Common names: grains of paradise, melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, Guinea pepper Family: Zingiberaceae, which includes ginger, turmeric, and cardamom Herbaceous perennial shrub, grows in West African coastal swamps
Flowers are purple, trumpet-shaped, which develop into 5 – 7 cm pods with many reddish-brown seeds From the plant, the seeds are utilized, which have a pungent odor with a pepper-like heat (must be ground before consumption)
Carophyllene – a bicyclic sesquiterpene Responsible for the spiciness of the seed Pungent peppery taste caused by aromatic ketones
Commonly used in North and West African cuisine, where it was imported via caravan routes throughout the Sahara desert and ended at Sicily and Italy In West African folk medicine, it was valued for its warming and digestive properties Nigeria: Efik people used it for divination and ordeals determining guilt Caribbean Islands: used as medicine and for religious (voodoo) rites
Important spice in 14 th and 15 th century Europe, when the route to India had not been discovered yet and spices were scarce Was a common substitute for black pepper During the Renaissance, after black pepper outran grains of paradise as the favorite kitchen spice, it was used as sausage and beer flavoring The Ménagier de Paris used it to treat wine that “smelled stale”
Largely unknown outside of North and West Africa Used as flavoring for beers (like Samuel Adams Summer Ale), gins, and Norwegian aquavit Used by people on raw-food diets, because it is less irritating to the stomach than black pepper
On the cooking show Good Eats, Alton Brown is a fan of its use, and used it in an apple pie on an episode!
"AFRAMOMUM MELEGUETA - ALLIGATOR PEPPER." Tropilab Inc. exporter and wholesaler of medicinal plants and products, herbs, seeds and cut flowers.. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2010.. "Aframomum melegueta - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2010.. "Aframomum melegueta | Medicinal Plants." Bitterroot Restoration | Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2010.. "Caryophyllene - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2010.. Katzer, Gernot. " Spice Pages: Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta, Guinea pepper, Malaguetta pepper)." Karl-Franzens-Universitaet Graz. N.p., 25 Apr. 1998. Web. 21 Nov. 2010.. "Zingiberaceae - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2010..
General Information Common Names: African Olive, Wild Olive, Brown Olive, Iron Tree, Kau Family: Oleaceae African olive is a perennial shrub or a small to medium sized tree. Average Height: 5-10 meters (Can also grow up to 18 meters) Description. The bark is grayish brown, the leaves are narrow in shape and are green to shiny dark green, the flowers can be creamy white to light purple with a sweet scent, and the fruits are dark brown to black when they are mature. Origin: Southern Africa occurring in a variety of habitats, usually near water, on stream banks, in riverine fringes, but also in open woodland, among rocks and in mountain ravines. It is highly tolerant to wind, frost, and drought. Found widely in the African countries of Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
Active Compounds Some active compounds found in African Olive are flavonoids, saponins, loperamide, and triterpene steroids. The main active compound found in the olive leaf is Oleuropein.
Traditional Uses East Africa: the trunk bark is pounded and soaked overnight and is taken orally for tapeworm infestation. Kenya: the stems and twigs are used as a chewing stick for a mouth cleanser. The Wandorobo and Kipsigis of Kenya use a root or bark decoction as a remedy for malaria. Early settlers of South Africa used the fruit to help fight diarrhea. Herbal tea can be made from leaves and ink can be made from the juice of the olive fruit.
Current Uses Food: Olive oil is used with various foods and cooking purposes and the olive fruit is eaten for nutritional value. The oleuropein compound is the compound which accounts for antimicrobial properties as well as anti-oxidative properties. Also can be taken orally to treat soar throat, kidney problems, and hypertension. Dried leaf extracts also currently used to help increase hepatic activity.
References http://www.weblio.jp/img/dict/skbzk/plants- aa/oleafr_2.jpg http://www.sciencedirect.com/ http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/sea/Products/AF Dbases/af/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=1232#Identity http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/oleaeurop.htm http://www.envirolea.com/images/OleuropeinMolecule.jp g Medicinal plants of the world: chemical constituents, traditional and modern plants: By Ivan A. Ross http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb2/AFTPDFS/Olea_ europaea_ssp._africana.pdf http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1211/jpp.62.03.0012/ full
Taxonomy Aloe barbadensis, also known as Aloe vera is part of the Liliaceae plant family. Aloe is native to East and South Africa and is grown in most subtropical and tropical locations, including Latin America and the Caribbean. Common names - miracle plant, burn plant, first-aid-plant, lily of the desert, plant of immortality etc. Aloe Vera also known as the true or medicinal aloe. There are over 500 species of Aloe, which are frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine.
General Information Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed plant growing to 24–39 in. tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green and the margin of the leaf has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 35 in tall, each flower pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long.
Medicinal uses Aloe Vera has been in use for almost 4000 years and the earliest record of the medicinal uses of Aloe Vera was found in a Sumerian tablet dating 2100 BC. Aloe Vera has been widely used by the ancient Indians, Chinese, Greeks, Romans and the Egyptian. The benefits of Aloe Vera have been found in many ancient records. One of medicinal uses of Aloe Vera is laxative. It has been scientifically found that the inner lining of its leaves have aloin, which is one of the ingredients used in the laxatives. It is available in capsule form. The fresh juice of Aloe Vera is used to cure and heal rashes, foot sores and fungus attack of various types.
Medicinal Uses Aloe Vera is used in hair loss treatment. The enzyme content of Aloe Vera prevents hair loss by protecting the scalp against any diseases. Aloe Vera also helps in the reduction of dandruff. You can mix the juice of Aloe Vera with coconut milk and wheat germ oil and massage your scalp before shampooing your hair. It helps in hair re-growth. Aloe Vera gel we can use for general skin care. Use the gel alone or along with skin cream to help better soften and moisturize the skin. Because aloe regenerates skin cells it is also known to reduce wrinkles, eczema, acne, sun/age spots. is also gentle enough to use to care for the tender skin after radiation therapy
Major side effects of using Aloe Vera: Some times internal use of Aloe vera latex may turn urine red, can cause abdominal pain Using aloe vera for more than one year may result in higher risk of colorectal cancer. Another side effect is the lowering of blood sugar levels Overdose can cause blood build-up in the pelvis, kidney damage, and in some cases may lead death.
Constituents There are over 100 active biologic constituents found within aloe. The plant is a rich source of many natural health- promoting substances including: Vitamins/Minerals - Vitamin C, A, E, B vitamins, B-carotene, Zinc, Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, and Phosphorous. Enzymes - At least five different enzymes have been identified and likely more are contained within. Amino Acids - Twenty-two amino acids are found within aloe. Plant sterols - These plant based compounds are potent anti- inflammatory agents.
REFERENCES 1.Aloe Vera - A scientific approach: David,Rober. Vantage Press Inc, 1997. 2.. Bruce W. Investigations of the antibacterial activity in the aloe. S Afr Med J 1967;41:984. 3.. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al, eds. The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 80–81
Description Commiphora myrrha is a sturdy, spiny shrub or small tree, usually with a distinct short trunk up to 4 m tall. It is one of the primary trees used in the production of myrrh, a resin made from dried tree sap. Part Used: The oleo-gum-resin from the stem. The oleo-gum resin exudes from fissures or incisions in the bark as a pale yellow liquid, which dries into reddish-brown irregular masses or clumps of the size of a walnut.
Taxonomy Common names – Myrrh – Myrrh tree – African myrrh – Somali myrrh Family – Burseraceae: includes trees and shrubs
Distribution Africa – Northeast Tropical Africa: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, – East Tropical Africa: Kenya Asia-Temperate – Arabian peninsula: Oman, Yemen
Habitat of Growth Dry regions in open bushlands or thickets Grows best in thin soil (i.e. slopes & valleys), primarily in areas w/ limestone Grows at an altitude of about 250-1300m, w/ a yearly mean rainfall of about 230-300mm
Chemical Composition Myrrh is composed of: – gum, about 50% – resin (including commiphoric acids), up to 40% – volatile oil (containing heerabolene, limonene, dipentene, pinene, eugenol, cinamal-dehyde, cuminaldehyde, etc), about 8%
Traditional Uses Myrrh is a constituent of perfumes and incense, and was highly prized in ancient times. It is referred in the Bible as an ingredient in the holy oil of the Jews. Myrrh was used as a wine preservative in the ancient world. It was used by Egyptians in embalming mixtures. It was also used as an aromatic for perfumes, funerals, and insect repellents. Ancient Greek and Roman physicians used it to treat wounds, and prescribed it internally as a digestive aid and menstruation promoter. It was also used as a remedy for numerous infections, including leprosy and syphilis. Myrrh was an important trade item in ancient times.
Cultural Uses Myrrh is most commonly used in Chinese medicine for rheumatic, arthritic and circulatory problems. Myrrh is used more frequently in Ayurveda, Unani medicine and Western herbalism, which ascribe to it tonic and rejuvenative properties. Myrrh (Daindhava) is used in many rasayana formulas in Ayurveda, formulas which are non- toxic tonics which will strengthen anyone regardless of constitutional type.
Common Current Uses In western pharmacy this herb is a powerful antiseptic and is a strong cleaning and healing agent, soothing the body and speeding the healing process – Cleansing purifying agent since ancient times It is most often used in mouthwashes, gargles and tooth pastes for fighting and preventing gum disease – Infections of the mouth (mouth ulcers, gingivitis) Myrrh is currently used in some lotions, healing salves that may be applied to abrasions and other minor skin ailments (i.e. skin ulcers, bed sores, athlete’s foot for fungal infections) Other uses: cosmetics, incense, perfumes
Legend of myrrh A legendary account of the origin of myrrh is found in a Syrian myth, which was later adopted by the Greeks. According to this legend, Myrrha, the daughter of the King of Syria, Thesis, refused to worship Aphrodite and was cruelly punished by the goddess, who caused her to commit incest with her father. With the help of her nurse, Myrrha disguised herself and deceived her father for eleven nights, but on the twelfth night Thesis realized who she was. Furious at her, he threatened to kill Myrrha and began chasing her with a knife. To save her, the gods transformed her into a myrrh tree. The clear gum resin exuded by the tree is said to represent Myrrha's tears.