środa, 25 maja 2016

Sarcandra glabra - Jiu Jie Cha, Senryo

Polska wersja

              PLANT PROFILE

   Sarcandra glabra is a charming subshrub with barely visible flowers and pretty red berries. But being ornamental is the last thing on the list of this plant many virtues. The whole plant yields unique, very pleasant smell, when crushed, and its infusions are drunk as a beverage tea. And while many people drink it for the delight of its taste and aroma, many other consume it as a cure for wide range of sicknesses, including cancer. Sarcandra glabra is quite unknown elsewhere than in Southeast Asia, where it is cultivated in gardens, and grows wild in wide range from north of India to Japan and Indonesia. But it probably originate from Southeast China, where it is best known, and plays significant role in Traditional Chinese Medicine system. This herb has been used for centuries to fight many different types of cancer, and its anti-cancer effectivness is nowadays widely researched, well proved and documented by many laboratory tests results.
   Sarcandra glabra is described as a neutral in temperature, bitter and pungent, antiinflammatory and detoxifying, it enters orbis hepaticus and orbis cardialis chanels. It is used on its own, or in herbal formulas for gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, as well as for diseases related to liver weakness. It is traditionally used also to enhance mental efficiency, relieve headache and for recovery from fatigue and stress.
   In Japan Sarcandra twigs with its berries are used for New Year decorations in the same way as Holly twigs during Christmass in USA. Japanese called this plant Senryo, Sen-ryo translates as thousands of ryo (currency during Edo period), as it is believed to bring good luck and wealth. Sarcandra glabra as a herb-drug is called Kyu-setsu-cha in Japan.
   Sarcandra glabra as a herb is listed in Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China under names Jiu Jie Cha, Guan Yin Cha and Herba Sarcandrae. While as the plant itself, Sarcandra is called Cao Shan Hu. Its other names include : Zhon Jie Feng (China), Juk Jeol Cho (plant in Korea), Gu Jeol Da (herb as a drug in Korea), Karas Turan (Indonesia), Itsa, Apot, Gipah, Gipas, Gepas, Gapas, Gumak, Somang,Total (In different local languages of the Philippines), Soi Rung, Soi Lang (Vietnam).
  This plant has also generally out of use, synonyms - Chloranthus glaber, Chloranthus brachystachys, Chloranthus monander and Sarcandra chloranthoides.



        CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING

   Sarcandra glabra is a perrenial, spreading evergreen undershrub, that is reaching up to 1.5m in height and somestimes more in width. In nature it usually grows under trees, near streams or lakes, but it can be found both on swamps and dry sandy lands, from sea level to elevations around 2000m beyond. For best growth it should have moist, acid soil, rich in organic matter and partial shade. It have interesting from botanical point of view, shape of flovers, which because of its micro size, are no addiction to beauty of the garden. But a lot of charm has its tiny, bright red-orange fruits  (yellow-orenge fruit Sarcandra plants can be found too, but are rare), that are staying on branches for long time, making this plant being very ornamental. It is usually called as berries, while in fact it have a structure of a drupe. Sarcandra glabra is frost resistant to around -10*C, but can be cultivated as a houseplant in regions with colder winter. It is quite drought and heat resistant plant. Fresh leaves can be harvested at any time. For drying purposes Sarcandra is colected in summer or autumn, it is then dried in shade in order to preserve its essential oils.


               CULINARY USES

    Leaves of Sarcandra glabra can be used fresh (chopped) or dried to make a very nice, stimulant, bitter tea with unique, strong but gentle and relaxing aroma. This tea is very refreshing and invigorating both when served cold in hot summer day, and hot in cold moments. It is also added to flavour Black or Green Tea (both are from leaves of Camellia sinensis). Tiny fruits of Sarcandra are edible, and taste like non other fruits or berries. It is only around half centimeters in size, of whith half is soft, juicy flesh sticking around solitary seed aprox. 3 milimiters small. It is almost without taste, with just a slight note of spiciness, but its pleasant aroma is overwhelming. And when you bite through the thin shell of the seed (which is more crumble than Grape seed), you might feel a little drop of soothing oil on your tongue. Those fruits can be dried or roasted, and with a good luck you might find it in shops with chinese health food.


            AROMATHERAPY USES

   Even though this plant is rich in essential oil, that is giving it its special aroma, there is no extracted oil of Sarcandra glabra on market, nor information about its use in aromatherapy. I think it is a big shame, because the smell of this plant is very pleasant, a bit sweet, a bit pungent-spicy, relaxing and stimulating in the same time. It is hard to compare to other fragnances, it is truly unique scent. In my opinion, Sarcandra glabra essential oil has a huge potential in aromatherapy and perfumery, which is unused because of the high price of this plant raw material. Sarcandra's dried leaves, berries and whole plants are very desired for both making beverage tea and use as a medicinal herb. A big quantity of this herb required to extract its essential oil would cost a lot, and might be now even hard to get in volume needed for commercial scale production.
  Over 80% of essential oil of Sarcandra glabra consist on sesquiterpenoids (of which 3alfa-acetoxy-8,12-epoxyeudesma-4,7,11-triene is the most common, 51.7% of essential oil from leaf), it is also rich in sesquiterpene elemene (15.92%), and contain eremophilene, beta-ocimene-X, coriandryl acetate among others.  


         
              MEDICINAL USES

   Sarcandra glabra belong to those herbs, that despite of old traditions of use and significant role in modern medicinal herbalism in countries of Southeast Asia. Is still unknown in Euro-american Western Herbalism. In recent years there was quite many scientific studies conducted (most of it in China), testing the claims of traditional healers and old scripts, about anti-cancer and many other healing actions of Sarcandra glabra. A lot of bioactive chemical compounds have been identified in the tissuses of this volatile oil rich herb, including : coumarins (isofraxidin, sarcandracoumarin, biisofraxidin, esculetin, scopoletin), phenolic carboxylic acids (caffeic acid, caffeoylquinic acids, rosmarinic acid, isochlorogenic acids), fumaric acid, succinic acid, betulinic acid, sesquiterpene lactones, sesquiterpenes (atractylenolides, eudesmanolide, elemanolide, lindenana, germacranolide), chloranthalactone, flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol-glycosides, astilbin, dihydrochalcones, dihydroxy-flavanones), perhydronaphtofuran derivaties (istanbulin A), triterpene saponins (sarcandrosides), tannins, glycosiedes, lignans and polysaccharides.
   Medicinal actions of Sarcandra glabra are : antioxidant, immunoenhancing, anti-cancer, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hyperglycemic, wind-dispelling, pain-relieving, antipyretic, catagmatic (supporting regeneration of broken bones), it lowers bad cholesterol level, increase blood platelets count and improves blood circulation.
    In Traditional Chinese Medicine system, this herb is described as bitter and pungent in taste, to be of neutral temperature, to enter orbis hepaticus and orbis cardialis chanels, and work on large intestine meridian. Sarcandra is traditionaly used in China as a herbal tea or food suplement, to enhance mental efficiency, and for recoverment from fatigue and stress. Also to remove heat in the blood, activate blood circulation and remove ecchymoses, expel winds, remove obstruction from meridians and to detoxycate.
 
   All parts of this plant can be used fresh or dried (in shade) in form of decoctions and infusions. Sarcandra glabra is also aviable on market in form of fruit extract, leaf extract powder, tablets and even anticancer injectibles (2ml ampules of ethyl acetate extract of S. glabra - ethyl acetate extract has been proved to initiated apoptosis to kill leucemic cells).
  Sarcandra glabra is considered effective in treatment of cancer (leukemia, prostate, colon, stomach, liver, breast, lung, pancreas, esophageal and nasopharynx), encephalitis, pneumonia (also in children and lobar pneumonia), respiratory syncytial virus, lipopolisaccharide-induced acute lung injury, cough, pharyngolaryngitis, flu, fever, appendicitis, cholecystitis, gastritis, enteritis, dysentery (shigellosis, bacillary dysentery), diarrhea, nausea, diabetes, immunity related diseases, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and to prevent and treat thrombocytopenia coused by chemotherapy, psoriasis, leukoderma vitiligo, tinea versicolor, veneral diseases, genital herpes virus and HPV infections, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, arthralgia, traumatic injury, bleeding disorders, post-operative infections and for treating symptoms of radiation therapy. Sarcandra decoctions and infusions are also drunk to stop spasms, headache, lumbago and internal pain, and as a invigorating health tonic.                 Sarcandra plant powder is mixed with spirits to make paste for topical use, decoctions are also used for wash, and pounded fresh leaves as a poultice. Its external applications include injuries from falls and bone fractures, joints swelling, wounds, bruises, burns, boils, cellulitis, abscesses, skin inflammations and fungal infections. For boils and scalds powdered leaves mixed with oil 1/1, are rubbed. For rheumatism pounded fresh leaves are heated, with a bit of wine added and applied as poultice.
   In Meghalaya region of India, leaves of Sarcandra glabra are used in combination with leaves of Zanthoxylum acanthopodium, rhizome of Pteridium aquilinum and leaves of Polygonum allatum for fomentation for paralytic patients, people suffering leprosy and also for various kinds of skin diseases. Ground leaves of S. glabra mixed with Ginger are applied on wounds where there is pus. Sarcandra root extract is taken orally for irregular menstrual bleeding.
   I haven't found any information about use of Sarcandra glabra against Dengue fever virus. And since this infection, common in the Philippines, can be serious and life threating, I wouldn't encourage anyone to experiment on themselves. But I would like to put some interest in this possible use of this herb in consideration for medical researchers. The reasons why I suspect Sarcandra to be effective against Dengue are its antifever and antivirus activity, combined with its actions of increasing blood platelets count, improving circulation, protecting liver, stoping diarrhorea and nausea, relieving headache and body pains. Plus the fact that unlike many other antifever herbs, it is not recorded to be diuretic or diaphoretic, which might prevent patients from dehydration - common problem during Dengue recovery. On the other hand its action of improving circulation might be helpful for those suffering from water retention, which is also often coused by this disease.
  In Chinese Medicine, Sarcandra is considered to be not safe for pregnant women and people with excess fire from yin deficiency.































        Sources

'' Common Medicinal Plants of the Cordillera Region (Northern Luzon, Philippines) '' - Leonardo L. Co, CHESTCORE Baguio City 2011
'' International Coalition of Traditional and Folk Medicine - Northeast Asia part I '' - Takeatsu Kimura, Paul P. H. But, Ji-Xian Guo, Chung Ki Sung, World Scientific 1996
'' Chromatografic Finerprint Analysis of Herbal Medicines, Volume III '' - Hildebert Wagner, Rudolf Bauer, Dieter Melchart, Pei-Gen Xiao, Anton Staudiner, Springer 2014
'' The Healing Power of Chinese Herbs and Medicinal Recipes '' - Ethan B. Russo, Joseph Hou, Routledge 2012
'' Herb-drug Interactions in Oncology '' - Barrie R. Cassileth, K. Simmon Yeung, Jyothirmai Gubili, PMPH-USA 2010
'' Medicinal Plants of the Asia-Pacific: Drugs for the Future '' - Christophe Wiart, World Scientific 2006
'' Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs '' - Michael A. Dirr, Timber Press 2016

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poniedziałek, 2 maja 2016

Hibiscus acetosella - Cranberry Hibiscus

Polska wersja

          PLANT PROFILE

   Hibiscus acetosella is charming everred-nevergreen shrub, that originate from Central Africa and was brought to many tropical and non-tropical countries (There is also a green leaf variety with yellow flowers, but it is not of mine concern here.). It is perennial plant, but in places where there is too cold or extremly dry season, it appeares as a annual. When I first saw it, in northern Philippines, I've thought at first, that it is just one of those cool, fancy ornamental shrubs, like many other plants with red leaves. Few of those shrubs was growing bit chaoticly, neglected near someones fence. So I didn't knew if it planted there, had spreded unintendently by seeds from nearby cultivation, or like many other interesting, beautifull flowers in the Plilippines - just growing wild. Never before though I have seen any Hibiscus with red leaves, so it brought my attention. I really liked its look, and hoped that like many other hibiscuses, it might be somehow useful in other way than just ornamental. I've picked two of dozens little seedlings growing scattered all over the place. Some time after, I've identified this plant as a Cranberry Hibiscus.
   I was nicely supprised, to found out that its leaves are edible, and delighted with its kinda cranberry-sorrel like, mix of taste (i is also slightly mucilaginous). It is even a popular vegetable in Brasil, Cameroon and DR Congo, just like closely related Hibiscus sabdariffa is in India. It is nearly over the year now, and I can't stop wonder why until this day I haven't seen Hibiscus acetosella anywhere else, ever. It is one of those plants that just deserves to be the most famous, worldwide. It is beautifully dark red to maroon all year long, which wonderfully contrast whith the green of other plants, and it has pretty flowers too. And you might dissagre, but for me it is so delicious. Highly usefull and highly ornamental all the time - perfect combination.
   There are just but scarce informations about medicinal uses of Hibiscus acetosella. I think that it have more health benefits then just those recorded, but it is just that no one have ever properly focused on it. After all its leaves are full of anthocyanins - one of the best antioxidants. One of the reasons for the poor knowledge about medicinal effects of consuming this plant, might be its relatively short history. It is said to be born not so long ago, as an effect of hybridization (natural cross-polination not GMO) between probably Hibiscus asper and Hibiscus surattensis, and was first described in year 1896.    
   Here are some of its common names from different regions : False Roselle, Red-leaved Hibiscus, African Rosemallow, Maroon Mallow, Red Shield Hibiscus (English), Fausse oseille de Guinee (French), Azedas (Portuguese), Thelele Yeni-Yeni (Thelele is shared name for mucilaginous vegetables) in Chewa language, Limanda, Lumanda (Malawi), Musaayi (Uganda), Use-ua-ngojo (Angola), Kangao, Tongao (Congo), Akese (Nigeria), Kololwe, Lumaka (Tanzania).



          CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING

   Hibiscus acetosella is a perennial, but short-lived shrub, that appear as a annual plant, in some regions where very cold or extremly dry seasons are killing it every year. It has attractive deep red leaves, that are turning more dark and maroon with age. That makes it great addiction to the tropical landscape, giving some redness all year round. But it requires full sun expousure to stay bright, otherwise its leaves will turn more greeny or browny. It's flowers appear in summer time, and it is reddish-pink, quite brighter than the leaves.There is also a variety with green leaves and yellow flowers, but becouse of its small atractivness, it is not so popular. The leaves on young plants are egg shape, and just slightly lobbed on margins, but when the flower buds are starting to grow, the new leaves are comming in the maple like shape. Cranberry Hibiscus can reach up to 2m of height, with its loose, bendy stems, but you can keep it short and compact regular prunning. Thanks to its flexible nature it is storm resistant bush. It is often grown as a ornamental hedge. It is also cultivated as a vegetable on commercial scale, on low and medium altitudes.
   It like moisture, but need good drainage. Grows best in half shade, but like full sun as well and don't tolerate strong shade. Hibiscus acetosella can grow on any type of soil, but for the best growth it need good amount of compost. It can withstand short term drought and strong heat, but temperatures around -10'C are deadly for it. If you have it in your temperate climate garden and it get freezed, give it some time in the spring, as there might be a chance that it will grow back from its roots. Even though I lack the experience and have no informations about growing H. acetosella as in a pots as houseplant. I do belive that it will grow indoors just as well as many other species of Hibiscus does. The plant can be propagated easily from seeds, or from cuttings. On commercial scale Hibiscus acetosella is ussually sown in rows, from witch after it reaches about 25cm, some plants are harvested whole, uprooted. That gives more space to remained plants, from wich later on, only tops of stems are picked. Its high resistance to root-knot nematodes makes it an excellent crop in place after tomatoes and other solanaceous vegetables that are affected by nematodes.
   In tropical regions Cranberry Hibiscus can be generally harvested all year round. For commercial purpose whole stems tops are harvested, which is easier and keep it fresh for longer. But for homeuse it is better to pick leaves and only its very tips that are truly soft. Flowers are also edible and are best to pick when freshly open.


          CULINARY USES

   Young leaves and shoots of Cranberry Hibiscus, are delicate, crispy, mucilaginous and sour like combination of Cranberries and Sorrel. It can be eaten raw, and it make great addiction to salads or sandwithes, you can also add it to your smoothies. When it comes to cooking, you can use it as a Sorrel substitute for soups, stews, stir-fries or steam it like spinach. What many people like about it, is that it is not losing its nice red colour after cooking. Flowers can be used in the same way, they are more mucilaginous, crunchy, but quickly wilt and became floppy, and it won't give you this pleasant sourness of leaves, but a bit more sweetness. In South Africa young leaves of Hibiscus acetosella are added to pies similar to rhubarb pie, and young, soft calyxes are turned into jam, but I think that flowers are much better for jams and marmalades. Older, tough leaves and calyxes can be used fresh (chopped or crashed), or dried (and crushed), to make a nice herbal tea, that taste quite sour and fruity (like Roselle Tea - made from calyxes of closely related Hibiscus sabdariffa also known as Red Sorrel). If you are looking for interesting, original recipes for this veggie, I advice you to search for Indian recipes with Hibiscus sabdariffa leaves and use H. acetosella as a substitute. Like in this Hibiscus chutney recipe .
   Every 100g of leaves of Hibiscus acetosella is providing 42 Kcal, contain 2,88g of protein, 1,45g of dietary fibre, 0,46g of fat, 7,49g carbohydrates, 67mg of vitamin C and 3409µg of beta-carotene. Because of its oxalic acid content its leaves should not be consumed raw in excess, and avoided by persons suffering from urinary stones. Boiling and steaming significantly reduce oxalic acid content in vegetables.


          MEDICINAL USES

   Hibiscus acetosella is very poorly researched herb, but its health benefits have been observed in countries of central Africa, and it is now utilized in traditional medicine of many African countries and Brasil. In folk medicine leaves and seeds are used to allievate fever, headache, rheumatism, inflammations, conjuctivitis, hemorhoids, tumors, to treat ringworms, sores and abscesses. The leaves, flowers and calyxes are used in heart and nerve conditions, as diuretic, sedative, anti-scorbutic, intestinal antiseptic and to stimulate lactation in breastfeeding women. It contains anthocyanins, polyphenols, rutin, hyperoside, vitamin C, beta-carotene, rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and oxalic acid.
   Cranberry Hibiscus leaves decoctions are drunk for anemia, and as a blood purifying tonic in Uganda. In Angola infusions made from leaves are used as post-fever tonic, and as a medicine to treat anemia. In Nigeria it is called Akese and its leaves are used for desyntery, control of menstrual disorders and afterbirth problems. Decoction of Hibiscus acetosella in combination with Dioclea saramentosa and Sesamum indicum is drunk during painful menstruation. In DR Congo, Cranberry Hibiscus consumption as a vegetable is prescribed by health care workers to diabetics. In East Africa children with aching body are washed in cold water to which pounded leaves of H. acetosella have been added.
   Studies on mice have showned antimutagenic, DNA reperative effect, of small doses of Hibiscus acetosella, but indicated its possible hepatotoxity at high doses. Because of its oxalic acid content Cranberry Hibiscus leaves should not be consumed raw in excess, and avoided by persons suffering from urinary stones. Boiling and steaming significantly reduce oxalic acid content.























    You are what you eat - they say. I never seen such a red caterpillar so I guess its color is caused by its hibiscus diet.







     Sources

'' Vegetables '' - G. J. H. Grubben, PROTA 2004
'' Outlines and Pictures of Medicinal Plants from Nigeria '' - Tolu Odugbemi, Tolu Odugbemi 2008
'' Chewa Medicinal Botany : A Study of Herbalism in Southern Malawi '' - Brian Morris, LIT Verlag Munster 1996
'' CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants '' - Umberto Quattrocchi, CRC Press 2012

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