Monday, August 24, 2009

Hyssop:'Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean.'

photo by marguerita
Hyssop is a name of Greek origin. The Hyssopos of Dioscorides was named from azob (a holy herb), because it was used for cleaning sacred places. It is alluded to in the Scriptures: 'Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean.'

---Cultivation---It is an evergreen, bushy herb, growing 1 to 2 feet high, with square stem, linear leaves and flowers in whorls, six- to fifteen-flowered. Is a native of Southern Europe not indigenous to Britain, though stated to be naturalized on the ruins of Beaulieu Abbey in the New Forest.

Hyssop is cultivated for the use of its flower-tops, which are steeped in water to make an infusion, which is sometimes employed as an expectorant. There are three varieties, known respectively by their blue, red and white flowers, which are in bloom from June to October, and are sometimes employed as edging plants. Grown with catmint, it makes a lovely border, backed with Lavender and Rosemary. As a kitchen herb, it is mostly used for broths and decoctions, occasionally for salad. For medicinal use the flower-tops should be cut in August.

It may be propagated by seeds, sown in April, or by dividing the plants in spring and autumn, or by cuttings, made in spring and inserted in a shady situation. Plants raised from seeds or cuttings, should, when large enough, be planted out about 1 foot apart each way, and kept watered till established. They succeed best in a warm aspect and in a light, rather dry soil. The plants require cutting in, occasionally, but do not need much further attention.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---Expectorant, diaphoretic, stimulant, pectoral, carminative. The healing virtues of the plant are due to a particular volatile oil, which is stimulative, carminative and sudorific. It admirably promotes expectoration, and in chronic catarrh its diaphoretic and stimulant properties combine to render it of especial value. It is usually given as a warm infusion, taken frequently and mixed with Horehound. Hyssop Tea is also a grateful drink, well adapted to improve the tone of a feeble stomach, being brewed with the green tops of the herb, which are sometimes boiled in soup to be given for asthma. In America, an infusion of the leaves is used externally for the relief of muscular rheumatism, and also for bruises and discoloured contusions, and the green herb, bruised and applied, will heal cuts promptly.

The infusion has an agreeable flavour and is used by herbalists in pulmonary diseases.

It was once much employed as a carminative in flatulence and hysterical complaints, but is now seldom employed.

A tea made with the fresh green tops, and drunk several times daily, is one of the oldfashioned country remedies for rheumatism that is still employed. Hyssop baths have also been recommended as part of the cure, but the quantity used would need to be considerable.


---Preparation---Fluid extract, 30 to 60 drops. The Hyssop of commerce (Hyssopus officinalis) occurs in Palestine, but is not conspicuous among the numerous Labiatae of the Syrian hillsides, which include thyme and marjoram, mint, rosemary and lavender. Tradition identifies the Hyssop of Scripture with the familiar herb, Marjoram (origanum), of which six species are found in the Holy Land. The common kind, so well known in cottage gardens (O. vulgare), grows only in the north, but an allied species (O. maru) abounds through the central hills, and a variety is common in the southern desert.

Dr. J. F. Royle disagrees, and identifies the Hyssop of the Bible with the Caper-plant (Capparis spinosa) which grows in the Jordan Valley, in Egypt, and the Desert, in the gorges of Lebanon, and in the Kedron Valley. It 'springs out of the walls' of the old Temple area. This view is supported by Canon Tristram and others. The Arabs call it azaf.

The leaves, stems and flowers of H. officinalis possess a highly aromatic odour and yield by distillation an essential oil of exceedingly fine odour, much appreciated by perfumers, its value being even greater than Oil of Lavender. It is also much employed in the manufacture of liqueurs, forming an important constituent in Chartreuse. Bees feed freely on the plant and the odour of the honey obtained from this source is remarkably good. The leaves are used locally as a medicinal tea. As a kitchen herb it has gone out of use because of its strong flavour, but on account of its aroma it was formerly employed as a strewing herb.

'Infuse a quarter of an ounce of dried hyssop flowers in a pint of boiling water for ten minutes; sweeten with honey, and take a wineglassful three times a day, for debility of the chest. It is also considered a powerful vermifuge.' (Old Cookery Book.)


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Dill Story- Shubit

Dill Folklore: To the Greeks the presence of dill was an indication of prosperity. In the 8th century, Charlemagne used it at banquets to relieve hiccups and in the Middle Ages it was used as a love potion and to keep witches away[4].

In Semitic languages it is known by the name of Shubit. The Talmud requires that tithes shall be paid on the seeds, leaves, and stem of dill. The Bible states that the Pharisees were in the habit of paying dill as tithe;[2]Jesus rebuked them for tithing dill but omitting justice, mercy and faithfulness[3]

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a short-lived perennial herb. It is the sole species of the genus Anethum, though classified by some botanists in a related genus as Peucedanum graveolens (L.) C.B.Clarke.

This afternoon,I walked from Chinatown to Union Square.There I found a stand in the Greenmarket that sold herbs and flowers.I noticed

the dill foliage and could not resist. I still have a little s[ace on my window sill,which already has five small clay pots  ,one with a jasmin,a mint,an eucaliptus and a lavender.My garden!!!

It grows to 40–60 cm (16–24 in), with slender stems and alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long. The ultimate leaf divisions are 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) broad, slightly broader than the similar leaves of fennel, which are threadlike, less than 1 mm (0.039 in) broad, but harder in texture. The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels 2–9 cm (0.79–3.5 in) diameter. The seeds are 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1 mm (0.039 in) thick, and straight to slightly curved with a longitudinally ridged surface.

Its seeds, dill seeds are used as a spice, and its fresh leaves, dill, and its dried leaves, dill weed, are used as herbs.



[edit]Origins and history

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The eucalyptus oil story

The eucalyptus oil story began in 1788 with the arrival of the First Fleet and Surgeon-General John White. Within a few weeks of arriving, White recorded in his diary the presence of olfactory oil in the eucalyptus; the genus being named eucalyptus by the French botanist L’Heritier in the same year. Governor Philip sent a sample to Sir Joseph Banks. Surgeon-General White distilled a quart of oil from the "Sydney Peppermint", Eucalyptus piperita Sm., which was found growing on the shores of Port Jackson, where Sydney now stands.When the oil was tested in England, it was reported to be "much more efficacious in removing all cholicky complaints than that of the oil obtained from the well known English peppermint, being less pungent and more aromatic". Following this discovery other people extracted eucalyptus oil, including the pioneer, Dr Officer in Tasmania, and the pastoralist Charles Armitage, but none of them exploited it.Baron Ferdinand von Meuller, the Government Botanist in Victoria, encouraged Joseph Bosisto, a Victorian pharmacist, to investigate the essential oils of the eucalyptus on a commercial basis. Joseph Bosisto was a Yorkshireman who had qualified as a Pharmacist in Leeds and London. He arrived in Adelaide in 1848 at the age of 21. In 1851 he moved to Victoria in search of gold, but instead opened a pharmacy in Richmond, where he built a laboratory to investigate the chemical and medicinal properties of Australian plants.As a result of the collaboration with von Meuller the essential oil industry of Australia began in 1852, when Bosisto commenced operations in a small, rudely constructed still at Dandenong Creek, Victoria, using the leaves of a form of E. radiata (then known as E. amygdalina) which grew profusely in the district. Bosisto soon built other distilleries at Emerald, Menzies Creek and Macclesfield.

Lala jagdish prasad & co.(INDIA)

Eucalyptus has a clear, sharp, fresh and very distinctive smell, is pale yellow in color and watery in viscosity.The Australian Blue-gum can sometimes reaches a height of 100 meters (300 feet), making it one of the highest trees in the world.

Saturday, January 31, 2009



Image of Sampaguita Flowers Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) is a sweetly scented tropical flower. Belonging to the wide genus of Jasmines (Jasminum), Sampaguita is the common name of the species Jasminum sambac. Sampaguita is also known as Philippine Jasmine, Arabian jasmine, Pikake in Hawaii, Grand Duke of Tuscany, Kampupot, and Melati .


The species Jasminum sambac is native to southern Asia, in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Sampaguita is serving as the National Flower of for two countries - Philippines and Indonesia.. The beautiful ornamental Sampaguita blooms cover the glossy green leafed bushed type ever bloomer. The Sampaguita is also well known in Asia for its use in teas and religious offerings, symbolizing divine hope.

Sampaguita grow on a woody vine or semi-climbing shrub, which reaches a height of 1,2 meters. The leaves are ovate or rounded in shape and 6 to 12 cm long. The leaves and Sampaguita flowers grow on short stalks. The Sampaguita flowers bloom either singly or as bundles of blossoms at the top of the branches. Blooming all through the year, Sampaguita are pure white, small, dainty, star-shaped blossoms. The flowers open at night and wilt in less than a day. The Sampaguita flower has about 8-10 calyx teeth that are very slender, and 5 to 8 mm long. The Sampaguita's corolla tube is slender and 1 to 1.5 cm long, the limb is usually double and 1.5 to 2 cm in diameter. The 2 stamens on the Sampaguita are included with a 2-celled ovary.

Sampaguita's distinct sweet, heady fragrance is its unique feature. The essential oil from the flowers is similar to jasmin (Jasminum grandiflores). Sampaguita flowers do not bear seeds, therefore the plant is cultivated by cuttings. Sampaguita was imported into the Philippines in the 17th century from Himalayan areas. The Sampaguita is a native part of the Philippine landscape for centuries. The plant is originally from India and is grown throughout India today. About eight cultivars are generally listed for Sampaguita.Some varieties of Sampaguitas can grow as large as small roses in India.

Varieties of Sampaguita

There are three varieties of Sampaguita, commonly referred to as Single Petal, Double and Double-Double. The double layered Sampaguita are called 'kampupot,' which are less fragrant. The three major varieties: 'Maid of Orleans', 'Belle of India' and 'Grand Duke' - differ from each other by the shape of leaves and flowers structure. The fourth popular variety Mysore Mulli, a variation of the 'Belle of India'.

  • Maid of Orleans: Single with five rounded petals
  • Belle of India:Semi-double or single (single and double flowers on the same plant) with elongated petals
  • Grand Duke of Tuscany: clusters of flowers (sometimes single flower). Only the central flower is truly double-rossete. Side flowers are semi-double, and like miniature roses

Facts About Sampaguita

  • Sampaguita is considered a symbol of fidelity, purity, devotion, strength and dedication.
  • In the Philippines, the Sampaguita is called by various names: sambac, sampagung, campopot, lumabi, kulatai, pongso, malur and manul.
  • The name Sampaguita is a Spanish term that comes from the Philippino words "sumpa kita," which mean 'I promise you.'
  • The Chinese emperor of the Sung dynasty had Sampaguita growing in his palace grounds to enjoy its heavenly fragrance.
  • Even the kings of Afghanistan, Nepal and Persia had Jasmine planted, in the 1400s.
  • Since ancient times, Jasmine has been cultivated for its essential oils.
  • Varieties of Jasmine, like J. grandiflorum, are especially used in perfumes.
  • Though, Sampaguita (unlike other Jasmine varieties) is not a key ingredient in top-price perfumes, its scent and makeup have given it important uses.
  • Sampaguita has been used for hair ornamentation in India, China and Philippines as well.
  • Malaysians scent the hair oil from coconut with Sampaguita scents.
  • Sampaguita is also used medicinally. Its perfume is believed to relieve a many ailments including headaches and promotes a feeling of well being.
  • Sampaguita roots were used to treat wounds and snake bites. The leaves and the flowers have antipyretic and decongestant properties
  • Sampaguita flower extract acts as a deodorant.

Growing Sampaguita

  • Sampaguita plant cuttings are easy to root. More plants means more blooms at one given time and the more fragrance!
  • Plant them in 3 gal pots. The plants are both full sun or shade tolerant.
  • Use a good potting soil (with lots of organic matter like peat moss and humus).
  • If the plant is exposed to certain conditions for a long time it gets used to them, and may get stressed after the conditions change significantly. However, gradual change should be fine.
  • The smaller the plant, the easier it gets adjusted to new conditions.
  • The potting mix must be well-drained. Never use top soil or garden soil for potting to avoid rotting in roots.
  • All Sampaguita plants need lots of light for blooming. Bright light along with regular fertilization will encourage blooming.
  • Move the plant into a larger pot every spring or when the plant overgrows the pot.

Sampaguita Plant Care

  • Fertilize the plants monthly with a balanced fertilizer from spring through fall.
  • The stems should be tied to supports and keep the soil evenly moist through the growing season.
  • Pruning of sampaguita should be taken up after flowering to keep the plants thinned and shaped.
  • Protect from frost in temperate regions.
  • As a tropical plant, the Sampaguita loves heat, it grows best when the soil around it stays moist but not soggy.
  • Do not over-fertilize or over water.
  • Bigger flowers need plenty of sun.
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