Ringworm Bush (Akapulko)

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Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
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Ringworm Bush (Akapulko) flower
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Akapulko bush
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Herbal Alternative Health

Ringworm Bush (Akapulko) – Cassia alata

An erect, shrubby legume reaching 6 ft tall, Akapulko grows throughout the Philippines. It has dark green leaves and yellow-orange flowers, producing as much as 50 to 60 small, triangular seeds. For medicinal purposes, leaves, flowers and seeds are used.

The akapulko leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies and eczema

Medicinal Uses:

  • Decoction of leaves and flowers is very effective in easing asthma, cough and bronchitis.
  • The seeds are effective in expelling intestinal parasites.
  • Juice from leaves aids in controlling fungal infections like; eczema, athlete’s foot, ringworm, scabies, and herpes.
  • Pounded leaves reduce injury-related swellings, treat insect bites, and ease rheumatism.
  • Leaves and flowers concoction used as mouthwash in treating stomatitis.
  • Juice from leaves ease fetid discharges.
  • The leaves stain is an effective purgative.

News about Ringworm Bush (Akapulko)

More herbal weight-loss therapies validated

By Chukwuma Muanya

Black pepper could help in battle against obesity Black pepper could help in the fight against obesity, new research suggests. Piperonal, a compound in the seasoning, was found to ‘significantly’ reduce the harmful effects of a high-fat diet when fed to rats. In the Indian study, those given it as a supplement for six weeks had a lower body weight, body fat percentage and blood sugar levels as well as stronger bones compared to animals fed fatty foods only and no pepper.

The study was published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism.In a separate study, the United Kingdom (U.K.) researchers at Imperial College London discovered mutations in a gene related to obesity and have suggested “obesity is not always gluttony’.Interestingly, the Indian researchers believe piperonal may counteract some of the genes that are associated with being severely overweight.

Both teams hope their findings can produce a new treatment for obesity, rates of which have nearly tripled worldwide since 1975.Botanically called Piper nigrum, Black pepper belongs to the plant family, Piperaceae. Local names are unknown. The fruits and seeds are used to cure dyspepsia (indigestion), diarrhoea, cholera, piles, urinary problems, boils, rheumatism, toothaches and headaches.

According to a study published in the journal Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Piper nigrum is a well-known spice considered as ‘‘The King of spices’’ among various spices. It contains a pungent alkaloid “piperine” which is known to possess many pharmacological actions. Piperine increases bioavailability of many drugs and nutrients by inhibiting various metabolising enzymes.

Piper nigrum and its active constituent “Piperine” exhibits diverse pharmacological activities like antihypertensive, antiplatelet, antioxidant, antitumor, anti-asthmatics, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, antispasmodic, antidepressants, immune-modulatory, anticonvulsant, anti-thyroids, antibacterial, antifungal, hepato-protective, insecticidal and larvicidal activities among others.

How the pepper study was carried out. Researchers from Sri Venkateswara University in India carried out the experiment on obese rats that were fed a high-fat diet for 22 weeks.They extracted piperonal from black pepper seeds and added it to the rodents’ diets from the 16-week point.

At the end of the study period, this group had increased lean body mass, bone mineral concentration (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) compared with the control group of animals. Piperonal supplementation also considerably decreased their blood glucose level after just 60 minutes when compared with control rats.

The team discovered that the preventative effects were maximized at a dosage of 40 mg per kg of body weight, administered for a 42-day period. Furthermore, the results suggested that piperonal might have helped to regulate some of the genes that are associated with obesity.

Writing in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, the study authors said: “Our findings demonstrate the efficacy of piperonal as a potent anti-obesity agent, provide scientific evidence for its traditional use and suggest the possible mechanism of action.”

Extract of wild mango seed shows promise in obesity treatment

Can eating Ogbono soup help overweight persons shed some kilos, reduce abdominal fat, lower their cholesterol and chances of developing diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, stroke, kidney failure, high blood pressure?

A study published in Lipids in Health and Disease suggests that an extract derived from the seed (Ogbono) of West African mango may help overweight people shed kilogrammes, lower their cholesterol and chances of developing degenerative diseases.

Researchers in other studies found that the fruit of Irvingia gabonensis could be used to reduce abdominal fat, and stop diarrhoea and ulcer.Lab research has shown that extracts from the plant’s seed may inhibit body fat production, through effects on certain genes and enzymes that regulate metabolism.

A person is said to be obese when the ratio of the weight in kilogrammes over the height in square metres, that is the Body Mass Index (BMI), is more than 30; overweight when the BMI is between 25 and 30; and healthy weight when the BMI is between 20 and 25.The seed of Irvingia gabonensis is the basic ingredient of the popular tasty delicacy, Ogbono soup. The fruit looks like mango; but leaves a bitter after taste. The seed, slimy when it touches water, is used in cooking Ogbono soup.

Botanically called Irvingia gabonensis, West African mango or Wild mango is a fruit commonly eaten in Nigeria, and indeed the whole of West Africa. It is also called native mango, bush mango, dika nut tree, and dika bread tree.In Nigeria, it is pekpeara in Nupe; ugiri (tree or fruit) or ogbono (kernel or seed) in Igbo; oro (the tree) or aapon (the kernel) in Yoruba; ogwi (the tree or fruit) in Benin; goron or biri in Hausa; uyo in Efik.

According to the current study, researchers at the University of Yaounde in Cameroon randomly assigned 102 overweight adults to take either the plant extract or a placebo twice a day for 10 weeks. The study participants did not follow any special diet and were told to maintain their normal exercise levels.

By the end of the study, the extract group had lost a significant amount of weight, an average of roughly 28 pounds, while the placebo group showed almost no change.At the same time, they showed declines in “bad” Low Density Lipo-protein (LDL) cholesterol and blood sugar levels. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is the good cholesterol.

The study, titled “The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon,” was conducted by Judith L Ngondi, Julius E. Oben, and Samuel R Minka of the Nutrition, HIV and Health Research Unit, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Yaounde, Cameroon.

Dr. Julius E. Oben and his colleagues report the findings in the online journal Lipids in Health and Disease. The Fairfield, California-based Gateway Health Alliances, Inc. supplied the Irvingia gabonensis extract and partially funded the research.

The study is the first well-controlled clinical trial of the extract’s effectiveness as a weight-loss aid, the researchers note. But the findings, they write, suggest that Irvingia gabonensis could offer a “useful tool” for battling the growing worldwide problem of obesity and its related ills. A few patients on the extract reported side effects, including headaches, sleep problems and gas, but the rates were similar in the placebo group. The findings, Oben’s team concludes, should “provide impetus for much larger clinical studies.”

Herbal weight loss mix makes wave in Europe

A herbal weight loss product developed by a Nigerian firm, the International Centre for Ethnomedicine and Drug Development (InterCEDD), makers of Intercedd Health Products (IHP), with its international partners is making waves in Europe.The product simple called Flat Belly and made of some local herbs such as Moringa, Pigeon pea and cocoa promises a flat belly within three months of use.

InterCEDD is a subsidiary of Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP), which is a non-governmental non-profit organization.A consultant pharmacognocist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of BDCP, Prof. Maurice Iwu, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian said the product was developed with a European partner and has been introduced in Europe.

Iwu explained: “Because of certain cultural issues, the formulation is quit different, theirs is liquid but ours is powder that means one has to dissolve in water before drinking. We had to wait for approval from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to introduce our own but with time it will be out in the market.

“We hope to introduce it online so that people can see it and get to buy if they are interested. Though many think that we are withholding for an international market but the fact is that we have not gotten the approval to start selling it.”

The pharmacognocist said port belly is actually a symptom of general obesity and more serious disease but sometimes people see it as a very simple thing. “It is advised that people watch out for what they do and how they do it. The port belly person is always identified by a lot of fat.

“Because of this we are looking at making a product; a mixture spices and herbs that can help reduce and burn off those fats and interestingly they call it flat belly. The whole idea is that over time it will be able to help people reduce that amount of weight they are carrying. Pot belly also puts a lot of pressure on the physique of the body of an individual.”

What is the advantage of Flat Belly over the conventional ones in pursuit of the flat belly? Iwu said: “The advantage is that this went through a rigorous scientific process even though people once accused us that we have not sold it in the country. This is the reason we have not brought it in. There is very well known agent that is called African bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis, Ogbono in Ibo). One of the saddest things that are happening is the scarcity of this agent.

“The African bush mango is so scarce that globally people are faking it. And as for the Ogbono, the issue is that we have not been able to get a steady source for manufacturing process like the industrial farm and because it is not a tree that grows over night. Also, the scarcity is one reason. In the market for instance there are many products that claim to be African mango in the American and British market like the Bush mango while they are not so. To use it, there has to be a lot of guarantees attached to it before producing.”

Senna (Cassia alata) leaves as natural quick weigh loss tea and anti acne lotion Senna alata belongs to the plant family Leguminosae. It is also known as Craw-Craw plant or Ringworm plant (English), asunwon oyinbo (Yoruba), Nelkhi (Igbo), Filisko or Hantsi (Hausa) is an erect tropical, annual herb, which grows up to 0.15 m high.

Cassia plant extracts are 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.

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. Resveratrol was first isolated from Senna quinquangulata 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…

“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…”

Aloe vera juice for weight loss?

People looking for quick weight-loss solutions sometimes turn to herbal products, such as those containing Aloe vera. Although these products may produce short-term weight loss, they are not likely to result in permanent weight loss and may have a number of side effects, according to the Cleveland Clinic.Most studies on Aloe vera and weight loss have used Aloe vera gel or supplements rather than Aloe vera juice, so it may not have the same effects.

An animal study published in Obesity Research & Practice in December 2008 showed a potential for plant sterols found in Aloe vera to improve body composition. In the study, obese rats given these plant sterols had lower levels of abdominal fat after 35 days than rats not given these sterols. This effect may also occur in people. A small preliminary study published in September 2013 in Nutrition found that obese people with diabetes or pre-diabetes who took an Aloe vera gel complex for eight weeks lost more weight and body fat than those not given this supplement. Larger long-term studies are needed to verify these effects.

Aloe vera may result in weight loss due to its laxative effect. Taking laxatives as a way to lose weight is a form of laxative misuse and can result in electrolyte imbalances that can cause numbness, weak muscles, seizures, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks and paralysis. Long-term laxative use can also interfere with your normal bowel function and cause incontinence or dependence on laxatives to have a bowel movement.

Aloe vera latex is commonly used in the treatment of constipation; the laxative effect of the anthraquinone glycosides found in Aloe vera latex is well established. In a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of 28 healthy adults, aloin was reported to have a laxative effect compared to a placebo that was stronger than the stimulant laxative phenolphthalein. In subjects with chronic constipation, a novel preparation containing Aloe vera, celandine, and psyllium was found to improve a range of constipation indicators (bowel movement frequency, consistency of stools, and laxative dependence) in a 28-day double-blind trial; however, the effect of Aloe vera alone was not investigated in this study.

Aloe vera laxative preparations have been approved by the German Commission E governmental regulatory agency for use in the treatment of constipation as a second-line agent; however, Aloe latex is no longer recognized as an over-the-counter drug by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to a lack of sufficient data to establish its safety for use as a laxative.

Cabbage soup diet for weight loss?

The cabbage soup diet is generally considered a fad diet. As the name suggests, the diet requires that you eat large amounts of cabbage soup for a week. During that time, you can also eat certain fruits and vegetables, beef, chicken and brown rice, according to a set schedule.

Proponents of the cabbage soup diet say it’s a good way to quickly lose a few pounds. You may lose weight on the diet because it drastically limits calories. But it may not be fat that you’re losing. It might be water weight or even lean tissue, since it’s hard to burn that many fat calories in such a short period.Because the cabbage soup diet is low in complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, you shouldn’t stay on it for more than a week at a time.

The cabbage soup diet has other disadvantages. Depending on the recipe for cabbage soup, the diet can be high in sodium. The large amounts of cabbage also can make you more prone to flatulence. Because you are not getting proper nutrition, you may feel weak or tired while on the diet. And once you stop the diet, it’s easy to regain any weight that you lost.

Fad diets like this one may be tempting, but keep in mind that long-term weight loss depends on making lasting healthy changes in your eating and exercise habits.

The grapefruit weight loss diet – fad or science?

Eat half a grapefruit before each meal and lose 10 pounds in 10 days! Citrus does have a few powerful antioxidants with known cholesterol and blood pressure lowering effects. But can it help with weight loss? A recent study looked at the age-old claim in an effort to get some answers.

The Grapefruit Diet, also known as the Hollywood Diet, or the Mayo Clinic Diet (although it’s not even remotely associated with the real Mayo Clinic), is based on the premise that grapefruit possesses near-magical powers.

Proponents of the diet claim that eating half a grapefruit before meals high in protein and fat produces a metabolic reaction that transforms even the meekest office worker into a magnificent fat-burning machine. The thermogenic powers supposedly stem from a special fat-burning enzyme in grapefruit that acts as a catalyst to help your body incinerate high fat foods, which in turn results in fast weight loss.

The Grapefruit Diet has been around that long. Eighty years ago puts us somewhere in the 1930s.The diet made a big resurgence in the 1970s when it was promoted as the “Mayo Clinic Diet.” As you can imagine, the doctors and dietitians at Mayo were not too happy about that.Have any clinical research studies evaluated grapefruit’s fat-burning enzyme potential? The answer to that is yes and no.

Early studies did suggest that subjects on the grapefruit diet would lose weight, but this was most likely due to calorie restriction rather than any special fat-burning properties of the grapefruit itself.A recent study evaluating the satiating effects of eating or drinking something low in calories before meals compared grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and water. The subjects lost weight, although not a lot. But it didn’t matter which of the pre-meal snacks they had. All had some small effect.

However, a second study showed the opposite. Subjects who ate grapefruit lost more weight than those who ate a placebo.Citrus, and in particular, grapefruit, contains two of these superstars, flavonones called naringin and hesperidin. Studies conducted in mice and rats have confirmed that naringin and hesperidin act as antioxidants in the fight against free radicals, and reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.

Scientists have also looked at the effects of concentrated doses of naringin and hesperidin on rats. And at these high doses, we see even more evidence that phytochemicals lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Not only that, but in rats, wait for it… naringin appears to stimulate fat breakdown.

The subjects in the grapefruit group may not have lost much weight, but they did lose dangerous belly fat. They also lowered their systolic blood pressure and their Low Density Lipo-protein (LDL)/ ‘bad’ cholesterol. Because the diet they followed was pretty restricted, it’s reasonable to conclude that the phytochemicals in the grapefruit they ate likely helped.

Another factor that may have played a role was the quantity of vitamin C in their diet. Grapefruit is, of course, rich in vitamin C, and this vitamin is an antioxidant with known beneficial effects on blood pressure. So the improvements noted in these subjects could have arisen from the combined or synergistic effects of the vitamin C and grapefruit’s phytochemicals.

The apparent LDL-reducing effects of grapefruit are particularly interesting. Typically, doctors prescribe statins to people with high LDL. Statins are effective but they come with many nasty side effects. If compounds in grapefruit could reduce the need for these drugs, that would be a good thing. Today’s study seems to suggest that grapefruit could be helpful in this regard.

Other natural alternatives to laxatives for weight loss

If ones wishes to stay slim and get rid of water weight fast, then employ natural laxatives that are easily available. Here are a few among the most useful alternatives for laxatives.

1. Water To lose water weight fast, drink not more than eight glasses of water every day. Water can keep you hydrated and helps speed up the digestion process.

2. Prunes Prunes are a rich source of vitamin A and potassium. They also work as a great remedy for constipation, since they regulate the digestion process. Have enough prunes regularly and try to have them on an empty stomach to keep you from constipation and also to reduce weight fast.

3. Tender Coconut Water Coconut water has a great impact in reducing the cholesterol level of the body. It could also be used to get rid of constipation. Instead of laxative pills, one can have coconut water every day to reduce body weight.

4. Legumes The fiber-rich legumes can be consumed daily, in breakfast, to reduce weight fast. Since legumes have a lot of fibre, they help in weight loss quickly.

5. Beets and Cabbage Have salads containing beets and cabbage. They are considered good for regulating the digestion process. You can also have beet juice or cabbage juice every day to reduce weight sooner.


Emperor's candlesticks

(barbiedoll, Nature Magnificent)

Emperor's candlesticks or Empress Candle Plant is also known in English as Christmas senna, Popcorn senna, Christmas candle, Seven golden candlesticks, Candlestick senna, Candle bush, Candle cassia, Candelabra bush, Ringworm bush, Ringworm senna, Wild senna, Winged Senna, Golden candelabra, Roman Candle tree, Stick senna, Yellow top weed or simply Candle tree. It is called Dadmurdan, Vilayatiagati and Dadu Ka Pattain Hindi, Dadmari, Dadumardan in Bengali, Seemaiagathi, Anjali, Vandugolli in Tamil, Mettatamara, Simayavisa in Telugu, Aanattakara, Malamtakara, Puzhukkadittakara, Seema agatti in Malayalam and Doddachagache in Kannada. It is called Dadrughna, dwipagasti in Sanskrit. In Oriya we call it Jadumari (Jadu means scabbies and mari means killer).

Its Botanical name is Senna alata or Cassia alata. This plant is native to the Tropics, including Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and South America. Its natural distribution is exceptionally extensive. It is widely distributed in the tropical countries. In many countries it is often considered as a weed. But it is an important medicinal tree apart from being an ornamental plant.

It is a perennial shrub with ornate yellow flowers which blooms through most of the year. The shrub grows up to 3–4 m tall, with leaves 50–80 cm long. The flower looks like a yellow candle. It begins blooming in October and it has a long blooming season, from autumn almost throughout the winter. The fruit shaped like a straight pod is up to 25 cm long. The seed pods are dark brown or nearly black, about 15 cm long and 15 mm wide. Pods contain 50 to 60 flattened, triangular seeds. It is grown as an ornamental plant for its pretty yellow flowers. Cassia alata is easy to grow from seed. It is a fast grower and flowers in the first year. The plant is suspected of being poisonous to livestock.

Cassia alata or Senna alata has anti-helminthic, antibacterial, laxative, diuretic, Antifungal, Analgesic, alterative, Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Hepatoprotective, abortificent, aperient, purgative, Antimicrobial, diuretic, anti-herpetic, soporific properties .

Its fungicide property derives from chrysophanic acid. It is often called the Ringworm Bush because of this strong and effective fungicidal property, for treating infections such as athlete's foot and chronic fungal infection. Crushed leaves and juice extract is used for treatment of scabies, eczema, insect bites, impetigo, syphilis sores, psoriasis, shingles, rash and itching. Skin problems are most often treated by applying leaf sap or by rubbing crushed fresh leaves on the skin.

It is also used for treatment of uterine disorders. The Plant also cures inflammation, cough, bronchitis, asthma, constipation, hemorrhoids, alopecia and sexual debility. In Ayurveda the plant is used as a cure for poisonous bites. In veterinary medicine too, a variety of skin problems in livestock is treated with leaf decoctions.


Candlestick cassia is easy to grow from seed

By CAMILLE HUNTER (Special to the Times-Union)

Q: I planted some candlestick cassia seeds that I saved from last year, but they never grew. Is there anything special I need to do to make them grow?

Candlestick cassia is an easy plant to grow from seed and can grow to 8 feet tall and bloom in one growing season. This is good, because these are heat-loving, tender plants, and they are usually knocked back by winter cold. Although slow to come back, they often rejuvenate when temperatures become warm.

Seeds must be ripe and fresh. Allow seeds to mature on the plant until they are literally falling out of the seed casings on their own. Immature seeds and old seeds, especially those not stored properly, will germinate poorly or not at all.

To test seeds, place a few between two squares of wet paper towel and slip into a plastic zipper-sealing bag. Place in a warm spot and starting checking the seeds daily after five days. Look for a small white root to appear. Cassia seeds germinate in a week or two at temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees and are faster if first soaked in water for eight hours. Nicking the seed coat with a file also speeds germination but only if done carefully so the seed inside is not damaged.

If none of the seeds has germinated after three weeks, they are probably not viable. Seeds that do germinate can be planted. Cut out a section of paper towel with the seed in it and plant it without disturbing the seed.

Q: The sweet onions I planted last fall have done well, but now the tops are falling over. Should I harvest them, or will they keep growing?

A sweet onion is generally one containing at least 6 percent sugar. Sweet onions are high in water content and do not keep as well as yellow storage onions. They are sometimes referred to as "short day" onions because their peak growing season occurs from January through April when days are short. Your onions are near the end of their growing season and can be harvested any time now.

Q: I know we are supposed to water our grass only twice a week, but the sign I saw didn't say for how long. Is half an hour long enough?

Under new St. Johns Water Management rules, watering with an irrigation system is restricted to no more that twice per week, and no watering can be done between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because every irrigation system is different, you must measure the output to know how long to water each zone. Place several empty tuna cans or similar flat containers on the lawn and run the system one zone at a time. Use a ruler to measure the depth of the water; 3/4 inch of water is ideal for most yards. Adjust the amount of time to get as close as you can to this standard.


Surprising Uses Of “Candlestick Plant ( Akapulko)” That Nobody Might Not Told You About

By Jeny Rose Rodriguez

Akapulko is a coarse, erect, branched shrub. Leaves are pinnate and 40 to 60 centimeters long, with orange rachis on stout branches. Each leaf has 16 to 28 leaflets, 5 to 15 centimeters in length, broad and rounded at the apex, with a small point at the tip.

Leaflets gradually increase in size from the base towards the tip of the leaf. Inflorescences are terminal and at the axils of the leaves, in simple or panicled racemes, and 10 to 50 centimeters long. Flowers are yellow, about 4 centimeters inn diameter, at the axils of thin, yellow, oblong, concave bracts which are 2.5 to 3 centimeters long.

Pod is rather straight, dark brown or nearly black. On both sides of the pods there is a wing that runs the length of the pod. Pod contains 50 to 60 flattened, triangular seeds.

This plant is Aabundant throughout the Philippines in settled areas at low and medium altitudes. Occasionally planted as ornamental or for its medicinal properties.

Uses
– The seeds used for intestinal parasitism.
– Tincture from leaves reported to be purgative.
– Decoction of leaves and flowers for cough and as expectorant in bronchitis and asthma. Also used as astringent.
– Crushed leaves and juice extract used for ringworm, scabies, eczema, tinea infections, itches, insect bites, herpes.
– Preparation: Pound enough fresh leaves; express (squeeze out) the juice and apply on the affected skin morning and evening. Improvement should be noticed after 2 – 3 weeks of treatment.
– Decoction of leaves and flowers used as mouthwash in stomatitis.
– In Africa, the boiled leaves are used for hypertension.
– In South American, used for skin diseases, stomach problems, fever, asthma, snake bites and venereal disease.
– In Thailand, leaves are boiled and drunk to hasten delivery.
– As laxative, boil 10-15 dried leaves in water, taken in the morning and bedtime.
– For wound treatment, leaves are boiled and simmered to one-third volume, then applied to affected areas twice daily.
– In India, plant used as cure for poisonous bites and for venereal eruptions.
– In Nigeria locally used for treatment of ringworm and parasitic skin diseases.
– In the Antilles, Reunion, and Indo-China, plant is used as hydrogogue, sudorific, and diuretic.
– Decoction of roots used for tympanites.
– Wood used as alterative.
– Sap of leaves used as antiherpetic.
– Leaf tincture or extract used as purgative.
– Juice of leaves mixed with lime-juice for ringworm.
– Leaves taken internally to relieve constipation.
– Strong decoction of leaves and flowers used as wash for eczema.
– Infusion of leaves and flowers used for asthma and bronchitis.
– Strong decoction of leaves used as abortifacient.
– Seeds used as vermifuge.

Eath Thora: Widespread Medicinal Herb in Asia and Noxious Weed in Northern Australia

By Lalith Gunasekera (Sri Lanka Guardian)

Eath- thora is a large handsome shrub originated in tropical Amazon Rainforest and can be found in Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, and Surinam. Due to its beauty, it has been cultivated around the world as an ornamental plant and has naturalised in many tropical regions in the world including tropical parts of Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Hawaii, the Caribbean, America, Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia.

Botanical name: SENNA ALATA

Family: Fabaceae

Common names: Eath-thora (Sinhalese), semiagathi (Tamil), akapulka (Philippines) ringworm bush, craw-craw plant, seven golden stick, Christmas candle, king of forest, emperor’s candlestick (English).


Home Treatment for Ringworm

(Healing Wonders of Philippine Medicinal Plants)
Ringworm Treatment Using Herbal Decoctions
1. Daily bath with bayabas leaves decoction. ( english: guava)
• Boil 10 cups of chopped fresh leaves in 1/2 gallon of water for 15 minutes. Add enough cold water to fill up one big pail after straining. Bathe with this decoction while still hot.
2. Tabako leaves decoction shampoo (if head and hair are affected) ( english: tobacco)
• Boil 10 leaves of fresh tabako leaves in 1/2 gallon of water for 15 minutes. Cool and drain, Add enough water to fill up a 3-gallon pail. Shampoo hair with the decoction, once a day, until healed.
3. Kamantigui compress or poultice ( english: Touch me not balsam)
• Crush 5-1,0 kamantigui flowers. Amount depends upon the size of the infection. Crush the flowers until the juice is extracted. Apply directly over the infected part as compress for 30 minutes, 2 times a day.
4. Bawang cloves ( english: garlic)
• Peel and crush one clove and rub it on the affected part until it gets red. Apply 2 times a day: in the morning after the morning :5. :5. Adelfa bark and leaves ( english: Oleander, Adelfa)
• Chop a one-foot long branch. Mix with 1 cup chopped fresh young leaves. Mix the juice with 5 drops of fresh coconut oil. Apply on affected parts, 3 times a day.
6. Akapulko leaves 9 Crush 5 leaves. ( english: Ringworm bush or shrub)
• Rub the juice on the affected areas, 2 times a day.

Akapulko

(indra, Herbal Medicine Wahid)

Akapulko or Acapulco in English is a shrub found throughout the Philippines. A medicinal herb that contains chrysophanic acid, a fungicide used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies and eczema. Akapulko also contains saponin, a laxative that is useful in expelling intestinal parasites.

The extracts from the Akapulko plant is commonly used as an ingredient for lotions, soaps and shampoos.

Uses of Akapulko:

• Treatment of skin diseases: Tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.

• Internal: Expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea, mouthwash in stomatitis, alleviation of asthma symptoms, used as diuretic and purgative, for cough & fever, as a laxative to expel intestinal parasites and other stomach problems. A strong decoction of the leaves is an abortifacient.

Preparation:

• For external use, pound the leaves of the Akapulko plant, squeeze the juice and apply on affected areas.

• For internal use: cut the plant parts into a manageable size then soak and boil for 10 to 15 minutes let cool and use as soon as possible. Note: The decoction looses its potency if not used for along time. Dispose leftovers after one day.


13 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Senna Plant

By Saba Naaz

If you are looking for an effective herbal remedy for cleansing your bowels or for that matter, relieving constipation, then senna is probably the answer to your prayers! Most have not heard of this herb while others often confuse it with henna. But senna plant is a rare and useful herb which provides several benefits. Before moving on to its various health, skin and hair benefits, let us first know more about this mysterious senna herb. What Is Senna Leaf?

Senna is basically a flowering plant belonging to the legume family Fabaceae. It bears yellow, white and pink flowers. This shrub has its origin in North Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia. In Asia, it is mostly found in the temperate regions of India and China. It is considered a powerful laxative due to the presence of compounds called anthraquinones. The glycosides anthraquinone derivatives are known as senna glyvcosides or sennocides named after its genus senna. Several forms of these glycosides are referred to as A, B, C and D.

Almost all its parts possess medicinal value and have been used for thousands of years in herbal medicine in India. Its leaves have been used in traditional Chinese Medicine as herbal laxative but have been rendered inappropriate for regular use. Senna is available in health food stores in the form of capsules and tablets, loose tea and tea bags, and liquid extracts. The undiluted dried root of this herb is also readily available. The pods also possess laxative effects but they are less potent than the leaves. So, what is senna used for? Read to know.

Senna Plant Benefits For Skin:

This wonderful herb can be really beneficial for the skin. Exposure to radiation, environmental pollutants and harsh chemicals adversely affect our skin health, leading to several skin ailments. Natural herbs are an effective and inexpensive way to get a glowing skin and keep skin problems at bay. Some of the ways in which senna can benefit your skin are as follows.

1. Treatment Of Skin Conditions:

The essential oils, resin and tannin in senna, can alleviate skin inflammation. Senna is used in Ayurvedic medicine for this purpose. It is made into a paste, which can be used as a compress to heal ringworms, wounds, and burns.

2. Treatment Of Skin Infections:

The anti-bacterial property of senna can help in treating dermatological or skin ailments. The paste made from senna leaves is effective in treating skin infections like acne as well as inflammatory conditions like eczema. Acetone and ethanol present in senna can fight microorganisms that cause acne.

Senna Plant Benefits For Hair:

Senna can be used in a similar manner as henna for healthy hair and treatment of hair problems. Some of its benefits for hair are as follows.

3. Senna For Strong Hair:

Senna can be applied topically to get smooth, shiny, and strong hair. You can prepare a hair pack by mixing senna powder with water and yoghurt. You can add other ingredients like citrus juice, essential oils herbal teas, spices etc for greater effect. Apply it on your hair, taking small sections at a time. Allow the paste to penetrate into the scalp. Cover your head with a plastic bag and allow it to dry. Rinse off after a few hours.

4. Great Conditioner:

Senna can be used as a conditioner to impart shine besides strengthening and thickening your hair. It is a great option to minimize the adverse impacts of chemical treatments. Initially, your hair might feel rough and dry but the benefits will appear after a few days.

5. Natural Highlighter:

Senna is a great option to impart natural highlights of ash blonde or lighter shades to your hair. Unlike henna, it does not impart strong color when left for short periods. Besides, it does not impart a reddish color but more subtle shade. It contains an anthraquinone derivative called chrysophanic acid, which imparts a light yellow color. If you wish to add beautiful blonde or golden highlights to your hair, you can apply senna paste for long periods of time.

6. Combats Hair Loss:

Senna not only beautifies your hair but also improves scalp condition and treats dandruff. It adds luster and definition to your hair. Being an excellent conditioning herb, it can combat hair loss as well. It cannot lighten naturally dark hair but will definitely provide deep conditioning. It can be combined with other herbs like Amla and Shikakai for conditioning and other benefits to your hair.

Senna Plant Benefits For Health:

As stated above, senna possesses medicinal value which can provide various health benefits given below.

7. Senna For Constipation:

Being a laxative, senna is effective in relieving constipation. It has been approved by the US FDA as a non prescription drug to treat constipation. Senna stimulates the muscles of the colon to push fecal matter through more quickly. Senna leaf acts on the intestinal walls to cause contractions that lead to bowel movements. It softens stool by enabling the colon to absorb water. It can effectively cure even the most severe cases of constipation. The glycosides in it help transport electrolytes, causing bowel movements within 6 to 12 hours of its intake. Senna can be bought as an over the counter (OTC) medication for adults and children above 2 years of age.

8. Great Colon Cleanser:

Senna has been regarded as a “cleansing herb” due to its laxative effects. Senna leaf is used in traditional Chinese medicine to clear away the heat accumulated in the large intestine, helping the body get rid of the stagnant food accumulated in the stomach. Today, it is widely used in cleansing the colon before colonoscopy and other types of colon surgery.

9. Treatment of Hemorrhoids:

Senna has been found to be effective in the treatment of anal lacerations and hemorrhoids as it helps reduce swelling and facilitates quick healing. Moreover, since it promotes soft stools, it helps cause easy defecation in pathological conditions like anal fissure. This is due to the fact that after oral ingestion, the compounds in senna get absorbed into the intestinal tract, resulting in the separation of non-sugar parts in the colon. These non-sugar components increase the peristaltic movements by irritating and stimulating the intestinal tract. In this way, it speeds up the passage of stools through the intestinal tract.

10. Treatment of Intestinal Worms:

The laxative properties of senna have been found to be useful in the treatment of worms in the stomach and colon.

11. Senna Tea For Weight Loss:

This benefit of senna is also attributed to its powerful laxative effect. Senna leaf tea is particularly beneficial in this regard. Firstly it helps relieve occasional constipation which often occurs in low fiber weight loss diets. Secondly, being a low calorie, flavorful solution, it helps to boost your fluid intake. Drinking more fluids causes you to eat less. Thirdly, it aids in the elimination of toxins and undigested food in the large intestine. This cleansing and detoxification supports proper nutrient absorption and optimal metabolism, resulting in weight loss.

12. Antibacterial Properties:

The essential oils, tannins and other compounds in senna possess anti-bacterial properties. These can inhibit the growth and proliferation of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and parasites. Chewing senna leaf like tobacco can cure mouth infections and gingivitis. It also possesses mild inflammatory properties, which can soothe internal and external swelling.

13. Treatment of Indigestion:

Senna has been found to be effective in providing relief from heartburn, nausea, gas, bloating and belching associated with dyspepsia. Senna, when taken with aromatic herbs like cardamom, fennel, ginger and peppermint, can diminish the build up of gas in the stomach through its strong purgative actions.

Senna Medicinal Plant: Nutritional Value:

The nutritional value of this herb has been explained in the table below. As evident from the table, it is devoid of calories and fat but a rich source of vitamin B. Precautions while Using Senna Plant:

Much is not known about the safety profile of senna. It is advisable to use it for a short period of time, as long term usage is associated with several side effects.

• It can cause diarrhea, leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
• Some people may be allergic to senna leaves, which becomes evident in the form of changed color of urine. In such a case, the usage should be stopped immediately to go back to normal.
• Long term use of anthraquinones is associated with the development of colorectal growths and cancer. Other less common side effects include nausea or vomiting.
• Long term use can also increase the risk of muscle weakness, heart function disorders and liver damage.
• Excess consumption of senna tea can be toxic to your liver.
• Even short term usage can trigger side effects like stomach discomfort, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

Hope you liked this post on senna plant benefits. The National Institutes of Health recommends that senna should not be used for more than 2 weeks as it may impair the normal function of your colon. In case of pregnancy or nursing, it should be used only after consulting the physician.


How to Care for a Candle Bush Plant

(San Francisco Gate)

The Candle Bush plant, also called the Candlestick plant or Senna alata, is a tropical perennial capable of reaching twelve feet high. The plants feature lush growth and yellow flowers resembling candles that bloom from late summer to fall. The Candle Bush plant is drought-tolerant and weather-tough, making it a suitable plant for inexperienced and expert gardeners alike. With origins in the tropical Americas, Africa, and Southeast Asia, the Candle Bush is an annual in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 7 to 9, but grows as a perennial in Zones 10 and higher.

1. Select a full-sun location for the Candle Bush plant where the soil is well-draining. Partial shade is tolerable, but not ideal. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost for annual growth and transplant once the plant reaches ten to twelve inches tall. Alternatively, purchase potted seedlings from a local nursery.

2. Water the plant weekly when rainfall isn’t sufficient, to supply at least a half-inch of water and keep the soil moist. If grown as a perennial, the mature Candle Bush plant will become more drought resistant as it becomes established.

3. Weed the area around your Candle Bush plant regularly to decrease water competition. Apply one to two inches of mulch to the area, if desired, to cut down on weeds and retain water.

4. Feed your plant once a month with a half-strength solution of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, to encourage it to reach its full height and produce lush blooms. As you apply fertilizer, remember to feed based on the current height of the plant, not the expected height.

5. Propagate by collecting seeds from the plant after flowering, once the pods have turned brown and dried. Let some seeds fall to the ground for annual growing if you want the plant to attempt to self-sow.

6. Allow Candle Bush plants grown as annuals to die back shortly after the first frost and clear away dead growth. Prune perennial plants after blooming or seed collection, trimming each branch back to half its length. Make each cut just after a bud or branch at a 45 degree angle.

Things You Will Need
• Mulch
• Fertilizer
• Hand pruners

◘ Tips

Candle Bush plants grow well with banana plants and hibiscus for a tropical display.
Remove any volunteer “suckers” or self-sown seeds from around the base of your perennial plant each spring to prevent overcrowding.

◘ Warning

Pesticides are not recommended for Candle Bush plants because they are known to attract butterflies and bees. A flush of hungry caterpillars around the plants will soon be decreased by birds.



Yellow Fever

(Sunday Farmer)
Candle Bush attracts bees and butterflies to your garden

Ever since I saw them growing in the small patch of garden, parallel to the tracks at Dombivali Station and maintained by the malis of Central Railway I had wanted to grow them. The flowers at the end of the stem were long and only later did I come to know that they were called “Candle Bush”. I bought a sapling from Yamunabagh Nursery at Badlapur and planted it last October.

“Did it rain,” I ask Billal, my autorickshaw driver, who picks me up from Badlapur station on Sundays and later drops me back. The roadsides are damp. The fields still holding the stalks of harvested paddy.

“It rained very heavy on Saturday evening,” he answered.

There was surprise waiting for me at the farm. The soil was damp, the trees heavy with raindrops and the day still cloudy. November is the best time to be outdoors.

Yellow flowers greeted me, grown from a bush hardly three foot from the ground. A perennial shrub, the flower resembling fat candles. You’re unlikely to come across such pure yellow colour in nature as in this flower. That’s reason it attracts bees and butterflies.

Also called ringworm shrub, it belongs to the gulmohur family and is called Dadmurdan in Hindi. Its Botanical name is Senna alata. The leaves are commonly used for treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. The decoctions of the leaves are also used to treat bronchitis and asthma. Because of its anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and lotions in the Philippines.


World Malaria Day: Ever heard of anti-malarial herbal tea?

(ANI)

The herbal remedy derived from the roots of a weed, which was traditionally used to alleviate malarial symptoms, is combined with leaves and aerial portions from two other plants with anti-malarial activity, formulated as a tea, and eventually licensed and sold as an anti-malarial phytomedicine.

A new study has revealed about the journey of the anti-malarial tea from herbal remedy to licensed phytomedicine.

The herbal remedy derived from the roots of a weed, which was traditionally used to alleviate malarial symptoms, was combined with leaves and aerial portions from two other plants with anti-malarial activity, formulated as a tea, and eventually licensed and sold as an anti-malarial phytomedicine.

The authors have presented the fascinating story and challenges behind the development of this plant-based treatment.

Merlin Willcox (University of Oxford, U.K.), Zephirin Dakuyo (Phytofla, Banfora, Burkina Faso) and co-authors discuss the anti-malarial and pharmacological properties of the herbal medication derived from Cochlospermum planchonii (a shrubby weed known as N'Dribala), Phyllanthus amarus, and Cassia alata.

The authors provide a unique historical perspective in describing the early evaluation, development, and production of this phytomedicine.

They present the ongoing research and challenges in scaling up cultivation and harvesting of the plants and in production of the final product.

The article also describes other traditional uses of the medication, such as to treat hepatitis.

The study appears in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.


Candle Bush (Cassia alata)

By Salim.E.I (LaPazGroup)

Cassia alata is an erect tropical, annual herb with leathery compounded leaves found in the Western Ghats of India. The plant grows quickly to a height of 6-12 ft and can live for many years. It has waxy yellow spikes on the tip of each branch for which reason they are also known by the name candle bush and seven golden candle sticks. The spikes elongates as the period of blossom progresses. Flowers are pollinated by carpenter bees and caterpillars of migrating butterflies feed on this plant.

The entire plant has both internal and external medicinal properties. Application of the crushed leaves is used for skin diseases and the boiled one for treatment for high blood pressure, snake bites and venereal diseases. The flowers have anti-fungal properties. Taken internally the plant is used as remedy for asthma symptoms, weight loss and stomach ulcers.


AKAPULKO PLANT BEST TREATMENT FOR SKIN DISEASES?

(Pinoy Refresher)

In some provinces in the Philippines, the leaf of Acapulco is very popular as the herbal medicine for skin diseases. I remember one time when I was in our province, my father had told me to get some leaves of Akapulko or in our dialect "sunting", after that he used to put the leaf one by one close to fire until the leaf looks shiny, then it is the time that he would rub it in the affected area.

What is Akapulko plant?

Akapulko plant is a shrubby kind plant,used in the Philippines as an herbal plant, this widely grown in all part of the country.this plant serves as the herbal plant for skin problem because the leaves of the plant contain chrysophanic acid, an acid that fights against ringworm, scabies, and eczema. the plant also contains sudorific,diuretic chemical which used to treat the intestinal problem like parasites. aside from that this also treats bronchitis and asthma.

The Akapulko plant is also very common ingredients in shampoo, soap and lotions.


On Gardening: Emperor’s candlestick, a nostalgic trip to the islands

By Norman Winter (Tribune News Service)

I was working on a magazine piece this week on nostalgia gardening. While we tend to think of nostalgia gardening as being related to growing something that is heirloom or antique it can also be considered a plant that mentally transports you back to another time or place. One plant that instantly does that is the Emperor’s candlestick, Senna alata formerly Cassia alata.

It is considered a shrub in the tropics. Though we see it in gardens as a beautiful flower, in third world countries it is seen as a valuable medicinal plant. In Mexico and Samoa, it is used for snake-bites, in other countries it is used for herpes and venereal diseases, ringworm, and digestive disorders. Butterfly lovers treasure it as a host plant for Sulphur butterflies.

It can be grown successfully as an annual just about anywhere in the country. Here in Savannah, Ga., it too is an annual flower and stunning from summer through frost. The candlestick plant is in the legume family and even though it does not bloom until mid-to-late-summer the large pinnately compound foliage lends a textural extravaganza even when flowers aren’t present.

Since it does grow large, up to 8 feet tall, with the compound leaves stretching out 3 feet in each direction you will want to place it at the back of your border. I have grown them in beds where I had over a dozen and while pretty it was a little overwhelming. Probably two to three plants in a mixed border is the way to go. One of my favorite partners is the spicy jatropha, Jatropha integerrima. Another terrific combination would include Vermillionaire cuphea that has scarlet flowers and reaches about 3 feet tall and wide.

My one bone of contention with garden centers is that they usually do not have them available early enough in the planting season to allow time to grow them into eight-foot-plus range. Actually, they are now getting harder to find. Once you do start growing them, “you are in the business,” because they produce long pods loaded with seeds. These dried seeds will give you the opportunity to grow them whenever you want. In recent years I have found seeds well priced via online shopping.

Once you start collecting seeds, store them in a dry location over the winter. Next spring, pop open the pods and plant the seeds about 3/4 of an inch deep in full sun in well-drained, well-prepared beds. I like to lightly scratch these seeds with sandpaper to help speed up my germination process. If you want to see yours reach that 8-foot monolithic stature feed monthly during the growing season. Even though they are considered drought tolerant plants, keeping them watered and mulched keeps them looking lush and ever so tropical for your little corner of paradise.


Health Benefits of Ringworm Bush (Akapulko)

(Pinoy Health Guide)

The Akapulko leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies and eczema.. Akapulko leaves are also known to be sudorific, diuretic and purgative, usedto treat intestinal problems including intestinal parasites. Akapulko is also used as herbal medicine to treat bronchitis and asthma. Because of Akapulko’s anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and lotions in the Philippines. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) has helped develop the technology for a Akapulko herbal medicine lotion.

Akapulko is an erect, shrubby legume with dark green compound leaves. Akapulko leaves have orange rachis that has 16-28 leaflets. Akapulko produces an axis of golden yellow flowers that has 4-winged pods containing 50-60 flattened, triangular seeds. Akapulko flowers are enclosed by yellow-orange bracts that are later shed in time.

Akapulko Traditional Medicinal Uses and Health benefits

Akapulko has a long history of medical usage and has a long list of folkloric health benefits for the following conditions.

•Skin problems and diseases. Akapulko is commonly used as an antibacterial and anti-fungal treatment for various skin diseases that include:
• tinea infection,
• ringworms,
• eczema,
• scabies
• insect bites
• and all sorts of skin itchiness.
• Stomach problems. Akapulko has long been used to treat stomach related problems that include:
• Laxative to expel intestinal parasites,
• diuretic purgative.
•Anti-inflammatory activity. Akapulko is known to alleviate symptoms related to inflammation and is used in the treatment of the following:
• arthritis,
• gout,
• rheumatitis
• bursitis
• and other joint and muscle problems.
•Lung problems. Akapulko tea is also a folkloric remedy to prevent symtoms of lung problems such as:
• asthma attacks
• bronchitis.
• coughs
•Mouth problems. Akapulko is used as mouth wash for various mouth problems that include ulcers, sores, and toothache.

Recent studies also suggests that it is a strong antioxidant that may have anti-peroxidation activities that is beneficial in preventing the development of cancer.

Where can I get or buy Akapulko?

Akapulko plant is widely cultivated and can be sourced through local horticulturist. Akapulko leaves, flowers and seeds can be harvested from fields.

Akapulko is also commercially prepared in powder, tincture and capsules taken as supplements. They are available in most fitness and health stores.

Akapulko leaves. Pound and squeeze the juice and apply topically on affected area twice a day until cured. There are commercially available Akapulko herbal medicine lotions in the Philippine market for skin diseases treatment. If symptoms persist or irritation occurs, stop the use and consult your doctor.

Akapulko herbal tea. As expectorant and for the alleviation of asthma attacks, drink a cup of Akapulko herbal medicine tea (see above for the preparation) three times a day until symptoms improved. For the treatment of mouth infections such as stomatitis, gargle the Akapulko herbal tea three times a day until symptoms improve. If symptoms persist and irritation occurs, stop the use and consult your doctor.

Akapulko herbal tea or decoction

Pound or cut a cup of Akapulko seeds, Akapulko leaves and flowers into manageable sizes then let it seep in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes to creat an Akapulko herbal tea. Let it cool and drink a cup three times a day. The potency of Akapulko herbal tea is good to last for one day. Make new Akapulko herbal tea as needed.

Dosage, Warnings and Side Effects of Akapulko

Akapulko leaves are safe for most adults, however the seeds should not be taken for long term.

• Allergy. Akapulko have been reported to cause allergic reaction to sensitive people.
Counter indications:
• Akapulko contains Vitamin K that may act as an anticoagulant. it is therefore advised to avoid using Akapulko when taking coagulant drugs.
• Akapulko contains canavanine, an amino acid that is known to aggravate symptoms of auto-immune diseases such as lupus. Excess intake of Akapulko can also cause breakdown of red blood cells which maybe serious.

Akapulko possesses Immunosuppressive action. Therefore, avoid taking corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) or cyclosporine with Akapulko.

When taking medications for diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, etc., Akapulko may couter-act or aggravate its effectiveness. It is advised to consult your doctor before using this herb.

Pregnancy and Breast feeding. There is no sufficient studies done to investigate the adverse or side effects of Akapulko consumption during pregnancy and breast feeding. It is recommended to avoid its use.

Just like any herbal medicine, moderation in use is recommended.


15 Effective Home Remedies To Treat Tinea Versicolor

By Maanasi Radhakrishnan

Are you looking for a good home remedy for Tinea Versicolor? You will be glad to know that there are plenty of inexpensive yet effective remedies for this skin condition. In fact, you may have what you need to treat it right in your kitchen! You may think that a doctor is what you need, but it is not so. You should definitely opt for natural remedies as they are safer and do not come with any side effects.

Talking about natural remedies, this post talks about those that help you treat Tinea Versicolor. Would you like to know more? Keep reading. Tinea Versicolor – An Overview:

Tinea Versicolor is a skin disorder that causes white patches to appear on your body (1). This fungal infection is brought on by Malassezia globosa fungus, and is found in places that have a humid and warm climate. Common symptoms of this skin disorder include white patches, slight itchiness, as well as flaking and scaling. When skin is exposed to the sun or heat, the patches tend to turn red or pink. The parts that are mostly affected by this infection are the neck, arms, chest and back.

Medicated anti-fungal ointments and anti-dandruff shampoos are usually prescribed for the treatment of Tinea Versicolor. However, home remedies are a better option. Here are the 15 best home remedies for tinea versicolor treatment:

1. Aloe Vera:

This plant has been used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions for centuries in different parts of the world. It can be used as an effective remedy for Tinea Versicolor. It contains Vitamin B12 that can help treat this condition. Aloe Vera also has the ability to alkalize your body – this is important as Tinea Versicolor can’t thrive in an alkaline environment. Scientific research has shown that this amazing plant can decrease Malassezia globosa fungus’ ability to spread.

2. Baking Soda:

This is another effective remedy for Tinea Versicolor. Baking soda also alkalizes the body and prevents the fungi that cause this infection from thriving. Alkalization of your body also helps in balancing its pH levels. You can use baking soda as a body scrub, concentrating on the affected areas. This will remove the flakes on your skin as well as dead skin cells. Before you take a shower, apply it to the affected areas and leave it on for 10 minutes or so. While showering, wash it off with an exfoliating brush. You will gain results in just a few days!

3. Yogurt:

This food has loads of good bacteria that help in regulating metabolism. This bacteria are present in your body and play a role in controlling the growth of fungus and naturally-occurring yeast. You can cure Tinea Versicolor by applying it to your skin before showering. Leave it on for 30 minutes and wash it off with a mild soap.

4. Neem:

This plant is known to have plenty of benefits for the skin. Its antimicrobial properties make it a highly effective remedy for Tinea Versicolor. You can use neem in different ways to cure this skin condition. A great method is to boil the leaves in water until they get infused. Strain the water and use it during your bath in place of regular water. You can also apply ground neem leaves on the affected areas and leave it on until the paste dries. Another way to use neem to treat this infection is to apply about 3 drops of neem oil ton the infected areas after showering.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar:

This vinegar is a potent agent for cleansing. For best results, add a bowl of it to your bath water. You can also use a mixture of equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water. Take a cotton ball and apply the solution to the infected areas. Remember that vinegar dries the skin, so make sure that you follow the cleansing routine with an anti-fungal ointment or neem oil to keep your skin moisturized.

6. Tea Tree Oil:

This oil has anti-fungal properties and has been used to treat various skin infections and other problems. However, tea tree oil is very strong and can cause a burning sensation if you do not dilute it before application. You can mix it with lavender or coconut oil and apply it to the areas of your skin that are affected by Tinea Versicolor.

7. Turmeric:

For centuries, turmeric has been used as an effective treatment for injuries, infections, etc. To use this home remedy, make a paste out of this spice with water or any soothing oil. Apply it to the affected area and leave it on for 30 minutes or so. Wash it off and you will find noticeable results in a matter of days. You can also mix a teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of warm milk and drink it every day to heal this infection.

8. Garlic:

This is a well-known remedy for Tinea Versicolor. Experts recommend eating two cloves of garlic with warm water every day before eating anything else. Applying the oil or juice of garlic can also alleviate the infection significantly. Apply the oil or juice to the affected parts and leave it on for 30 minutes before you bathe. Use a mild soap to wash it off.

9. Candle Bush:

This herb is a highly effective treatment for skin conditions such as Tinea Versicolor and ringworm. There are ready-made preparations made from this herb in the market that you can use to treat this infection. You can also use ground fresh candle bush leaves mixed with olive oil. Apply the paste to the infected areas twice a day to heal your skin.

10. Grapefruit Seed Extract:

This is an excellent natural treatment for different types of fungal infections. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties that make it highly effective. You should apply grapefruit seed extract to the parts of your skin affected by Tinea Versicolor 2 or 3 times every day.

11. Listerine:

Listerine mouth wash is another home remedy that can be used to treat Tinea Versicolor. You should apply it to your skin twice every day. Take a cotton ball and soak it with the mouth wash and gently rub the affected areas. You will notice the infection slowly disappearing after using this remedy for a week or so.

12. Virgin Coconut Oil:

Coconut oil is known for its soothing effect on the skin. It keeps it nourished and moisturized as well. You can use this beneficial oil to treat Tinea Versicolor. All you need to do is massage the oil on to the infected parts every day to effectively treat it. Its natural acids will help heal your skin and eliminate the infection.

13. Eucalyptus Oil:

This is another wonderful oil that can help in the treatment of Tinea Versicolor. Mix 5 to 10 ml of this oil, 5 to 10 ml of tea tree oil and 100 ml of Aloe Vera together. Apply this mixture to the affected areas 2 times daily after you shower. You will notice a difference in 3 days or so. To prevent the infection from recurring, continue using this home remedy for as long as possible.

14. Manuka Honey:

As you know, honey has loads of benefits for the skin. It is a natural moisturizer that gives you soft, supple skin. Manuka honey contains tea tree oil pollen that makes it an effective natural remedy for Tinea Versicolor. You can use it as a 14-day treatment to clear the infection. You may find it a little sticky but it is worth applying it on your skin as it gives great results when used every day.

15. Patchouli Essential Oil:

This essential oil has many wonderful benefits, which is why it is one of the most commonly used essential oils. You can use patchouli essential oil as a natural remedy to effectively treat Tinea Versicolor. What you need to do is create your own lotion by mixing patchouli essential oil with coconut oil. Apply the lotion on your skin once every day after you take a shower. You will notice the effect it has on the infection after a week. Use this remedy daily to prevent the infection from recurring.

The home remedies that can be used to treat Tinea Versicolor are easily available and do not require you to spend a lot of money. They are also easy to prepare, which means they are fuss-free and do not require a lot of effort. It is important to remember that apart from using these home remedies, you need to make a few lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins A, B complex, C and E can work wonders. You should also eat more foods that contain probiotics such as coconut, sweet potatoes, yogurt, garlic, etc.

With a little time, Tinea Versicolor can be eliminated with the help of home remedies. They are natural and safe, and can help in the prevention of other infections as well. Make use of what you have at home and get rid of this nasty infection quickly and effectively!


Candle Bush having worthy medicines!

(Natural, Scientific and Medical Wonders)

I found one day a plant among bushes on the wayside, becoming prominent by popping up by itself with its bright yellow heads. It had large leaves and had grown profusely within a shorter period of time. It was exactly like a robust Senna plant, as if it was from the era of Dinosaurs! I also found grannies picking up its leaves for preparing home remedies for illnesses (Granny's medical treatment, 'Paati Vaithyam' in Tamil!). It is the Candle Bush (Senna alata, Ringworm Tree, 'Seemai Agatthi' in Tamil). It is about three meters tall. Its branches grow straight up bearing yellow heads of inflorescence that resemble yellow candles before their blooming into flowers. Its leaves are seen closing at night and opening at dawn. Square seeds that are found in the pods readily grow anywhere. It is a weed in Australia. But it is in demand here, in India, as it has fungicidal medicine in its leaves for treating skin diseases like Ringworm. It has also laxative principles as the Senna plant. The Candle Bush that amazed me has now become a wonder plant possessing a wealth of wonder medicines!


How to prepare akapulko ointment

(Traditional Medicine News)

Common names: Katanda (Tagalog); andadasi (Ilokano); palochina (Bisaya); ringworm bush, seven golden candlesticks

Indications and preparations: Crushed leaves, ointment for fungal skin infections e.g. tinea flava, ringworm, athlete’s foot

Family: Leguminosae

Description: A shrub, 1-2 m tall, with thick branches, pubescent. Leaves with 8-20 pairs of leaflets oblong-elliptical. Flowers with oblong sepals. Fruit tetragonal, winged and glabrous. Seeds quadrangular, flattened, and shiny.

Ecological distribution: Native to South America, now distributed throughout the tropics; abundantly naturalized in South East Asia, and occasionally planted throughout the region for medicinal and ornamental purposes.

Parts used: Leaves

Traditional uses:
• root, flower and leaf decoction – used as laxative
• pounded leaves – against ringworm
• leaf decoction – as an expectorant in bronchitis and dyspnea, as astringent, mouthwash and a wash for eczema.

Special precautions: Apply thinly twice daily on affected part. Improvement should occur 2 – 3 weeks after treatment.

How to prepare akapulko ointment:

There are two methods for preparing ointments: the cold process and the hot process. Both produce standard ointments and are easy to perform. They differ from one another in more ways than just the temperature. Note the differences as you go through the procedure.

The Cold Process:

Materials: fresh chopped akapulko leaves, 95% ethyl alcohol, glass jar with cover, strainer, shallow bowl, white petroleum, mortar and pestle/mixing bowl and spoon, ointment jars, labels.

Procedure:

1. Macerate/soak the leaves in ethyl alcohol in the glass jar for at least 3 days. Cover and set aside. Add more alcohol to keep the leaves always immersed in the alcohol.

2. On the 4th day, filter the extract through a clean piece of cheesecloth/filter paper.

3. Using a water bath (in a big kettle with water, place your enamel "tabo" containing the extract) and under medium heat evaporate the solvent (the ethyl alcohol) until you get a thick, concentrated extract.

4. Upon reaching the desired consistency, remove the extract from the water bath.

5. Mix thick extract with the white petrolatum in a 15% proportion (15 grams/1 Tablespoon extract for every 100 gms of white petrolatum) until the extract is blended well with the petrolatum.

6. Transfer the akapulko ointment in the desired containers. Label properly.

The Hot Process

Materials: fresh chopped leaves, vegetable oil, candle (Sperma #5), frying pan, strainer, ointment jars, labels.

Proportion: 1 cup fresh chopped leaves: 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 candles, grated.

Procedure:

1. Fry the chopped leaves until crisp. 2. Strain. Add the grated candle to the oil. 3. Heat over low heat until all the candle wax is melted. Mix well. 4. Transfer to ointment jars before the mixture hardens. 5. Label properly.


Philippine Herbs: Surprising Health Benefits Of Akapulko

By Rich Chan

Healthy Pinoy herbs that can keep your kids healthy. Surprising health benefits of Akapulko that you probably don’t know!

These days parents are more focused on the nutrition and health needs of their minor offspring. Parents are being responsible and conscientious when it comes to the needs of their children. Which is why herbal medicine is starting to make a comeback for parents who are looking for natural alternatives to keep their children healthy

The Philippines has an abundance of herbal medicine that has been used since ancient time.

Just like China, Philippines is a country which is known to use herbal products.

These herbs have been widely used in all parts of the country to cure various ailments and to promote overall wellness.

Philippine’s Department of Health approved some of the herbal medicine, which implies they are safe and effective to use.

DOH has reportedly approved ten medicinal plants for public use. One of them is the Akapulko.

Akapulko (Cassia alata) is an erect, shrubby legume with dark green compounds leaves.

According to information published at APA Med Central, this herb has anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, which are useful for treating skin fungal infections.

Here are the healthy benefits if Akapulko.

Akapullko leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections, like ringworm, scabies, and eczema.

In the Philippines, Filipinos also used Akapulko as an herbal medicine to treat bronchitis and asthma. This herb is known to alleviate symptoms related to inflammation and is used in treating, arthritis, gout, rheumatism, and other joint and muscle problems.

Due to its anti-microbial properties, Akapulko is used as a mouthwash for various mouth problems that includes ulcers, sores, and toothache. The methanol extracts from leaves, flowers, and stems of Akapulko showed a broad spectrum of anti-bacterial property.

Recent studies suggest that it is a strong antioxidant that may have ant-peroxidation activities that are beneficial I preventing the development of cancer.

Note:

Akapulko leaves are safe for most of the adults, however, the seeds should not be taken for long-term.


CASSIA ALATA extract or Mother Tincture Homeopathy Remedy

(Hpathy)

Cassia alata or Senna alata is often called the Ringworm Bush because of its very effective fungicidal properties, for treating ringworm and other fungal infections of the skin, favus and other mycoses, impetigo, syphilis sores, psoriasis herpes, chronic lichen planus, scabies, shingles, eczema, rash and itching.

Besides skin diseases, it is also used to treat a wide range of aliments from stomach problems, fever, asthma to snake bite and venereal diseases. It has shown Antibacterial activity against a wide range of bacteria.


Popular Nigerian Herbs And Their Health Benefits

By Collins Nwokolo

Herbs are medicinal plants, whose roots, leaves, stem or seeds can be used for medicinal purposes. Although you might not know it, herbs have played an important role in our overall health and wellbeing. In the ancient times, herbs were used for a lot of medicinal purposes, and by people of different cultures.

Despite the fact that modern medicine is now popular today, herbs are still beneficial to you. Many developing countries effectively use herbs to keep themselves healthy. It's very important that you know these things.

That's why today, you will be learning about some of the local Nigerian herbs and their health benefits. These herbs are also found in many places around the world and can still be used the same way. But before that, let me briefly explain why medicinal herbs are important and should mean a great deal to you.

Importance of medicinal herbs

Here are some few reasons why medicinal herbs are essential:

• A lot of herbal extracts like those derived from mint , fenugreek , ginkgo, and aloe vera are used in manufacturing medicines.

• They are useful in cases of emergencies and alternative medicine.

• Herbs offer a cheaper alternative than modern medicine and medications.

• They can also be used for culinary purposes, which is great because you can eat delicious food and get healthy.

• And above all, they provide a host of nutritional and health benefits, treat diseases and so much more.

Local Nigerian herbs and their health benefits

Some of the most common Nigerian herbs, their names, uses and health benefits are concisely discussed below:

1. Mitracarpus scaber

Mitracarpus scaber is a very common weed of cultivated or fallowed land. It is a perennial herb of 30 cm tall (the botanical name is Mitracarpus scaberulus).

It has different names according to the different tribes in Nigeria. It is called Ogwungwo or Obuobwa in Igbo language, Gududal in Hausa language and Irawo lle in Yoruba language.

Health benefits and medical uses of Mitracarpus scaber

• It is scientifically known that this plant has a lot of antibacterial and antifungal properties.

• It is used to treat skin infections such as infected wounds, dermatoses, ringworms and scabies.

• It is popular in traditional medicine practices in West Africa for the treatment of headaches, toothaches, amenorrhoea, hepatic diseases and venereal diseases.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a very popular herb and is widely known to have wonderful health benefits and medicinal uses.

It is a common plant that doesn't have a stem, and is usually about 80-100 cm tall.

Health Benefits of Aloe Vera

• Aloe Vera contains substances that inhibit inflammation.

• It is very effective in healing wounds and burns.

• It helps in digestion and helps to rid the body of intestinal worms.

• It is very good for your skin. And is commonly used in the production of many skincare products.

• It helps in detoxifying the body.

3. Ringworm plant

Ringworm plant, scientifically known as Senna alata, or cassia alata is an important medicinal tree, as well as an ornamental flowering plant.

It is commonly known as candle bush, candelabra bush, or Christmas candles. The plant is about 3–4 m tall, with leaves 50–70 cm long, and is called Asunrun Oyinbo in Yoruba and Ogalu in Ibo.

Health benefits and medical uses of Senna Alata

• It has antifungal properties and is used to treat a number of skin infections, including ringworms as you would guess.

• It is used in treatment of haemorrhoids, constipation, and inguinal hernia.

• It is also used in treating intestinal parasites, convulsions and syphilis.

4. Dracaena arborea

Dracaena arborea is a specie of Dracaena, commonly known as dragon tree. It is an elegant ornamental tree that grows up to 20m tall with deep green thick leaves. And is locally known as peregun in yoruba, and odo in Igbo. It is found in semi arid deserts and are tropical perennials.

Health Benefits and medical uses of Dracaena arborea

• Dracaena arborea is medically known to be useful in the treatment of diabetes-induced testicular dysfunction.

• The roots of this plant is used in treating abdominal pains.

5. Cashew nut tree

The botanical name of cashew nut tree is Anacardium occidentale. It is a tropical tree of 12 m high that produces cashew seed and cashew apple. The cashew seeds are used in snacking.

Fact: Nigeria was the second largest producer of cashew nuts in 2013. The bark, seeds and twigs are used for medicinal purposes.

Health benefits and medical uses of cashew tree • The twigs of the tree is used as chewing stick that helps with mouth thrush, sore gums and toothache.

• The extract from the bark is an efficient natural remedy for malaria fever.

• The bark of the cashew plant is an effective contraceptive. This has been used as a decoction to prevent pregnancy.

• An infusion can be made from the leaves and used to cure nasal congestion.

6. Stool wood

The scientific name is Aistonia boonei De Wild. It is also called cheese wood or pattern wood. In Nigeria, however, it is locally called ahun inYoruba and egbuora in Igbo. It is a tall forest tree, that grows up to 45 metres tall. The leaves are borne in whorls at the nodes, the leaf shape is oblanceolate. The bark is grayish-green or grey and rough.

Health benefits and medical uses of Aistonia boonei

• It is widely used as a febrifuge, for fever.

• It contains an important alkaloid chemical called echitamine, that has a lot of pharmacological uses.

• The bark, leaves and roots are all used to relieve rheumatic pain.

• The leaves, when pulped to a mash, are applied topically to reduce oedemas.

Let's all make use of herbs and keep improving our health. Thanks for reading.



Home Treatment for Ringworm

(Filipinoi Herbs Healing Wonders)

Ringworm is an infection of the skin, hair, and nails with various fungi, producing ring-like lesions with raised borders.

Ringworm Treatment Using Herbal Decoctions

1. Daily bath with bayabas leaves decoction. ( english: guava)

Boil 10 cups of chopped fresh leaves in 1/2 gallon of water for 15 minutes. Add enough cold water to fill up one big pail after straining.
Bathe with this decoction while still hot.

2. Tabako leaves decoction shampoo (if head and hair are affected) ( english: tobacco)

Boil 10 leaves of fresh tabako leaves in 1/2 gallon of water for 15 minutes. Cool and drain, Add enough water to fill up a 3-gallon pail. ::Shampoo hair with the decoction, once a day, until healed.

3.Kamantigui compress or poultice ( english: Touch me not balsam)

Crush 5-1,0 kamantigui flowers. Amount depends upon the size of the infection. Crush the flowers until the juice is extracted. Apply directly over the infected part as compress for 30 minutes, 2 times a day.

4.Bawang cloves ( english: garlic)

Peel and crush one clove and rub it on the affected part until it gets red. Apply 2 times a day: in the morning after the morning bath, and at bedtime.

5.Adelfa bark and leaves ( english: Oleander, Adelfa)

Chop a one-foot long branch. Mix with 1 cup chopped fresh young leaves. Mix the juice with 5 drops of fresh coconut oil. Apply on affected parts, 3 times a day.

6. Akapulko leaves 9 Crush 5 leaves. ( english: Ringworm bush or shrub)

Rub the juice on the affected areas, 2 times a day.

Cassia Alata

(Puteri's Musings)

ast August I wrote a post called Can You Identify this Tree? on my other blog. I have finally found the botanical name of the tree through Zawi's Virtual Tourist site.

The tree is called Cassia Alata. It is also known as Senna alata, Herpetica alata, Cassia bracteata, and Cassia herpetica.

In Sarawak the tree is known by two names. My mother calls it the Sulok tree. The other name escapes me. There are a few Cassia Alata trees in my parents yard.

My mother would cut up a few branches of the tree and put them out to dry. When the leaves are dry she will put them over a fire to dry it even further and also to give the leaves that smoked flavour. Then the leaves are removed from the branches and stored away for boiling into a tea.

I like the flavour of the Sulok tea. It has a pleasant mild flavour. I don't know about it being a laxative but I know for sure that it works very well as a diuretic!

People in Sarawak believe that drinking Sulok tea will help lower your blood cholesterol. My uncle who has very high blood cholesterol says that his cholesterol level went down after consistently drinking the tea for a month.

I brought a small bag of the Sulok tea leaves back to California. Two days ago I boiled a kettle of the tea. I had forgotten to take my hydrochlorothiazide medication on Sunday and on Monday I took my medication as usual and drank several cups of Sulok tea. Oh boy, did the two combined made me go to the toilet often! Got rid of all the water retention in my body!

According to an article I read, cassia alata has blood sugar lowering properties. That is excellent news indeed because I am concerned about my blood sugar. It is a bit on the high side and I did suffer from gestational diabetes. My father is a diabetic and with that family history, for me it is a matter of when not if where diabetes is concerned.

Now I wished I had brought more of the leaves for my tea! The reason I brought a small amount was that I was afraid that the customs people would confiscate my tea leaves if they found I was carrying a bag of it! :-)

Some people have successfully grown the cassia alata here in the US. I might want to get the seeds and try planting it. There are companies selling the seeds and even young plants here in the U.S. It is a fast growing tree and if I plant it in a big pot I might be able to protect it from the cold during the winter months. Doug has been meaning to build a greenhouse for a long time but he has not got around to doing it. In fact he has the stuff needed to build the greenhouse already!

Who knows I might want to market the tea leaves like any herbal tea! Hey Zawi, here's another business possibility for us!!


Winter’s yellow gold

By Mike Malloy

Summer heat is beginning to subside and we actually have temperatures in the mornings in the 50’s and 60’s. The first thing to do is open all the windows and doors.

The next step is to start enjoying all the cassias, or sennas, that begin to bloom this time of the year.

Cassias are generally known for their fast growth. Let me get this over with now before we all get confused: Cassias and sennas are the same group of plants, but some people with too much time on their hands decided to change the name from cassia to senna. I prefer cassia, probably because I’m old and I hate change.

These trees and shrubs are some of the showiest plants we have in the fall in Southwest Florida. Their bloom time is usually late summer or early fall and can bloom continually throughout the winter months. In fact, I have actually seen them bloom for more than a year straight on the same tree. I think, like everything else, they bloom whenever they feel like it and for as long as they feel like it. The longer they bloom the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Cassias can grow on a balcony or lanai, as well as in the landscape. They can be kept as a container plant with judicious pruning. They are all members of the pea family (Fabaceae).

Cassia bicapsularis, also known as Galbrata cassia, is a noxious weed but is still for sale here in Florida. I would suggest planting a native cassia like Privet cassia (Cassia ligustrina) or Bahama cassia (Cassia bahamensis) in place of the more invasive one.

One of my favorites is the popcorn cassia (Cassia didymobotyra) and another is desert cassia (Cassia polyphylla). The desert cassia can be kept as a small tree or shrub which, by the way, is the slowest growing plant I have ever encountered that will bloom on and off all year. Another little known cassia in Florida is the canyon cassia (Cassia wisilizenii), which makes a beautiful small shade tree. It has feathery leaves making it as nice when in bloom as out of bloom. It has your typical yellow blooms that most cassias have and the root system is not a problem as those of other trees can be. There are also a few red and pink cassias. Cassias are a great alternative to trying to stuff live oaks in where they do not belong.

Some other favorites are:

Candle Bush (Cassia alata): A large cassia, also known as candelabra cassia because the flowers shoot upward just like a candelabra full of yellow candles. It makes an attractive specimen shrub and is one of the most spectacular. Alata will also do well as a container plant but must be controlled; it prefers, like most cassias, a lot of sun and should be trimmed back once a year.

Popcorn Cassia (cassia didymobotrya): Popcorn cassia is very similar to alata cassia and can also be used as a specimen plant. Likes full sun and gets ten feet in height. When rubbed in one’s hand it smells just like buttered popcorn. I’m not kidding; it’s made quite a few people crave popcorn.

Sunshine Tree (Cassia surrattensis): This cassia makes a great small tree. In case you did not notice there are hundreds planted around Naples. It matures at about 15 feet and is almost the same in canopy spread. It will take full sun to partial shade. The sunshine will bloom on and off all year but looks it’s best in fall and winter. They do; however tend to go down in strong winds if their canopies are not thinned out from time to time. On the good side they can be put back up easily. Let’s face it there is not much that won’t blow over in strong winds in Florida.

Bahama cassia (Cassia bahamensis): Bahama cassia, also known as cassia chapmanii, is a large shrub that is covered with yellow flowers all fall. Bahama cassias are great in the landscape when planted in mass. This one is native to Florida.

Privet cassia (Cassia ligustrina): Privet cassia is a shrub that grows to ten feet and can be six to eight feet in width. Like most cassias it will bear yellow flowers. They do well in full sun to partial shade and bloom on and off all year and have average water needs. They are also native to Florida and will reseed themselves- maybe more then we like.

Coffee cassia (Cassia occidental): This is a wild growing cassia growing in woods everywhere in southwest Florida. I have never seen it for sale as a cultivated plant. This cassia sometimes called stink weed because when the leaves are crushed it has an unpleasant odor. These are no reasons to count this cassia out, keep your eyes open. I know the dainty sulfur and the barred sulfur love this one.

Apple blossom tree (Cassia javanica): Most cassias bloom brilliant yellow flowers, but this one has pink flowers, and most spectacular ones, I might add. This tree gets quite large – a little larger than most cassias actually the size of a northern apple tree – so give them room. It requires full sun. In Hawaii the streets are lined with this cassia.

Remember, one of the best reasons to have cassias or sennas in the garden is that they are the host plant (plants the female butterfly lays her eggs on) to the many sulfur butterflies (yellow butterflies) we have in abundance here in southwest Florida. Orange barred sulfur, large orange sulfur, cloudless sulfur, and the dainty sulfur just to name a few of the many butterflies that are attracted to cassias. KEEP BUTTERFLYING!!!


Texas’ most-viewed butterfly: Buttery Sulphurs

By Ory Roberts

One of the most often-viewed butterflies in Texas is the Sulphur Butterfly. Even if you haven’t seen any Monarchs, Swallowtails, Pipevines or Zebras you are sure to have seen the sulphurs. When first viewed by observers, this species of butterfly was referred to as having a buttery coloration. In fact, it is believed that this is how these fluttering insects got the name of “butterfly.”

In the springtime, if you drive up to the hill country to view the bluebonnets, it is likely you will also encounter the sulphurs ”puddling” in water puddles next to the side of asphalt roads. This is their way of drinking in necessary nutrients that are made available to them through salts and minerals derived from the soil. Sulphur butterflies often have solid yellow wing colorations that may be mottled with orange, lime-green, rusty amber, soft brown or grey spots.

Within the confines of the Cockrell Butterfly Center Demonstration Garden (located outside the conservatory), we have two host plants available for the sulphur butterflies to lay eggs upon – the Cassia alata and the Cassia bicapsularis. If you’re interested in the early stages of the butterfly’s life cycle, these two plants always have eggs and caterpillars on them. Be aware that wasps, a predator of the larvae, can sometimes be seen carrying them off as food.

The Cassia alatas are grown in our greenhouses with seeds collected from specimens that formed pods after flowering the previous fall. We scarify (by making a tiny cut in the seed coat) and then soak them in water for 24 hours before planting them into flats in the month of December.

By April (when they are available at the Spring Plant Sale), the plants are in one gallon pots and are over 24” tall. In maturity, the Cassia alata can reach 8 to 10 feet or more in height.

The blooms atop the Cassia alata are on top of tall erect stems that are about 6-8” in length and look like yellow candles from a distance – which is why gardeners refer to them as the “candlestick cassia.” The plant does well in full sun, but may freeze back in the winter. It does not always come back with shoots in the spring.

The Cassia bicapsularis is a slower-growing shrub with tiny leaves sitting opposite one another on slender branches. The blooms on the bicapsularis are softer, single, and drape downward as they cascade over the end tips of the stems. They are a beautiful sight in full bloom. In our garden at the Cockrell Butterfly Center, I have noticed that Orange Barred Sulphur Butterflies prefer the bicapsularis while the Cloudless Sulphurs prefer the alata. This flowering shrub is a little gem and certain to enhance your garden from one season to the next:

The eggs of sulphur butterflies are laid singly and look like small pieces of thread to the naked eye. They are generally laid on the tips of new leaf growth. The larvae of the sulphurs come in all shades of green and yellow. Some are solid in coloration and some carry spots or stripes. They are well camouflaged among the green leaf structures and the yellow blooms. The chrysalis attaches itself to a surface with two silk girdles and has a curvaceous shape.

If you want to view these butterflies and learn more about them, consider purchasing the book The Butterflies of Houston and Southeast Texas by John and Gloria Tveten. This book is an exceptional reference guide with photographs of the butterflies, caterpillar and notes on the nectar and host plants of each specific species. The book is listed on the back of our Butterfly Gardening Brochure.


Garden Help: Colors, butterflies in abundance

By Terry Brite Delvalle

While preparing for a talk about using color in the landscape, I collected flowers from the office and at home to create a visual display of color. It was amazing to collect such an assortment of colors and to observe the wealth of pollinators and wildlife that benefit from those flowers.

There is an abundance of woody ornamentals, perennials and annuals that are contributing to our colorful landscapes. Where there is color, you will also find butterflies. It’s time to pull out the butterfly identification pictures because this is the height of the butterfly season.

WOODY ORNAMENTALS

Some of the more interesting woody plants with color are beautyberry, thryallis, butterfly vine, passion vine and sennas.

Beautyberry (Caliparpa americana) is a native plant that is loaded with striking purple or white berries in tight clusters along plant stems. Beautyberry grows well in fertile soil in full sun to partial shade, and serves as food for birds. It will reach 8 feet in height but can be kept in bounds by pruning. Cuttings are beautiful in floral arrangements especially if mixed with yellow or orange flowers. To make the berries stand out in arrangements, pinch off the leaves.

Thryallis (galphinia glauca) is another woody shrub covered with small yellow flowers. Plants range from 5 to 9 feet in height and 4 to 6 feet wide. This upright evergreen shrub thrives in full sun locations. Plants may be damaged by freezes so some protection from the cold is beneficial.

One vine that displays an assortment of colors is the yellow butterfly vine, Mascagnia macroptera. This vigorous evergreen vine will reach 10 to 12 feet tall and is easily trained to a trellis or can be grown as a mounding shrub or groundcover. Clusters of bright yellow orchid-like flowers measure 1 inch across and occur spring through fall. The plant is named for the green papery seed pods that resemble the shape of a butterfly. As they mature, these pods change from green to tan to brown.

Passion flower vine (Passiflora incarnata) is known for its beautiful ornate flowers and may produce an edible fruit rich in vitamin C. Although this native plant is considered a weed by some, it is a must have for the serious butterfly gardener. It is a food source for zebra swallowtail when grown in the shade and gulf fritillary when grown in sun.

Sennas are in bloom and, depending on the species, produce clusters of yellow flowers (Senna bicapsularis, Christmas senna) or yellow candlestick blooms (Senna alata). You may know these plants under the name of cassia but the genus name was changed from Cassia to Senna. They attract sulfur butterflies and are a food source for sulfur caterpillars. The caterpillars are difficult to spot because they change colors based on their food source. If they are feeding on leaves, caterpillars are green and, when feeding on flowers, are yellow; great camouflage to help protect them from predators.

PERENNIALS

Many perennials are also in bloom. Some perennials have been in bloom all summer whereas others are triggered to bloom by the shorter days. A good example of fall bloomer is Mexican sage (Salvia leucanthoe).

Mexican sage is a robust grower, spreading more in width each year and reaching 5 feet in height. Plants may die back with a winter freeze but come back each spring. They may be a dull background plant during the summer, but it’s a standout now with its spikes of fuzzy purple flowers.

Butterfly gingers (Hedychium spp.) are blooming producing fragrant flowers that are traditionally white but also come in shades of pink, yellow, coral, or orange.

Although not a true ginger as the name implies, blue gingers (Dichorisandra thyrisolia) are starting to produce striking blue flower spikes.

Many of the cupheas bloom during the fall months. A popular one is called candy corn (Cuphea micropetala). This one is ideal for fall as the blooms are triggered by shorter days. It reaches 5 to 6 feet tall, and is loaded with yellow and orange tubular flowers that look like candy corn — perfect for Halloween décor.

Firebush (Hamelia patens), a Florida native, has been in bloom all summer and is starting to develop purple-black berries that are a food source to several birds. Plants may reach 4 to 6 feet in height but respond well to pruning. They are typically nipped back by the cold but come back every year in the spring. Firebush is a great attractant for butterflies, pollinators, and hummingbirds.

Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) are always a great addition for perennial beds and will flower from spring until the first frost. Make sure to select those that include butterflies on the plant labels as some of the newer varieties don’t seem to do the job. Along with butterflies, expect visits from hummingbirds, too.

Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is a great fall bloomer that reaches 4 to 5 feet in height with a spreading growth habit. The terminal spikes of red tubular flowers are a magnet for both butterflies and hummingbirds. Plants may suffer some damage due to cold weather but come back reliably each spring.

ANNUALS

Many warm season annual plants will continue to provide color until the first frost. One standout is Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). Bright orange flowers on top of 4- to 6-foot-tall plants provide the perfect perch for butterflies.

Milkweed is another favorite annual that continues to flower into fall and also serves as a nectar and food source for monarch butterflies. The one most commonly found in nurseries is the scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). It is the easiest to grow and readily reseeds but sometimes keep the monarchs here instead of making their migratory trip to Mexico. If you grow this one, cut plants back in October to eliminate this food source. Next spring, consider planting native milkweeds instead; Asclepias tuberosa or A. humistrata in dry sites and A. incarnata or A. perennis in moist sites.

Garden centers are stocking many cool season annuals and perennials. Chrysanthemums are plentiful and come in an assortment of colors. These can be planted in the landscape after flowering and will bloom naturally in the spring and fall as long as the short-day cycle is not interrupted by outside lights. Marigolds are often referred to as the “poor man’s chrysanthemum.”

Wonderful fall colors of yellow and orange are at a much better price, and will outlast the chrysanthemum blooms. Other cool-season flowers to plant soon are dianthus, geranium, lobelia, pansy, petunia, snapdragon and viola. Some of these are heat sensitive and may not be on the market until the end of October. For color and texture, mix in some edibles such as parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary, kale, rainbow, or bright lights Swiss chard, beets, red mustard, plus red and green leaf lettuces.


Causes and Remedies for lower back pain (lumbago)

By Godwin Ihesie

Lower back pain (lumbago) may be due to:

• Wrong posture – When walking, bending or sitting e.g. poor driving position, moving or lifting heavy object, etc.

- Unaccustomed over-exertion.

- Sleeping on a very soft mattress,

- Lack of regular exercise and under-exercise, -Stress, wear and tear associated with ageing.

• Abnormal disc (intervertebral disc), misalignment of the hips or due to some structural defects.

• Occasionally, lower back pain may be due to some medical problems such as pelvic disorders, pregnancy, constipation, arthritis/rheumatism, bone problems, urinary, kidney and prostate problems, etc.

• Deficiency calcium. Lumbago associated with non-medical causes responds so well to the following simple natural remedies:

• The fresh leaves of ringworm plant (Cassia alata) could be made into an infusion or decoction (boiling) and a glass of this taken orally once every other day for up to five days.
The fresh sap extracted from the leaves is usually very strong and could be diluted with water and be taken orally as above.
Also, dried leaves of Cassia alata could be ground into fine powder and mixed with small potash and a teaspoon taken with pap once every other day for about up to seven days.
•An oral intake of a glass of raw potato juice (the Irish specie) – diluted with water in the ratio of 1:1. This could be taken before breakfast.
•A glass of fresh lemon juice diluted with warm water in the ratio of 1:3 is taken orally first thing on waking up in the morning and last at the bedtime. The efficacy of this remedy is increased if the juice is taken with small table salt or with a pinch of impure potash and with 1-2 tablespoonful or pure honey.
•Taking up to 5 cloves of peeled raw garlic every morning and night brings quick relief. *An oral intake of Aloe Vera gel prepared by blending a third part of a whole mature leaf of fresh Aloe Vera – once daily is an effective remedy for rheumatism, sciatica and lower back pain. A mild laxative effect could be noted – which will help decongest the pelvic and lumbar region at the same time.
•The following natural supplements are equally very helpful: Cod-liver oil, vitamin C up to 2000mg taken daily in divided dosages, calcium and magnesium.
•An infusion (tea) made from any or a combination of 2 to 4 of the following herbs is very helpful:
(i) Catnip Inepeta cataria.
(ii) Nettle (Urtica dioica).
(iii)Chickweed (Stellaria media).
(iv) Marigold flower (Calendulla officinale).
(v) Passion flower (Passiflora incanata).

Externally, the lumbar region could be massaged with an ointment prepared with cayenne (capsicum minimum) that has very strong rubefacient activities with few cloves (Eugenia caryophyllus), which have been proven to have mild anesthetic properties.


Researchers identify potential sources of medicines derived from plants against diabetes

(News Medical Life Sciences)

New drugs to treat diabetes are being developed by scientists at the University of Greenwich.

A group of researchers from the university's School of Science, led by Dr Solomon Habtemariam, believe they have identified potential sources of medicines derived from plants which may have fewer adverse side-effects for diabetes sufferers.

The scientists are investigating the properties of two plants found in south-east Asia which they think could have properties that are not only anti-diabetic, but also lipid- or fat-lowering, and so can help tackle obesity.

Dr Habtemariam, a leading expert on drug discovery researches from natural sources, says the work could prove a crucial breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes, which he describes a "growing global epidemic".

"Diabetes is a huge burden to society in general. The search for treatments is making the NHS bankrupt, and this problem is likely to get worse in the next decade. There is no known drug of cure and so, all in all, it's a huge incentive for us to carry out research in this field," he says.

The disease, a result of chronically high levels of glucose in the blood, affects more than 300 million people in the world. It is split into two main classes: type I and type 2. The former normally affects children, while type 2, the most common type, is often diagnosed later in life and in some cases can be managed by diet, exercise and weight loss.

The researchers at Greenwich aim to isolate and identify certain extracts from the plants Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata, which could have 'active ingredients' for treating diabetes. They discovered that one of the compounds isolated from the plant, kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside, has proved to be more than eight times more potent than the standard anti-diabetic drug, acarbose.

The team also found the plants have anti-oxidant properties, which is beneficial when treating diabetes.

"Our other most interesting finding is that many of the active ingredients from the Cassia auriculata plant work through a process called 'synergism' - in other words, they work together to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects," Dr Habtemariam says. "Overall, this suggests that the crude plant extract has lots of potential to be used clinically for treating diabetes and associated diseases."

The research is ongoing and requires further study and validation, but Dr Habtemariam says the university's School of Science is an ideal place to be conducting his work. "We have both the facilities and the expertise to carry out this research: to isolate chemicals of biological interest, and then to identify what they are. We are only at the drug discovery stage but moving to the clinical trial stage is a very definite goal."



How to Root Cassia Bush From Seed

By Reannan Raine

There are hundreds of cassia bush species that grow into large shrubs or small trees in hot climates. The two most commonly grown cassia or senna species are seven golden candlesticks, also known as empress candle plant, candle bush or Christmas candle (Cassia or Senna alata) and butterfly bush, golden shower or Christmas senna (S. pendula syn. C. bicapsularis). They are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 to 11. Both of these cassia bush species, as well as other cassias or sennas, are easy to root and grow from seed.

1. Remove mature seed pods from a cassia bush in the fall after the pod is dry and brown. Split the pods open, remove the seeds and spread them out on a paper towel to dry overnight. Place the seeds in a small paper bag. Place the paper bag into a plastic baggie, seal it and put it in the refrigerator.

2. Remove the bag from the refrigerator in early winter. Make a tiny nick in the outer coating of each cassia seed with a sharp knife or nail clippers. Soak the seeds overnight in a bowl of 120-degree Fahrenheit water. Keep the seeds that sink to the bottom and throw away the seeds that float.

3. Place a 3-inch depth of peat-based potting mix in a container or seed flat that has drain holes in the bottom. Pour room-temperature water over the potting mix until it is moistened.

4. Plant the cassia bush seeds 2 inches apart in the moistened potting mix. Cover the seeds with soil to a depth equal to twice the seed diameter. Place a piece of plastic over the container or place the whole container in a large plastic bag and seal it shut.

5. Set the container in a bright area. Direct sunlight exposure is fine but it is not required for cassia seed germination. Use a heating mat, if necessary, to keep the soil temperature between 75 and 80 F. Check the soil twice each week and moisten it with room-temperature water if the top of the soil begins to dry. Take the container out of the plastic bag or remove the plastic cover after the cassia seedlings reach a height of 2 inches.

6. Plant the cassia seedlings in soil-based potting mix in separate containers when they reach a height of 4 inches. Use containers with drain holes in the bottom. Place them in a bright location where they are exposed to brief periods of direct sunlight in the morning. Water them with room-temperature water every morning or every other morning, as necessary, to keep the soil moist.

7. Expose the cassia bush seedlings gradually to longer periods of direct morning sunlight two weeks after transplanting them into separate containers. Increase the length of direct sunlight exposure gradually over the following four to six weeks until they are exposed to six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day.

8. Water the cassia seedlings when the top of the soil just begins to dry for the last two weeks before planting the seedlings outdoors. Plant them outdoors in a sunny location in the spring after the last frost.

Things You Will Need

• Small paper bag

• Small plastic baggie

• Sharp knife or nail clippers

• Bowl

• Peat-based potting mix containing sand or perlite

• Shallow container or seed flat with drain holes

• Plastic cover or large plastic bag

• Heating mat

• Soil-based potting mix

• Small containers with drain holes


Africans resort to herbal teas to treat malaria

(Agencies, The Health Site)

Researchers have formulated an anti-malarial tea out of an herbal remedy traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of the disease in Africa. Derived from the roots of a weed, the herbal remedy was comb

Researchers have formulated an anti-malarial tea out of an herbal remedy traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of the disease in Africa. Derived from the roots of a weed, the herbal remedy was combined with leaves and aerial portions from two other plants with antimalarial activity, and eventually licensed and sold as an antimalarial phytomedicine.

Zephirin Dakuyo, first posted as a pharmacist in Banfora Hospital in Burkina Faso, realised that malaria-infected people in the country preferred to treat themselves with herbal medicines, in particular the roots of N’Dribala (Cochlospermum planchonii) . However, they did not have time to collect this medicinal plant themselves, so Dakuyo, with support from the hospital staff, started to harvest and package it for the patients. (Read: 5 herbal teas that can help you slim down!)

Eventually, the medicine was sold at the hospital to patients with malaria and was also provided to community health workers to supply to patients. The medication has other uses too such as in treating hepatitis, the study said. In the new study, detailed in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the authors have discussed the antimalarial and pharmacological properties of the herbal medication derived from Cochlospermum planchonii, Phyllanthus amarus, and Cassia alata.


Cooling With Herbs

(UWI Today)

Survey finds the hottest plants in the country

For many centuries, European and Asian societies used the concept of humoral medicine to explain health and wellness as the delicate balance between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ spheres in the body. Disease was defined as an imbalance between these spheres, with associated excessive ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ conditions. Although modern evidence-based medicine has effectively replaced humoral medicine in the Western world, remnants of humoral medicine (pertaining to body fluids) and its practice remain alive and well in many parts of the developing world, including Trinidad.

In most instances ‘cooling’ is used traditionally as preventative medicine (prophylactic) to bring the ‘body back in balance’ in ‘hot’ conditions. ‘Hot’ diseases appear to be associated with fever, infectious skin manifestations (such as rash and ringworm) and inflammatory conditions such as hives. Traditionally, ‘hot’ states required ‘cooling’ treatments, which included medicinal plant preparations that supposedly restored the body’s balance. We hypothesized that humoral medicine was still being actively practised in rural Trinidadian communities and undertook to conduct an ethnobotanical survey to document the use of ‘cooling’ medicinal plants, as well as plants used for the treatment of fever, a ‘hot’ humoral state.

A survey was conducted in 50 rural communities to include 450 households by face-to-face interviews over the period October 2007 to July 2008. This was done as part of the larger Caribbean-wide TRAMIL (Traditional Medicine in the Islands) network. We restricted our survey to rural agrarian communities where we assumed that there would be a higher incidence of use of local herbal remedies from the garden or backyard and preservation of traditional knowledge.

A simple pilot-tested qualitative survey questionnaire was used to collect details, such as the plants being used, the part or parts being used, and forms in which remedies were made. Samples of live plant specimens were collected and placed in a plant press for preservation. These specimens were subsequently taken to the National Herbarium of Trinidad and Tobago where they were dried, identified and accessioned to be filed with the main collections. Global positioning system (GPS) coordinates were also collected at the interview sites to locate respondents and plant specimens.

Twenty households from each of the 50 communities were conveniently selected and the most knowledgeable person in the household was interviewed on the use of herbal medicines. In most instances, respondents were the eldest female in the household who was often responsible for the healthcare of the family. This is the first extensive ethnobotanical study done in Trinidad, and to our knowledge, the English-speaking Caribbean, that quantifies the extent of traditional use of medicinal plants as ‘cooling’ and for the treatment of fever in rural communities.

The survey found that 44 plant species belonging to 31 families were used for ‘cooling’ in 48 out of the 50 communities with 238 citations. Cat’s Claw, Verven, Candle Bush, Caraile and Shiny Bush accounted for a significant proportion of the citations (142 out of 238 or 40.9%). There were 109 citations for the treatment of fever from 41 out of 50 communities. A total of 28 plant species belonging to 19 families were identified, with Lemon Grass (Fever Grass) and Jackass-Bitters (sepi) accounting for 75 or 68.8 % of all citations.

These findings confirm that humoral medicine remains popular in rural communities throughout Trinidad.

The indigenous flora of Trinidad is mainly neotropical. However, during the colonial period, numerous plant species of economic and horticultural importance were introduced into the island, some of which become major plantation crops. It is therefore not surprising that almost half of the species found in this survey are also exotic species, such as Aloe vera or Citrus sp. It is uncertain to what extent the Amerindians’ use of the indigenous flora for medicine influenced the use of the indigenous species for medicine found on this survey by the transplanted population from mainly Africa and Asia. Albeit all the species are mainly common roadside weeds or forest species which are not threatened or endangered. It would be difficult to trace with certainty the routes whereby humoral medicine reached the island of Trinidad.

Although there are limited studies in humans to support the use of these plants as ‘cooling’ or any of the associated conditions, we conducted a review of published research to determine whether medicinal plants identified in our survey showed antibacterial properties and could be used to treat fever, pain and inflammation in laboratory and animal-based studies.

Although Macfedyena unguis-cati (Cat’s Claw) was the most commonly used plant for ‘cooling’ in Trinidad there is very little research done. In animal models for pain and inflammation an extract of Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (Verven) significantly reduced sensitivity to pain and experimentally-induced inflammation.

Senna alata (candlestick plant), native to tropical America, is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as fungal growth, pimples and ringworm. In Trinidad its use as ‘cooling’ in bush teas could be related to the preventative effects against skin conditions related to these ‘hot’ conditions. Human and laboratory studies support the traditional use of candlestick plant in the treatment of skin conditions caused by microbial organisms.

A study in humans demonstrated the effectiveness of ‘candlestick plant’ when applied directly to the skin as antifungal treatment for the flaky discoloured skin patches of pityriasis versicolor, caused by a yeast fungus. Other extracts of the bark of candlestick plant prevented the growth of the Candida albicans fungus, which causes thrush. It also prevented the growth of pus-forming bacteria responsible for triggering acne inflammation. These experiments were done in the laboratory.

In classical West Indian folkloric tradition a ‘purge’ is often given to ‘clean out the insides and purify the blood’ and to prevent the occurrence of disease which oftentimes manifest as ‘hot’ skin conditions. This purge often included bush teas which may include candlestick plant to cause diarrhea. A clinical study using people who complained of constipation for at least three days showed that a bush tea from candlestick plant produced significant relief after 24 hours.

Caraile (Momordica charantia) was also identified as a useful plant for ‘cooling’ in Trinidad and is traditionally used to treat skin conditions including rash, furuncles (boils) and hives. For skin conditions, the leaves are crushed and prepared as a poultice and applied directly to the skin; for preventative ‘cooling’ an infusion is used. Fevergrass was the most frequently cited plant in Trinidad for fever.

There is much laboratory and animal-based research to support the antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and related biological activities for most of the plants identified for ‘cooling’ and its associated indications. However, caution must be taken as most of this research was done in using laboratory experiments or animals which do not represent the ‘real’ situation in the human body. Clinical studies in humans must be done to determine whether these remedies are in fact safe and effective.

Our survey has identified medicinal plants for traditionally labeled conditions which could be partly explained by modern medical terminology. However, the preliminary support of laboratory and animal-based studies should be used as a platform from which clinical studies in humans could be done to determine the effectiveness and safety of herbal preparations used as ‘cooling’ and for fever. It is possible that these research efforts may provide alternative and/or complementary approaches for healthcare provision in the Caribbean.


Four Candlestick Plant Care Tips to Consider

By Karen Carter

The candlestick plant (Senna alata also known as Cassia alata) is a broadleaf evergreen plant grown as a shrub or shaped into a tree 5 to 8 feet tall with a canopy 3 to 4 feet wide. The yellow flower buds resemble candles before opening up. Winged bean-like seedpods 6 to 8 inches long follow the flowers. This plant produces compound leaves up to 30 inches long with 3-inch-long oval leaflets that close up at night. This tropical-looking plant is not prone to pests. The candlestick plant is considered an easy-to-grow plant in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Planting Location

Candlestick plants grow best in full sun locations with at least six hours of direct sunlight. This plant also likes temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so place it in the warmest micro-climate in the garden. Suitable soil ranges from average to poor quality, but it must drain well. Wet soil causes the roots to start to rot. This plant enjoys dry conditions. Watering

During the first summer, the candlestick plant needs regular watering while developing strong roots. This plant is very drought-tolerant once it is established and mainly lives off rainfall. If the weather is hot and dry, water deeply in the middle of summer. Pruning

The branch tip of new growth is pinched back on young plants to encourage the development of branches and flower spikes. In the early spring each year, cut the plant back to the desired size to maintain a compact shape. Remove any dead branches after new growth begins. Propagation

Seed from the candlestick plant is harvested in the fall. Save the seeds in case of a winter freeze, which will kill this tropical plant. To germinate the seeds, start them indoors in February or March. Soak the seeds overnight in warm water. Refreshing the water every few hours increases the success of the germination process. Plant the seed in trays of damp peat moss. Once the date of the late spring frost is passed, plant the evergreen seedlings outside in their permanent locations.



Yellow, pretty fellow

(hiraman, sunday farmer)

I had given up on it, reduced as it was to a stump. After almost two years it surprised me as I chanced upon five of them brightening up my farm. My candle bush plant was blooming—the flowers erect on the branch. As if yellow candles have been lighted; illuminating the neighbouring plants. Drifting over those bright, neon yellow flowers were black bumble bees. A great contrast—black against yellow. By the time I could capture it on my mobile the bumble bee had flown away.

Beside bumble bees the candle bush attracts pollinators like larvae of suphur butterflies.

You’re likely to find candle bush growing wild. I was introduced to them, having seen on the narrow garden patch between railway tracks. Intrigued by the bright yellow flowers I had planted one in my farm. I have yet to come across anyone growing it in a garden or a park.

A native of Mexico, Candle Bush belongs to the Gulmohur family. In Hindi it is called “Dadmurdan”, mainly because its leaf has anti-fungal properties. Also called ringworm bush its leaf is used for treating ringworm and other fungal infections of the skin. The leaves are ground in a mortar to obtain a kind of “green cotton wool”. This is mixed with the same amount of vegetable oil and rubbed on the affected area two or three times a day. A fresh preparation is made every day. It works due to its active ingredients chrysophanic acid.


AKAPULKO SOAP

By Rich Simon

During high school, back in our province, the products for curing acne is limited to maxipeel, eskinol and perla laundry soap to others. My mom, don’t want me to use the said products, for the reason that I am still young for those harsh products.

I was in 3rd year when my Auntie introduced me this AKAPULKO SOAP, a soap which main ingredient is Akapulko plant extraction.

photo

As far as I remember, the soap looks like the one in the photo above. The soap made my pimple dry, and has the peeling effect. I remember using it as a daily bath soap. as much as I want to continue using it, I eventually stop since it didn’t stop my acne breakout, plus I don’t like the burning feeling on my skin.

When I went to Manila for college, I don’t know what happened but my acne breakout suddenly stop. My only regimen is to cleanse my skin with safeguard soap and a regular visit to the facial salon. I thought that was the end of my acne agony, but I was wrong. Around 2007-2008 when a major major (yes as in major major) breakout occurred.


Candelabra Bush Herbal Tea

(I Luv Thailand)

Candelabra Bush (chum het thet) is also known as candle bush, ringworm bush, empress candle plant or candle tree. It is an ornamental flowering plant that is a native of Mexico. Candelabra Bush is an invasive species in countries such as Thailand. The shrub itself is 3-4 meters tall and distinctive bright yellow flowers.

Candelabra Bush Herbal Tea is a laxative that you can easily prepared by placing one of the sachets into a cup of hot water. After 2-3 minutes you can drink the tea, preferably before a meal or before bed. I tried this tea recently when I ran out of Fitne and it worked wonderfully. The tea tasted pretty good, although I did add a bit of sugar to all my teas because I don’t like the bitter taste. This herbal tea is a natural way to deal with the problem of constipation and I feel safer using it than synthetic medicines.

Thais use this tea as a remedy for constipation and intestinal parasites. Candelabra is used as a health tea that keeps you regular and it is also high in an antioxidant called Flavanoid Kaempherol. Externally, candelabra bush is used in soaps, shampoos and lotions. The plant is thought to be an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. Some even claim that it is a natural sun screen.

My grandfather made his own candelabra bush tea. He would pull over on the side of the road when he spotted a candelabra bush and gather some of the green leaves. Then he would dry the leaves out in the sun before using them to make the tea leaves.


Akapulko as anti-fungal medication

By Noel Colina

The floods caused by both nature – typhoon Ketsana and Parma - and the dam managers, exposed many of the already suffering victims to various diseases. With many areas remaining submerged, people had to wade through thigh-high mud and water, making them vulnerable to various ailments, among them skin disease.

This was very evident when IOHSAD, through the Task Force Obrero, conducted a relief and medical mission last October 1, 2009 at Ampid, San Mateo, Rizal. More than 30% of the patients had varying foot problems because of the constant exposure to dirty water. We needed to bring more anti-fungal medicines for the next mission but this become very difficult.

Those pharmacies who usually provides us solicited medicines were already running out of stock. To buy them would be too expensive. We decided, with a strong push from our resident herbalist Emma, to make them instead.

We've been able to produce anti-fungal medication for more than 300 people, although our little workshop can produce more but sourcing the ingredients have proven difficult. Before we were able to easily source Akapulko (Senna Alata L.), the main ingredient, from Marikina, but it was one of the areas devastated by the typhoon.

Here are the instructions on how to make anti-fungal medication from Akapulko leaves:

Materials:
• Akapulko
• Wooden spatula
• Sterilized containers with wide mouth (for ointment)
• Coconut oil
• Wax #5
• Clay pot
• Cheese cloth
• measuring cups
Preparation:
• Clean the Akapulko leaves
• Mix 1 part of coconut oil and 1 part of Akapulko leaves in the clay pot
• Stir the mixture with wooden spatula until oil is green and the leaves have become brittle
• Pour the oil inside the cheesecloth to filter the leaves.
• Pour the oil in another clay pot and mix with wax. Stir until wax is melted.
• While it remains hot, pour the mixture into the sterilized containers.
• Let the mixture cool before covering and sealing the containers.
Application:
• Clean the area affected. Apply the ointment on affected areas 3-4 times a day.

Popular Nigerian Herbs And Their Health Benefits.

By Collins Nwokolo

Herbs are medicinal plants, whose roots, leaves, stem or seeds can be used for medicinal purposes. Although you might not know it, herbs have played an important role in our overall health and wellbeing. In the ancient times, herbs were used for a lot of medicinal purposes, and by people of different cultures.

Despite the fact that modern medicine is now popular today, herbs are still beneficial to you. Many developing countries effectively use herbs to keep themselves healthy. It's very important that you know these things.

That's why today, you will be learning about some of the local Nigerian herbs and their health benefits. These herbs are also found in many places around the world and can still be used the same way. But before that, let me briefly explain why medicinal herbs are important and should mean a great deal to you.

Importance of medicinal herbs Here are some few reasons why medicinal herbs are essential:

• A lot of herbal extracts like those derived from mint , fenugreek , ginkgo, and aloe vera are used in manufacturing medicines.

• They are useful in cases of emergencies and alternative medicine.

• Herbs offer a cheaper alternative than modern medicine and medications.

• They can also be used for culinary purposes, which is great because you can eat delicious food and get healthy.

• And above all, they provide a host of nutritional and health benefits, treat diseases and so much more.

Local Nigerian herbs and their health benefits. Some of the most common Nigerian herbs, their names, uses and health benefits are concisely discussed below:

1. Mitracarpus scaber

Mitracarpus scaber is a very common weed of cultivated or fallowed land. It is a perennial herb of 30 cm tall (the botanical name is Mitracarpus scaberulus).

It has different names according to the different tribes in Nigeria. It is called Ogwungwo or Obuobwa in Igbo language, Gududal in Hausa language and Irawo lle in Yoruba language.

Health benefits and medical uses of Mitracarpus scaber

• It is scientifically known that this plant has a lot of antibacterial and antifungal properties.

• It is used to treat skin infections such as infected wounds, dermatoses, ringworms and scabies.

• It is popular in traditional medicine practices in West Africa for the treatment of headaches, toothaches, amenorrhoea, hepatic diseases and venereal diseases.

2. Aloe Vera Aloe Vera is a very popular herb and is widely known to have wonderful health benefits and medicinal uses.

It is a common plant that doesn't have a stem, and is usually about 80-100 cm tall.

Health Benefits of Aloe Vera • Aloe Vera contains substances that inhibit inflammation.

• It is very effective in healing wounds and burns.

• It helps in digestion and helps to rid the body of intestinal worms.

• It is very good for your skin. And is commonly used in the production of many skincare products.

• It helps in detoxifying the body.

3. Ringworm plant Ringworm plant, scientifically known as Senna alata, or cassia alata is an important medicinal tree, as well as an ornamental flowering plant.

It is commonly known as candle bush, candelabra bush, or Christmas candles. The plant is about 3–4 m tall, with leaves 50–70 cm long, and is called Asunrun Oyinbo in Yoruba and Ogalu in Ibo.

Health benefits and medical uses of Senna Alata

• It has antifungal properties and is used to treat a number of skin infections, including ringworms as you would guess.

• It is used in treatment of haemorrhoids, constipation, and inguinal hernia.

• It is also used in treating intestinal parasites, convulsions and syphilis.

4. Dracaena arborea Dracaena arborea is a specie of Dracaena, commonly known as dragon tree. It is an elegant ornamental tree that grows up to 20m tall with deep green thick leaves. And is locally known as peregun in yoruba, and odo in Igbo. It is found in semi arid deserts and are tropical perennials.

Health Benefits and medical uses of Dracaena arborea

• Dracaena arborea is medically known to be useful in the treatment of diabetes-induced testicular dysfunction.

• The roots of this plant is used in treating abdominal pains.

5. Cashew nut tree The botanical name of cashew nut tree is Anacardium occidentale. It is a tropical tree of 12 m high that produces cashew seed and cashew apple. The cashew seeds are used in snacking. Fact: Nigeria was the second largest producer of cashew nuts in 2013. The bark, seeds and twigs are used for medicinal purposes.

Health benefits and medical uses of cashew tree • The twigs of the tree is used as chewing stick that helps with mouth thrush, sore gums and toothache.

• The extract from the bark is an efficient natural remedy for malaria fever.

• The bark of the cashew plant is an effective contraceptive. This has been used as a decoction to prevent pregnancy.

• An infusion can be made from the leaves and used to cure nasal congestion.

6. Stool wood The scientific name is Aistonia boonei De Wild. It is also called cheese wood or pattern wood. In Nigeria, however, it is locally called ahun inYoruba and egbuora in Igbo. It is a tall forest tree, that grows up to 45 metres tall. The leaves are borne in whorls at the nodes, the leaf shape is oblanceolate. The bark is grayish-green or grey and rough.

Health benefits and medical uses of Aistonia boonei • It is widely used as a febrifuge, for fever.

• It contains an important alkaloid chemical called echitamine, that has a lot of pharmacological uses.

• The bark, leaves and roots are all used to relieve rheumatic pain.

• The leaves, when pulped to a mash, are applied topically to reduce oedemas.

Let's all make use of herbs and keep improving our health. Thanks for reading.


Christmas Candle Flowers

By Corrie Scott (CS/Natura)

'Christmas Candles'. Loved the light coming in through the trees highlighting these flowers we call Christmas Candle here Barbados as they flower at this time of year. It also known as a Candelabra Bush, Empress Candle Plant, Ringworm Tree or "candletree". Senna alata. Some interesting information on it below.

Traditional medicinal uses: Leaves or sap are used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm. They contain a fungicide, chrysophanic acid. Because of its anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos and lotions in the Philippines. The effectiveness of this plant against skin diseases is confirmed by modern scientific studies.

Other chemicals contained in the plant includes saponin which acts as a laxative and expels intestinal parasites. In Africa, the boiled leaves are used to treat high-blood pressure. In South America, besides skin diseases, it is also used to treat a wide range of ailments from stomach problems, fever, asthma to snake bite and venereal diseases (syphilis, gonorrhoea).

Role in the habitat: It is the food plant of some butterflies. The plant recruits ant bodyguards against these caterpillars. It has "extrafloral nectaries" near the base of the leaves, that produce sweet nectar to attract ants. As a short-lived plant that grows commonly in wastelands which are damp and on flood plains, it helps to colonise these areas and pave the way for regeneration of growth."


Root awakening: Gunpowder plant suitable for miniature gardens

(The Staits Times)
Gunpowder plant suitable for miniature gardens

I found this plant growing in one of my pots in the balcony and decided to keep it. What is it and is it safe to grow it? - Laura Au

It is botanically known as Pilea microphylla.

Its common names include artillery plant and gunpowder plant and it is a member of the Nettle family (Urticaceae).

This plant, which is not a true fern, often occurs as a weed in planted areas. It is usual to find it sprouting from a pot of soil left from an earlier potted plant.

Under ideal conditions, the plant will self-seed and can become a nuisance if it grows in areas where it is not wanted.

Due to its small leaves and stature, it can be used creatively for planting miniature gardens.

Candle Bush a popular medicinal plant

At the Botanic Gardens, I took a photograph of this plant, which was beside a pond. What is it? - Yeow Cheng Geok

It is the Senna alata and is a member of the bean family (Fabaceae). Its common names include Seven Golden Candlesticks and Candle Bush, which refer to the upright inflorescences with numerous yellow flowers that the plant produces.

It grows best in sunny areas and tolerates wet feet. The leaves are also food for caterpillars of the Mottled Emigrant butterfly.

It is a popular medicinal plant. The ground leaves of the plant are used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm.

Use its botanical and common names to search for information on it on the Internet. There is also published literature on its medicinal use.

At the Botanic Gardens, you can find out about a plant's botanical and common names on the label, which is often located in front of the plant.

Mealy bugs cause of white substance

What is this sticky white substance on my plant? How do I get rid of it? - Florence Wee

The plant is a Gardenia. The most common Gardenia sold in nurseries here is Gardenia jasminoides, which is commonly known simply as Gardenia or the Cape Jasmine.

Your plant appears to be infected by mealy bugs - insects that suck sap from it.

If it is a minor infestation, take the plant to the bathroom and use a strong jet of water to wash the pests off. This is the most environmentally safe method.

If the infestation is severe, try organic pesticides such as neem oil or summer oil. For persistent infestations, you may want to use chemical pesticides such as cypermethrin.

When applying pesticides, cover the plant thoroughly, including the growing tips of the plant, undersides of leaves and tight areas between the leaf stalks and stems.

It is necessary to repeat applications at least weekly to bring the infestation to a manageable level. You may also need to switch your pesticides to avoid the development of pesticide resistance in pests.

Wear appropriate protective gear during application and keep young children and pets away.

Plants are often affected by pests when they are stressed. In many apartment gardens, the most common stresses are caused by insufficient sunlight and overly dry air from constant wind.

Having a good understanding of your growing environment and putting in the right plants can help reduce many common pest and disease problems.

Sterilise soil before reuse

I am removing this plant and reusing the pot for new plants. The previous plant had white, cotton-like powder under its leaves and a black film all over it. Is it safe to reuse the soil? - See Soo Eng

Your plant is likely to be infected by mealy bugs, which are insects that appear as white cottony masses where they suck sap from the plant.

You can use a strong jet of water to wash the pests off; organic pesticides, such as neem oil or summer oil; or chemical pesticides such as cypermethrin to treat the problem.

The black film is likely to be sooty mould. It is a fungus that does not really harm the plant, but is an eyesore. In very severe cases, it can reduce plant vigour by preventing photosynthesis.

More importantly, the appearance of sooty mould often points to an existing sucking insect infestation, most likely due to the presence of mealy bugs.

Sucking insects often excrete a sugary substance which is deposited on leaves and leads to sooty mould. You need to manage the population of mealy bugs to reduce the further spread of sooty mould.

You can gently wipe off sooty mould with lukewarm water. Avoid using strong soaps or detergents as these can damage the foliage of the plant.

Soil can be reused, as long as it is sterilised to get rid of critters. This can be done by pouring hot water over the soil and allowing the soil to cool and dry before using it again.

Tip: Dragon's Tongue is a silver star

Commonly known as the Dragon's Tongue ("long li ye" in Chinese), this plant is better known locally as a medicinal herb and is used to treat respiratory tract ailments such as coughs. Its botanical name is Sauropus spatulifolius and it is a relative of the common leafy vegetable, cekur manis.

You can grow it in an ornamental garden as its elongated green leaves have a beautiful silver pattern that spreads out from the leaf veins, making it an ideal candidate for a silver-themed garden.

The leaves are best shown when the plant is grown under bright indirect sunlight. Intense sunlight will bleach the pattern.

It is a valuable landscaping candidate as most silver-leafed plants are full sun plants. Create visual texture with the plant's broad leaves by introducing something with finer leaves, such as the Aluminium Plant (Pilea glaucophylla), as shown.

In the landscape, you can use it as a ground cover for a moist and shaded area. Young plants are small in stature and as this plant's growth rate is slow, it does not require frequent pruning.

•Answers by , a certified practising horticulturist and founder of Green Culture Singapore (www. greenculturesg.com). He is also an NParks-certified park manager.

Herbal Tea To Treat Malaria Heads For Clinical Trial In Burkina Faso

By Dana Sanchez

Malaria causes up to 32 percent of deaths in Burkina Faso, and a traditional herbal medicine used locally to fight the mosquito-borne killer is headed for clinical trials as early as July, according to reports in SciDev.net.

The Ministry of Health in Burkina Faso is funding human clinical trails of a herbal mixture of three plants known as Saye, comparing it with conventional malaria drug artemisinin. Saye has been used as a tea to fight malaria for more than 30 years in Burkina Faso.

Saye is a mixture of three plants: the root of the local N’Dribala plant (Cochlospermum planchonii); Phyllanthus amarus and Cassia alata, according to an April 15 report in he Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. It was first licensed as a herbal medicine in Burkina Faso 10 years ago but the compounds that might act against malaria have yet to be identified, SciDev reports.

In Burkina Faso, the law recognizes traditional medicine as part of the health system, according to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The national policy is to integrate traditional medicine into the national health care system in order to improve access to medicines for the whole population. One way of doing this is to strengthen collaboration between people who practice traditional and modern medicine. Another is to promote scientific research on traditional medicine and drugs, consistent with the World Health Organization’s strategy for traditional medicine in Africa. How Saye was developed

In 1983, Dr. Zéphirin Dakuyo was the first pharmacist at Banfora Hospital in Southwest Burkina Faso, according to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. At the time, chloroquine was the first-line treatment for malaria, but it has since been abandoned because of drug resistance.

Patients told Dakuto that they didn’t like the side effects of chloroquine and preferred to treat themselves with herbal medicines, in particular the roots of N’Dribala. However, they didn’t have time to collect the plant so Dakuyo, with support from hospital staff, arranged to have it harvested and packaged for patients. The hospital sold the medicine to malaria patients and community health workers were provided with it to supply to patients.

Hepatitis is also common in Burkina Faso, and N’Dribala is traditionally used to treat jaundice. Dakuyo decided to combine this with Phyllanthus amarus, which had been shown to be effective against hepatitis, as well as Cassia alata, which was also used for treating jaundice, malaria, and constipation. He called this mixture Saye, which literally means “jaundice” in the local Dioula language. Saye is manufactured by mixing the three dried and coarsely chopped ingredients in specified proportions. It is sold in a box of chopped, dried plant parts. Patients are instructed to mix three tablespoons of the dried plant material in two glasses of water, boil the mixture for five minutes, filter it, and drink it.

Dakuyo received feedback from patients that Saye was even more effective than N’Dribala for treating malaria, and patients started buying it for malaria. In 1986, Dakuyo developed capsules of powdered Saye because patients did not have time to boil the herbs every day. Saye tea was officially licensed as an antimalarial medicine in Burkina Faso in 2005.

In 1993, Dakuyo left the hospital to start his own pharmacy, setting up a small factory to produce the herbal medicine. As demand increased and he began producing other herbal products, the factory grew.

To meet demand, Phytofla started a cooperative of medicinal plant producers (Coopérative des Producteurs de Plantes Médicinales, or CPPM) trained to grow, identify, harvest, dry, and store medicinal plants. The coop has 250 members but only 10 cultivate plants; the rest are still harvesting from the wild, according to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Will the trials work?

It’s hard to predict what the clinical trial will show, said Merlin Willcox, an author of the report and a clinical researcher at the University of Oxford, SciDev reports. Tests on mice examined each of the three plants individually that comprise Saye with mixed results. Drug tests done in petri dishes and trials that showed success on mice often failed on humans.

Tested on mice, Saye as a whole reduced the number of malarial parasites but did not eliminate them.

“It’s not good enough just to reduce (parasites in the blood),” said David Baker, a malaria parasite biologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the U.K. “You really need to clear malaria completely, or you need to find something else that will clear it up.” Otherwise, the patient could relapse.

Another problem with using herbal medicines is that it could result in resistance to antimalarials, Baker said, according to the SciDev report.

Future challenges for Saye include creating methods for standardization and quality control, and making sure the cultivated plant contains the same compounds as the wild plant, according to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.


Revisiting the Ashitaba and other anticancer herbs

By: Rafael Castillo (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A patient whom I’ve not seen for a good number of years came back looking great, with no recurrence of shortness of breath and easy fatigability that she came to our clinic for.

She was also previously diagnosed to have early (stage 1) breast cancer, for which she underwent surgery, but refused any anticancer chemotherapy after the surgery.

Laboratory examinations and referral to her previous oncologist (cancer specialist) were done and she passed all tests and consultations with flying colors.

She said she just continued all the medications we prescribed her, but she also attributed her wellbeing to an herb she regularly took—the Ashitaba plant.

We reminded her that it’s not a good practice to just continue taking one’s medicines without periodic checkup, because frequently, the doses may have to be adjusted, or some medicines may have to be discontinued or replaced.

As for the Ashitaba, I admitted to her my knowledge gap on the subject and that I could not really make an expert recommendation whether it’s good, has no effect, or might even be harmful.

My research assistant at the office quickly browsed the scientific literatures on this plant. She came back to me with no clinical data, but she brought back experimental or laboratory researches showing that it might address various common ailments including infections, ulcers and cancers.

Potent antioxidant

It has a scientific name—Angelica keiskei—and the herb grows primarily in Japan, but it can also be grown here. Its root, leaf and stem are used to extract potent antioxidants and other medicinal chemicals.

The fresh leaves can be eaten, and be mixed with other vegetables or fruit salads.

Among the available published researches on Ashitabla is a study by Ogawa H., Nakashima S. and Baba K. showing the effects of Ashitaba on cholesterol metabolism in a stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive group of subjects. However, the research group subjected to the herb was not humans, but rats. Another Japanese group validated the study, also in rats.

Another Japanese group—researchers Tabata K., Motani K., Takayanagi N., et al.—also showed beneficial effects of an active ingredient of Ashitaba, xanthoangelol, in certain types of tumors (neuroblastoma) and also in leukemia cells.

Inamori Y. et al. showed beneficial effects of the herb as an antibacterial agent. Two ingredients called chalcones—xanthoangelol and 4-hydroxyderricin—were attributed as the source of this beneficial effect in infections.

A study by a Korean group (Kang M.H. et al.) in smokers showed a protective effect against the harmful effects of nicotine on peripheral lymphocytes and other cellular structures which can damage the cell’s DNA. When the DNA is damaged, it can create havoc in the tissues which may lead to cancer.

Evidence

So, by what we can gather, there seems to be basic or experimental evidence showing that the herb have some beneficial effects, but again we can’t say for sure if these would translate to actual clinical benefits in humans.

Locally, our scientists are also evaluating the anticancer effect of several indigenous plants, fruits and herbs.

Dr. Sonia Jacinto, an anticancer natural products professor from the University of the Philippines Diliman, has conducted several researches, and one of these is the study titled “Philippine Plants Showing Cytotoxic Activity to Selected Human Cancer Cell lines,” which aimed to identify and isolate compounds responsible for the cancer-killing action of the plant extracts.

Dr. Jacinto and her team of researchers cultured cancer cells in the laboratory and treated them with the plant extracts to find out the latter’s impact on cancer cell growth. The rationale was that if the cancer cells grew, then the study is unsuccessful. If the cancer cells died, it is a good indication to proceed to the next stage.

Promising findings

According to Dr. Jacinto’s researches, there are already promising findings from the plant Annona squamosa, commonly known as the atis. The doctor added that Annona squamosa is a close relative of Annona muricata, or the guyabano, which is known to be rich in Murihexocin C, an anticancer agent.

Aside from atis and guyabano, akapulko, or the Cassia alata, a herbal medicine with antimicrobial properties, also showed anticancer potential. Dr. Jacinto’s research group tested akapulko’s cancer-killing properties against several cancer cell lines, and found it favorable and promising.

In identifying the active compound responsible for the anticancer effects, the research team has isolated a mixture of polyunsaturated fatty acid esters—which may be the key substrate which pharmaceutical companies can try to develop into cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Researches on these herbs with anticancer properties should proceed to the clinical phase, with them being tried on actual cancer patients, in addition to (not as a replacement of) standard anticancer treatments. If they could be shown to have additional benefits to the patient, then this should be a most welcome development.


Eczema Herbal Treatment

By Endang Dhianawati

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is an allergic reaction to the skin. Eczema disease can arise because the skin is not resistant to substance-specific substances such as cosmetics that are not suitable for skin or chemicals other. Disease eczema can occur in anyone, of up to five adults. But more often attack the people who gifted allergy, especially in the family that has a history of allergy to food or certain goods. eczema and psoriasis are related by they both involve toxemia, thinning of intestinal wall, excess body acidity, diet and internal cleansing are the most important to alleviate outbreaks. diet should be highly alkaline. although sun is good for ‘p’ tends to aggravate eczema. this diet has been very beneficial to people with eczema. The other way, you can try herbal treatment to cure this disease.More details about the symptoms and prevent can be read in this article: Herbs that are used to cure eczema disease are:

Sambiloto (Andrographis paniculata Nees.)

Sambiloto also known as Green chirayta, creat, king of bitters, andrographis, India echinacea, this plant contain of diperpena plankton substance, well as a exemptional substance or as a glycoside substance.

For example, as andrografolida, deoksi-andrografolida, 11, 12-didehydro-14-deoksiandrografolida, neoandrografolida, homoandrografolida, androgr upright afolida and androanosida.

Effect: as anti inflammation, severe swelling, reduce pain, bidder toxic, and others.

Sambiloto also be used as a Hepatitis Alternative Medicine.

Ketepeng China (Cassia alata L.)

Ketepeng China (Cassia alata L.) chemical compounds are Glycoside anthrakinon; Resin; krisofanat acid; tannin; Aloe emodin.

One of the common names for this plant is popcorn senna, a reference to the shape of a single blossom. Cassia alata leaf extract has benefits as a Laxative, Parasitiside, cure the itchy, insecticidal, as a skin drug caused by skin parasites, and others.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.)

According to Wikipedia, Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20°C and 30°C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh.

Ayurvedic, Chinese medicine, and now Western medical practitioners recognize the health benefits of turmeric to clear infections.

Turmeric compound: Tumeron; Zingiberon; Seskuiterpena alcohol; Curcumin; bitter compound; hars fat; Vitamin C

Benefits: Kholagog; Stomachic; Antispasmodic; Anti inflammation; Anti bacteria; Choleretic, smooth circulation of blood, and others.

Wild Ginger (Curcuma xanthorrhiza Roburgh)

Fresh Java turmeric (Curcuma xanthorrhiza roxb) or temu or Wild Ginger came from from Java, Bali and Maluku where there plant is still growing very fertile, as in teak forests. Wild Ginger efficacious to prevent and overcome a wide range of diseases. … asthma, sore throat, inflammation of the respiratory tract, dermatitis, eczema ad acne.

How to cure skin diseases eczema with this ginger is by drinking juice or extract of this material on a regularly.

Chemical compound: contain of volatile oil like limonene to make fragrant, flavonoide as an anti inflammation. Volatile oil also can kill microbe. It fruit contain of anetol, pinen, felandren, dipenten, fenchon, metilchavikol, anisaldehide, anisat acid, camphor and fatty oil.

Pharmacologic effect : little bitter, as a laxantive, ease pain (analgesic), acnevulgaris, anti-inflammation and anti hepatotocsic, laktagoga, kolagoga, tonikum, diuretic, fungstatic and bakteriostatic, and also as diuretic.

Here are some sample recipes for treatment eczema: Herbal remedy for eczema:

Herbal Recipes 1.

(for internal medication) Take 30 grams of wild ginger (chop up finely) + 10 grams of dry Sambiloto + palm sugar as much as needed, washed cleanly and then boil with a water up to 500 cc remaining 200 cc, filtered and drink it.

Herbal Recipes 2. (for external medication) Take ketepeng China leaf as much as needed, washed clean and mashed, add 1 teaspoon of Gambier and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, heated briefly, let it for a while until it warm enough, and then be smeared on the affected eczema.

Herbal Recipes 3. (for external medication) take turmeric (ripe) as much as needed, washed cleanly and shredded, add 1 spoonful of Gambier water whiting a juice of 1 lime, stirred up evenly, and mix just now be smeared on the affected skin eczema.

Herbal Recipes 4. (for external medication) Take a fresh Sambiloto, washed and mashed, add a little sulfur dust, stirred smoothly, and be smeared on the body affected by eczema.

Other Treatment:

There are some treatments that really simple. First, to cure eczema, you can make a strong brew of chamomile tea from fresh dried herbs by steeping for 15 minutes minimally. Apply to the eczema area with gauze for 20 minutes. This can be done more than once daily to relieve acute symptoms. The other way by apply Aloe vera gel, especially when mixed with vitamin E oil, is a useful symptom remedy. Gels from freshly cut aloe vera leaves are optimum. Aloe vera is used for treating burns and has even shown to be effective at healing wounds. It has been amazing at treating my eczema with overnight results but when I told a friend this she said it always gave her a rash. It turned out she had been using a cream with all sorts of other ingredients in it because harvested aloe juice needs preservatives.

The most practical using cucumber. Cut thin slices of a whole organic cucumber and allow the slices to soak for at least two hours. Filter the liquid and apply it with a clean cloth or gauze where needed.


Green Thumb: Bartlett nurseryman’s garden shows experimental nature

By Christine Arpe Gang

When I heard the words "Welcome to a nurseryman's yard," I knew the next hour or so would be filled with horticultural surprises and delights.

"I plant a lot of things to see how they will do," said Jim Crowder, a lifelong plant professional whose Bartlett garden is one of five on the 2016 Fall Garden Tour from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 2. "Some stay, and some go."

Details about the tour and addresses of the gardens can be found at cityofbartlett.org It is a free event, but donations are welcome.

His experimental nature is seen in almost every bed but especially in his "hosta hatchery," a shady space where he throws out mature hosta seeds to see what happens. If he likes a seedling's looks, he gives it a permanent place. If not, out it goes.

Under two giant oak trees in his front yard, hostas, ferns and a multitude of purple shamrocks thrive in the dry shade.

Other nearby shady beds are home to sasanqua camellias, azaleas and the tiny foliage of Snow N Summer, an Asiatic jasmine ground cover with early pink leaves that turn to white and emerald green as the season progresses.

An Encore azalea, now covered in orange flowers, obviously likes its partly sunny site while the pink, white and mottled flowers of an azalea aptly named Conversation Piece will not be back until next spring.

Crowder also gardens in the back and on the side as well as on the "hell" strip of land between his lawn and the street where his mailbox serves as a support for vines.

"I like to mix vines, so I've got four or five clematis and a millettia vine out here," he said.

Millettia, which is sometimes called evergreen wisteria, is now abloom with clusters of fragrant deep mauve flowers.

The perennial vine is fast growing but not thuggish like wisteria and is easily controlled with regular pruning.

Crowder, who recently retired as operations manager for Dan West Garden Centers, spent his entire working life in garden-related businesses.

During 10 of those years, he also answered every gardening question imaginable as the co-host of a Saturday morning radio show with botanist Jim Browne. There's probably no gardening issue he can't address, which makes him a popular speaker for plant societies and garden clubs.

After he and his wife, Carol, were married, he became part of the old P&S Garden Center on Jackson. It was owned by his in-laws Ben and Clarice Stroud and their partner, the late John Pierce, who was arguably this area's most respected iris expert and a mentor to Crowder.

He also worked for wholesale distributors of lawn and garden supplies in Atlanta and Houston.

Crowder, who was unable to garden for six years because of health issues, began revitalizing his garden about two years ago. Since his retirement in May, he has relished the opportunity to devote even more time and energy to it.

Some other plants of interest in this eclectic garden include:

Everillo carex is a low-mounding ornamental grass with narrow golden evergreen foliage that thrives in shady places, especially those with morning sun.

Mekong Giant, a hardy banana tree loves a boggy spot in a sunny bed.

Bombshell, a compact panicle hydrangea, produces a profusion of flowers.

Red and yellow twig dogwoods might look a little messy in the summer after butterfly caterpillars devour their leaves. But they recover their foliage before losing it again in the fall, revealing the showy branches that shine in winter landscapes.

Golden Dawn redwood is a deciduous conifer with ferny green-gold leaves that hold up well in the summer heat.

Crowder just recently installed two lilacs recommended for the South, Tiny Dancer and Bloomerang Pink Perfume.

Light a Candle

Looking for a late-summer stunner? Susan Thompson found it in an amazing candelabra plant, which is also known as the candle bush and Empress Candle plant.

Botanically, it can't make up its mind if it is Senna alata or Cassia alata.

No matter what you call it, you will get alata bright yellow candle-like flowers in late summer on a plant that soars 10 to 15 feet in the air in just one season.

Not only do it its large leaves close at dark like mimosa, but they also contain medicinal compounds that have been used to treat ringworm and other fungal skin infections.

At Thompson's Germantown house, it's planted where visitors can't fail to see it — near the door with a heart-shaped window dedicated for use by friends and family members.

And because pods holding plenty of seeds follow the flowers, Thompson will be able to share the visual joy of this plant with them, too.


Senna alata leaf extract restores insulin sensitivity in high-fat diet-induced obese mice

(7th Space Interactive)

Senna alata (S. alata) has numerous pharmacological activities including anti-lipogenic effect in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice.

The present study investigated the effect of Senna alata (S. alata) leaf extracts on the regulation of abnormal glucose metabolism in HFD-induced obese mice.

Methods: Male ICR mice were induced to become obese by being fed a HFD (45 kcal% lard fat) for 12 weeks.

During the last 6 weeks of diet feeding, the obese mice were treated with the water extract of S. alata leaf at 250 and 500 mg/kg/day.

After 6 weeks of treatment, blood was collected for measuring biochemical parameters. The liver, epididymal fat and skeletal muscle tissues were excised and kept for determining histology and western blot analysis.

Results: Treatment with S.

alata (250 and 500 mg/kg) significantly reduced hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperleptinemia. The glucose intolerance was improved by S.

alata. The elevated monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and tumor necrosis factor-?(TNF-?) levels in obese mice were reduced in S.

alata treatment. The level of serum adiponectin was increased in obese mice treated with S.

alata (250 and 500 mg/kg). The epididymal fat weight was reduced in S.

alata treatment. The enlarged adipocyte size was smaller in obese mice treated with S.

alata. In comparison with the obese control mice, the mice treated with S.

alata showed a significant reduction of liver glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) proteins. Moreover, S.

alata up-regulated the liver and muscle adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase phosphorylation (pAMPK) and muscle glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4).

Conclusions: The results indicate that the restoration of impaired glucose metabolism of S. alata may be associated with reduced hepatic gluconeogenesis and increased glucose uptake via AMPK activation.


6 medicinal plants to cure what ails you in Seychelles

(Victoria, Seychelles)

Seychelles News Agency) - While modern medicines are readily available in many countries today, this was not the case in the past. In Seychelles in the not-so-distant past the locals had to make do with plants that had medicinal properties.

Many of them are still very much used by herbalists and our elders who teach the young about their uses.

1. Bwa sousouri (Ochrosia parviflora)

In the past, it was used by locals as a form of contraceptive as other modern forms were not common to the islands. In high doses it can cause miscarriage.

Women would use it as a hygienic herbal bath after giving birth. It can also be used to treat stomach gas.

2. Bwa koulev (Psychotria dupontiae)

Some believe it will cure around 15 different conditions, including headaches, hyper-tension, unclean blood, menopause and nosebleeds.

3. Lerb sat ( Acalypha indica)

If a child is suffering with teething pain, this was mixed with honey and given by mothers mixed to their young.

4. Bwa torti (Morinda citrifolia)

Used in the past for fast healing of vaccinations, it now more commonly used in Seychelles for a number of ailments by making it into a juice, known now worldwide as Noni juice.

Locals use it especially for its rejuvenating properties. Be warned it has a strong foul smell that is definitely not for the faint hearted.

5. Roz anmer (Catharanthus roseus)

Grown in most home gardens in the islands, this is used as a tonic for everyone in the family. It has been used by the elders sometimes with children suffering from leukemia.

In some parts of the world, it is used in the treatment of diabetes.

6. Katrepeng (Cassia alata)

This was used to treat skin conditions and the bark boiled and used as a cleanser. The leaves were used for acne, eczema and sores

The leaves or sap contain anti-fungal properties and can be used to treat any fungal infections such as ringworm. Scientific studies have confirmed the plants effectiveness against skin infections.


3 Examples of Herbal Plants here in the Philippines

(Herballlants)

This list provides common medicinal plants in the Philippines. There are many other Philippine medicinal plants, herbs and trees found in the country but are actually rarely used as herbal medicine. These are the more widely used and popular medicinal plants:

Akapulko

Akapulko or Acapulco in English is a shrub found throughout the Philippines. It is known under various names in different regions in the country. Locals call the plant katanda, andadasi, and palochina in Tagalog, Ilocos and in the Visayas regions, respectively. The shrub belongs to the family ofLeguminosae, and grows about one to two meters tall. It has thick branches and the leaves are embraced with 8 to 20 leaflets that are oblong-elliptical in shape. The flowers of the Akapulko have oblong sepals, and its fruits are tetragonal, which are also winged and glabrous. A medicinal herb that contains chrysophanic acid, a fungicide used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies, and eczema. Akapulko also contains saponin, a laxative that is useful in expelling intestinal parasites.

The primary part used for herbal purposes are the leaves, although the roots and flowers are also used for certain preparations with medicinal value. The extracts from the Akapulko plant is commonly used as an ingredient for lotions, soaps, and shampoos.

-Benefits & Treatment of Akapulko:

• External Use:
•Treatment of skin diseases:
•Tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.
•Mouthwash in stomatitis
• Internal use:
•Expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea
• Alleviation of asthma symptoms
• Used as diuretic and purgative
• For cough & fever
• As a laxative to expel intestinal parasites and other stomach problems.

Note: A strong decoction of Akapulko leaves is an abortifacient. Pregnant women should not take decoction of the leaves or any part of this plant.

-Preparation & Use:

• For external use, pound the leaves of the Akapulko plant, squeeze the juice and apply on affected areas.

• As the expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea, drink decoction (soak and boil for 10 to 15 minutes) of Akapulko leaves. The same preparation may be used as a mouthwash, stringent, and wash for eczema.

• As laxative, cut the plant parts (roots, flowers, and the leaves) into a manageable size then prepare a decoction Note: The decoction looses its potency if not used for a long time. Dispose leftovers after one day.

• The pounded leaves of Akapulko has purgative functions, specifically against ringworms.

It should be noted that the pounded leaves of this plant may be applied thinly on the affected part twice a day. Marked improvement may be expected after two to three weeks of continuous application to the affected area(s) where the prepared Akapulko leaves were applied.

Ampalaya
Herbal Medicine: Ampalaya (Momordica charantia)

Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) with a scientific name Momordica charantia, is a climbing vine and the tendrils of which grow up to 20 centimeters long. This herbal plant belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae, and it is a tropical as well as a subtropical vine. Ampalaya leaves are heart-shaped, which are 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. The fruits of the ampalaya vine are fleshy green with pointed ends at length. It can never be mistaken for any other variety because its ribbed and wrinkled surface had always been ampalaya’s distinct physical structure. The bitter taste of the ampalaya fruit had also been the distinguishing factor from the rest of the fruits with medicinal value, and this is due to the presence of a substance known as momorcidin.

Ampalaya has been a folkloric cure for generations but has now been proven to be an effective herbal medicine for many aliments. Most significant of which is for Diabetes. The Philippine variety has proven to be most potent. Ampalaya contains a mixture of flavanoids and alkaloids make the Pancreas produce more insulin that controls the blood sugar in diabetics. Aside from Ampalaya's medicinal value, it is good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, folic acid, phosphorous and calcium.

Ampalaya has been for used even by the Chinese for centuries. The effectively of Ampalaya as an herbal medicine has been tried and tested by many research clinics and laboratories worldwide. In the Philippines, the Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya as an alternative medicine to help alleviate various ailments including diabetes, liver problems and even HIV. Aside from these, ampalaya also helps treat skin diseases and cough. Its herbal value extends to increasing the sterility of women, in parasiticide, antipyretic, and has purgative functions, as well. Note: In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and abortifacient.

Herbal Benefits of Ampalaya:

Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) with a scientific name Momordica charantia, is a climbing vine and the tendrils of which grow up to 20 centimeters long. This herbal plant belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae, and it is a tropical as well as a subtropical vine. Ampalaya leaves are heart-shaped, which are 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. The fruits of the ampalaya vine are fleshy green with pointed ends at length. It can never be mistaken for any other variety because its ribbed and wrinkled surface had always been ampalaya’s distinct physical structure. The bitter taste of the ampalaya fruit had also been the distinguishing factor from the rest of the fruits with medicinal value, and this is due to the presence of a substance known as momorcidin.

Ampalaya has been a folkloric cure for generations but has now been proven to be an effective herbal medicine for many aliments. Most significant of which is for Diabetes. The Philippine variety has proven to be most potent. Ampalaya contains a mixture of flavanoids and alkaloids make the Pancreas produce more insulin that controls the blood sugar in diabetics. Aside from Ampalaya's medicinal value, it is good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, folic acid, phosphorous and calcium.

Ampalaya has been for used even by the Chinese for centuries. The effectively of Ampalaya as an herbal medicine has been tried and tested by many research clinics and laboratories worldwide. In the Philippines, the Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya as an alternative medicine to help alleviate various ailments including diabetes, liver problems and even HIV. Aside from these, ampalaya also helps treat skin diseases and cough. Its herbal value extends to increasing the sterility of women, in parasiticide, antipyretic, and has purgative functions, as well. Note: In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and abortifacient.


-Herbal Benefits of Ampalaya:

• Good for rheumatism and gout • And diseases of the spleen and liver • Aids in lowering blood sugar levels • Helps in lowering blood pressure • Relives headaches • Disinfects and heals wounds & burns • Can be used as a cough & fever remedy • Treatment of intestinal worms, diarrhea • Helps prevent some types of cancer • Enhances immune system to fight infection • For treatment of hemorrhoids • Is an antioxidant and parasiticide • Is antibacterial and antipyretic

-Preparation & Use of Ampalaya:

• For coughs, fever, worms, diarrhea, diabetes, juice Ampalaya leaves and drink a spoonful daily. • For other ailments, the fruit and leaves can both be juiced and taken orally. • For headaches wounds, burns and skin diseases, apply warmed leaves to afflicted area. • Powdered leaves, and the root decoction, may be used as stringent and applied to treat hemorrhoids. • Internal parasites are proven to be expelled when the ampalaya juice, made from its leaves, is extracted. The ampalaya juice, and grounded seeds is to be taken one spoonful thrice a day, which also treats diarrhea, dysentery, and chronic colitis.• Good for rheumatism and gout • And diseases of the spleen and liver • Aids in lowering blood sugar levels • Helps in lowering blood pressure • Relives headaches • Disinfects and heals wounds & burns • Can be used as a cough & fever remedy • Treatment of intestinal worms, diarrhea • Helps prevent some types of cancer • Enhances immune system to fight infection • For treatment of hemorrhoids • Is an antioxidant and parasiticide • Is antibacterial and antipyretic

-Preparation & Use of Ampalaya:

• For coughs, fever, worms, diarrhea, diabetes, juice Ampalaya leaves and drink a spoonful daily. • For other ailments, the fruit and leaves can both be juiced and taken orally. • For headaches wounds, burns and skin diseases, apply warmed leaves to afflicted area. • Powdered leaves, and the root decoction, may be used as stringent and applied to treat hemorrhoids. • Internal parasites are proven to be expelled when the ampalaya juice, made from its leaves, is extracted. The ampalaya juice, and grounded seeds is to be taken one spoonful thrice a day, which also treats diarrhea, dysentery, and chronic colitis.

Atis

Atis Fruit - Sweet Sop / Sugar Apple

•Atis Fruit Information

Atis is the Philippine name for Sweet Sop and Sugar Apple. Atis is a relative to custard apple and belongs to the Annona family. Atis is native to Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. Atis was introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish times.

Atis is a small tree that grows between 10 to 20 feet high when fully matured with oblong leaves and green heart-shaped fruits with polygonal tubercles. The atis fruit has a white, sweet flesh and black seeds.

The Atis tree is easy to grow. Just plant a seed on almost any soil and atis will grow. However, it requires tropical or near tropical weather. When planted, Atis will begin to bear fruit in about a year's time. It will bear fruit about 3 times a year and the sweetest fruits are those borne during the summer months.Atis Fruit Information

Atis is the Philippine name for Sweet Sop and Sugar Apple. Atis is a relative to custard apple and belongs to the Annona family. Atis is native to Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. Atis was introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish times.

Atis is a small tree that grows between 10 to 20 feet high when fully matured with oblong leaves and green heart-shaped fruits with polygonal tubercles. The atis fruit has a white, sweet flesh and black seeds.

The Atis tree is easy to grow. Just plant a seed on almost any soil and atis will grow. However, it requires tropical or near tropical weather. When planted, Atis will begin to bear fruit in about a year's time. It will bear fruit about 3 times a year and the sweetest fruits are those borne during the summer months.

-Atis Fruit Nutritional Value (edible portion)

-Food Value of Atis Fruit

Vitamins & Minerals......Per 100g

Per 100g....................91 g
Water.......................70 g
Carbohydrates...............22 g
Protein....................2.0 g
Total dietary fiber........2.0 g
Fat.......................0.60 g
Total sugars.................15%
Tryptophan..................9 mg
Lysine.....................60 mg
Methionine................7.5 mg
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)..40 mg
Thiamine.................0.12 mg
Riboflavin...............0.14 mg
Niacin...................0.80 mg
Carotene.................. 6 I.U.
Ash.........................1 mg
Phosphorus.................40 mg
Calcium....................30 mg
Iron......................1.0 mg

-Toxic Properties of the Atis Fruit

All parts of the atis tree have medicinal value. The seeds however are poisonous. The seeds are pounded and made into paste. This can be applied to the scalp of the head to kill hair lice. Care should be taken when applying atis seed paste on the scalp as this is extremely irritating to the eyes and can even cause blindness. The paste when applied into the uterus can cause abortion.

- Atis Use as Herbal Medicine

• A decoction (boiling in water) of the leaves induces or hastens menstrual flow and used to treat dysentery, colds and fever. The decoction is also used for bathing to alleviate rheumatic pain.
• Crushed leaves are inhaled for dizziness and fainting.
• The bark of the atis tree is used as a decoction for diarrhoea.
• The root is a strong purgative and used to treat dysentery.
• Infected insect bites can be cured by applying the juice from an unripe atis fruit.

Akapulko (Cassia alata), Herbal Medicine For Skin Disease

(devcomconvergence)

“A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.” – Liberty Hyde Bailey. As what this quote has stated, many of least important creatures are disregarded without knowing that God has created it with a purpose. One of which is the Akapulko plant.

Akapulko is an erect, shrubby legume with dark green compound leaves. Akapulko leaves have orange rachis that has 16-28 leaflets. Akapulko produces an axis of golden yellow flowers that has 4-winged pods containing 50-60 flattened, triangular seeds. Akapulko flowers are enclosed by yellow-orange bracts that are later shed in time. (MedicalHealthGuide.com)

The akapulko plant is a shrub that grows wild in the tropical climate of the Philippines and is often used as a herbal medicine for skin diseases. It is used as medicine for skin diseases because the leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies and eczema. The common ingredient in soaps, shampoos and lotions in the Philippines is the Akapulko plant because of its anti-fungal properties. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) has helped develop the technology for a akapulko herbal medicine lotion.


Revisiting the Ashitaba and other anticancer herbs

By Rafael Castillo (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A patient whom I’ve not seen for a good number of years came back looking great, with no recurrence of shortness of breath and easy fatigability that she came to our clinic for.

She was also previously diagnosed to have early (stage 1) breast cancer, for which she underwent surgery, but refused any anticancer chemotherapy after the surgery.

Laboratory examinations and referral to her previous oncologist (cancer specialist) were done and she passed all tests and consultations with flying colors.

She said she just continued all the medications we prescribed her, but she also attributed her wellbeing to an herb she regularly took—the Ashitaba plant.

We reminded her that it’s not a good practice to just continue taking one’s medicines without periodic checkup, because frequently, the doses may have to be adjusted, or some medicines may have to be discontinued or replaced.

As for the Ashitaba, I admitted to her my knowledge gap on the subject and that I could not really make an expert recommendation whether it’s good, has no effect, or might even be harmful.

My research assistant at the office quickly browsed the scientific literatures on this plant. She came back to me with no clinical data, but she brought back experimental or laboratory researches showing that it might address various common ailments including infections, ulcers and cancers.

Potent antioxidant

It has a scientific name—Angelica keiskei—and the herb grows primarily in Japan, but it can also be grown here. Its root, leaf and stem are used to extract potent antioxidants and other medicinal chemicals.

The fresh leaves can be eaten, and be mixed with other vegetables or fruit salads.

Among the available published researches on Ashitabla is a study by Ogawa H., Nakashima S. and Baba K. showing the effects of Ashitaba on cholesterol metabolism in a stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive group of subjects. However, the research group subjected to the herb was not humans, but rats. Another Japanese group validated the study, also in rats.

Another Japanese group—researchers Tabata K., Motani K., Takayanagi N., et al.—also showed beneficial effects of an active ingredient of Ashitaba, xanthoangelol, in certain types of tumors (neuroblastoma) and also in leukemia cells.

Inamori Y. et al. showed beneficial effects of the herb as an antibacterial agent. Two ingredients called chalcones—xanthoangelol and 4-hydroxyderricin—were attributed as the source of this beneficial effect in infections.

A study by a Korean group (Kang M.H. et al.) in smokers showed a protective effect against the harmful effects of nicotine on peripheral lymphocytes and other cellular structures which can damage the cell’s DNA. When the DNA is damaged, it can create havoc in the tissues which may lead to cancer.

Evidence

So, by what we can gather, there seems to be basic or experimental evidence showing that the herb have some beneficial effects, but again we can’t say for sure if these would translate to actual clinical benefits in humans.

Locally, our scientists are also evaluating the anticancer effect of several indigenous plants, fruits and herbs.

Dr. Sonia Jacinto, an anticancer natural products professor from the University of the Philippines Diliman, has conducted several researches, and one of these is the study titled “Philippine Plants Showing Cytotoxic Activity to Selected Human Cancer Cell lines,” which aimed to identify and isolate compounds responsible for the cancer-killing action of the plant extracts.

Dr. Jacinto and her team of researchers cultured cancer cells in the laboratory and treated them with the plant extracts to find out the latter’s impact on cancer cell growth. The rationale was that if the cancer cells grew, then the study is unsuccessful. If the cancer cells died, it is a good indication to proceed to the next stage.

Promising findings

According to Dr. Jacinto’s researches, there are already promising findings from the plant Annona squamosa, commonly known as the atis. The doctor added that Annona squamosa is a close relative of Annona muricata, or the guyabano, which is known to be rich in Murihexocin C, an anticancer agent.

Aside from atis and guyabano, akapulko, or the Cassia alata, a herbal medicine with antimicrobial properties, also showed anticancer potential. Dr. Jacinto’s research group tested akapulko’s cancer-killing properties against several cancer cell lines, and found it favorable and promising.

In identifying the active compound responsible for the anticancer effects, the research team has isolated a mixture of polyunsaturated fatty acid esters—which may be the key substrate which pharmaceutical companies can try to develop into cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Researches on these herbs with anticancer properties should proceed to the clinical phase, with them being tried on actual cancer patients, in addition to (not as a replacement of) standard anticancer treatments. If they could be shown to have additional benefits to the patient, then this should be a most welcome development.


Akapulko (Acapulco) (Ringworm bush) Herbal Medicine

(Disease Arrival)

Suffering from Tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.

Here is the Herbal medicine for you.

Akapulko or Acapulco in English is a shrub found throughout the Philippines. A medicinal herb that

contains chrysophanic acid, a fungicide used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies and eczema.

Akapulko also contains saponin, a laxative that is useful in expelling intestinal parasites.

The extracts from the Akapulko plant is commonly used as an ingredient for lotions, soaps and shampoos.

Uses of Akapulko:

• Treatment of skin diseases:

Tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.

• Internal:

Expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea, mouthwash in stomatitis, alleviation of asthma symptoms, used as diuretic and purgative, for cough & fever, as a laxative to expel intestinal parasites and other stomach problems. A strong decoction of the leaves is an abortifacient.

Preparation:

• For external use, pound the leaves of the Akapulko plant, squeeze the juice and apply on affected areas.

• For internal use: cut the plant parts into a manageable size then soak and boil for 10 to 15 minutes let cool and use as soon as possible.

Note: The decoction looses its potency if not used for a long time. Dispose leftovers after one day.

• Intestinal parasitism: The seeds used for intestinal parasitism. Tincture from leaves reported to be purgative. • Cough: Decoction of leaves and flowers for cough.

• Ringworm, scabies, eczema, tinea infections, insect bites, herpes: Crushed leaves and juice extract.

Preparation: Pound enough fresh leaves; express (squeeze out) the juice and apply on the affected skin morning and evening. Improvement should be noticed after 2 - 3 weeks of treatment. Decoction of leaves and flowers used as mouthwash in stomatitis.

Candle Bush tree

(admin. Grow Trees)

Candle Bush tree can treat ringworm!

It is native to South America and can grow to 4 meters or around 13 feet high.

It is popular for its golden yellow and orange flowers that are borne in elongated clusters at the tips of the stems. These clusters are borne on hairy stalks and contain numerous densely crowded flowers. It flowers during late autumn, winter and spring.

Its leaves are commonly used to treat ringworm and other skin diseases. It’s anti-fungal properties make it a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos and lotions. Other common names include Christmas candle, ringworm bush and candelabra bush.


CASSIA ALATA

(trumpetflowers)

Cassia Alata is a very easy, fast growing plant that adds a beautiful pop of cheerful color to any garden. Actually reclassified of late as a senna, it is native to Mexico, but grows very well here in the States. Although the plant can not take a hard frost, zones 8 and 9 should see the plant return from the roots in spring.

Senna Alata is also very easy to start from seed. Spring is the best time of year to do this. If you want a head start you can plant them out in flats inside under grow lights.

After the plant has flowered, it will begin to form long, green seed pods. (notice above picture, look under flowers) Within a month to 6 weeks, these pods will then turn dark brown to almost black, and you should be able to hear the seeds rattling around in them. This is the best time to pick the pods. Take a pair of scissors with you, as they can be hard to remove from the bush. If you don't already have access to a plant, you can buy the seeds online.

Start out the seed pots with pure vermiculite. Vermiculite holds water better than soilless mixtures, and because it is anti-bacterial, it will also keep fungus and algae from growing on the pot surface, as well as deter fungus gnats. It also holds water much better than soilless mixes (which are basically peat) so you will do less watering.

Place seeds just under the surface, about 1/4 inch into the dampened vermiculite. Germination occurs within 7 days to 2 weeks with fresh seed. Allow the seedling to develop a set of true leaves before beginning a weak fertilizing schedule. Keep it in the seedling pot until you see roots appearing at the bottom of the pots. Then transfer each seedling into a one quart pot, with soilless mix. When roots fill that pot, transfer to a one gallon pot. When the roots fill that one, it can be placed in the ground if you so desire. Fertilize every two weeks for best growth, using a regular fert. The blue colored one made by Miracle-Gro works well.

Seed grown plants can flower the same year, even in colder climates. Although I live in South Florida, (so I get the benefit of no frost) I started mine from seed in October, and by June they were already blooming. Short season growers can either take the plant indoors, or re-seed from seed pods over the winter.

The Candelabra bush (as it is sometimes called) has lovely, soft leaves in an oval shape. They fold up in the evening. It can reach 10 feet in height, and the bush shape makes it ideal for hedging, row planting, or a few clumped together to create a dramatic stand-alone effect.

Senna Alata prefers moist soil, especially when it is young. The soil should contain sharp sand with some loamy material. Mulch the plant well to reserve water. Don't water the leaves if possible. After it is in-ground and established, you will not need to water it as often. Where I live, after one year, I don't have to water mine at all, the summer rains take care of that. In winter the plant slows down and the occassional rains we receive are enough to suffice.

Senna Alata also has the added benefit of preventing ringworm. In 2nd and 3rd world countries, the crushed leaves are still used to remove this pest from the skin of animals and humans alike. It can also be used as a strong laxative.

Candelabra bush is also a burtterfly attractor. The Giant Yellow Sulphur uses it not only for nectaring, but lays it's eggs on the plant. A few days later, lovely avocado and lemon striped caterpillars emerge. So if you like butterflies, this is another reason to try your hand at the lovely Senna Alata bush.


How to Make Herbal Soap Using Akapulko & Guava

(Enrepinoys Atbp)

Herbal soap is a kind of soap mixed with natural ingredients, juice or extract and vitamins from medicinal plants.

Prepare the following utensils:

• Plastic pail
• Wooden ladle or bamboo stick
• Glass or cup
• Mortar and pestle
• Cheese cloth or strainer
• Knife
• Chopping board
• Cooking pot (preferably made of clay, enamel, stainless or glass)
• Stove
• Plastic molders

How to Prepare a Decoction:

• Wash the leaves thoroughly and chop or cut in small pieces.
• Measure 1 glass of chopped fresh leaves and 2 glasses of water.
• Let it boil for 15 minutes (start timing when the water starts to boil).
• After 15 minutes, remove from fire and strain in a cheesecloth. Set aside and let it cool.

Materials:

• 1 glass Caustic Soda (NaOH)
• 3 glasses Akapulko or Guava decoction, cooled
• 5 glasses cooking oil
• coloring powder (optional)

Procedure:

• Prepare the materials and the utensils needed.
• Measure 1 glass of caustic soda and 3 glasses of Akapulko or Guava decoction and pour into a plastic pail.
• Mix well by stirring continuously using a wooden ladle or bamboo stick. Use only one direction in mixing the mixture. Stir until the caustic soda is dissolved.
• Pour 5 glasses cooking oil into the mixture.
• Continue stirring until a consistency of a condensed milk is achieved.
• Pour the soap mixture into desired plastic molders. Set aside and let it cool to harden.
• After 4-5 hours, remove the soap from the molder.
• Allow 30 days of ageing before packing. Label the soaps.

Indications:

• Akapulko leaves – anti-fungal
• Guava leaves – antiseptic for wounds

yungkong or Acapulko Tree

(Plant Fruits Trees Medicine Herbal)

Akapulko is used as herbal medicine and is a shrub that grows wild in the tropical climate of Philippines. Akapulko is widely used in the Philippines as herbal medicine. The akapulko leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies and eczema.. Akapulko leaves are also known to be sudorific, diuretic and purgative, usedto treat intestinal problems including intestinal parasites. Akapulko is also used as herbal medicine to treat bronchitis and asthma. Because of Akapulko’s anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and lotions in the Philippines. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) has helped develop the technology for a akapulko herbal medicine lotion.

Akapulko is an erect, shrubby legume with dark green compound leaves. Akapulko leaves have orange rachis that has 16-28 leaflets. Akapulko produces an axis of golden yellow flowers that has 4-winged pods containing 50-60 flattened, triangular seeds. Akapulko flowers are enclosed by yellow-orange bracts that are later shed in time.

Acapulko Benefits:

• External Use:
Treatment of skin diseases:
Tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.
• Mouthwash in stomatitis
• Internal use:
Expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea
• Alleviation of asthma symptoms
• Used as diuretic and purgative
• For cough & fever
• As a laxative to expel intestinal parasites and other stomach problems.
• For external use, pound the leaves of the Akapulko plant, squeeze the juice and apply on affected areas.
• As the expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea, drink decoction (soak and boil for 10 to 15 minutes) of Akapulko leaves. The same preparation may be used as a mouthwash, stringent, and wash for eczema.
• As laxative, cut the plant parts (roots, flowers, and the leaves) into a manageable size then prepare a decoction Note: The decoction looses its potency if not used for a long time. Dispose leftovers after one day.
• The pounded leaves of Akapulko has purgative functions, specifically against ringworms.

Note: A strong decoction of Akapulko leaves is an abortifacient. Pregnant women should not take decoction of the leaves or any part of this plant.


Akapulko Is Both Ornamental & Medicinal Plant Source: http://affleap.com/akapulko-is-both-ornamental-medicinal-plant/

(Affleaf)

Akapulko, whose scientific name is Cassia alata L, is one shrub plant that is common in the Philippines.

To those who have not known the medicinal benefits of akapulko, they used it as an ornamental plant because of its beautiful flowers and its good looking leathery leaves.

It can be kept as a full sun or light shade ornamental. It is a fast growing plant and a drought tolerant plant. The oblong leaves bilaterally and symmetrically opposed, is wide open during the day but it folds up together at night time.

Akapulko is used by folks in the rural areas as treatment for various fungal infections by crushing the leaves and applied it to the infected area. Fungal infections like tinea versicolor, commonly known as ‘an-an’, ringworm, scabies, athlete’s foot and eczema.

The medicinal shrub contains chrysophanic acid, a fungicide used to treat fungal infections, and it also contains saponin, a laxative that is useful in expelling intestinal parasites.

Decocting leaves are used as expectorant in bronchitis and dyspnea, as astringent, mouthwash and a wash for eczema.

Its root, flower and leaf decoction are used as laxative and weight loss. Its extract from the akapulko plant is now used by dermatological companies as chief ingredient for their lotions, soaps and shampoos.


5 tree species good for mine-spoiled areas

(RAF)

Four tree species and a shrub with medicinal properties are good materials in revegetating mine-spoiled areas.

This was found in a study done by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Region 7 (Central Visayas) and the Atlas Corp.

In the study, researchers Aguinaldo Bueno of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Region 7 and Bernabe de la Cruz of Atlas screened plants appropriate for revegetating mine rock waste dump areas in Toledo City (Cebu).

They selected plant species that were tolerant to acid, drought, and head and have high colonizing potential to microorganisms.

Bueno and De la Cruz assessed parameters such as percentage survifal, root collar diameter, total height growth, shoot-root ratio, biomass, mine spoil physical and mechanical properties, and sturdiness’ quotient.

Mine spoils are sandy, extremely acidic, with low water-holding capacity, low organic and nitrogen content, and negligible amount of phosphorus and potassium. Moreover, mine spoils are contaminated with heavy metals.

Results of the study showed that acacia, acapulco, ipil-ipil, manzanitas, and lagundi were appropriate species to revegetate mine-spoiled areas.

"These are fast-growing species associated with microorganisms responsible for nitrogen fixation, and thus can improve soil’s physical and chemical properties," pointed out Dr. Leila America of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), which monitored the research.

Bueno and De la Cruz also recommended that other tree species such as fire tree and narra and grass species such as rattan, vetiver, napier, and talahib be tried for planting in mine dump areas.


Senna Alata

By Leslie S. Baumann

Senna alata, also known as Cassia alata (J. Ethnopharmacol. 2003;86:167-71), as well as Candle Bush and similar names such as Candelabra Bush, Empress Candle Plant, Candle Plant, and Candlewood Tree, among some others, is a tropical shrub that belongs to the Fabaceae family. Native to Central America and the Caribbean, S. alata has been introduced to many tropical countries and islands throughout the world.

Traditionally, the leaves of some Cassia species have been used topically to treat various viral skin conditions (Pharmacology 1980;20 [Suppl. 1]:104-12; Bone, K., Mills S., Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Principles of Herbal Pharmacology. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2000, p. 49). However, S. alata and its constituent sennosides are better known globally for conferring laxative activity than other medically beneficial properties. When taken internally, extracts of the botanical act as a laxative and diuretic and, when used externally, it is said to reduce pus and relieve inflammation (J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999;68:103-8).

This column will briefly discuss some of the recent promising research, as well as the geographical breadth of traditional medical applications of S. alata.

Antimicrobial Actions

In 2009, Chomnawang and associates investigated 17 Thai medicinal plants to ascertain their activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and S. alata was found to be among those with the potential to inhibit the standard strain of S. aureus (Fitoterapia 2009;80:102-4).

Chomnawang et al. had previously examined the potential antimicrobial effects of other Thai medicinal plants against other bacterial species. In 2007, they focused on free radical-scavenging and cytokine-depleting properties of botanicals to determine their suitability as treatments for the inflammation provoked by the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. Through 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging and the nitroblue tetrazolium assay to identify antioxidant activity, the investigators determined that Garcinia mangostana demonstrated significant antioxidant activity, while Houttuynia cordata, Eupatorium odoratum, and S. alata exhibited moderate antioxidant activity. Extracts of S. alata also demonstrated a dose-dependent capacity to inhibit the production of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha (Fitoterapia 2007;78:401-8).

Against Skin Pathogens

In 2005, Chomnawang et al. conducted a study to assess the antimicrobial properties of Thai medicinal plants against P. acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis, two strains of bacteria that have been linked to the etiologic pathway of acne. With disk diffusion, they found that, among 13 plant species demonstrating the capacity to inhibit P. acnes growth, S. alata was one of four that exhibited strong inhibitory activity. In this and their subsequent studies, though, G. mangostana was shown to be the species displaying the broadest inhibitory and antimicrobial effects among Thai medicinal plants. Notably, S. alata did manifest encouraging antibacterial properties against S. epidermidis as well as P. acnes (J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005;101:330-3).

In 2003, ointments produced from ethanolic extracts of the leaves of S. alata, as well as Lantana camara and Mitracarpus scaber, were shown to be effective as topical treatments of bovine dermatophilosis (J. Ethnopharmacol. 2003;86:167-71).

In a more recent investigation of the phytochemistry and antimicrobial properties of S. alata, Idu et al. found that extracts of the flowers yielded in vitro antimicrobial action in assays using clinical isolates of various bacterial species, including Bacillus subtilis, Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aureginosa, and S. aureus. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of several bioactive constituents, including anthraquinones, phenols, polyphenols (flavonoids and tannins), and saponins (Pak. J. Biol. Sci. 2007;10:806-9).

Extracts of S. alata have also been found to exert antifungal activity (J. Ethnopharmacol. 1990;29:337-40). Subsequent supporting evidence emerged from a 10-year human study concluded in 1994 that indicated that the leaf extract of S. alata is an effective herbal treatment for pityriasis versicolor and provokes no side effects (J. Ethnopharmacol. 1994;42:19-23). Previous reports suggested that aqueous extracts of S. alata leaves are suitable for treating eczema, pruritus, and cutaneous infections in humans (J. Ethnopharmacol. 2003;86:167-71).

Traditional Medical Uses

Evidence of the widespread traditional use of S. alata for medicinal purposes other than as a laxative abounds. The results of an ethnobotanical survey conducted among the Carib population of Guatemala in 1988-1989 revealed that a macerate of S. alata was used topically to treat skin diseases and was one of the nine most cited plant species used there for medicinal purposes among 102 species identified (J. Ethnopharmacol. 1991;34:173-87). In an ethnobotanical survey conducted from September 1990 to December 1994 in Martinique, S. alata was one of the four most cited species of plants used in traditional medicine, with two primary indications (skin rashes in 75% of cases, treated topically with the crushed leaves of the plant, and constipation, treated with a decoction) (J. Ethnopharmacol. 1996;53:117-42).

More recently, in a 2008 ethnobotanical survey in the state of Akwa Ibom in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, S. alata was one of the four most cited species used in traditional medical practice, among 114 plant species considered. It is used more often there for dermatologic indications, as a powder and orally, than as a laxative (J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008;115:387-408).

A 2008 study in the Akwapim-North district of Ghana examining the antibacterial activity of several plant species, S. alata was cited as the most often used herbal ingredient in traditional medical practice among 25 plant species used for dermatologic or anti-infectious indications (J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008;116:102-11).

Also in 2008, a survey of herbalist healers in a Sundanese community in West Java, Indonesia, also revealed the use of S. alata, in the form of crushed leaves, for a cutaneous condition, specifically dermatitis (J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008;115:72-81).

In addition, S. alata is used in traditional Creole medicine and has recently been introduced in the French pharmacopoeia, particularly because it has been used successfully in French overseas departments such as French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion (Fitoterapia 2009;80:385-93). The analgesic activity of kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside was demonstrated about 2 decades ago (J. Ethnopharmacol. 1990;29:73-8). Kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside, a phenolic compound (specifically, a flavonol glycoside) with demonstrated antioxidant activity, is an active constituent in S. alata (Free Radic. Res. 1997;27:429-35).

On the Market

Numerous patent applications have been submitted for products containing S. alata in foundation creams for a wide array of cosmetic formulations touted for antiaging, photoprotective, and moisturizing activity, as well as a treatment for athlete's foot and beriberi (Fitoterapia 2009;80:385-93). The demonstrated antifungal properties of the plant have made it a common ingredient in over-the-counter lotions, shampoos, and soaps in some countries. In addition, extracts from S. alata are featured in La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 ultra light sunscreen fluid, a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 60 sunscreen. According to proprietary research conducted by the company, human keratinocyte cell cultures treated with S. alata extract exhibited a decrease in UVB-induced thymine dimer formation; in a different experiment, S. alata extract imparted protection against UVA- induced mitochondrial DNA damage; in a third experiment, the herb was said to have supported natural DNA repair, in vitro, by enhancing Gadd45alpha gene expression.

Conclusion

The effectiveness of S. alata as a laxative is well documented. Although the traditional use of this botanical appears to be common in less-developed countries in tropical regions throughout the world and the dermatologic evidence is compelling, much more research is necessary to ascertain if the potency of the plant can be harnessed for effective cutaneous applications in the more mechanized, modern pharmacologic practice of medicine. It will be interesting to see the results of the various patent applications for products that contain S. alata. The performance of the new La Roche-Posay sunscreen containing the extract will also be worth monitoring.



Home treatment for Tinea Cruris or Jock Itch

(Astrogle)

Tinea cruris, also known as crotch itch, crotch rot, Dhobie itch, eczema marginatum, gym itch, jock itch, and ringworm of the groin in American English is a dermatophyte fungal infection of the groin region in either sex, though more often seen in males.

Jock itch occurs when a particular type of fungus grows and spreads in the groin area. It occurs mostly in adult men and adolescent boys. It can sometimes accompany athlete’s foot and ringworm. The fungus that causes jock itch thrives in warm, moist areas.

Tinea cruris can be triggered by friction from clothes and prolonged wetness in the groin area, such as from sweating. It may be contagious. It can be passed from one person to the next by direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with unwashed clothing.

Symptoms of Tinea Cruris
- Itching in groin, thigh skin folds, or anus
- Red, raised, scaly patches that may blister and ooze — The patches often have sharply-defined edges and are often redder around the outside with normal skin tone in the center
- Abnormally dark or light skin
Home Treatment using Ayurvedic method for Tinea Cruris

Jock itch usually responds to self-care within a couple of weeks:

- Keep the skin clean and dry.
- Don’t wear clothing that rubs and irritates the area.
- ONETIME application of Cassia alata leaf extract(paste) over the infected regions will be enough to get rid of pityriasis versicolor for a maximum period of nine months.This establishes the therapeutic supremacy of Cassia alata leaf extract over the existing medicines. (Cassia alata, Linn., is used in the Indian system of medicine namely Ayurveda, siddha and unani. belongs to the family Caesalpiniaceae, R.Br. and is distributed mainly in tropics and subtropics.
- Sans. – Dadrughna. Eng. – Ringworm shrub. Hind. & Ben. – Dadmurdan; Dadmari. Mah. – Dadamardana. Tel. – Sima avisi; Mettatamara. Tam. – Vendukolli; sheemai-agatti. Mal. – Seemagati. Can. – Sheemigida; Agase-gida. Kon. – Daddupana. Duk. – Dad-ka-patta; Vilayati-agati. Burm. – Maizali-gi.) This leaf’s extract can be applied to cure Pityriasis versicolor, Tinea corporis,Tinea cruris,and Tinea pedis.
- If you cannot find above leaf in your area, you can pick up few neem leaves, make their paste with water and add some turmeric to it.
- Apply this paste+turmeric to the effected area and let it dry for atleast 2 hours.
- Do not wear any underwear and try to keep the infected area uncovered during this process of application and drying.

Jock itch usually responds promptly to treatment. It is often less severe than other tinea infections, but may last a long time. Infection usually stays around the creases in the upper thigh and does not involve the scrotum or penis. Jock itch may spread to the anus, causing anal itching and discomfort.

Do not scratch the infected area even if it is itchy. Apply the above prescribed paste and wear only loose cotton pants or shorts during nights and keep the area dry and clean.

Complications of Tinea Cruris can be
- Permanent change in the skin color of the area
- Secondary bacterial skin infections

In above complicated conditions, treatment may be required for more weeks.

Prevention of Tinea Cruris or Jock Itch
- Keep the groin area clean and dry.
- Don’t wear clothing that rubs and irritates the area. Avoid tight-fitting and rough-textured clothing.
- Wear loose-fitting underwear.
- Wash athletic supporters frequently.
- After bathing, apply antifungal or drying powders if you are susceptible to jock itch.

Senna Candlestick Care: How To Grow Candlestick Bushes

By Becca Badgett (Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden)

A longtime favorite of Gulf Coast gardeners, growing candle bush (Senna alata) adds a showy, yet old-fashioned touch to the full sun landscape. Upright racemes of yellow flowers resemble a candlestick, hence the common name of candlestick plant.

Candlestick Plant Info

Candlestick senna, previously called candlestick cassia (Cassia alata), is described as a small tree or shrub, depending on which candlestick plant info one reads. When growing candle bush in the warmest of USDA plant hardiness zones, the plant may return for several years, allowing the trunk to develop to tree size. In more northern areas of the south, grow candle bush as an annual that may return following unusually mild winters.

Candlestick senna provides spiky, bold, late summer color, making it a somewhat useful specimen for many warm season landscapes. Candlestick plant info says the plant is native to Central and South America.

Candlestick plant info indicates the brightly flowering bush attracts pollinators, as larvae of sulphur butterflies feed on the plant. Candlestick senna is also said to have anti-fungal properties.

How to Grow Candlestick

Growing candle bush can rapidly add interest in the back of a bed, in a mixed shrub border or even as a focal point in the bare landscape. Growing candle bush provides form and color while you’re waiting on more permanent specimens to establish and grow.

While the tree is attractive and elegant in its native habitat, many who are familiar with growing this plant in the United States say it is actually a noxious, self-seeding weed. Plant cautiously when learning how to grow candlestick, perhaps in a container. Remove the green winged samaras before they produce seed, as well as any young seedlings that are sprouting if you don’t wish for its return to your beds and borders.

Growing candle bush can be started from seed. Soak seeds overnight and direct sow in the spring when chances of frost have passed. Keep in mind, candlestick senna may reach 15 feet in height, so make sure it has room to shoot up and out.

Senna Candlestick Care

Senna candlestick care is minimal. Water seeds until they sprout and watch the plant take off. In areas where candlestick senna may remain for a few years, pruning for shape is often necessary for the best appearance. Heavy pruning when blooms are finished results in a more compact and attractive bush. If you find the plant shabby, invasive or a nuisance, don’t be afraid to cut it to the ground or take it out by the roots.


Acapulco, an Anti-fungal herb

(Practical Health Tricks)

Are you bothered by itchy fungal infections like dandruff, ringworm, etc.? Are you looking for a natural treatment? Try Acapulco and learn to process it into ointment and balm.

Effectiveness of Acapulco

During my childhood days, I have a playmate who used to have a an itchy ringworm and lots of “An-an” scattered all over her body.

While we were playing, he used to scratched it every now and then. One day, I saw him with a bunch of leaves, then through a mortar and pestle, he pound it and extracted the juice of the leaves. Said juice was applied to the affected area. A week after, his scratching was gone and so with his skin problems.

I realized now that the leaves he used were from Acapulco plant, one that is rich with anti-fungal properties. Now, I always have Acapulco ointment or balm in our house. I tell you, it is effective in treating dandruff in your scalp, in your eyebrows as well as for treating other skin problems caused by fungi

Other health benefits

The Acapulco is widely used in the Philippines as one of the herbal medicines. Its leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections. It is also known to treat intestinal, lung and mouth problems.

Acapulco can be used as herbal medicine for the following lung and mouth problems:

• Expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea
• Mouthwash in stomatitis
• Alleviation of asthma symptoms

It can also be used for the following skin diseases:

• Tinea infections
• Skin bites
• Eczema
• Scabies,

Acapulco is also good for the following stomach problems:

• Laxative to expel intestinal parasites
• Diuretic
• Purgative

Warning: Strong decoction of leaves can cause abortion among pregnant women. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

How to prepare an Acapulco Ointment or

Balm?

To make it readily available in your home, Acapulco can be processed into a Home-made Ointment or Balm.

How it is processed into ointment or balm?
• Get a handful of Acapulco leaves (fresh or dried), slice them thinly.
• In a saucepan or any clean stainless container, place 1 cup of virgin coco oil or olive oil or a vegetable oil. (Proportion: 1 cup oil: 1 cup sliced leaves)
• Submerge in the oil the sliced leaves, then heat in a slow fire for 10 minutes. Stir, once in a while. Fry until crispy.
• Strain, to separate the oil from the leaves.
• Put back the oil in the container.
• Add some wax (honey bee wax is preferred, if not, an ordinary candle will do).
• Test. Drop a small amount of liquid in a saucer or a fresh leaf. Wait until it coagulates.
• Optional: You may add some natural flower scent such as ilang-ilang , rose, sampaguita, etc. But, be sure to remove them before pouring the mixture in the container.
• Pour in the desired container while it is still hot. Let it cool.

Now, you just made a home-made anti-fungal ointment or balm.

Application

For dandruff treatment, apply the Acapulco Ointment at bedtime or one hour before taking your bath. Repeat theapplication, until all your dandruff is gone. For other skin problems, apply the ointment or balm 3x a day until the problem is gone.

The Acapulco Plant

Acapulco is a shrub that normally grows wild in a tropical climate like the Philippines. In the rural areas, said plants grows well in soil with high moisture content. It is commonly found in areas along the river side, streams, and the likes. It can, however, be propagated by cutting stem or seeds.


Akapulko found to have anti-asthmatic property

(MIMS)

Akapulko (Cassia alata) extract and its formulated nebule have been found to exhibit anti-asthmatic property, according to a study conducted by researchers from Saint Louis University. The study showed that Akapulko extract and its formulated nebule possess anti-asthma property comparable to terbutaline.

The intention of the study was to experimentally prove that Akapulko leaf extract is an effective anti-asthma, involving the use of Akapulko leaves that were subjected to Soxhet Extraction procedure using ethanol as the extracting solvent and rotary evaporation to obtain the pure extract. The leaf extract was used for the anti-asthma test and for the formulation of the anti-asthma nebule.

To test for the broncho-relaxation effect of the extract and its formulated nebule, the researchers made use of tracheal spirals from guinea pigs in three trials. Prior to the application of the terbutaline and Akapulko extract and its formulated nebule, pilocarpine was applied first for its constricting effect. They then compared the effects of Akapulko extract and its formulated nebule to Terbutaline as a positive control and Tween 80 as negative control.

According to researchers, Akapulko extract and its formulated nebule both resulted to an increase in the length of the tracheal spiral by 0.2 cm, 0.4 cm and 0.2 cm for trials 1 to 3, respectively. As for terbutaline, it showed a uniform result of an increase by 0.6 cm. and for pilocarpine, with the length of the tracheal spiral decreasing by 0.3 cm consistently across the three trials, while Tween 80 did not show any increase in the length of the tracheal spirals, making it a non-factor since it was used as a suspending agent in the formulation of the nebule.

According to the results of the study, the average length of the tracheal spiral treated with Akapulko extract is 4.37 cm, 4.17cm treated with Terbutaline and 4.70 cm with Akapulko nebule. At 0.05 level of significance, analysis of variance showed that there was no significant difference in the results of Akapulko extract, Terbutaline and Akapulko nebule since the computed t-value is 0.2790 as compared to the critical value of 2.21318.

This means that the relaxing effect of Akapulko extract and its formulated nebule, signified by the increase in the length of the tracheal spiral, is equivalent to a commercially available terbutaline.

Researchers discussed asthma as a common chronic disorder of the airways that involves a complex interaction of airflow obstruction, bronchial responsiveness and an underlying inflammation. As estimated by the WHO, out of the 90 million people living in the Philippines, 12 percent suffer from asthma. The use of Akapulko extract is common in the provinces; the extract is added with a little amount of oil and taken orally followed with a tablespoon of warm water.



How to make Akapulko ointment

(Arleen Jay R. Abucay's blogspot)

Last June 27, during in our Related Learning Experience (RLE) 20 class, our teacher taught us how to make Akapulko Ointment. This ointment as what they have told us is good for skin itchiness, skin infection and even scabies.

Our group, Group 1, is so excited to make this ointment. Actually, it is our first time and we are like in an unstoppable ignition of feeling excited because we would like to know the process in making this ointment that really cures skin irritations.

First, we prepare all the things needed. They are:

240 ml. chopped in small pieces Akapulko leaves
240 ml. finely scraped Esperma candle
240 ml. palm oil
Cooking clay pot (kolon)
Denatured alcohol
Match
Wooden laddle

After preparing the equipment and ingredients needed, then we go to the main thing of making the ointment.

1. Wash your hands.
2. Wash the fresh young Akapulko leaves.
3. Chop the washed fresh young Akapulko leaves.
4. Prepare the Esperma candle and scrape thinly.
5. Prepare one glass of Esperma (240 ml.) candle, one glass of chopped, fresh young Akapulko leaves and one glass of palm oil.
6. Pour one galss or chopped young Akapulko leavs and one glass of palm oil into a clay pot and boil.
7. Mix and stir the leaves using a wooden spoon or ladle until the leaves become crispy and golden brown.
8. After cooking, strain and pour the boiling extracted juice in oil into the container with one glass of Esperma or thinly scraped pieces of candle.
9. Let it cool, and then pour it into a clean container.

As we were done making the ointment, we were glad that such an activity would give us an idea that we can indeed utilize to make ointment from Akapulko leaves that will serve to help us heal and even cure our minor skin problem.

Appreciate the availability of herbs in the surrounding would make us knowledgeable that in order to find alternatives in directly not resting yet for medication especially when the illness or disease is not deep, we can get the right option from nature's available and approved by the Department of Health (DOH) herbs.


Healing diseases with Cassia alata (ringworm shrub) which proudly stand out and flourish in your neighbourhood

By Dr. Gilbert Ezengige

One of the medicinal plants I enjoyed pronouncing its scientific name in my early years of embracing the study of herbal medicine which is also referred to as herbology, Botanic Medicine or Phytotherapy is Ringworm Shrub known as Cassia alata.

Little did I know then that its therapeutic values are as captivating as the sound of its scientific name.

Itemized below are a few of the healing actions of this herb.

Botanical name: Cassia alata
Synonyms: Senna alata
Common names: Ringworm plant, ringworm shrub and craw-craw plant
Local names (Nigeria) : Ogaalu (Igbo), AsurunOyinbo ( Yoruba)
Parts Used: flowers, leaves, stems and roots

Medicinal properties : The flowers, leaves, stem and root all posses laxative properties and can effectively be used for the treatment of constipation and part treatment for hemorrhoids.

Ladies who experience scanty menstrual flows will benefit from the regular intake of Cassia alata tea

Note, it is contraindicated (to be avoided) in pregnancy due to its uterine stimulating action

Cassia alata is an antimicrobial plant that in Nigeria and most parts of Africa is employed in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Staphylococcus aureus etc.)

It is an anti-inflammatory herb administered to counteract inflammation in diseased body parts

The herb benefits patients who are challenged by various allergies ranging from skin to respiratory allergies

The analgesic action of Cassia alata is one of the reasons why practitioners of herbal medicine utilize it in the treatment and management of lumbago, arthritis and rheumatism.

Its common name, “Ringworm shrub” already suggests one of the applications of this plant. Fresh leaves are rubbed on ringworm sites on the skin to treat this condition.

As a matter of fact, most fungi infections including Athlete’s foot and Eczema respond to topical application of Cassia alata cream.

When next you identify it in your neighborhood, give thanks to God for His goodness mercy and provision.

Note that herbal supplements are best administered by trained health care providers.


Propagation of Senna Alata

By Bonnie Singleton (Demand Media)

Senna alata is known as Christmas candle because it has yellow flower spikes on its evergreen shrubbery that look like thick, waxy candlesticks. The plant is an easy-to-grow perennial that thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11. It also grows as an annual in zones 8 and 9. Simple propagation techniques will produce healthy specimens that provide a lovely floral display for your home garden and will also attract butterflies.

Senna alata

Senna alata is from the bean family and originally found in tropical regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and America. It can reach a height of up to 30 feet in its native habitat, although 5 to 8 feet is more typical in a backyard garden, with a spread approximately half that width. An aggressive grower, especially in areas with a high water table, Senna alata often forms thickets through natural propagation. For this reason, the shrub is a good choice for borders. As a specimen plant, it could also be grown in outdoor containers or tubs.

Propagation Source

You may propagate the plant by growing seeds, which may be sold under the plant's various alternate names including candle bush, candlestick tree, candelabra bush, Christmas candle, Empress candle, golden candlestick, popcorn senna and ringworm tree. If you have access to Senna alata plants, collect seeds from the six-inch long seed pods, which can contain as many as 60 seeds each. On their own, senna alata pods and seeds can be distributed by water or animals, or the plant will sucker from roots.

Timing

If you're collecting your own seeds, harvest pods in the fall and store them in a dry location over the winter. Pop open the pods in the spring and start cultivating seeds indoors from February through March, or several weeks before the last average frost date, to give the seedlings a head start. For best results, first soak seeds in warm water overnight before planting. Because they're fast growers, seedlings usually bloom the first year from seed.

Cultivation

Plant seeds about three quarters of an inch deep in a well-drained soil and humus mixture with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Find an area with full sun for the seedlings' permanent home and feed with a balanced fertilizer after planting and then once a month during the growing season. Senna alata plants are drought-tolerant, but they will still benefit from being watered regularly and given a layer of mulch during the hottest summer months. As young plants develop, pinch new growth to increase the number of future flower spikes, and prune mature plants back in spring to improve flowering.

Considerations

All parts of the Senna alata plant are poisonous if swallowed and should be kept away from children or pets. Because this shrub can become invasive under certain conditions, some areas have banned the introduction of the plant or seeds into the region. This is less of a problem in the U.S. than in other places, such as some areas of Australia. Use caution when adding Senna alata to your garden and keep any eye on where it goes to prevent its invasion into natural habitats.

Herbal remedies in zamboanga.PNG

Akapulko as anti-fungal medication

By Noel Colina

The floods caused by both nature – typhoon Ketsana and Parma - and the dam managers, exposed many of the already suffering victims to various diseases. With many areas remaining submerged, people had to wade through thigh-high mud and water, making them vulnerable to various ailments, among them skin disease.

This was very evident when IOHSAD, through the Task Force Obrero, conducted a relief and medical mission last October 1, 2009 at Ampid, San Mateo, Rizal. More than 30% of the patients had varying foot problems because of the constant exposure to dirty water. We needed to bring more anti-fungal medicines for the next mission but this become very difficult.

Those pharmacies who usually provides us solicited medicines were already running out of stock. To buy them would be too expensive. We decided, with a strong push from our resident herbalist Emma, to make them instead.

We've been able to produce anti-fungal medication for more than 300 people, although our little workshop can produce more but sourcing the ingredients have proven difficult. Before we were able to easily source Akapulko (Senna Alata L.), the main ingredient, from Marikina, but it was one of the areas devastated by the typhoon.

Here are the instructions on how to make anti-fungal medication from Akapulko leaves:

Materials:

• Akapulko
• Wooden spatula
• Sterilized containers with wide mouth (for ointment)
• Coconut oil
• Wax #5
• Clay pot
• Cheese cloth
• measuring cups

Preparation:

  1. Clean the Akapulko leaves
  2. Mix 1 part of coconut oil and 1 part of Akapulko leaves in the clay pot
  3. Stir the mixture with wooden spatula until oil is green and the leaves have become brittle
  4. Pour the oil inside the cheesecloth to filter the leaves.
  5. Pour the oil in another clay pot and mix with wax. Stir until wax is melted.
  6. While it remains hot, pour the mixture into the sterilized containers.
  7. Let the mixture cool before covering and sealing the containers.

Application:

Clean the area affected. Apply the ointment on affected areas 3-4 times a day.


Nigeria finds cure for piles/haemorrhoids

By Peter Olorunnisomo

Researchers in Nigeria are reported to have identified about 143 local plants and vegetables useful for a curative treatment of haemorrhoids. These edible vegetation, some of which are readily identifiable for local soups, are recommended for consumption in a special diet slightly cooked for treatment.

Reports have it that the researchers are from the Department of Plant Science and Applied Zoology, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

The research results recently published in the Nigeria Scholars Research Library Annals of Biological Research show that the herbal recipes include green spinach, Amaranthus viridis (Amaranth, Tete in Yoruba, akwukwo nri in Ibo), Celosia spp (Lagos spinach, Soko in Yoruba), and waterleaf (Talinum triangulare). The use of Occimum gratissimum (scent leaf, Nchuanwu in Ibo, Effirin in Yoruba) as species in some soup is also very effective in the treatment of piles.

Others include Senna alata (Asunrun oyinbo in Yoruba, Ogalu in Ibo), Gongronena latifolium (Utazi in Ibo and Arokeke in Yoruba), Axonopus compressus (carpet grass), Anogeiessus leiocarpus (chew-stick, atara in Ibo, ayin in Yoruba and farin gamji in Hausa), Pteleopsis suberosa (wuyan giíwaá in Hausa), Tetrapleura tetraptera (Osakirisa or Oshosho in Ibo, Aidan in Yoruba), Khaya senegalensis (mahogany) and Allium spp (garlic, onion, shallots).

The study titled, “Ethnobotanical Survey of Plants Used in the Treatment of Haemorrhoids in South-Western Nigeria” was published by Mike O. Soladoye, Michael O. Adetayo, Emmanuel C. Chukwuma and Amusa N Adetunji.

Haemorrhoids, also called pile, are vascular structures in the anal canal which help with stool control. They become pathological or piles when swollen or inflamed.

They are caused by increased pressure in the veins of the rectum or anus resulting from straining when trying to have a bowel movement or any activity causing straining, such as heavy lifting. As pressure increases, blood pools in the veins, increases and this causes them to swell thus stretching the surrounding tissue.

Haemorrhoids can be inside and/or outside the anus and they are not dangerous. Internal haemorrhoids may be located near the beginning of the anal canal or close to the anal opening. When it protrudes outside the anal opening, they are referred to as prolapsed haemorrhoids.

It is estimated that about one quarter of all Africans have had haemorrhoids at age 50 and that 50 to 85 per cent of the world population, could be affected at some time in their life.

Pile affect both sexes but the impact on males appear to be more of concern because of its effect on their sexual performance. This disease appears to be genetically inherited as some children suffer this ailment. Humans are prone to haemorrhoids because the erect posture of man puts a lot of pressure on the veins in the anal region.

According to recent studies, overeating and presence of unassimilated bulk foods are also known to cause haemorrhoids as well as intoxicating liquors, artificial flavoring or spices, white bread, cakes, all other white flour products, fried foods, sugar and all mineral drinks.

Results from the study as released on the researchers from the Olabisi Onabanjo university state:

“In all, the commonest species in the recipes are Senna alata, Gongronena latifolium, Axonopus compressus, Anogeiessus leiocarpus, Pteleiopsis suberosa, Tetrapleura tetraptera, Khaya spp and Allium spp. All the plants identified in this work have been used severally by the herbalists and adjudged to be efficacious.”

The researchers noted during the interviews that if internal haemorrhoids is not treated, it could lead to external haemorrhoids. This disease can be treated with both fresh and dry herbs.

They wrote: “Scientific studies on these plants too would yield interesting results and help us in understanding the pharmacological actions of the active compounds found in these plants as suggested by Ramana.

“As clearly stated by Pei traditional medical knowledge of medicinal plants and their uses by indigenous cultures are not only useful for conservation of cultural traditions and biodiversity but also for community healthcare and drug development in the present and future.

“From the opinions of the 25 respondents that were interviewed, 52 per cent suggested that herbal tea is the most effective option in treating haemorrhoids, 16 per cent said herb powder (Yoruba -Agunmu), eight per cent confirmed rubbing concoction while 12 per cent confirmed that herbal paste/lotion are more effective. Only eight per cent suggested herbal juice and the remaining eight per cent herbal gins.


New herbal tea to treat malaria in Africa

(News Medical)

Malaria is a critical health problem in West Africa, where traditional medicine is commonly used alongside modern healthcare practices. An herbal remedy derived from the roots of a weed, which was traditionally used to alleviate malarial symptoms, was combined with leaves and aerial portions from two other plants with antimalarial activity, formulated as a tea, and eventually licensed and sold as an antimalarial phytomedicine. The fascinating story and challenges behind the development of this plant-based treatment are presented in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine website until May 14, 2015.

Dr. Merlin Willcox (University of Oxford, U.K.), Dr. Zéphirin Dakuyo (Phytofla, Banfora, Burkina Faso), and coauthors discuss the antimalarial and pharmacological properties of the herbal medication derived from Cochlospermum planchonii (a shrubby weed known as N'Dribala), Phyllanthus amarus, and Cassia alata. The authors provide a unique historical perspective in describing the early evaluation, development, and production of this phytomedicine. They present the ongoing research and challenges in scaling up cultivation and harvesting of the plants and in production of the final product. The article also describes other traditional uses of the medication, such as to treat hepatitis.


It’s not too early for gardeners to dream of autumn blooms

By R. Stephanie Bruno

It hasn’t escaped my notice that with the rains this week came lower temperatures, and lower temperatures mean fall is just around the corner, right? Ha! If only that were true.

Nonetheless, the cooler weather turned my thoughts to fall. I have begun daydreaming about (instead of dreading) my garden again.

I imagine my roses will burst into bloom and put on a dandy show. I expect my hydrangeas will no longer wilt piteously every day, and instead will look healthy again. What else, I wondered, might I look forward to in the garden?

The answer is cassias.

According to horticulturist Allen Owings, of the LSU AgCenter, these are some of the most prolific fall bloomers in our region and come in several varieties that can be worked into almost any garden design as long as you like their golden yellow blossoms.

Owings reported that cassias were recently reclassified as sennas, though he expects the common name for them won’t change.

The most stunning of the group may be Cassia splendida, which can be easily trained into a small 10- to 13-foot-tall tree in our region. Every fall, beginning in September and continuing well into November, the trees are covered with clusters of golden pea-like blossoms borne on arching.

The plants require little in the way of care, as long as they are in full to partial sun. Only the coldest of winter temperatures will harm them and, once established, they can tolerate drought conditions well.

The blossoms of Cassia corymbosa looks very much like those of C. splendida, but it develops as a low-growing shrub rather than a specimen that can be trained into a tree. Blossoms attract bees and cassias are host plants for butterflies, including cloudless sulphur and orange-barred sulphur butterflies.

Cassia alata, or candlestick plant, is another Gulf Coast favorite. On these shrubs, stiff spikes of golden flowers are held high above the foliage, and reach straight up toward the sky. This cassia can grow 6 to 10 feet tall and is therefore most often used in the back of a border.

The candlestick cassia (or candelabra plant) is also the least cold-hardy of the group. In some places across the globe, C. alata is cultivated for medicinal uses because of the fungicidal property of its ground-up leaves. A less flattering name for the plant is ringworm shrub.

When considering what plants to mix in with cassias, consider those with blooms in the blue, purple and white ranges. The purple blooms of Tibouchina (also known as Glory Flower) and the plant’s fuzzy leaves contrast handsomely with the blooms and leaves of cassias.

Another plant, Duranta or Golden Dewdrops, puts out clusters of blue, purple or white blossoms on the end of arching stems. Its flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Durantas are especially interesting because their blooms are followed by small yellow fruit that is adored by deer and songbirds.

A third plant that will bloom summer through fall and complements cassias well is plumbago. Like Duranta, its blooms come in shades of blue or even white, making a great companion for whichever cassia appears in the garden.




How to Care for a Candle Bush Plant

By Amma Marfo (Demand Media)

The Candle Bush plant, also called the Candlestick plant or Senna alata, is a tropical perennial capable of reaching twelve feet high. The plants feature lush growth and yellow flowers resembling candles that bloom from late summer to fall. The Candle Bush plant is drought-tolerant and weather-tough, making it a suitable plant for inexperienced and expert gardeners alike. With origins in the tropical Americas, Africa, and Southeast Asia, the Candle Bush is an annual in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 7 to 9, but grows as a perennial in Zones 10 and higher.

1 Select a full-sun location for the Candle Bush plant where the soil is well-draining. Partial shade is tolerable, but not ideal. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost for annual growth and transplant once the plant reaches ten to twelve inches tall. Alternatively, purchase potted seedlings from a local nursery.

2 Water the plant weekly when rainfall isn’t sufficient, to supply at least a half-inch of water and keep the soil moist. If grown as a perennial, the mature Candle Bush plant will become more drought resistant as it becomes established.

3 Weed the area around your Candle Bush plant regularly to decrease water competition. Apply one to two inches of mulch to the area, if desired, to cut down on weeds and retain water.

4 Feed your plant once a month with a half-strength solution of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, to encourage it to reach its full height and produce lush blooms. As you apply fertilizer, remember to feed based on the current height of the plant, not the expected height.

5 Propagate by collecting seeds from the plant after flowering, once the pods have turned brown and dried. Let some seeds fall to the ground for annual growing if you want the plant to attempt to self-sow.

6 Allow Candle Bush plants grown as annuals to die back shortly after the first frost and clear away dead growth. Prune perennial plants after blooming or seed collection, trimming each branch back to half its length. Make each cut just after a bud or branch at a 45 degree angle.

Things You Will Need
• Mulch
• Fertilizer
• Hand pruners
Tip
• Candle Bush plants grow well with banana plants and hibiscus for a tropical display.
• Remove any volunteer “suckers” or self-sown seeds from around the base of your perennial plant each spring to prevent overcrowding.
Warning

Pesticides are not recommended for Candle Bush plants because they are known to attract butterflies and bees. A flush of hungry caterpillars around the plants will soon be decreased by birds.


Atis, Akapulko and Kapal-kapal, plants with potential anti-cancer compounds

(Philippines Council For Health Reasearch and Development)

“In the management of cancer, there is chemotherapy which uses natural products or drugs that kill cancer cells. And in our study, we are trying to discover possible chemotherapeutic properties derived from plant sources,” said Dr. Sonia D. Jacinto, Anticancer Natural Products Professor of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD).

The research conducted by the group of Dr. Jacinto entitled “Philippine Plants Showing Cytotoxic Activity to Selected Human Cancer Cell Lines” aims to isolate the compounds that are responsible for the cancer-killing action of the plant extracts to enable development of anti-cancer drugs.

“We grow a lot of cancer cells and place the plant extracts in it to observe if the cancer cells can grow. If they grow, then the study is unsuccessful. If it dies, it is a good sign that we can proceed to the next stage,” explained Dr. Jacinto.

Among the interesting findings obtained from their study was from the plant Annona Squamosa, more commonly known as “Atis.” According to Dr. Jacinto, Annona Squamosa is a close relative of Annona Muricata or “Guyabano” which is rich in Murihexocin C, compound active as anti-cancer agent.

Another plant which showed potential was Akapulko (Cassia Alata). Akapulko is a herbal medicine that is known to have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Dr. Jacinto’s group discovered that Akapulko also has cytotoxic activity against some cancer cell lines.

“We have isolated a mixture of polyunsaturated fatty acid esters. The isolate may have potential for development as cancer chemotherapeutic agents,” said Dr. Jacinto.

Dr. Jacinto’s group also discovered cytotoxicity or cell-killing properties from Calotropis Gigantea or “Kapal-kapal.” Results showed that the compounds were extremely toxic to the human cancer cell lines such as colon carcinoma, lung non-small cell adenocarcinoma and liver hepatocarcinoma.

Kapal-kapal is cultivated as an ornamental and medicinal plant in the Philippines. Based on Dr. Jacinto’s research, the leaves of the plant can be applied as a dry fomentation for abdominal pains. Ethanolic extract of Kapal-kapal roots has also shown significant inhibitory effects against chronic myelogenous leukemia and human gastric cancer cell lines.

According to Dr. Jacinto, there are still other plant species that can be studied further for their cancer-killing properties. Dr. Jacinto encouraged young researchers to conduct researches on medicinal plants to contribute in the treatment of cancer.

“This is the line of work that we do. You can perhaps do something like this. You can use this as a jump start of your researches,” said. Dr. Jacinto.


Now, herbal tea that fights malaria

(ANI)

Washington: A new study has revealed about the journey of the antimalarial tea from herbal remedy to licensed phytomedicine.

The herbal remedy derived from the roots of a weed, which was traditionally used to alleviate malarial symptoms, was combined with leaves and aerial portions from two other plants with antimalarial activity, formulated as a tea, and eventually licensed and sold as an antimalarial phytomedicine.

The authors have presented the fascinating story and challenges behind the development of this plant-based treatment.

Merlin Willcox (University of Oxford, U.K.), Zephirin Dakuyo (Phytofla, Banfora, Burkina Faso) and coauthors discuss the antimalarial and pharmacological properties of the herbal medication derived from Cochlospermum planchonii (a shrubby weed known as N'Dribala), Phyllanthus amarus, and Cassia alata.

The authors provide a unique historical perspective in describing the early evaluation, development, and production of this phytomedicine.

They present the ongoing research and challenges in scaling up cultivation and harvesting of the plants and in production of the final product.

The article also describes other traditional uses of the medication, such as to treat hepatitis.

The study appears in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.



Drugs for diabetes: Scientists test the power of plants

(Public Relations, University of Greenwich)

New drugs to treat diabetes are being developed by scientists at the University of Greenwich.

A group of researchers from the university’s School of Science, led by Dr Solomon Habtemariam, believe they have identified potential sources of medicines derived from plants which may have fewer adverse side-effects for diabetes sufferers.

The scientists are investigating the properties of two plants found in south-east Asia which they think could have properties that are not only anti-diabetic, but also lipid- or fat-lowering, and so can help tackle obesity.

Dr Habtemariam, a leading expert on drug discovery research from natural sources, says the work could prove a crucial breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes, which he describes a “growing global epidemic”.

“Diabetes is a huge burden to society in general. The search for treatments is making the NHS bankrupt, and this problem is likely to get worse in the next decade. There is no known drug of cure and so, all in all, it’s a huge incentive for us to carry out research in this field,” he says.

The disease, a result of chronically high levels of glucose in the blood, affects more than 300 million people in the world. It is split into two main classes: type I and type 2. The former normally affects children, while type 2, the most common type, is often diagnosed later in life and in some cases can be managed by diet, exercise and weight loss.

The researchers at Greenwich aim to isolate and identify certain extracts from the plants Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata, which could have ‘active ingredients’ for treating diabetes. They discovered that one of the compounds isolated from the plant, kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside, has proved to be more than eight times more potent than the standard anti-diabetic drug, acarbose.

The team also found the plants have anti-oxidant properties, which is beneficial when treating diabetes.

“Our other most interesting finding is that many of the active ingredients from the Cassia auriculata plant work through a process called ‘synergism’ – in other words, they work together to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects,” Dr Habtemariam says. “Overall, this suggests that the crude plant extract has lots of potential to be used clinically for treating diabetes and associated diseases.”

The research is ongoing and requires further study and validation, but Dr Habtemariam says the university’s School of Science is an ideal place to be conducting his work. “We have both the facilities and the expertise to carry out this research: to isolate chemicals of biological interest, and then to identify what they are. We are only at the drug discovery stage but moving to the clinical trial stage is a very definite goal.” Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata grow in a tropical climate. They are popular both as ornamental plants and for their medicinal uses.

Last year Dr Habtemariam led an international research project which revealed the potential of tansy, a flowering plant found in Europe and Asia, as a treatment for the sexually transmitted disease herpes.

The School of Science runs a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, offering world-class professors, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and excellent links to industry.

To find out more: www.gre.ac.uk/about/schools/science, email courseinfo@greenwich.ac.uk or call 020 8331 9000.


Plant extract could treat diabetes and obesity!

(The Health Site Admin)

British researchers believe that two plants from South East Asia may have anti-diabetic properties and could help tackle obesity as well.

A team of researchers at the University of Greenwich plans to investigate Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata whose extracts could yield active ingredients for a remedy to diabetes which exists in two forms – Type 1 and Type 2. The former normally affects children, while type 2, which is most common in adults, (often diagnosed later in life) can be managed by diet, exercise and weight loss to some extent.

A team of researchers at the University of Greenwich plans to investigate Cassia auriculata and Cassia alata whose extracts could yield active ingredients for a remedy to diabetes which exists in two forms – Type 1 and Type 2. The former normally affects children, while type 2, which is most common in adults, (often diagnosed later in life) can be managed by diet, exercise and weight loss to some extent.


Local herbs for fungal infections identified

By CHUKWUMA MUANYA

Nigerian researchers have identified local herbs that could be effectively used to treat fungal infections including thrush (Candida albicans), dermatitis, eczema and scabies. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes. Nigerian researchers have demonstrated how extracts of local plants could be effectively used to treat fungal and skin infections including thrush (Candida albicans), dermatitis, eczema and scabies.

Nigerian doctors have also identified local herb, which clears oral thrush faster and better than conventional drug.

Thrush is becoming one of the commonest infant diseases in the country, not sparing adults with compromised immunity due to certain diseases. It comes with white patches on the tongue and general skin diseases in infants (called nla in Yoruba and obu in Ibo) and in adults with white patches in genital areas. Thrush or candidiasis, caused by Candida albicans, is on the prowl.

But a local herb has been demonstrated by medical doctors to be more efficacious than a conventional antifungal drug, Nystatin, in the treatment of thrush. It has been shown that pathogenic fungi such as Candida albicans cause both superficial and serious systemic infections and are now widely recognized as im