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 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
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
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
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
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
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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:
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* '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.
(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
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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
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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 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:
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* 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
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.
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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Satureja hortensis, S. montana
(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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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 (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
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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
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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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
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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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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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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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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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
* 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
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.
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* 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.
(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 (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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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
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
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
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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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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
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
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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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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 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
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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Rumex acetosa, R. acetosella, Rumex scutatus
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:
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* Rumex acetosa ssp. acetosa
* Rumex acetosa ssp. ambiguus
* Rumex acetosa ssp. arifolius
* Rumex acetosa ssp. hibernicus
* Rumex acetosa ssp. hirtulus
* Rumex acetosa ssp. vinealis
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) 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
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
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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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).
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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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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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
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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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
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'
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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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.
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.
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, 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.
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 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
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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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 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 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
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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Colutea frutescens L.
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
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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* 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
• 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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* 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.
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
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
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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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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(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
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.
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.
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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