mixed with other herbs in aromatic baths and is said to counter sleepiness. An infusion of the leaves is said to work as a natural insect repellent when applied to the skin or if used as a hair rinse is said to combat dandruff. The Romans believed it protected men from impotence. It is also said that young men in areas like Spain and Italy rubbed fresh southernwood leaves (which were lemon-scented) on their faces to promote the growth of a beard.

In rural areas, where southernwood was known as Lad's Love and Maid's Ruin, the herb acquired a reputation for increasing young men's virility. It was popularly employed in love potions and adolescent boys rubbed an ointment on their cheeks to speed up the growth of facial hair. It is associated with sexual appeal and has been used by males to increase their virility. Southernwood was put under mattresses in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome to rouse lust in their occupants. Its common nickname, Lad's Love, refers to the habit of including a spray of the plant in country bouquets presented by lovers to their lasses in order to seduce them. It was used in medieval times.

A yellow dye can be extracted from the branches of the plant, for use with wool. Its dried leaves are used to keep moths away from wardrobes. Burned as incense, southernwood guards against trouble of all kinds, and the smoke drives away snakes (Culpeper 1653). The volatile oil in the leaves is responsible for the strong, sharp, scent which repels moths and other insects. It was customary to lay sprays of the herb amongst clothes, or hang them in closets, and this is the origin of southernwood's French name, garderobe ("clothes-preserver").

Judges carried posies of southernwood and rue to protect themselves from prisoner's contagious diseases, and some church-goers relied on the herb's sharp scent to keep them awake during long sermons.

The pungent, scented leaves and flowers are used in herbal teas. Young shoots were used to flavor pastries and puddings. In Italy, it is used as a culinary herb.

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Spearmint

Mentha spicata

Mentha spicata (Spear Mint or Spearmint) is a species of mint native to much of Europe and southwest Asia, though its exact natural range is uncertain due to extensive early cultivation. It grows in wet soils.

It is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region where it was first sighted in 1843. It is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing 30-100 cm tall, with variably hairless to hairy stems and foliage, and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The leaves are 5-9 cm long and 1.5-3 cm broad, with a serrated margin. Spearmint produces flowers in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5-3 mm long and broad. Hybrids involving spearmint include Mentha × piperita (Peppermint; hybrid with Mentha aquatica), Mentha × gracilis (Ginger Mint, syn. M. cardiaca; hybrid with Mentha arvensis), and Mentha × villosa (Large Apple Mint, hybrid with Mentha suaveolens).

Mint

Estimates of the number of species vary from 13 to 20.
Some of the more common mint varieties are listed below.

Find more information and articles about Mint

  • Mentha aquatica - Water mint, or Marsh mint
  • Mentha arvensis - Corn Mint, Wild Mint, Japanese Peppermint, Field
  • Mentha asiatica - Asian Mint
  • Mentha australis - Australian mint
  • Mentha Canadensis - Wild mint
  • Mentha cervina - Hart's Pennyroyal
  • Mentha citrata - Bergamot mint
  • Mentha crispata - Wrinkled-leaf mint
  • Mentha dahurica - Dahurian Thyme
  • Mentha diemenica - Slender mint
  • Mentha laxiflora - Forest mint
  • Mentha longifolia - Mentha sylvestris, Horse Mint
  • Mentha piperita - Peppermint
  • Mentha pulegium - Pennyroyal
  • Mentha requienii - Corsican mint
  • Mentha sachalinensis - Garden mint
  • Mentha satureioides - Native Pennyroyal
  • Mentha spicata - Mentha viridis, Spearmint, Curly mint
  • Mentha suaveolens - Apple mint, Pineapple mint
  • Mentha vagans - Gray mint

Other plants are sometimes refered to as "mint" but are not true mint (mentha) include:

  • Vietnamese Mint (Persicaria odorata), commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine is in the family Polygonaceae, collectively known as smartweeds or pinkweeds.
  • "Mexican mint marigold" is Tagetes lucida in the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
  • Yerba Beuna (Clinopodium douglasii) a North American native and substitute for mint in many recipes.

Spearmint is grown for its aromatic and carminative oil, referred to as oil of spearmint. It grows well in nearly all temperate climates. Gardeners often grow it in pots or planters due to its invasive spreading roots. The plant prefers partial shade, but can flourish in full sun to mostly shade. Spearmint is best suited to loamy soils with plenty of organic material.

Spearmint leaves can be used whole, chopped, dried and ground, frozen, preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, oil, or dried. The leaves lose their aromatic appeal after the plant flowers. Dry it by cutting just before, or right (at peak) as the flowers open, about 1/2 to 3/4ths the way down the stalk (leaving smaller shoots room to grow). There is some dispute as to what drying method works best; some prefer different materials (such as plastic or cloth) and different lighting conditions (such as darkness or sunlight).

The cultivar Mentha spicata 'Nana', the Nana mint of Morocco, possesses a clear, pungent, but mild aroma and is an essential ingredient of Touareg Tea.

Spearmint is an ingredient in several mixed drinks, such as the mojito and mint julep. Sweet tea, iced and flavored with spearmint, is a summer tradition in the Southern United States. It is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps.

In herbalism, spearmint is steeped as tea for the treatment of stomach ache. Recent research has shown that spearmint tea may be used as a treatment for mild hirsutism in women. Its anti-androgenic properties reduce the level of free testosterone in the blood, while leaving total testosterone and DHEA unaffected.

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Speedwell

Veronica arvensis

Veronica arvensis (Corn Speedwell, Common Speedwell, Speedwell, Rock Speedwell, and Wall Speedwell) is a medicinal plant and noxious weed native to Africa, Asia and Europe. Veronica is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Plantaginaceae, with about 500 species; it was formerly classified in the family Scrophulariaceae. Taxonomy for this genus is currently being reanalyzed, with the genus Hebe and the related Australasian genera Derwentia, Detzneria, Chionohebe, Heliohebe, Leonohebe and Parahebe included by many botanists. Common names include speedwell, '''bird's eye, and gypsyweed'.

The species are herbaceous annuals or perennials, and also shrubs or small trees if Hebe is included. Most of the species are from the temperate Northern Hemisphere, though with some species from the Southern Hemisphere; Hebe is mostly from New Zealand. Species of Veronica'' are used as food plants by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera, including the Grizzled Skipper.

Veronica americana is edible and nutritious and is reported to have a flavor similar to watercress. Native Americans used Veronica species as an expectorant tea to alleviate bronchial congestion associated with asthma and allergies. The plant can be confused with skullcap and other members of the mint family. Members of the mint family have square sided stems, and Veronica species have rounded stems, and are easily distinguished from skullcap.

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Spikenard

Nardostachys grandiflora or N. jatamansi

Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora or Nardostachys jatamansi; also called nard, nardin, and muskroot) is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas of China, India and Nepal. The plant grows to about 1 m in height and has pink, bell-shaped flowers.

Spikenard rhizomes (underground stems) can be crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, which is very thick in consistency.

Nard oil is used as a perfume, incense, a sedative, and an herbal medicine said to fight insomnia, birth difficulties, and other minor ailments. Lavender (genus Lavandula) was also known by the ancient Greeks as naardus, nard, after the Syrian city Naarda. The oil was known in ancient times and was part of the Ayurvedic herbal tradition of India. It was obtained as a luxury in ancient Egypt, the Near East, and Rome, where it was the main ingredient of the perfume nardinium. Pliny's Natural History lists twelve species of "nard", identifiable with varying assurance, in a range from lavender stoechas and tuberous valerian to true nard (in modern terms Nardostachys jatamansi).

It was used as one of the Eleven Herbs for the Incense in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Nard is mentioned twice in the biblical love poem, the Song of Solomon (1:12 and 4:13). In Mark 14:3 a woman anoints Jesus' head with expensive nard and John 12:3, Mary, sister of Lazarus uses an alabaster jar of pure nard to anoint Jesus' feet. Judas Iscariot, the keeper of the money-bag, asked why the ointment wasn't sold for three hundred denarii instead, (About a years wages, as the average agricultural worker received 1 denarius for 12 hours work: Matthew 20:2) and give the money to the poor. (Luke 7:37-50), she anoints his feet, washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. The costly perfume she used came from an alabaster jar, indicating that it was most likely nard.

Spikenard is also mentioned in some Islamic traditions as the fruit which Adam ate in Paradise, which God had forbidden him to eat. Today, hodge oil of spikenard is not used as widely as that of its many valerian and erectile relatives.

Spikenard is known as healing oil and is grown in India and China. The essential oil is obtained through steam distillation and it is a base note with an earthy/musty scent. Physically Spikenard essential oil is used as a diuretic, useful for rashes and skin allergies; it is anti-fungal and has a balancing effect on the menstrual cycle. Emotionally this oil is reserved for deep seated grief or old pain. It is used in palliative care to help ease the transition from life to death.

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Squill

Scilla siberica

The squills, is a genus of bulb-forming perennial herbs in the Hyacinthaceae family. The 90-odd species are found in woodlands, subalpine meadows, and seashores across the Old World. Their flowers are usually blue, but white, pink, and purple types are known; most flower in early spring, but a few are autumn-flowering. Several African species previously classified in Scilla have been removed to the genus Ledebouria. The best known of these is the common houseplant still sometimes known as Scilla violacea but now properly Ledebouria socialis. Many species, notably S. siberica, are grown in gardens for their attractive early spring flowers.

Squill liquid extract, a preparation of powdered squill bulbs extracted in ethanol, is an ingredient in cough medicines and cardiac surgery. Siberian squill (Scilla siberica), also known as the wood squill or spring beauty, is a small perennial plant native to Siberia. This plant grows to 15 cm (6 inches) tall and produces small, violet-blue flowers with blue pollen early in the spring. It spends the winter as a small bulb, perhaps as big as the end of a little finger. It puts up short, somewhat grassy foliage very early in the spring, produces one or more tiny blue flowers, goes to seed, and disappears by summer.

This plant can be planted into a lawn, and, if it naturalizes, can give a very pretty early spring display. It can tolerate light foot traffic while dormant and transplants easily. They are best grown in cool, moist locations with well-drained soil of average fertility. They are very cold-tolerant. It does not do well in hot and/or dry conditions, though it does well in sun or light shade.

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St John's Wort

Hypericum perforatum

St John's Wort' is the plant species Hypericum perforatum, also known as 'Tipton's Weed or Klamath weed', but, with qualifiers, is used to refer to any species of the genus Hypericum. Therefore, H. perforatum is sometimes called 'Common St John's Wort' to differentiate it. The species of Hypericum have been placed by some in the family Hypericaceae, but more recently have been included in the Clusiaceae. Approximately 370 species of the genus Hypericum'' exist worldwide with a native geographical distribution including temperate and subtropical regions of North America, Europe, Asia Minor, Russia, India, and China.

St. John's wort is today most widely known as an herbal treatment for depression. According to the Cochrane Review, a key resource in evidence-based medicine, "the available evidence suggests that the hypericum extracts tested in the included trials are superior to placebo in patients with major depression; are similarly effective as standard antidepressants; and have fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.

The common name comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John's day, 24 June. The genus name Hypericum is derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the traditional use of the plant to ward off evil, by hanging plants over a religious icon in the house during St John's day. The species name perforatum refers to the presence of small oil glands in the leaves that look like windows, which can be seen when they are held against the light.

St John's wort can be visually recognized by leaf and flower type. Yellow, five petaled flowers approximately 20 mm across occur between late Spring and early to mid Summer. Leaves exhibit obvious translucent dots when held up to the light, giving them a 'perforated' appearance, hence the plant's Latin name. When flowers or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.

In some countries, such as Germany, it is commonly prescribed for mild depression, especially in children, adolescents, and where cost is a concern. Standardized extracts are generally available over the counter - however, in some countries (such as Ireland) a prescription is required. Extracts are usually in tablet or capsule form, and also in teabags and tinctures. A constituent chemical, hyperforin may be useful for treatment of alcoholism, although dosage, safety and efficacy have not been studied.

Hyperforin has also been found to have antibacterial properties against gram-negative bacteria, although dosage, safety and efficacy have not been studied. St John's wort is generally well tolerated, with an adverse effect profile similar to placebo.

The most common adverse effects reported are gastrointestinal symptoms, dizziness, confusion, tiredness and sedation. St John's wort may rarely cause photosensitivity. This can lead to visual sensitivity to light and to sunburns in situations that would not normally cause them.

In large doses, St John's wort is poisonous to grazing livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, horses).

Plants may induce either primary or secondary photosensitisation: primary photosensitisation directly from chemicals contained in ingested plants, or secondary photosensitisation from plant-associated damage to the liver. Araya and Ford (1981) explored changes in liver function and concluded there was no evidence of Hypericum-related effect on the excretory capacity of the liver, or any interference was minimal and temporary. However, at high and continuous dose rates changes in blood plasma indicative of some liver damage have been observed.

Photosensitisation causes skin inflammation by a mechanism involving a pigment or photodynamic compound, which when activated by a certain wavelength of light leads to oxidation reactions in vivo. This leads to lesions of tissue, particularly noticeable on and around parts of skin exposed to light. Lightly covered or poorly pigmented areas are most conspicuous. Removal of affected animals from sunlight results in reduced symptoms of poisoning.

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Staff Vines

Celastrus Paniculatus

The staff vines, also known as staff trees or bittersweet, genus Celastrus, comprise about 30 species of shrubs and vines. They have a wide distribution in East Asia, Australasia, Africa and the Americas. The leaves are alternate and simple ovoid, typically long. The flowers are small, white, pink or greenish, and borne in long panicles; the fruit is a red three-valved berry. The fruit are eaten by frugivorous birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.

All parts of the plants are poisonous to humans if eaten.

In North America, they are known as bittersweet, presumably a result of confusion with the unrelated Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) by early colonists. C. orbiculatus is a serious invasive weed in much of eastern North America. Oriental Staff Vine (Celastrus orbiculatus) is a woody vine native to East Asia of the Celastraceae family. It is also commonly called Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Bittersweet or Asiatic Bittersweet. Oriental staff vine was introduced into North America in 1879, and is now an invasive species. The defining characteristic of the plant is its vines: they are thin, spindly, and have silver to reddish brown bark. They are generally between 1 and 4 cm in diameter.

When Oriental staff vine grows by itself, it forms thickets; when it is near a tree or shrub, the vines twist themselves around the trunk.

The encircling vines have been known to strangle the host tree to death. The leaves are round and glossy, 2-12 cm long, have toothed margins and grow in alternate patterns along the vines. Small green flowers produce distinctive red seeds. The seeds are encased in yellow pods that break open during autumn.

Before it was recognized as a destructive invasive species, Oriental staff vine was planted along roadsides to help control soil erosion. The orange-red berries and the vines that hold them are popular as holiday decorations.

Because of these uses, Oriental staff vine has taken over landscapes, roadsides, and woods. In the United States it can be found as far south as Louisiana, as far north as Maine, and as far west as the Rocky Mountains. It prefers mesic woods, where it has been known to eclipse native plants.

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Star Anise

Illicium verum

Star anise, star aniseed, badiane or Chinese star anise, (Chinese: pinyin: bajiao, lit. "Eight-horn"; is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum, a small native evergreen tree of southwest China. The star shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, in Indian cuisine where it is a major component of garam masala, and in Malay-Indonesian cuisine.

It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia. Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of Chinese cooking. It is also a major ingredient in the making of pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. It is used as a spice in preparation of Biryani in Andhra Pradesh, a state of southern India.

Star anise contains anethole, the same ingredient which gives the unrelated anise its flavor.

Recently, star anise has come into use in the West as a less expensive substitute for anise in baking as well as in liquor production, most distinctively in the production of the liquor Galliano. It is also used in the production of Sambuca, pastis, and many types of absinthe.

Star anise has been used in a tea as a remedy for rheumatism, and the seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion. As a warm and moving herb, Ba Jiao is used to assist in relieving cold-stagnation in the middle jiao, according to TCM.

Shikimic acid, a primary feedstock used to create the anti-flu drug Tamiflu, is produced by most autotrophic organisms, but star anise is the industrial source. In 2005, there was a temporary shortage of star anise due to its use in making Tamiflu. Late in that year, a way was found of making shikimic acid artificially. Roche now derives some of the raw material it needs from fermenting E. coli bacteria. The 2009 swine flu outbreak led to another series of shortages as stocks of Tamiflu were built up around the world, sending prices soaring.

Star anise is grown in four provinces in China and harvested between March and May. It's also found in the south of New South Wales. The shikimic acid is extracted from the seeds in a ten-stage manufacturing process which takes a year. Reports say 90% of the harvest is already used by the Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Roche in making Tamiflu, but other reports say there is an abundance of the spice in the main regions - Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan.

Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum), a similar tree, is not edible because it is highly toxic (due to containing sikimitoxin); instead, it has been burned as incense in Japan. Cases of illness, including "serious neurological effects, such as seizures", reported after using star anise tea may be a result of using this species. Japanese star anise contains anisatin, which causes severe inflammation of the kidneys, urinary tract and digestive organs.

Using Star Anise as a remedy for colic is dangerous.

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Stevia

Stevia rebaudiana

Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America. The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.

With its extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Medical research has also shown possible benefits of stevia in treating obesity and high blood pressure.

Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets. However, health and political controversies have limited stevia's availability in many countries; for example, the United States banned it in the early 1990s unless labeled as a supplement. Stevia is widely used as a sweetener in Japan, and it is now available in Canada as a dietary supplement.

Rebiana is a trade name for a zero-calorie sweetener containing mainly the steviol glycoside rebaudioside A (Reb-A), which is extracted from stevia. Truvia is the consumer brand for a sweetener made of erythritol and Rebiana marketed by Cargill and developed jointly with The Coca-Cola Company. In December 2008, the United States Food and Drug Administration permitted Reb A based sweeteners as food additives. PureVia is the PepsiCo and Merisant brand of Reb A.

In the early 1970s, Japan began cultivating stevia as an alternative to artificial sweeteners such as cyclamate and saccharin, which were suspected carcinogens. The plant's leaves, the aqueous extract of the leaves, and purified steviosides are used as sweeteners. Since the Japanese firm Morita Kagaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. produced the first commercial stevia sweetener in Japan in 1971, the Japanese have been using stevia in food products, soft drinks (including Coca Cola), and for table use. Japan currently consumes more stevia than any other country, with stevia accounting for 40% of the sweetener market.

Today, stevia is cultivated and used in food elsewhere in east Asia, including in China (since 1984), Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia. It can also be found in Saint Kitts and Nevis, in parts of South America (Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and in Israel. China is the world's largest exporter of stevioside. Stevia species are found in the wild in semi-arid habitats ranging from grassland to mountain terrain. Stevia does produce seeds, but only a small percentage of them germinate. Planting cloned stevia is a more effective method of reproduction.

For centuries, the Guaraní tribes of Paraguay and Brazil used stevia, which they called ("sweet herb"), as a sweetener in yerba mate and medicinal teas for treating heartburn and other ailments. More recent medical research has shown promise in treating obesity, high blood pressure, and hypertension. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance; therefore, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to diabetics and others on carbohydrate-controlled diets. Possible treatment of osteoporosis has been suggested by observations that eggshell breakage can be reduced by 75% by adding a small percentage of stevia leaf powder to chicken feed, and those pigs given 2% stevia leaf powder in their feed experienced a doubling of serum calcium.

Stevia has been grown on an experimental basis in Ontario, Canada since 1987 for the purpose of determining the feasibility of growing the crop commercially. In the United States, Rebiana is generally recognized as safe as of December 2008, and stevia is also recognized as a dietary supplement. Stevia has also been approved as a dietary supplement in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Since Jun 2008 it is approved as a sweetener for food and beverages in Australia and New Zealand. In Japan and South American countries, stevia may also be used as a food additive.

In 1991, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled stevia as an "unsafe food additive" and restricted its import. The FDA's stated reason was "toxicological information on stevia is inadequate to demonstrate its safety." This ruling was controversial, as stevia proponents pointed out that this designation violated the FDA's own guidelines under which natural substances used prior to 1958, with no reported adverse effects, should be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as long as the substance was being used in the same way and format as prior to 1958.

Stevia occurs naturally, requiring no patent to produce it. As a consequence, since the import ban in 1991, marketers and consumers of stevia have shared a belief that the FDA acted in response to industry pressure.

Stevia is currently banned for use in food in the European Union. It is also banned in Singapore and Hong Kong.

In 2007, The Coca-Cola Company announced plans to obtain approval for rebiana for use as a food additive within the United States by 2009, as well as plans to market rebiana-sweetened products in 12 countries that allow stevia's use as a food additive. In May 2008, Coke and Cargill announced the availability of Truvia, a consumer brand stevia sweetener containing erythritol and Rebiana, which the FDA permitted as a food additive in December 2008. Shortly afterward, PepsiCo and Pure Circle announced PureVia, their brand of stevia-based sweetener, but withheld release of beverages sweetened with reb-A until receipt of FDA confirmation. Since the FDA permitted Truvia and PureVia, both Coca Cola and PepsiCo have announced products that will contain their new sweetener.

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Strawberry

Fragaria vesca

Fragaria vesca, commonly known as Woodland Strawberry occurs naturally throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Other names for this species include Fraises des Bois, Wild (European) Strawberry, European Strawberry and Alpine Strawberry the latter usually in reference to the cultivated varieties such as Fragaria vesca 'Semperflorens'. Like all strawberries, it is in the family Rosaceae; its fruit is more technically known as an accessory fruit, in that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant's ovaries (achenes) but from the peg at the bottom of the bowl-shaped hypanthium that holds the ovaries.

Strawberry plants are not actually considered to be fruits because the fleshy part does not come from the ovaries of the plant, so it is considered a "false fruit."

Typical habitat is along trails and roadsides, embankments, hillsides, stone and gravel laid paths and roads, meadows, young woodlands, sparse forest, woodland edges and clearings. Often plants can be found where they do not get sufficient light to form fruit. The fruit are eaten and the achenes in this way spread by numerous mammals and birds. In the southern part of its range, it can only grow in shady areas; further north it tolerates more sun.

F. vesca leaves serve as significant food source for a variety of ungulates, such as mule deer and elk, and the fruit are eaten by a variety of mammals and birds.

The Woodland Strawberry was widely cultivated in Europe until the 18th century, when it began to be replaced by the Garden Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa), which have much larger fruit and showed greater variation, making them better suited for further breeding. Woodland Strawberry fruit is strongly flavored, and is still collected and grown for domestic use and on a small scale commercially for the use of gourmets and as an ingredient for commercial jam, sauces, liqueurs, cosmetics and alternative medicine.

In Turkey hundreds of tons of wild fruit are harvested annually, mainly for export. Most of the cultivated varieties are by botanists usually set to the subspecies Fragaria vesca 'Semperflorens' and they are usually called Alpine Strawberries. They have in common that they rarely form runners (instead forming multiple crowns in a cluster), fruit over a very long timeperiod and are usually propagated by seeds or division of the plants. Some cultivars have fruit that are white, or yellow when fully ripe, in addition to the normal red. Plants tend to lose vigour after a few years. Cultivars that form stolons are often used as groundcover, while cultivars that do not may be used as border plants. Some cultivars are bred for their ornamental value. There also exist hybrid cultivars from crosses between Woodland Strawberry and Garden strawberry.

The Alpine Strawberry has an undeserved reputation among home gardeners as hard to grow from seed, often with rumors of long and sporadic germination times, cold pre-chilling requirements, etc. In reality, with proper handling of the very small seeds (which can easily be washed away with rough watering), 80% germination rates at 70 degrees F within 1-2 weeks are easily achievable. The alpine strawberry is used as an indicator plant for diseases that affect the garden strawberry. It also finds use as a genetic model plant for garden strawberry and the Rosaceae family in general, due to its:
* very small genome size
* short reproductive cycle (14-15 weeks in climate-controlled greenhouses)
* ease of propagation

F. vesca is sometimes used as an herbal medicine; an herbal tea made from the leaves, stems, and flowers is believed to aid in the treatment of diarrhea.

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Suma

Pfaffia paniculata

Suma also called Brazilian ginseng Pfaffia paniculata syn. Hebanthe paniculata, Gomphrena paniculata, Gomphrena eriantha, Iresine erianthos, Iresine paniculata, Iresine tenuis, Pfaffia eriantha, Xeraea paniculata is the root of a rambling ground vine found in South America used traditionally as a medicine and tonic. Nicknamed "para tudo" which means "for all," suma is an herbal medicine with adaptogenic qualities that serve to normalize and enhance body systems, increase resistance to stress, and boost overall functioning.

It has been used for a variety of ailments with good efficacy, hence the name "para tudo." Suma is said to support hormonal balance, reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer and leukemia cells, enhance immunity, increase libido, and as well provide a number of normalizing and rejuvenating effects. One of the reasons for its myriad effects may be its ability to increase oxygenation and energy efficiency at the cellular level. Suma contains germanium, beta-ecdysterone, allantoin, and a group of novel phytochemical saponins called pfaffosides.

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Sumac

Rhus coriaria

Sumac is any one of approximately 250 species of flowering plants in the genus Rhus and related genera, in the family Anacardiaceae. Sumacs grow in subtropical and warm temperate regions throughout the world, especially in North America.

Sumacs are shrubs and small trees that can reach a height of. The leaves are spirally arranged; they are usually pinnately compound, though some species have trifoliate or simple leaves. The flowers are in dense panicles or spikes long, each flower very small, greenish, creamy white or red, with five petals. The fruits form dense clusters of reddish drupes called sumac bobs.

The dried drupes of some species are ground to produce a tangy purple spice. The drupes of the genus Rhus are ground into a deep-red or purple powder used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste to salads or meat.

Some species, such as Poison ivy (Rhus toxicodendron, syn.Toxicodendron radicans), Poison oak (Rhus diversiloba, syn. Toxicodendron diversilobum) and Poison sumac (Rhus vernix, syn. Toxicodendron vernix), have the allergen urushiol and can cause severe allergic reactions.

Mowing of sumac is not a good control measure as the wood is springy resulting in jagged, sharp pointed stumps when mowed. The plant will quickly recover with new growth after mowing. Goats have long been considered a efficient and quick removal method, as they eat the bark, which helps prevent new shoots.

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Sutherlandia Frutescens

Colutea frutescens L.

Sutherlandia frutescens (Cancer bush, Balloon pea, Sutherlandia; syn. Colutea frutescens L., Lessertia frutescens (L.) Goldblatt & J.C.Manning) is a southern African legume which is reported to be effective in treating HIV/AIDS. It is a shrub with bitter, aromatic leaves used to treat cancer. Currently in clinical trials for cancer and AIDS. Infusion made from the leaves is a traditional remedy for fever, chicken pox, flu, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, and stomach and liver problems. Also makes an excellent wash for wounds. Red-orange flowers appear in spring. One experimental animal study suggest that "S. frutescens shoot aqueous extract possesses analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and hypoglycemic properties, and thus lend pharmacological credence to the suggested folkloric uses of the herb in the management and/or control of painful, arthritic and other inflammatory conditions, as well as for adult-onset, type-2 diabetes mellitus in some communities of South Africa."

Sutherlandia frutescens is a much-respected and long-used medicinal plant that is also an attractive garden plant, and has been cultivated in gardens for many years, for its fine form, striking color and luminous flowers. Sutherlandia is an attractive small, soft wooded shrublet, 0.5 to 1 m in height. The leaves are pinnately compound. The leaflets are 4-10 mm long, grey-green in colour, giving the bush a silvery appearance. They have a very bitter taste. The flowers are orange-red, up to 35 mm long, and are carried in short racemes in the leaf axils at the tips of the branches in spring to mid-summer (September - December).The flowers are not typical 'pea' flowers, the wing petals are very small and are concealed in the calyx, and the standard petal is much shorter than the keel. The fruit is a large, bladder-like, papery inflated pod and is almost transparent. It can be used in dry flower arrangements as it dries well, maintaining its color and form.

Sutherlandia frutescens occurs naturally throughout the dry parts of southern Africa, in Western Cape and up the west coast as far north as Namibia and into Botswana, and in the western Karoo to Eastern Cape. It shows remarkable variation within its distribution. Sutherlandia frutescens has many common names. It has become widely known as sutherlandia, The name cancer bush, kankerbos, comes from its reputation as a cure for cancer. The names balloon-pea, blaasbossie or blaas-ertjie (meaning bladder-bush or bladder-pea) all refer to the inflated, bladder-like fruits. The name klapper (meaning rattle) is a name applied to many species whose seeds rattle about in the mature, dry pods. The name hoenderbelletjie is in reference to the bright red flowers that are suggestive of the wattles (belletjies) of a fowl (hoender). The names eendjies and gansiekeurtjie are in reference to the inflated fruits which float on water and which are used by children as toy ducks (eendjies) and toy geese (gansies). Keurtjie is an old name applied mainly to species of Podalyria and occasionally to Sutherlandia and used as far back as 1680, derived from the Dutch keur meaning 'the pick of' or 'choice' in reference to their showy flowers. The Zulu name unwele means 'hair' - alluding to the fact that the plant stops people 'pulling out their hair' with distress.

The Fabaceae (pea & bean or pod-bearing family) is the second largest flowering plant family. It contains more than 600 genera and 12 000 species and is found throughout the world. In southern Africa this family is represented by 134 genera and more than 1 300 species. It has long been known, used and respected as a medicinal plant in southern Africa. The original inhabitants of the Cape, the Khoi San and Nama people, used it mainly as a decoction for the washing of wounds and took it internally to bring down fevers.

The early colonists regarded it as giving successful results in the treatment of chicken pox, stomach problems, and in the treatment of internal cancers. It is also known to have been used in the treatment of eye troubles, the eyes being bathed with a decoction of the plant. It continues to be used to this day as a remedy for the above-mentioned ailments. It is still used as a wash for wounds, to bring down fevers, to treat chicken pox, for internal cancers, and farm workers in the Cape still use it to treat eye troubles.

It is also used to treat colds, 'flu, asthma, TB, bronchitis, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis and osteo-arthritis, liver problems, haemorrhoids, piles, bladder, uterus & 'women's' complaints, diarrhoea & dysentery, stomach ailments, heartburn, peptic ulcers, backache, diabetes, varicose veins and inflammation. It is also used in the treatment of mental and emotional stress, including irritability, anxiety and depression and is used as a gentle tranquillizer.

It is said to be a useful bitter tonic and that a little taken before meals will aid digestion and improve the appetite. It is considered to be a good general medicine. There is as yet no scientific support for the numerous claims and anecdotes that this plant can cure cancer, but there is preliminary clinical evidence that it has a direct anti-cancer effect in some cancers and that it acts as an immune stimulant.

Sutherlandia should not be regarded as a miracle cure for cancer; its real benefits are as a tonic that will assist the body to mobilize its own resources to cope with the illness. It is known to decrease anxiety and irritability and to elevate the mood. Cancer patients, as well as TB and AIDS patients, lose weight and tend to waste away.

Sutherlandia dramatically improves the appetite and wasted patients start to gain weight. It is also known to improve energy levels and gives an enhanced sense of well-being. It is hoped that treatment with sutherlandia will delay the progression of HIV into AIDS, and even remission of the disease is hoped for.

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Sweet Grass

Hierochloe odorata

* Hierochloe odorata (sweet grass or holy grass), from northern North America and Eurasia.
* Sweet-grass or mannagrass, any of the many species in the genus Glyceria
* Anthoxanthum odoratum, Sweet vernal grass, native to Eurasia
* Muhlenbergia filipes (sweetgrass), native to the southeastern United States leaves grow long by late summer. Bases of leaves, just below soil surface are broad and white, without hairs, underside of leaves are shiny, without hairs.

Propagation: Easiest by cutting out plugs from established plants. Grown in sun or partial shade, they do not like drought. * Northern America: southern Canada, northern Great Plains/Rocky Mountains and Northwest of U.S., and New England • Europe: from Switzerland north. Only one site in Ireland and four counties in Scotland; making it very rare in the British Isles. •

The plant is harvested by cutting grass in early to late summer at the desired length. Hierochloe odorata harvested after the first frost has little or no scent and is less desirable for basketry. Basket weaver's sun-dry cut sweet grass until it is dry and brittle. The brittle form of sweet grass must be soaked in warm water until it becomes pliable. The pliable grass is typically braided into thick threads and then re-dried for use. Holy grass was strewn before church doors on saints' days in northern Europe, presumably because of the sweet smell that arose when it was trodden on. It was used in France to flavor candy, tobacco, soft drinks, and perfumes. In Europe, the species Hierochloe alpina is frequently substituted or used interchangeably. In Russia, it was used to flavor tea. It is still used in flavored vodka, the most notable example being Polish Zubrówka.

Sweet grass was, and is, very widely used by North American indigenous peoples. As a sacred plant, it is used in peace and healing rituals. Leaves are dried and made into braids and burned as vanilla-scented incense; long leaves of sterile shoots are used by Native Americans in making baskets.
* Natives of the Great Plains believe it was the first plant to cover Mother Earth.
* The Anishinaabe, Cree, Mi'kmaq, and other Algonquian first nations of Canada believe it is a purifier, and burn sweetgrass before all ceremonies. It is a reminder to respect the earth and all things it provides.
* It is also used in ceremonial items by the Blackfoot and Lakota peoples. Incense used by at least the Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Dakota, Kiowa, Lakota, Menominee, Montana, Ojibwa, Omaha, Pawnee, Ponca, Sioux, and Winnebago peoples.

Used for purification, as oblations to ancestors, for protection of spirits, and keeping out of evil and harm. Used in a variety of ceremonies including peace ceremonies and initiations.
* Used by Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota, Montana, Okanagan-Colville, Omaha, and Thompson for cosmetic and aromatic purposes. Blackfoot and Gros Ventre use leaves soaked in water and used it as a hairwash. Sweet grass tea and smoke were used for coughs and sore throats (Flathead, Blackfoot). Teas used as a wash to treat chapping and windburn, and as eyewash. Used as body & hair decoration/perfume by Blackfoot, Flathead, and Thompson.
* The Blackfoot chewed grass as a means of extended endurance in ceremonies involving prolonged fasting.
* Iroquois, Kiowa, Malecite, Menominee, and Mi'kmaq people (amongst others) use sweetgrass in basketry (including mats) and crafts.
* Kiowa use fragrant leaves as stuffing for pillows and mattresses.
* Used for sewing at least by Menominee.
* Used as an incense to "keep the bugs away" by Flathead.
* Used by Cheyenne to paint pipes in the Sun Dance and the Sacred Arrow ceremonies.

Sweetgrass has a mellow, almost soporific effect, and for many is a useful aid to entering a meditative state. Coumarin, although not known to possess psychotropic effects, is common to a number of herbs used ritually which have strong anecdotal evidence for at least mild psychotropic properties.

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Sweet Cicely

Myrrhis odorata

* Cicely, a European herb also called "sweet cicely" * Osmorhiza, a genus of two American plants called "sweet cicely" Cicely or Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) is a plant belonging to the family Apiaceae, native to Central Europe; it is the sole species in the genus Myrrhis. It is a tall herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 2 m tall. The leaves are finely divided, feathery, up to 50 cm long. The flowers are white, about 2-4 mm across, produced in large umbels. The seeds are slender, 15-25 mm long and 3-4 mm broad. Its leaves are sometimes used as a herb, with a rather strong taste reminiscent of anise; it is used mainly in Germany and Scandinavia. Like its relative's anise, fennel, and caraway, it can also be used to flavour akvavit. Its essential oils are dominated by anethole.

Osmorhiza is a genus of North American and Asian perennial herbs, known generally as Sweet Cicely or Sweetroot. Osmorhiza longistylis was used by Native Americans to treat digestive disorders and as a wash for wounds.

The seeds of this plant have barbs on the end allowing them to stick to clothing, fur, or feathers. Sunny, moist ravines, road banks, and the edges of riparian areas, but ' never found in standing water '. This plant is widespread and can be found in mountainous areas up to 8,500 feet from British Columbia south into the mountains of California and throughout the Rocky Mountains. These plants are very commonly found in stands of quaking aspen and require moist, well drained soils.

Unlike poison hemlock or water hemlock, highly toxic relatives in the parsely family which sweetroot resembles, sweetroot does not tolerate poorly drained soils and is usually found on moist hillsides with good drainage. Sweetroot is frequently found growing in the same habitat and side by side with Osha, a closely related medicinal plant in the parsley family. Sweetroot closely resembles both Water Hemlock and Baneberry. Sweetroot is taller than baneberry and has a strong anise-like "spicy celery" odor which is lacking in Baneberry. Water Hemlock has leaf veins which terminate in the notches between the leaf blades, and sweetroot has leaf veins which terminate on the tips of the leaves.

Sweetroot has large ' jet black ' seeds which are hooked on one end. Most species of Sweetroot lack the characteristic carrot-like taproot system typical of members of the parsley family. The roots of Sweetroot tend to be stringy and divided and more closely resemble a rhizome than a carrot-like taproot, hence the name Osmorhiza (Scented Root). Both water hemlock and poison hemlock can both be found in areas of the Mountain West in North America growing in the same habitat with Sweetroot, but lack the strong anise-like odor of sweetroot.

Given the high toxicity of poison hemlock and water hemlock, if the plant cannot be positively identified as sweetroot, it must be avoided or discarded.

Sweetroot has a strong, almost overpowering licorice or anise-like odor and flavor. The plant is a potent fungicide and is useful for treating fungal infections and has been clinically shown to stabilize blood sugar levels. A tea made from the plant was ingested internally and was also used by Native Americans as an external wash or douche to treat fungal infections of the digestive and reproductive systems. The root of the plant is very sweet and can be used as a sweetener. Native Americans refer to this plant as "licorice root" or "sweetroot".

Sweetroot and Osha both contain oxytoxin and should not be ingested or used by women who are nursing or pregnant.

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Sweet Woodruff

Galium odoratum

Woodruff (Galium odoratum) is a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Rubiaceae, native to Europe, North Africa and western Asia. It grows to 30-50 cm (12-20 ins.) long, often lying flat on the ground or supported by other plants.

The plant is also known in English as Sweet Woodruff or '''Wild Baby's Breath'. "Master of the woods" is probably a translation of the German name Waldmeister''. Names like "Sweet scented bedstraw", "Cudweed" and "Ladies' Bedstraw" should be avoided; the former two properly refer to Galium triflorum, the latter to Galium verum.

This plant prefers partial to full shade in moist, rich soils. In dry summers it needs frequent irrigation. Propagation is by crown division, separation of the rooted stems, or digging up of the barely submerged perimeter stolons. It is ideal as a groundcover or border accent in woody, acidic gardens where other shade plants fail to thrive. Deer avoid eating it (Northeast US). Woodruff, as the scientific name odoratum suggests, is a strongly scented plant, the sweet scent being derived from coumarin. This scent increases on wilting and then persists on drying, and woodruff is used in pot-pourri and as a moth deterrent. It is also used, mainly in Germany, to flavour May wine (called "Maiwein" or "Maibowle" in German), beer (Berliner Weisse), brandy, sausages, jelly, jam, a soft drink (Tarhun), ice cream, and a herbal tea with gentle sedative properties. High doses can cause headaches, due to the toxicity of coumarin. Very high doses of coumarin can cause vertigo, somnolence or even central paralysis and apnoea while in a coma. Since 1981, woodruff may no longer be used as an ingredient of industrially produced drinks and food stuffs in Germany; it has been replaced by artificial aromas and colorings.

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Szechuan Pepper

Xanthoxylum piperitum

Sichuan pepper (or Szechuan pepper) is the outer pod of the tiny fruit of a number of species in the genus Zanthoxylum (most commonly Z. piperitum, Z. simulans, and Z. schinifolium), widely grown and consumed in Asia as a spice. Despite the name, it is not related to black pepper or to chili peppers.

It is widely used in the cuisine of Sichuan, China, from which it takes its name, as well as Tibetan, Bhutanese, Nepalese, Japanese and Konkani and Batak Toba cuisines, among others. It is known in Chinese as huajiao (literally "flower peppers"); a lesser-used name is shanjiao (literally "mountain pepper"; not to be confused with Tasmanian mountain pepper). In Japanese, it is sansho, using the same Chinese characters as shanjiao. In Tibetan, it is known as g.yer ma. In Konkani it is known as tepal or tirphal. In Indonesia's North Sumatra province, around Lake Toba, it is known as andaliman in the Batak Toba language and tuba in the Batak Karo language.

In America, it is sold as fagara or flower pepper as well as Sichuan pepper. In Nepali it is known as (timur) and is widely used in Nepalese cuisine. Sichuan pepper has a unique aroma and flavour that is not hot or pungent like black or white pepper, or chili peppers, but has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth (caused by its 3% of hydroxy-alpha-sanshool) that sets the stage for these hot spices.

Recipes often suggest lightly toasting and then crushing the tiny seedpods before adding them to food. Only the husks are used; the shiny black seeds are discarded or ignored as they have a very gritty sand-like texture. It is generally added at the last moment. Star anise and ginger are often used with it and it figures prominently in spicy Sichuan cuisine. It has an alkaline pH and a numbing effect on the lips when eaten in larger doses. Ma la (; literally "numbing and spicy"), a flavor common in Sichuan cooking, is a combination of Sichuan pepper and chili pepper.

Sichuan pepper is a key ingredient in "má là" ("numb and spicy") hot pot, the Sichuan variation of the Chinese traditional dish. It is also available as oil (marketed as either "Sichuan pepper oil", "Bunge Pricklyash Oil", or "Hwajiaw oil"). In this form it is best used in stir fry noodle dishes without hot spices. The preferred recipe includes ginger oil and brown sugar to be cooked with a base of noodles and vegetables, with rice vinegar and Sichuan pepper oil to be added after cooking.

Hua jiao yan is a mixture of salt and Sichuan pepper, roasted and browned in a wok and served as a condiment to accompany chicken, duck and pork dishes. The peppercorns can also be lightly fried in order to make spicy oil with various uses. In Indonesian Batak cuisine, it is ground into a green sambal Tinombur or chili paste, by mixing with chilis and seasonings to accompany grilled pork, carp and other regional specialties. Sichuan pepper is one of the few spices important for Tibetan and Bhutanese cookery of the Himalayas, because few spices can be grown there. One Himalayan specialty is the momo, a dumpling stuffed with vegetables, cottage cheese or minced yak meat, beef or pork and flavoured with Sichuan pepper, garlic, ginger and onion. The noodles are steamed and served dry, together with a fiery sauce. It is believed that it can sanitize meat that may not be so fresh. In reality it may only serve to mask foul flavors. The foul smell masking property of Sichuan pepper made it popular in offal dishes. In Japan the dried and powdered leaves of Zanthoxylum sancho are used to make noodle dishes and soups mildly hot and fragrant.

The whole fresh leaves, kinome, are used to flavour vegetables, especially bamboo shoots, and to decorate soups. Typically the young shoots are used in this way giving an aromatic lemony flavour to food. They are used to denote spring seasonality in food. The buds, seeds, flowers, and hulls are also used. Sichuan peppercorns are one of the traditional ingredients in the Chinese spice mixture five-spice powder and also shichimi togarashi, a Japanese seven-flavour seasoning. In Korean cuisine, two species are used: Z. piperitum and Z. schinifolium''.

From 1968 to 2005, the United States Food and Drug Administration banned the importation of Sichuan peppercorns because they were found to be capable of carrying citrus canker (as the tree is in the same family, Rutaceae, as the genus Citrus). This bacterial disease, which is very difficult to control, could potentially harm the foliage and fruit of citrus crops in the U.S. It was never an issue of harm in human consumption. The import ban was only loosely enforced until 2002. In 2005, the USDA and FDA lifted the ban, provided the peppercorns are heated to around 70 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill the canker bacteria before import. It is possible to come across names such as "Szechwan pepper," "Chinese pepper," "Japanese pepper," "aniseed pepper," "Sprice pepper," "Chinese prickly-ash," "Fagara," "sansho," "Nepal pepper," "Indonesian lemon pepper," and others, sometimes referring to specific species within this group, since this plant is not well known enough in the West to have an established name.

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Tacamahac

Calophyllum tacamahaca

Tacamahac is the name of medicinal resins, now little used, obtained from several plant sources including Calophyllum tacamahaca and Calophyllum inophyllum. The word has sometimes been regarded, apparently wrongly, as a synonym of balm of Gilead. Calophyllum ("beautiful leaf", from Greek kalos, "beautiful", and phullon, "leaf") is a plant genus of around 180-200 species of tropical evergreen trees in the family Clusiaceae. Its members are native to Australasia, Madagascar, Eastern Africa, South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands, the West Indies and Latin America.

The common names, as well as commercial names, for these trees are:
* teitai (in Kiribati),
* Feta'u (in Tonga).
* Bintangor tree (in Malaysia) and
* Poon tree (in India),
* Guanandi, Jacareuba or Santa Maria (in Latin America).

For medicinal (folk medicine and ethnopharmacology) uses of leaves, oil from nuts and crost balsam, for HIV and AIDS, see calanolide A and calanolide B, Jacareubin, Tamanu oil and Calophyllic acid. These species grow in a wide number of habitats, from ridges in mountain forests to coastal swamps, lowland forest and even coral cays. They are large hardwoods, attaining 30 m in height and 0.8 m in diameter. It presents shiny and leathery leaves. The tree bark is grey or white and decorticates in large thin strips. The wood is light in weight, the heartwood pink-red, or almost brown, while the sapwood varies from species to species, often from yellow, brown (often with pink tints) to orange. Species occurring in Papua New Guinea are often buttressed. Several species have been found to contain naturally occurring calanolides in various quantities. The lightweight hardwood of these species is used in boat making for masts and spars, as well as in luxury furniture and flooring.

Calophyllum inophyllum is a large evergreen. It is native from East Africa, southern coastal India to Malesia and Australia.

Nowadays it is widely cultivated in all tropical regions of the world, including several Pacific Islands. Because of its decorative leaves, fragrant flowers and spreading crown, it is best known as an ornamental plant. It is a low-branching and slow-growing tree with a broad and irregular crown. It usually reaches in height. The flower is wide and occurs in racemose or paniculate inflorescences consisting of 4 to 15 flowers. Flowering can occur year-round, but usually two distinct flowering periods are observed, in late spring and in late autumn. The fruit (the ballnut) is a round, green drupe reaching in diameter and having a single large seed. When ripe, the fruit is wrinkled and its color varies from yellow to brownish-red.

Besides being a popular ornamental plant, its wood is hard and strong and has been used in construction or boatbuilding. Traditional Pacific Islanders used Calophyllum wood to construct the keel of their canoes while the boat sides were made from breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) wood. The seeds yield thick, dark green oil for medicinal use or hair grease. Active ingredients in the oil are believed to regenerate tissue, so is sought after by cosmetics manufacturers as an ingredient in skin crèmes. The nuts should be well dried before cracking, after which the oil-laden kernel should be further dried.

This tree often grows in coastal regions as well as nearby lowland forests. However it has also been cultivated successfully in inland areas at moderate altitudes. It tolerates varied kinds of soil, coastal sand, clay or even degraded soil. The tree is regarded as sacred in some Pacific islands because of its excellent growth in sandy soil as shade tree and many uses.

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Tamarind

Tamarindus indica

The Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) is a tree in the family Fabaceae. The genus Tamarindus is monotypic (having only a single species). It is a tropical tree, native to Africa, including Sudan and parts of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests. It was introduced into India so long ago that it has often been reported as indigenous there, and it was apparently from India that it reached the Persians and the Arabs who called it "tamar hindi" (Indian date, from the date-like appearance of the dried pulp), giving rise to both its common and generic names. However, the specific name, "indica", also perpetuates the illusion of Indian origin.

The fruit was well known to the ancient Egyptians and to the Greeks in the 4th Century B.C.E. It is used in both Asian and Latin American cuisines and is also an important ingredient in Imli Chutney, a spicy North Indian condiment; Pulusu, a sauce from Andhra Pradesh, India; Worcestershire sauce; HP sauce; and the Jamaican-produced Pickapeppa sauce.

Tamarind is used extensively in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh cuisines, where it is used to prepare Rasam, Sambhar, Vatha Kuzhambu and Puliyogare (tamarind rice that is very popular in southern India for its ease of preparation and spicy sour taste). It is also widely used in various types of chutney as a flavoring agent in India. In addition to tamarind other spices are added to the sauce such as sugar and spice to make the sauce a bitter sweet flavor. The tender pods and flowers are also pickled and used as a side dish. In Guadeloupe, the tree is known as Tamarinier. Jam and syrup are made with the fruit.

In Egypt, an acidic chilled drink made from tamarind is popular in summertime. In Madagascar, the tree is known as the kily tree. Its fruits and leaves are a well-known favorite of ring-tailed lemurs, providing as much as 50% of their food resources during the year if available. In Mexico it is sold in various snack forms, where it is dried and salted, or candied (see for example pulparindo or chamoy snacks). Mexicans commonly drink it as a cold agua fresca beverage or have it in iced fruit bars and raspados. The Mexican immigrant communities in the US have continued to fashion the "agua de tamarindo" drink, and many other kinds of treats. Mexican tamarind snacks are available in specialty food stores worldwide in pod form or as a paste or concentrate. A traditional food plant in Africa, tamarind has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land care. Pad Thai, a Thai dish popular with Europeans and Americans, often includes tamarind for its tart/sweet taste (with lime juice added for sourness and fish sauce added for saltiness). A tamarind-based sweet-and-sour sauce served over deep-fried fish is also a common dish in Central Thailand. In Singapore and Malaysia it is used to add a sweet-sour taste to gravy for fish in a dish called asam fish. In the Philippines, tamarind is popular and it is used in foods like sinigang soup, and also made into candies. The leaves are also used in sinampalukan soup. In Northern Nigeria, It is used with Millet powder to prepare Kunun Tsamiya, a traditional Pap mostly used as breakfast, and usually eaten with bean cake. In Burma, young and tender leaves and flower buds are eaten as a vegetable. A salad dish of tamarind leaves, boiled beans, and crushed peanuts topped with crispy fried onions is very popular in rural Burma.

The pulp, leaves, and bark also have medical applications. For example, in the Philippines, the leaves have been traditionally used in herbal tea for reducing malaria fever. Tamarind is used as an Ayurvedic Medicine for gastric and/or digestion problems, and in cardioprotective activity. In Malaysia, Tamarind (Asam Jawa in Malay) is used to decrease body temperature by applying it as wet compress on the forehead. Also, when drunk as a tea, it can soothe sore throat discomfort.

In temples, especially in Asian countries, the pulp is used to clean brass shrine furniture, removing dulling and the greenish patina that forms.

The wood is a bold red color. Due to its density and durability, tamarind heartwood can be used in making furniture and wood flooring. A tamarind switch is sometimes used as an implement for corporal punishment.

Tamarind trees are very common in South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. They are used as ornamental trees and to provide shade on the country roads and highways. Tamarind is extensively used in the cuisine of both these states. The tamarind has recently become popular in bonsai culture, frequently used in Asian countries like Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. In the last Japan Airlines World Bonsai competition, Mr. Budi Sulistyo of Indonesia won the second prize with an ancient tamarind bonsai.

The tamarind tree is the official plant of Santa Clara, Cuba. Consequently it appears in the coat of arms of the city.

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Tandoori Masala

Tandoori masala is a mixture of spices specifically for use with a tandoor, or clay oven, in traditional Pakistani, north Indian and Afghan cooking.

The specific spices vary somewhat from one region to another, but typically include garam masala, garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper, and other spices and additives (e.g. lemon juice...).

The spices are often ground together with a pestle and mortar. Tandoori masala is used extensively with dishes as Tandoori chicken. In this dish, the chicken is covered with a mixture of plain yogurt and tandoori masala. The chicken is then slow-roasted in the tandoor. The chicken prepared in this fashion has a pink-colored exterior and a savory flavor.

Other chicken dishes, in addition to tandoori chicken, use this masala, such as tikka or butter chicken, most of them Punjabi dishes.

It can be used with meat other than chicken, for example, in tandoori fish or paneer tikka. If prepared, the masala can be stored in airtight jars for up to 2 months. However, nowadays, packets or canisters of tandoori chicken masala are also readily available at major Indian supermarkets, with varying tastes depending on the brand. This convenience has led to many Pakistanis and Indians buying the masala rather than making it at home.

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Tansy

Tanacetum vulgare

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant of the aster family that is native to temperate Europe and Asia. It has been introduced to other parts of the world and in some cases has become invasive. It is also known as Common Tansy, Bitter Buttons, Cow Bitter, Mugwort, or Golden Buttons.

Tansy is a flowering herbaceous plant with finely divided compound leaves and yellow, buttonlike flowers. It has a stout, somewhat reddish, erect stem, usually smooth, 50-150 cm tall, and branching near the top. The leaves are alternate, 10-15 cm long and are pinnately lobed, divided almost to the center into about seven pairs of segments or lobes which are again divided into smaller lobes having saw-toothed edges, thus giving the leaf a somewhat fernlike appearance. The roundish, flat-topped, buttonlike, yellow flower heads are produced in terminal clusters from mid to late summer. The scent is similar to that of camphor with hints of rosemary.

The leaves and flowers are said to be poisonous if consumed in large quantities. The plant's volatile oil is high in thujone, a substance found in absinthe that can cause convulsions. Some insects, notably the tansy beetle, have evolved resistance to tansy and live almost exclusively on it.

Tansy is native to Eurasia; it is found in almost all parts of mainland Europe. It is absent from Siberia and some of the Mediterranean islands.

The ancient Greeks may have been the first to cultivate it as a medicinal herb. In about 1525, it was listed (by the spelling "Tansey") as "necessary for a garden" in Britain.

Common tansy has a long history of many uses. Tansy was first recorded cultivated by the ancient Greeks for a variety of medicinal purposes. In the eight century it was grown in the herb gardens of Charlemagne (Charles the Great) and by Benedictine monks of the Swiss monastery of St. Gall.

Tansy was considered a cure for intestinal worms, helped with rheumatism, digestive problems, fevers, used to heal sores, and "brought out" measles. During the Middle Ages and later, high doses were used to induce abortions. Contradictorily, tansy was also used to help women conceive and to prevent miscarriages.

In the 15th century Christians began serving tansy with the Lent meals to commemorate the bitter herbs eaten by the Israelites. Tansy is an effective insecticide, and is highly toxic to arthropods.

Tansy was formerly used as a flavoring for puddings and omelets, but is almost unknown now. As noted by Gerarde, Tansy was well known as "pleasant in taste", and he recommends tansy sweetmeats as "an especial thing against the gout, if every day for a certain space a reasonable quantity thereof be eaten fasting". In Yorkshire, tansy and caraway seeds were traditionally used in biscuits served at funerals. According to liquor historian A. J. Baime's book Big Shots, Tennessee whiskey magnate Jack Daniel enjoyed drinking his own whiskey with sugar and crushed tansy leaf.

For many years, tansy has been used as a medicinal herb. Irish folklore of the mid-1800s suggests bathing in a solution of tansy and salt as a cure for joint pain. Bitter tea made with the blossoms of T. vulgare has been effectively used for centuries as an anthelmintic (vermifuge). Tansy cakes were traditionally served during Lent because of a superstition that eating fish during Lent caused intestinal worms. Note that only T. vulgare is used in medicinal preparations; all species of tansy are toxic, and an overdose can be fatal. The dried flowering herb of Tanacetum is used ethno medically to treat migraine, neuralgia, and rheumatism, and as an antihelminthic, in conjunction with a competent herbalist to circumvent any possible toxicity.

Traditionally, tansy was often used for its emmenagogue effects, to bring on menstruation or end an unwanted pregnancy.

Pregnant women should avoid this herb.

In England, bunches of tansy were traditionally placed at windows to keep out flies. Sprigs were placed in bedding and linen to drive away pests. Tansy has been used throughout many Melbourne gardens and homes to keep away ants. It is also used by some traditional dyers to produce a golden-yellow pigment. The yellow flowers are dried for use in floral arrangements. Tansy is also used as a companion plant, especially with cucurbits like cucumbers and squash, or with roses or various berries. It is thought to repel ants, cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, and some kinds of flying insects, among others.

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Tarragon

Artemisia dracunculus

Tarragon or '''dragon's-wort (Artemisia dracunculus''' L.) is a perennial herb in the family Asteraceae related to wormwood. Corresponding to its species name, a common term for the plant is "dragon herb."

It is native to a wide area of the Northern Hemisphere from easternmost Europe across central and eastern Asia to India, western North America, and south to northern Mexico. The North American populations may however be naturalized from early human introduction.

Tarragon grows to 120-150 cm tall, with slender branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 2-8 cm long and 2-10 mm broad, glossy green, with an entire margin. The flowers are produced in small capitulae 2-4 mm diameter, each capitulum containing up to 40 yellow or greenish-yellow florets. (French tarragon, however, seldom produces flowers.)

French tarragon is the variety generally considered best for the kitchen, but cannot be grown from seed. It is normally purchased as a plant, and some care must be taken to ensure that true French tarragon is purchased. A perennial, it normally goes dormant in winter. However, Russian tarragon is a far more hardy and vigorous plant, spreading at the roots and growing over a meter tall. This tarragon actually prefers poor soils and happily tolerates drought and neglect. It is not as strongly aromatic and flavorsome as its French cousin, but it produces many more leaves from early spring onwards that are mild and good in salads and cooked food.

The young stems in early spring can be cooked as an asparagus substitute. Grow indoors from seed and plant out in the summer. Spreading plants can be divided easily.

Tarragon has an aromatic property reminiscent of anise, due to the presence of estragole, a known carcinogen and teratogen in mice.

The European Union investigation revealed that the danger of estragole is minimal even at 100-1000 times the typical consumption seen in humans.

Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking, and particularly suitable for chicken, fish and egg dishes. Tarragon is one of the main components of Béarnaise sauce. Fresh, lightly bruised sprigs of tarragon may be steeped in vinegar to impart their flavor.

Tarragon is used to flavor a popular carbonated soft drink in the countries of Armenia, Georgia and, by extension, Russia and Ukraine. The drink-named Tarhun, which is the Armenian, Persian and Russian word for tarragon-is made out of sugary tarragon concentrate and colored bright green In Slovenia, tarragon is used as a spice for sweet pastry called potica.

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Tasmanian Pepper

Tasmannia lanceolata

Tasmannia is a genus of woody, evergreen flowering plants of the family Winteraceae. The species of Tasmannia are native to Australia, New Guinea, Celebes, Borneo, and Philippines. The Winteraceae are magnoliids, and are associated with the humid Antarctic flora of the southern hemisphere. The members of the family generally have aromatic bark and leaves, and some are used to extract essential oils.

The peppery-flavored fruits and leaves (esp. dried) of this genus are increasingly used as a condiment in Australia. The peppery flavour can be attributed to a molecule named polygodial. The species of Tasmannia were formerly classified in genus Drimys, a related group of Winteraceae native to the Neotropics. Recent studies have led to an increasing consensus among botanists to split the genus into two, with the Neotropical species remaining in genus Drimys, and the Australasian species classified in genus Tasmannia. In Australia, the Tasmannia genus ranges from Tasmania and eastern Victoria and New South Wales to southeastern Queensland, and in the mountains of northeastern Queensland, where it grows in moist mountain forests and in wet areas in the drier forest and along watercourses to an elevation of 1500 metres.

'Tasmanian pepper' or 'mountain pepper' (T. lanceolata, often referred to as Drimys lanceolata or T. aromatica) was the original pepperbush used by colonial Australians. Introduced into cultivation in Cornwall, U.K., to become the 'Cornish pepperleaf' associated with Cornish cuisine. It has large peppery berries which are also high in antioxidants. Safrole is the biggest limitation with using wild strains of mountain pepper, and safrole free strains of mountain pepper have been selected for the spice trade.

Tasmannia stipitata, Dorrigo Pepper is also sold as a spice, and was the original pepperbush used in specialty native food restaurants. Dorrigo pepper is safrole free and has a strong peppery flavor.

List of Tasmannia species and notes:
* T. glaucifolia - Fragrant Pepperbush Reported to be high in polygodial but also contains high safrole levels which limits culinary use.
* T. insipida - Brush Pepperbush Native to the subtropics. Usually has little flavour in the leaf, hence the name. However, the seed has the distinctive pepper flavour.
* T. lanceolata - Mountain Pepperbush (Aus) or Cornish Pepperleaf (UK) The most commonly available commercial bush pepper. Safrole free cultivars are being developed.
* T. membranea - Pepper Tree Native to the highlands of north-eastern Queensland.
* T. piperita - Native to New Guinea.
* Tasmannia purpurascens - Broad Leaf Pepperbush. Very high polygodial levels.
* T. stipitata - Dorrigo Pepper. Very high polygodial levels (a pungent active) and safrole free. Available commercially as a spice.
* T.xerophila, Alpine Pepperbush. Contains the essential oil isolate myristicin and reputed to have high levels of polygodial.

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Tea Tree

Camellia sinensis

A genus of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. White tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this species, but are processed differently to attain different levels of oxidation. Kukicha (twig tea) is also harvested from Camellia sinensis, but uses twigs and stems rather than leaves.

There are two major varieties that characterize this species
Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (L.) Kuntz and
Camellia sinensis var. assamica (Masters) Kitam.

The name sinensis means Chinese in Latin. Camellia is taken from the Latinized name of Rev. Georg Kamel, S.J. (1661-1706), a Czech-born Jesuit priest who became both a prominent botanist and a missionary to the Philippines (it is not uncommon for members of the Catholic Jesuit order to combine careers in scholarship with their religious work). Though Kamel did not discover or name the plant, Carl Linnaeus, the creator of the system of taxonomy still used today, chose his name for the genus of this tree to honor Kamel's contributions to science.

Older names for the tea plant include Thea bohea, Thea sinensis and Thea viridis

The seeds of Camellia sinensis and Camellia oleifera can be pressed to yield tea oil, a sweetish seasoning and cooking oil that should not be confused with tea tree oil, an essential oil that is used for medical and cosmetical purposes and originates from the leaves of a different plant. Camellia sinensis is mainly cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical climates, in areas with at least 50 inches of rainfall a year.

Tea plants will grow into a tree if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking. Two principal varieties are used, the small-leaved Chinese variety plant (C. sinensis) and the large-leaved Assamese plant (C. sinensis assamica), used mainly for black tea. Indian teas are generally classified by the region they are grown in; the three main tea-producing regions in India are Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri. Because of the exquisite growing conditions Darjeeling tea is considered by tea lovers to be the finest of the Indian teas. Unlike almost all other Indian teas Darjeeling uses the Chinese variety (C. sinensis sinensis), which was brought to India in the 19th century by British planters.

Assam is the largest producing area in India, at 473,000 metric tons annually. Assam has 271,768 hectares of tea gardens with 43,293 estates producing tea. The tea uses the Assam type plant native to Assam that the British planters began exploiting commercially in the 19th century. Assam tea has a rich taste (often described as 'malty') and is frequently used as the basis for "breakfast" tea blends. Nilgiri tea is grown in the South Indian Blue Mountain range. This growing region covers 62,039 hectares and has 62,145 tea estates. Annual tea production is approximately 120,000 tons.

The Chinese plant (sometimes called C. sinensis var. sinensis) is a small-leaved bush with multiple stems that reaches a height of some 3 meters. It is native to south-east China. The first tea plant to be discovered, recorded and used to produce tea three thousand years ago, it yields some of the most popular teas. C. sinensis var. waldenae was considered a different species, Camellia waldenae by S.Y.Hu, but it was later identified as a variety of C. sinensis. This variety is commonly called '''Walden's Camellia'''. It is seen on Sunset Peak and Tai Mo Shan in Hong Kong. It is also distributed in Guangxi Province, China.
* The leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine and other medical systems to treat asthma (functioning as a bronchodilator), angina pectoris, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary artery disease. Tea extracts have become field of interest, due to their notional antibacterial activity. Especially the preservation of processed organic food and the treatment of persistent bacterial infections are being investigated.
* Green tea leaves and extracts have shown to be effective against bacteria responsible for bad breath.
* The tea component epicatechin gallate is being researched because in-vitro experiments showed that it can reverse methicillin resistance in bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. If confirmed, this means that the combined intake of a tea extract containing this component will enhance the effectiveness of methicillin treatment against some resistant bacteria.

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Teucrium Polium

Cat Thyme, Hulwort, Mountain Germander, Polium,Felty Germander

Teucrium capitatum L.

Teucrium polium (known popularly as felty germander) is a sub-shrub and herb native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. Its flowers are small and range from pink to white, and its leaves are used in cooking and for medicinal purposes, particularly for the treatment of stomach ailments. It has also shown some promise in the treatment of visceral pain.

In traditional Persian medicine, T. polium (locally called 'kalpooreh') is used as an anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, carminative, anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhea, anti-diabetes and anti-convulsant agent.

A scientific study in 2003 failed to find any benefit to diabetics, even though it is commonly used in the Mideast for this purpose. A scientific study in 2006 found that it does have anti-nociceptive and anti-spasmodic effects.

A liquid extract of the plant has been used in the treatment of fungal diseases and abscesses. The plant is mixed with boiled water and sugar to form a refreshing beverage. The plant is used as a spice.

Teucrium polium is a medicinal plant whose species have been used for over 2000 years in traditional medicine due to its diuretic, diaphoretic, tonic, antipyretic, antispasmodic and cholagogic properties. The therapeutic benefit of medicinal plants is often attributed to their antioxidant properties.

In addition, the plant possesses hypoglycemic, insulinotropic and anti-inflammatory activities , reduces body weight and lowers high blood pressure and has hypolipidemic, antinociceptive and antioxidant properties. (cite: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1513151/).

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Thai Basil

Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora, O. ×citriodorum, or O. sanctum

Thai basil is a cultivar group of basil. It has a more assertive taste than many other sweet basils. The herb has small leaves, purple stems and a subtle licorice or mint flavor. One cultivar used in the United States is 'Queen of Siam'. It should be noted that there are three types of basil commonly used in Thai cooking. This page refers to the most common one, which is known as horapa in Thai. To avoid confusion, the other two types are Grapow Thai holy basil, and Manglak Thai lemon basil, both of which are also used in Thai cooking but have quite different flavors.

Thai basil should also not be confused with Tulasi, which is known and worshipped in India and is also often known as Holy basil. Both Thai holy basil and Tulasi have smaller, softer, slightly hairy leaves and an aroma akin to that of cloves. In Vietnam, this basil was known as húng qu? (lit. "Cinnamon basil", because of its purple stem). Thai basil is used as a condiment in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. A plate of raw Thai basil is often served as an accompaniment to ph? (to which it can be added by the customer). Thai basil is also an important ingredient in "Thai chicken/pork/seafood with basil leaf". The particularly flavorful Thai basil is grown in Láng village, Hanoi and nearby. The Thai basil grown in this region is named "húng Láng".

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Thistle

Carduus, Cirsium

Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant - on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the plant against herbivorous animals, discouraging them from feeding on the plant. Typically, an involucre with a clasping shape of a cup or urn subtends each of a thistle's flowerheads. The term thistle is sometimes taken to mean exactly those plants in the tribe Cynareae (synonym: Cardueae), especially the genera Carduus, Cirsium, and Onopordum. However, plants outside this tribe are sometimes called thistles, and if this is done thistles would form a polyphyletic group.

In the language of flowers, the thistle (like the burr) is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment. For this reason the thistle is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric order of Scotland.

Another story is that a bare foot Viking attacker stepped on one at night and cried out, so alerting the defenders of a Scottish castle.

Whatever the justification, the national flower of Scotland is the thistle. It is found in many Scottish symbols and as the name of several Scottish football clubs. Carnegie Mellon University features the thistle in its crest.

Carduus is the Latin term for a thistle (hence cardoon), and Cardonnacum is the Latin word for a place with thistles. This is believed to be the origin of name of the Burgundy village of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire, which in turn is thought to be the home of the famous Chardonnay grape variety.

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Thyme

Thymus vulgaris

Thyme is a well known herb; in common usage the name may refer to:
* any or all members of the plant genus Thymus
* Common thyme, Thymus vulgaris, and some other species that are used as culinary herbs or for medicinal purposes.

Ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming. The ancient Greeks used it in their baths and burnt it as incense in their temples, believing that thyme was a source of courage. It was thought that the spread of thyme throughout Europe was thanks 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.

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 retains its flavor on drying