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Insect Repelant

In: Science

Submitted By albertjeez
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Natural Insect Repellents | | | Maintain a healthy lifestyle with ALVEO

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Around the world millions of people spend a lot of money on buying insect repellents for domestic use. This is a very important investment for families as insects and various arthropod pests spread dangerous diseases, killing or sickening millions of people each year. In fact, the health of a family may sometimes depend even on the choice of insect repellent being used at home. Insects and other disease spreading pests can threaten the health and lives of families and individuals in a community, many lethal diseases such as Lyme disease, bubonic plague, dengue fever and malaria, for example, are spread by biting or stinging pests. The pests include all insects, example, the mosquito is responsible for spreading malaria, as well as ticks which spread Lyme disease. The citizens of first world countries typically tend to become infected through the bite or sting of insects and bugs while they are abroad. Indeed, travelers to exotic locales are often affected by nasty diseases transmitted by insects or bugs and bring such disease home with them. The greatest dangers lurk closer home and one need not travel across the world to face tiny pests. Many local insects and bugs in North America can cause serious diseases. Therefore, protecting the entire family through the prudent use of good quality insect and bug repellents is a necessity.
Insects and bugs as vectors
Each year, millions of people die from diseases transmitted by insects and other pests acting as vectors - an organism that acts as a host or carrier of some minute pathogenic organism that it transfers or transmits to a human host. In the case of malaria, for example, the mosquito is a vector, while malaria is actually caused by the protozoan parasite plasmodium. The human being is the final host. Not all diseases passed on by biting or stinging pest results in deaths, however, the issue is a serious one and protection from stinging or biting insects and bugs has been a major human concern down the centuries.
The most familiar insect pest is the mosquito. These flying insects acting as major vectors have been responsible for much of the lethal diseases that are felt worldwide and are regarded as a global health problem. The most dangerous mosquito borne disease is no doubt, malaria, which annually claims up to five million people across the world. Insects like mosquitoes have killed millions of people down the ages by acting as vectors to transmit dangerous pathogens including those that cause dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, filariasis and many others. The mosquito transmitted West Nile Virus is one example of a mosquito borne disease which infects mainly birds but has successfully infected humans as well. This disease is now a major threat in North America, for example, according to the data released by the center for disease control, in the last five years; this mosquito borne virus has claimed one thousand lives in the US and Canada. Therefore, biting or stinging bugs and insects are serious causes of major diseases and protection from them is an important issue.
Chemical repellents
The most common insect or bug repellents have synthetic chemical compounds that affect the response of the biting or stinging, insects or bugs. Different compounds may affect various physiological parameters in the body of the pest - the result is that the pest is stopped from biting or stinging the person and this ensures that the possibility of transmission of disease carried by the pest does not occur. However, in recent years, it has been suggested that some of these chemical agents may themselves be unsafe for human use. Indeed, the most common bug sprays and the many brands of insect repellents used in so many homes may even be toxic and capable of producing health problems in people.
Across the world, millions of people use chemical repellents to deal with insects and other pests. In North America it is estimated that about twelve million Canadians make use of some type of insect repellents annually, much more so in the US. Most mosquito repellents used in North America contain the chemical DEET as the principal compound - DEET is the shortened name of the chemical compound, N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. The principal compound is the active ingredient responsible for repelling the insects. In some places, DEET based products are sold at a hundred percent concentration. Caution is required, however, as DEET has been linked to health problems in humans according to clinical reports.
Chemical repellents and risks
Individuals have different tolerances to chemicals in the environment. As far as insect repellents are concerned, children are the most susceptible group. The developing brains of children in general and young children in particular are susceptible to changes in brain chemistry as a result of exposure to chemicals - this is due to the fact that the skin of children tends to absorbs more chemicals. Needless to say, this can severely affect the development of the nervous system and result in impaired growth. Even adults are not immune to constant exposure to chemicals such as DEET and the other complex compounds used in so many insecticides on the market. The results of a clinical study carried out at the Duke University Medical Center showed that the chemical DEET induces brain cell death and causes strong observable behavioral changes in tested rats, especially after the animals were exposed frequently for prolonged periods of time to the chemical. These results have come from studies on rats and some have suggested that the same may not occur with humans. However, in the light of these findings, the general public must be made aware of the potential dangers. The public must also be aware of the types of research carried out on pesticides and their potential dangers for human beings.
Constant exposure to such chemicals can bring on loss of memory, persistent headaches, generalized physical weakness, constant fatigue, as well as pain in the muscles and the joints. People typically develop tremors and shortness of breath when overexposed to strong chemicals in insecticides. In general, physically obvious symptoms such as these are never immediately evident in an affected person, most manifesting themselves months or years after the initial exposure to the substance. This long hibernation period of the symptoms is what makes the cause and effect relationship between the chemical agent and the symptoms unclear and difficult to confirm. Some scientific studies have proven that the popular insecticide compound DEET does indeed induce symptoms in a person, especially when it is used in conjunction with other chemical compounds. The results of a clinical study from the University of Manitoba warns against using any of the many marketed DEET containing mosquito repellents in conjunction with sun block - apparently, the chemicals used in sun block can aggravate the negative effects of the insecticide. In this clinical study, it was discovered that the human skin absorbed more DEET, when a 2.5 percent solution of insect-repelling DEET was mixed with the compound oxybenzone - which is the most common sun blocking compound used in commercial sun block creams. When the chemical compounds were used in combination, the absorption of DEET into the skin spiked sharply from about 9.6 percent to 30.2 percent, during the tests. This is a very significant finding and serves as a warning again about the dangerous chemicals that are in common use around the world.
Protection for the family
Since there are so many potential threats from bugs and flying insects, it is a good idea to take the greatest precaution against the risk of infection. However, these risks from disease bearing bugs and insects are compounded by the fact that many of the insecticides used these days, contain extremely dangerous chemicals that have their own particular effects on humans. Clearly, choosing good quality insect repellents that are not harmful to humans should be a top priority for everyone who uses these synthetic products. Choosing a chemical insect repellent for a family, that is also safe for use on small children as well as on adults may be hard as the choices are rather limited. The best option may be go in for herbal insect repellents.
Natural plant based repellents
The ideal way to completely avoid all chemicals used in insecticides is by using natural plant based insect repellents. This can be easily done as many of the essential oils found in various plants can provide sufficient, natural and utterly safe protection from most biting or stinging pests in the house. Many health conscious customers have been choosing to use only such natural plant oils as repellents; indeed, these natural insecticide plant oils have gained tremendous popularity with the majority of health conscious consumers in North America.
Plants and insects: benefits for humans
Plants and animals have evolved over time, through the process of natural selection. Most plants have developed effective weapons against animal predators in what is known as the evolutionary arms race. Therefore, most of the insect repelling essential oils found in plants are quite possibly the way that plants' protect themselves against insect predators. The essential oils found in many species of plants are used as natural insect repellents. However, the most common plants used as a source for oils include the lemongrass, the neem, citronella, cedarwood, the pennyroyal, the peppermint and the eucalyptus. At the same time, it is important to remember that the different plant based essential oil insect repellents tend to have variable efficiency. It is of vital importance to choose the proper insect repellent for the job, as all such natural repellents may not be equally effective - different species of insects may also be affected in different ways by the same natural repellent used. The effectiveness of different natural plant based repellents has been studied, and the research results show that some of the natural essential oil repellents are clearly more effective than others, with some being effective over certain insect pests, while others being ineffective over the same pests. Some research on the part of the conscious consumer is required in order to find an effective natural repellent, this can be a difficult task as there are so many alternative natural insect repellents in the market. The best thing to do is to check up a little on the contents of such natural repellents before buying them. A little investigation may also help; results of clinical studies through independent testing carried out by researchers at universities could yield good pointers about the best natural pest repellents. The efficiency of many natural insect repellents, for example, was confirmed through field studies conducted at the University of Guelph, Canada. In these studies, the researchers discovered that many of the natural plant based repellents were just as effective as synthesized DEET containing products sold in the market. During one particular research, it was discovered that a particular plant based natural repellent which used citronella oils along with four other essential oils were equally effective as the popular Off! Skintastic, which is a top selling DEET based synthetic repellent marketed by a major brand in North America. The principal point is that all plant based insect repellents are very safe for humans and effective as well; in addition, they are environmentally friendly. When using any product sold in the market, common sense is always the best guide for the conscientious consumer. When applying repellents on the body, one should not rub on sensitive areas of the skin or on places near the eyes; the plant oil based repellents must also be rubbed on the skin as often as necessary, to gain complete protection and to maintain effectiveness.
Comments
From Graceza Faith - Mar-20-2011
It really, really works when you add the 4 kinds of ingredients in making the natural insects repellents: cacao leaves, crushed garlic, eucalyptus and pure olive oil.
From Mary
I used Vodka, eucalyptus oil, and olive oil for my repellent. It worked!
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Aromatherapy
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus globulus | | | Maintain a healthy lifestyle with ALVEO

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The essential oil obtained from the eucalyptus leaves is among the most familiar organic oils that can easily be distinguished owing to its camphor-like aroma. Eucalyptus is native to Australia, but has been naturalized in many places across the globe now. The oil obtained from the leaves of this tall growing variety of tree is refined; it is used for multiple therapeutic purposes. Eucalyptus oil is highly resourceful that helps to energize the body, fortify the immune system as well as offers protection from cold during the winter months. Eucalyptus oil possesses an earthy feature that aids in calming down excited sensations. In addition, this oil also possesses purification and balancing properties that make it valuable for topical application in body areas that have been affected by emotional or physical inconsistency and also in locations where one may feel painful or discomfiture.
Eucalyptus oil possesses a potent head clearance property that makes it extremely useful in alleviating congestion. The same quality of eucalyptus oil also helps to enhance concentration. When applied topically on the body, this oil has the aptitude to penetrate deep inside and, hence, it is effective in loosening up weary, firm and painful muscles and joints. In addition, eucalyptus oil is also used as an antidote to bites and stings by venomous insects and animals. The oil is so versatile and useful and, therefore, is found in almost all homes for emergency treatments for different disorders. The antiseptic properties of eucalyptus oil are very useful in disinfecting and cleaning the air. This particular property of eucalyptus oil makes it an excellent disinfectant for use in hospitals and sick rooms.
Among all the essential oils, eucalyptus is perhaps the most familiar. This essential oil is pure and has a curative aroma that brings to mind some types of medications. There are several varieties of eucalyptus and one of them - Eucalyptus citriodora, possesses an aroma similar to that of lemon. The essential oil obtained from eucalyptus leaves is a must for any cabinet stocking aromatherapy medicines. While the potent medicinal scent of eucalyptus does not make this essential oil suitable for use in making perfumes, it is a precise medication of several conditions. Eucalyptus oil is highly effective in treating any type of respiratory problem and is also useful for additional purposes.
It is interesting to note that the eucalyptus forms the sole source of food for the koala bear. While the eucalyptus has its origin in Australia, presently this plant is grown across the world. Often they make attractive and aromatic potted plants. Eucalyptus is rarely grown in gardens as the tree not only grows to a great height, but also has an inclination to overpower other plants growing in the vicinity. Nevertheless, when grown in a garden it also proves to be useful tree. Apart from the essential oil from the eucalyptus leaves, the potent antiseptic feature of the plant helps to eliminate fleas and all other parasites in the garden.
The essential oil obtained from eucalyptus trees are usually blended with one or more essential oils of peppermint, lavender, rosewood and wintergreen and a carrier oil, for instance sweet almond to form the base, for aromatherapy massages intended to stimulate energy, vigor, strength and enthusiastic feelings. It is believed that eucalyptus oil has a cooling influence on turbulent people or anyone suffering from anxiety. Therefore, this essential oil is frequently added in aromatherapy products for treating people enduring stress and pressure.
Over the years, the use of eucalyptus essential oil for aromatherapy has been growing steadily since this oil easily blends with several other essential oils, such as rosemary essential oil, thyme essential oil, lavender essential oil, marjoram essential oil, frankincense essential oil, cedarwood essential oil and several others.
Eucalyptus essential oil is also a potent inhalant and hence, it forms an active ingredient in several cold and sinus formulations available commercially from any drugstore or chemist shop. This essential oil is so potent that if you simply smell the aroma from an open bottle containing the oil, it will instantly clear any nasal congestion and make breathing easy. If you are suffering from a severe head cold accompanied by nasal congestion, take a large bowl and fill it with boiling water. Add around three to five drops of pure eucalyptus essential oil to it and inhale the vapor. Remember to cover your head with a towel and keep your face above the bowl. This will enable you to inhale the entire vapor without letting any of it to escape. While inhaling the vapor, close your eyes and take deep breaths so that you may take the vapor deep inside your lungs. In case, you are not too comfortable with the aroma of eucalyptus oil, you may also include a few drops of lemon or sage oil - two very effective inhalant oils. If the water in the bowl becomes cool, add some more steaming hot water, add a couple of drops of the essential oil to it and continue inhaling the vapor no less than five minutes at a stretch. Repeat this treatment as many as thrice daily. Eucalyptus oil also possesses germicidal properties and, hence, it may be used in a vaporizer in a sick room to eliminate all bacteria present in the air.
An effective chest rub can be prepared at home using eucalyptus essential oil and white camphor essential oil. To prepare the formulation, you need a small glass jar similar to the baby food jar to blend the ingredients for the chest rub. Next, take a little quantity of beeswax. You may also buy beeswax in the form of crushed ‘beads’ as these will melt more easily. Combine a carrier or blending oil like grape seed oil, jojoba oil or apricot kernel oil to the beeswax in the jar. Add the carrier oil in proportion to four or five times the beeswax. For instance, in case you are using beeswax in the measure of one tablespoon, you need to combine four to five tablespoonfuls of the carrier or blending oil. Remember, adding more of the oil will make the blend all the more soft. Next, put the glass jar containing the ingredients in a saucepan containing hot water. Keep the jar in the hot water till all of the beeswax melts. Remove the heat and take out the glass jar from the saucepan when the beeswax has melted. When the blend begins to cool, it will transform into a dense gel. At this stage, you need to add the eucalyptus and camphor essential oils in equal measure to the mixture. Remember, adding the essential oils to the mixture when it is very hot will result in the evaporation of much of the active elements in the volatile oil. You may use a small beater or a small seafood fork to mix five drops of eucalyptus essential oil and five drops of camphor oil for every tablespoon of the base. As discussed above, you have prepared a base in the measure of six tablespoon (one tablespoon of beeswax and five tablespoon of the carrier or blend oil). Hence, you will be required to add 30 drops of each of the essential oils to the base. Now, whisk the ingredients repeatedly while it cools down further. Store the chest rub in a cool, dark place and use it to rub it on the chest for treating colds. This chest rub may also be used for relieving sore muscles due to excessive physical exertion.
Eucalyptus essential oil has an inspiring and stimulating aroma and it may be used while working with a view to help enhance concentration and temperament. It is advisable that you always carry a cotton ball soaked in eucalyptus oil, lemon and sweet orange or bergamot in a Ziploc bag. You may open the bag and take a few deep inhalations anytime during the day, especially after lunch, as the energy level and concentration are at their lowest ebb at this time of the day. Carrying the cotton ball saturated with the inhalants to work during the cold and flu season may also help to protect you from the germs exhaled by your colleagues.
General properties * anticatarrhal * antiseptic * stimulant
Blends well with * bergamot * juniper * lavender * lemon * rosemary
General uses
Cocoa
Theobroma cacao |

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COMMON NAMES * Cacao * Chocolate * Cocoa
Renowned botanist Carolus Linnaeus, who is credited with the foundation of the contemporary method of the technical classification of the species in the plant kingdom, aptly named the chocolate tree as Theobroma, which when translated into English literally means the ‘food of the Gods’. The name Theobroma not only signifies the essence and taste of chocolate, but also its history down the ages.
There is an interesting anecdote related to the ‘discovery’ of the chocolate by the modern civilization. During one of his explorations in 1519, the Spanish traveler Hernando Cortez and his warriors were spectators to a bizarre ritual at the Aztec emperor Montezuma’s royal court. While his subjects keenly watched him with admiration and awe, seated on a elevated golden throne, emperor Montezuma, who was considered to be the ‘living God’ by his countrymen, continually drank an infusion from a golden goblet. On enquiry, Cortez and his men came to learn that the bitter and dark brown drink was called ‘chocolatl’ by the native Indians, who showed their respects to the Spanish explorer and his soldiers by offering them the drink. The natives informed Cortez that the beans from with the drink were prepared was derived from the heaven and every sip of ‘chocolatl’ infused wisdom and knowledge among the people. In fact, the Aztecs held the chocolate beans in such high esteem, that they were rendered the value of currency. And believe it or not, one could get a wild turkey in exchange of four beans and 100 beans would enable one to purchase a live slave!
So impressed was Cortez with the essence and flavor of chocolate that he immediately sent a letter to the Spanish ruler Charles V, enthusiastically appreciating the qualities of the brown beans and even carried substantial qualities of the beans back home with him. The passion for the new drink made tastier with the addition of sugar and vanilla spread chocolate to different parts of Europe and it finally reached the French emperor’s court. According to many, even in Europe, people initially drank chocolate mixing it with sugar and around 1550, nuns in a Mexican convent extra flavor to it by adding vanilla to the drink. Significantly, in those days chocolate was believed to be aphrodisiac (a substance that increases sexual arousal/interest) and was contentedly consumed by all who could afford it. Gradually, chocolate was introduced in England and the English enhanced the drink’s flavor adding milk to it. This new recipe became immensely popular all over Europe and people set up chocolate houses in England and Netherlands where the aristocrats or members of the upper strata of the society drank this blissful drink in retreat.
Indigenous to Central and North America, the chocolate tree is evergreen with lots of branches. If left to thrive naturally, chocolate trees grow up to a height of 40 feet, but when grown on plantations they are generally trimmed to a height of 20 feet. The trees bear small scented pink or cream colored flowers in clusters that blossom either directly on the trunk or on the main branches. The flowers eventually mature into wooded and football-shaped fruits that are up to one foot long. The fruits can be found in different colors, including reddish, brown and yellow. Inside each fruit one will find a jelly-like pink colored fleshy tissue that contains about 50 seeds. These seeds of cocoa beans are bitter to taste.
Planters harvest the fruits and scratch the beans and pulp all together into the fermenting trenches. During the fermenting process, the pulp or the sweet soft tissues turns to liquids, while the beans give up their strong astringent taste. Following this, the beans are dehydrated, roasted, removed of their shells and their different ingredients are processed separately. While chocolate is very popular as a drink worldwide, it may be noted that more than 50% of the cocoa beans are turned into a yellow colored cocoa butter rich in fat content. However, unlike most other fats available in the market, cocoa butter is not oily. In addition, cocoa butter has a soothing scent and does not rot easily. These qualities of cocoa butter make it an important ingredient of soaps and various toiletry products. Cocoa butter is also used in the manufacture of comforting creams as well as suppositories (small pellets inserted through the anus into the rectum to lubricate or stimulate bowel clearance).
Normally cocoa is the fat-free minced remains of the beans. It is blended with sugar, hot milk or water and though to be a warming and stimulating drink that many people still consider as the ‘food of the Gods’. Different kinds of chocolate candies, including soft milk chocolate, hard chocolates, and bitter blocks are made by confectioners by blending cocoa with an assortment of items like cocoa butter, milk, vanilla and sweeteners. Chocolate is able to fight against fatigue and provides a spout of instantaneous vigor owing to the presence of stimulants like caffeine and theobromine in it. This is the primary reason why soldiers from the American Civil War to these days carry chocolate along with them to the warfronts. Interestingly, recent researches by scientists have established that chocolate also produces a comforting effect on disturbed minds.
PARTS USED
Seed.
USES
As mentioned earlier, the Latin name of chocolate, ‘Theobroma’, literally means the ‘food of the Gods’ in English. The Aztec, who are said to have discovered the drink, called chocolate as xocoatl (cocoa) and used it both as a currency and a beverage that was drunk by the aristocrats in golden goblets. Chocolate became known to the remaining world only when the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez brought home supplies of the beans from the Aztec in Mexico way back in 1519. For over a century, the Spanish kept chocolate as a secret and it spread to other parts of Europe only when it reached the court of the French emperor years later. Initially, cocoa was simply drunk as a sweet or bitter beverage and it is only about 150 years ago that it began to be used in confectionery. A yellowish butter prepared from the cocoa beans is extensively used as the base for many creams, an emollient as well as an important constituent in present-day cosmetic and toiletry manufacture.
Cocoa also has a number of medicinal qualities and for centuries the Central Americans have effectively used cocoa to heal pains during pregnancy and childbirth. It is also beneficial in curing coughs and fevers. Cocoa contains a substance called theobromine that is basically alkaloid and produces a consequence that is comparable to caffeine. Hence, cocoa is useful in invigorating the muscles, heart as well as the kidneys. Theobromine is also closely linked to theophylline that helps in healing asthma. As a result, theobromine and caffeine also helps in alleviating blockages during colds by opening or enlarging the bronchial tracts in the lungs. In addition, theobromine is also beneficial in calming down the muscles in the digestive tracts. Owing to the presence of methylxanthines in cocoa, it also has diuretic, bronchyolitic and vasodilatory actions.
Worldwide cocoa is popular as a food item, but it also has several medicinal values and is beneficial as a stimulant for the nervous system. Herbal practitioners in Central America as well as the Caribbean also prescribe cocoa seeds as a stimulant for healing heart and kidney ailments. Even the cocoa plant has therapeutic value as it may be used to cure angina and also as a diuretic (a tonic that enhances urine flow). Butter made from cocoa beans is also used as a lip cream and forms the base for the manufacture of suppositories.
HABITAT AND CULTIVATION
Although cocoa is indigenous to Mexico and Central America, it in can be found in all the tropical regions across the globe. The cocoa plant is bred in various ways, including cuttings, grafting and budding, the cheapest way to grow cocoa is by raising saplings from its seeds. The cocoa seeds sprout when they are ripe and become feasible in a short span. The seeds may be stored for a period of 10 to 13 weeks provided their moisture content is maintained at 50 per cent. Following the harvesting of the cocoa fruits, the pulp is removed and the seeds are sown in either is nursery beds in shaded conditions or in baskets. A few months later, when the seeds are about 0.6 m tall, the saplings can be transplanted in fields under shade. They need to be planted in an area of 2.4 m X 2.4 m or 3.6 m X 3.6 m and enough spacing must be maintained between the plants. The spacing can be closer in infertile soils and when planted at an altitude of above 300 m for then the growth is restricted. It is important that the plants are provided adequate shade at least for three years. Until the plants are five years old one needs to continually remove the floral buds as they will not bear fruits. Normally, cocoa is an inter-cropped variety that is grown with other trees of economic worth. Usually, cocoa is grown along with bananas, rubber, oil palm or coconut. Regular weeding is a must and this can either be done manually or by using herbicides. Some irrigation can be provided to the plants, but it is important to remove the water through an effective drainage system as excess water may prove to be detrimental for the growth of the plant. When not grown in adequate shade, the cocoa plant responds well to fertilizers. Usually, the plants need to be provided with windbreaks to protect them from strong gales.
Fruits of cocoa trees ripen round the year, but generally only two harvesting - one main and another secondary - is done. For instance, in West Africa, the main harvesting begins in September and lasts till February. A smaller harvest is during the months of May and June. A cocoa fruit required five to six months from fertilization to harvesting and normally the harvesting season continues for around five months. After the cocoa pods are chopped from the trees, they are left on the ground for some period to allow them to smoothen. Once they have mellowed, the pods are broken and the beans taken out. The dry shells of the pods are burned. Next, the beans are dried in the sun for duration between two to eight days and later fermented in barrels or casks. During this period, the color of the beans changes from purple to brown. Following fermentation, the beans are packed in bags and readied for shipment. To be able to be used for food, the beans are processed further and the procedure includes roasting, mashing, separating the core or seed, pulverizing the nibs and extracting the yellowish cocoa butter, which comprises 50 per cent of the bean content.
After the harvesting of the cocoa pods, they are split open with a sharp knife or blade and the pulp or soft tissues found inside along with the seeds are removed separately. The shell of the pods is thrown away. The pulp together with the seeds are then kept in heaps, stored in baskets or spread out on iron grills for many days at a stretch. During this period, both the cocoa seeds and the pulp undergo ‘sweating’ or fermentation and the bulky pulp transforms into a liquid form. The fermented pulp gradually seeps away leaving behind the seeds to be collected separately. It may be noted that the ‘sweating’ process is very important for the quality of the cocoa beans. Originally, the cocoa beans have a very bitter or astringent taste. The ‘sweating’ process removes this astringent taste from the beans. In addition, if the ‘sweating’ process is disturbed, the cocoa derived from the seeds is spoilt. At the same time, if the process is underdone, the cocoa seed will have a heady flavor like raw potatoes and may even be vulnerable to yeasts and mushrooms. Although the liquefied pulp is generally discarded by most, in some cocoa producing countries it is effectively put to use to purify alcoholic spirits.
On the other hand, the fermented cocoa beans are left to dehydrate by spreading them over large areas, while they are constantly scraped manually. In large plantations this process is carried out by placing the fermented beans in large trays under the sun or by applying heat from other artificial sources. This not only makes the work lighter for the planters, but also speeds up the drying process. This procedure also has its demerits and many plantations avoid drying cocoa beans through artificial heat as this might not only add some extraneous flavor to the beans, but they may even be affected by smoke and oil. Using artificial heat may also give the cocoa beans a tainted flavor. In minor plantations, the same process is carried out by spreading the cocoa beans either on smaller trays or alternatively on cowhides. In the next phase, the beans are trampled upon and jumbled up often by the bare human feet. During this procedure, red clay mixed with water is sprayed over the beans with a view to obtain a better color, polish as well as to protect them from molds and yeasts while they are shipped to factories in the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and many other countries across the globe.
RESEARCH
Several researches conducted by Argentinean herbal scientists in 1994 established that the extracts from the cocoa are capable of fighting as well as warding off the bacteria to be blamed for disorders like boils and septicemia.
CONSTITUENTS
The soft tissues found inside the cocoa seeds possess xanthines (a purine base), permanent oil, as well as other ingredients that provide it its characteristic essence. The cocoa seeds also enclose very less quantity of endorphins (natural opiates similar to morphine) that are effective as pain killers. It may be mentioned that endorphins are generally found in the human body, especially the brain.
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Garlic
Allium sativum |

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COMMON NAMES * Clove Garlic * Da Suan * Garlic * Poor-man's-treacle * Rashona * Rustic's Treacle * Stinking Rose * Tricolor Garlic
The common kitchen herb, the garlic - Allium Sativum to botanists - is a familiar herb and culinary spice. This perennial herb is known for its white colored bulb that is composed of small white cloves that have a very peculiar odor and tangy taste. The various forms of sulphur compounds found inside each clove are responsible for the unique smell of the garlic. The smell of the garlic is of much renown and has attracted a lot of commentary. At different times throughout history it has been said that the garlic is "an herb that only the prince of hell himself could enjoy the aroma of full time with nary a complaint." This distinct smell is due to the heavy accumulation of the rather smelly sulphur compounds in the underground storage bulb of the herb. The garlic is used widely as a vegetable as well as in herbal medicine.
The garlic plant itself is not a remarkable herb on first sight, growing about two feet tall with flat, long, and pointed leaves - the main repute of the garlic lies in its underground storage bulb. The herb bears flowers in mid summer and the colors of the flowers can range from pink to white in different varieties. Garlic flowers are edible and are consumed in many places. The garlic plant comes in many varieties and cultivars - each with its distinct characteristics. The American or California garlic varieties come in many large and white skinned types. There are also early and late cultivars of the garlic that can be grown at suitable times. Garlic varieties with pinkish or purple skinned bulbs are variously known as the Chilean, the Creole, the Mexican or the Italian type. While it seems to grow best in dry and mild climatic regions, the garlic grows rather well in most places in the continental United States and is much naturalized in this country. The bulbs of most garlic varieties that are grown in northern climates are not large due to the shorter growing seasons. A relative of the garlic called the "elephant garlic” - A. ampeloprasum to botanists - develops prodigious heads or bulbs, each with four to six large cloves and each of these bulbs can often reach the size of an orange fruit.
The herb known as the “Rocambole “- A. sativum var. ophioscorodon to botanists - is yet one more garlic like plant that is sometimes grown by garlic aficionados of the world. This particular herb is also known by many other names including the Italian or the French garlic and has a rather striking appearance. This herb has numerous flat leaves like those of the garlic chives plant - A. tuberosum - that tend to appearing in the spring, it also bears looped flower stalks in the summer months. The variety of garlic has a “floral head” that opens to reveal the presence of a cluster of bulbils inside the bulb instead of flowers as in other garlic varieties. The “rocambole” is entirely edible and all parts of the plant are consumed. The bulbs produced by this variety are also harvested like regular garlic bulbs and used for culinary ends. French or Italian garlic is a good crop to grow for other reasons not connected to culinary uses alone, according to people who have cultivated it. One major reason cited by these cultivators is that the bulbs of this variety of garlic tend to keep very well and are easy to store. The other reason is that the cloves on the bulb are a lot easier to peel off. The final reason given is that the distinct flavor of this variety of garlic is quite good compared to other varieties of garlic. Though seldom offered as a seed plant in nurseries, the ‘rocambole” is readily available through some mail-order seed houses.
The garlic herb is an effective herbal remedy to treat viral, bacterial, fungal, and other parasitic infections in the body. A compound released by crushed raw garlic called allicin, is known to be much more potent as an antibiotic than the common antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline used in most standard medical regimens. Remedies made from the garlic are usually employed in treating problems such as chronic sore throats, common colds, flu, infections in the bronchial and general pulmonary systems, to treat infections of the gut and also to help reestablish the natural populations of beneficial bacteria in the gut - these helpful bacteria in the gut are often eliminated during an infection or on the use of orthodox antibiotic treatments to treat infections. The remedies made from the garlic are also effective and potent for treating intestinal worms as well as problems such as candidiasis. Garlic remedies can also be used topically to treat thrush affecting the mouth or the vaginal cavity. The general rate of digestion is improved by garlic; the herb also helps alleviate excessive gas and abdominal distension in the body. The remedies made from the garlic also help boost the rate at which food is absorbed and assimilated in the intestines. Garlic is also a good remedy for blood sugar related problems in diabetics as the herb boosts the secretion of insulin in the pancreas - thus helping the body better regulate sugar levels.
The remedy made from the garlic also has a decongestant action and is very useful in treating problems affecting the respiratory passages. At the same time, the expectorant action of the garlic remedy is excellent for treating acute and chronic bronchitis, to treat whooping cough as well as bronchial asthma, it is also effective in treating sinusitis, in the treatment of chronic catarrh, in the treatment of hay fever and rhinitis and other allergen induced complaints. Fevers can be alleviated by consuming garlic - the herb induces perspiration in the body and this helps in lowering the elevated body temperature. Elevated blood cholesterol levels are also lowered to a significant degree on consuming garlic regularly. The elevated blood pressure in the body and the tendency to form clots is also lowered by garlic - this effect of the herb is helpful in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes in susceptible patients. The blood vessels in the body are also opened up and dilated by the action of garlic - this action results in an increase in the flow of blood to different tissues in the body, thereby improving the general circulation. The beneficial action of garlic helps relieve cramps and alleviates general circulatory disorders affecting a person. The evidence from recent clinical research points out that garlic can act as potent anti-carcinogen and possesses strong anti-tumor properties, due to the fact that it is a powerful antioxidant by virtue of the numerous sulphur compounds found in it. Garlic is also believed to help the body deal better with the effects of nicotine and pollution, helping protect the body against the destructive effects of such long term exposure to irritants.
PARTS USED
Cloves.
USES
Since very early in human history, the garlic has held an esteemed position among common herbs due to its healing powers and its use as a spice. The garlic was used to treat all kinds of infections, ranging from diseases like tuberculosis to typhoid fever before the development of anti-biotic drugs. In fact, the garlic was used as a remedy for wounds till quite recent times and the herb was often employed to dress the wounds sustained by soldiers fighting during the World War I.
All kinds of infections affecting the chest can be treating using the garlic as the primary herbal remedy. The remedy made from the garlic is good for the treatment of common colds and flu, as well as in treating ear infections, and as an herbal aid in reducing the amount of mucus produced in the nasal passages. The garlic remedy is also effective in treating infections of the digestive system. This herbal remedy is also the treatment of choice to rid the body of all kinds of intestinal parasites and pathogens. As human blood is thinned by the garlic, it actively helps in preventing the onset of many dangerous circulatory problems and keeps the chance of strokes at bay. Elevated cholesterol levels and high blood pressure affecting a person is also lowered on treatment with garlic remedy.
Other medical uses * The remedy made from the garlic is employed as a general remedy for treating all kinds of infections. The herbal remedy can also be used with conventional antibiotics to help support their bio-chemical action and to ward off the side effects of strong drugs. In addition, the garlic benefits people affected by the late onset of diabetes as it tends to keep blood sugar levels in check at all times * Abscess * Altitude sickness * Aneurysm * Breast cancer * Colorectal cancer * Endometrial cancer * Glue ear * Hantavirus * High Triglycerides (TGs) * Septicemia * Strep throat * Stomach cancer * Thrombophlebitis * Toxic shock syndrome * Viral Infection * Xanthomatosis
Culinary uses
Many dishes contain garlic as an essential seasoning. Garlic used in the preparation of food may be fresh, dried, or freshly ground. Garlic helps in increasing the flavor of all kinds of dishes including seafood, poultry preparations, various pasta items, all kinds of meat dishes, vegetables and meat stews. It can be added to casseroles, vegetables, and soups; it brings zest to salads and salad dressings. Many cuisines cannot exist without using some garlic in the preparation of the meal. The dish known as ailloli, which is a hearty and thick French mayonnaise prepared using eggs, olive oil, and crushed garlic is one dish that cannot exist without the use of garlic. Indian, Mediterranean, Chinese and many other cuisines will not be what they are if it weren’t for the garlic.
Fresh cloves of garlic can be ground in a press or mortar and pestle, the alternate method is to hit the cloves sharply using the flat end of a chopping knife. There is a lot of debate in culinary circles about the appropriate amount of garlic needed to be used in any dish. The tolerance of the diner should probably be the factor that decides the issues, it may be best to use garlic sparingly till what is required by the diners. One interesting points found through research is that the huge consumption of garlic and red wine in Mediterranean countries may be responsible for the low incidence of some types of cancers in these regions.
The whole cloves of the garlic can be steamed or bake and consumed with the daily meal. Cooking tends to make the strong acrid flavor of the garlic milder. At the same time, burnt garlic always ends up tasting bitter and this should be avoided. If garlic is to be fried, the oil being cooked must not be too hot, as the garlic will then develop an acrid taste and become tasteless.
The skin of freshly peeled garlic cloves must be prevented from sticking to the fingers when it is being peeled. A way to avoid this stickiness is to immerse all the garlic cloves in boiling water for thirty seconds before peeling. The cloves can then be removed from the water, dried and cool, and then peeled.
Salt flavored using garlic is widely employed on a commercial basis to flavor different kinds of foods sold in the market. Garlic salt is also quite a popular standby in some home kitchens; however, the high sodium content of this product may not be the best choice for flavoring dishes if the intent is to cook with the health of the heart in mind.
HABITAT AND CULTIVATION
The garlic is probably native to central Asia and is believed to have originated from there. However, it has been extensively cultivated on a worldwide basis for many centuries and is one of the most familiar kitchen herb in the world.
The garlic plant grows optimally in rich and well drained soils, possessing high amounts of organic compounds. At the same time, it is also possible to successfully grow the garlic in a wide range of soil varieties and climatic conditions. The garlic tolerates a pH range from slightly acidic 5.5 to an alkaline 8.5 - growing optimally within these extremes.
The garlic grows optimally in sites that have good exposure to sunlight; however, it can also grow successfully at sites with a partial shade. The growing garlic plants must not be given excess water or the bulbs will rot and the crop will be ruined.
Garlic can be grown from the cloves or the bulbils as most garden grown garlic will not produce seeds. Many nurseries and garden catalogs have the cloves and bulbils on sale.
Garlic cloves are usually planted in seedbeds early in the spring or late in the fall. Garlic planted in the fall tends to result in the best yields. This is mainly due to the fact, that the garlic plant requires a rather long growing season of a minimum of four months to grow to an optimal size. Garlic plants planted in the soil late in the month of September or in October can be expect to show their growing tops emerging from the soil by the month of November - by winter, all the plants will have rooted well at the site. Tender garlic plants have cloves that remain dormant over the winter; these will only resume growth in the spring when the snow melts. For optimum growth later and to successfully form new bulbs, the dormant cloves or young plants require some exposure to cold temperatures ranging from 0°C to 10°C - 32°F to 50°F - for a period of four to eight weeks. The dormancy of garlic plants is broken by the increasing daylight hours during the spring. This also leads to the stimulation of the plants and encourages bulb formation in the plants.
Garlic cloves must be planted into the soil with the pointed end up towards the surface. A planting depth of five cm - two inches - below the soil's surface is ideal for optimum growth. Each individual clove must be planted a minimum of eight cm -three inches - deep in the soil. Garlic plants require some space from neighboring plants to grow well, plant the cloves leaving a space of fifteen cm - six inches - around each clove to give the seedling some room.
It is important to tend growing garlic plants with care, as strong movement of the soil around the shallow rooted garlic plants will result in damage to the roots and hence retard the development of such plants. In mid-summer, it becomes necessary to cut back the flowering stalks on the plants, this helps in channeling all the plant's energy into the development of storage bulbs resulting in a good yield.
The garlic is normally free of pests and common plant diseases - it is a hardy herb compared to many other cultivated plants. When growing garlic, in the northernmost range, it becomes necessary to mulch the cloves or young plants over the winter particularly if the snow cover in the area is limited.
Containers can be used to grow garlic plants, this is a good way of cultivation particularly when a suitable cold storage area for such containers is available during the months of winter. This storage area can include an unheated garage or garden shed. The soil must be moist when during freeze up; the soil must again be checked for moisture content during the thaws in mid-winter. In late March, the containers can be brought out of storage and if everything has gone as planned - green spears will soon poke up from the soil. This method of growing in container is redundant for regions with warmer climates and the cold storage arrangement isn't necessary. All the garlic containers can be kept outside over the winter without fear of losing the crop.
RESEARCH
Extensive laboratory based studies on the garlic has been conducted from the 1980s onwards in places like Germany, Japan, and the United States. However, till date, most clinical authorities still have a lot of disagreement over the exact nature and benefits of the remarkable anti-biotic action seen in the garlic. The compound called alliin present in the garlic is released when the fresh clove is crushed; it is broken down instantly by alliinase into allicin - the main active compound in garlic. A potent anti-septic and anti-biotic action is evident in the compound allicin and in the other chemical constituents of the volatile oil found in the garlic. The presence of these compounds is an explanation for the effectiveness of garlic in relieving even severe infections like chronic dysentery and related digestive disorders.
The ability of garlic to lower elevated blood pressure was also confirmed by clinical trials carried out in the 1980s. In fact, garlic reduces blood lipid - fats - levels, resulting in better control of hypertensive disorders.
CONSTITUENTS
Garlic contains volatile oil with sulphur containing compounds (notably allicin, alliin and ajoene); enzymes, B vitamins, minerals, flavonoids.
USUAL DOSAGE
Different people use garlic in different ways, and there are individuals who actually chew one whole clove of raw garlic daily to boost their health. The best way to take garlic for those who prefer it over other herbs, is in an odor controlled, enteric coated tablet or capsule form that is made with a standardized allicin potential. These tablets or capsules can be taken at doses of 400-500 mg one or two times daily - for a total intake of 5,000 mcg of allicin a day. The tincture can also be taken instead, at doses of 2-4 ml thrice a day. Taking garlic in this way boosts health and reduces the chances of many diseases.
SIDE EFFECTS AND CAUTIONS
Garlic is enjoyed as a food by most people and garlic remedies are also well tolerated by and large. However, some individuals can experience dermatitis on being exposed to garlic dust and these people need to take care when using garlic for any purpose.
Some of the side effects of consuming garlic include a reduction in the clotting time of blood; this effect of the herb can lead to the development of medical problems in individuals already on aspirin or those using anticoagulant medications on a routine basis.
Diabetics should be aware that consuming large doses of garlic, in pill form, as capsules, etc, even in standard medicinal quantities can interfere with insulin therapy in the long term.
All individuals interested in consuming garlic extracts must consult with a physician; this is especially true of people who already suffer from any type of medical problem which requires the regular use of some prescription medication. Consulting a doctor before beginning garlic supplements is the recommended to avoid side effects. While the consumption of garlic consumption is generally safe, some medical authorities speak against the consumption of large amounts of garlic by pregnant or breast feeding women. The Mediterranean diet is rich in garlic, the regular consumption of the garlic in many culinary dishes by the people in this region, has been connected to the lowered risk for certain cancers in the people living here.
HOW IT WORKS IN THE BODY
Garlic’s distinctive smell is due to the presence of the volatile oil. The oil contains the compound called allicin that has been proven to induce an antibiotic action over the Staphylococcus aureus strain of bacteria. It is also effective over other bacterial strains and in general, it can be used to treat all bacterial infections in the human body. Infection caused by Candida albicans has also been successfully alleviated using allicin as the primary remedy. The allicin also possesses a potent hypoglycemic effect and helps in reducing blood sugar levels when they are elevated - mainly in diabetics. Allicin in addition, has a demonstrated anti-thrombotic effect, helping in reducing the rate of blood clot formation. This compound also has the ability to lower blood pressure and helps in reducing elevated cholesterol levels in the blood.
APPLICATIONS
Cloves:
FRESH GARLIC CLOVES - Fresh slightly bruised cloves of garlic can be rubbed on acne covered skin as a treatment. Fresh garlic cloves can also be mashed and used on warts and verrucas, or to draw out corns and soothe irritated skin. Garlic cloves can be regularly consumed as part of the diet in the form of a prophylactic herbal remedy - to ward off the risk of infection. Consuming garlic on a regular basis also helps in reducing high cholesterol levels in the blood, which leads to an improved functioning of the cardiovascular system. Garlic also helps lower blood sugar levels and diabetics can consume some cloves as a part of the meals daily. To treat all kinds of digestive disorders, three to six crushed cloves can be eaten daily, especially when dealing with acute conditions such as severe digestive disorders - including gastroenteritis, dysentery, intestinal worms, and other infections of the digestive system.
HERBAL GARLIC JUICE – Garlic cloves can be turned into a juice, this drink relieves digestive disorders and infections. Drinking the juice daily will also help a person fight chronic atherosclerosis.
MACERATION – Three or four cloves of garlic can be steeped over night in a little water or milk. This garlic liquor can be used the next day for ridding the body of intestinal parasites.
CAPSULES – Powdered garlic is also made into capsules. This form is an aromatic alternative to the commercial "pearls." There are distinct benefits associated with using garlic in this form; recent clinical trials have shown that daily consumption of two g of the powder in capsule form actually prevented the incidence of additional heart attacks in individuals who had already undergone an attack earlier. Infections such as thrush can also be alleviated by taking the capsules daily.
PEARLS – This form of the garlic remedy can be use as an alternative to the capsule form. One thing to remember is that the greater the "deodorized" state of the pearls, the less is their effectiveness. Strong odors suggest potency in the remedy.
COLLECTION AND HARVESTING
Garlic is harvested when the tops of the plant dry up and starts bending; the bulbs are pulled up at this stage. The mature plants possessing the large and multi-clove bulbs are pulled out straight from the ground and then dried in the sun for about a week’s time. After this initial airing, each one is trimmed down or a braid is made from the stalks - this is then hung as garlic "ropes" in the shade for an additional period of drying in the open air.
Once the bulbs are completely dry, they are stored in a cool, dry and dark place - this space should have good circulation of air. The bulbs must not be kept in the kitchen as cooking heat often dries out the bulbs and the garlic becomes inedible. People who may require a lot of garlic lying within easy reach during cooking can store garlic bulbs inside a closed jar - this prevents the pungent odor of the garlic from penetrating other food items kept nearby.
Regarded as an easily stored herb, garlic bulbs can be kept up to six months if stored in a dry and dark location, the ambient temperature in the storage space must not exceed 0°C - 32°F - to ensure the preservation of the distinct taste and other characteristics such as the tangy smell.
GARLIC BUTTER * 6 garlic cloves, minced * 1 cup boiling water * 1/2 cup soft butter * 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, finely minced * Salt and pepper to taste
Set the unpeeled cloves in the boiling water. Bring to a boil, and boil 5 minutes. Drain, peel, and rinse the cloves under cold water. Return to the boiling water, and allow the water to boil up once more. Drain the garlic again, and with the salt and pepper, pound it to a smooth paste in the bottom of a small bowl.
Beat the butter into the garlic. Use 1 teaspoon with broiled or boiled fish, with hamburgers, steaks, boiled potatoes, or to enrich sauces made with drippings from roasts.
HERB AND GARLIC CHEESE
This is an extremely easy way to transform an ordinary creamy cheese into a gourmet item, at a fraction of the price of the ready-made product. You can use full-fat cream cheese, curd cheese, or sieved cottage cheese but, if you opt for the latter, you will need to add 3 tablespoons of double cream to achieve the right consistency. As with herb butter, delicately flavoured herbs with fairly soft leaves, such as chives, chervil or parsley, are best for herb cheese. * 225g/8 oz cream or curd cheese, or sieved cottage cheese * 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs * 1/2 clove finely chopped garlic
Work the garlic and herbs into the cheese with a fork, until all the ingredients are well combined. Form into a round, place on a dish, cover with cling film, and refrigerate before serving.
COMMENTS
Olive
Olea europaea |

| | Maintain a healthy lifestyle with ALVEO

|
COMMON NAMES * Olive
Olive is an evergreen tree that grows to lofty heights of approximately 30 feet or 10 meters. The tree has intensely rigged and gray colored trunk, while the leaves are small and leathery or swarthy in appearance. The olive bears flowers that are greenish white in color and blossom in bunch. On the other hand, the olive fruits are green when raw and turn black when ripe.
Going by the record, olive was perhaps first grown in Crete in approximately 3500 B.C. Significantly enough, the olive trees and several of their parts have symbolic connotations. While the branch of the olive tree stands for peace, winners of the ancient Olympic Games wore crowns made with olive leaves - that signify victory and honor. In addition, since time immemorial, herbalists have been using the olive leaves to clean as well as heal open wounds. The oil extracted from the olive tree is also used as a talisman in some religious ceremonies.
PARTS USED
Leaves, oil.
USES
The olive leaves have multiple uses and are employed to treat several disorders. While the olive leaves are known to reduce blood pressure and also aid in enhancing the activity of the blood circulatory system. The leaves also possess moderate diuretic properties and hence are useful in increasing the urine outflow. Besides, they may also be used to cure conditions like cystitis or inflammation of the bladder. Herbalists also recommend the olive leaves for diabetes as they are known to possess properties to lower the intensity of blood sugar in the system. The oil extracted from the olive tree is rich in nutrients and also helps to develop the equilibrium of fats in the body. Conventionally, many physicians have been using a dose of one teaspoon of olive oil mixed with fresh lemon juice to heal gallstones or stones and debris in the gall bladder. The oil is also known to have defensive properties and safeguards the digestive system. It is also beneficial for arid skin. When applied externally, the sticky olive oil is good as carrier oil for essential oils.
Other medical uses * Breast cancer * Prostate cancer * Wrinkles * Xanthomatosis
HABITAT AND CULTIVATION
Olive trees are native to the Mediterranean region and grow in abundance in the wild there. In addition, olive trees are cultivated in a number of countries in the Mediterranean region as well as in region having parallel climatic conditions in both the Americas. Since the olive is a perennial tree, its leaves may be collected throughout the year, while the fruits are harvested at the end of September through the middle of November. The leaves collected from the olive trees growing in the wild are said to enclose higher intensity of the active elements of the plant.
The growth of the olive trees is very tardy, but they survive for longer periods too. Over the years, the trunks of the trees attain sizeable width and the trees up to a height of 10 to 15 meters. However, it is rare to find an olive tree 15 meters tall, as they are subjected to frequent trimmings with a view to restrict their measurements to specific limits. The wood of the olive trees that are firm as well as closely grained are also of great value to the carpenters. The normal yellow or pale greenish-brown wood of the olive trees are layered with a darker color to make it appear glossier.
The olive trees may be grown in different ways. However, the most common and preferred manner is through cuttings or layers which are planted in the soil. The olive tree gives out root effortlessly in approving loam and gives up sticky chumps from the spot where the base is chopped. It has been seen that the yields from the trees propagated from suckers or seeds are usually reduced and for them to perform better, they need to be sprouted or attached on top of other varieties. The best way to propagate olive trees is to cut branches of different width and chop them into approximately one meter in length and plant them deeply in soil mixed with manure. These small sticks will give out roots and shoots soon. Alternately, smaller pieces of the branches are placed horizontally in low furrows and then covered with some soil. These pieces of branches also quickly throw up shoots just like suckers. In Greece, people normally graft the cultivated tree growing on the wild form. On the other hand, in Italy people cautiously remove and plant the embryonic buds that form small swellings underneath the surface. These buds grow voluntarily and their buds soon give rise to enthusiastic shoots.
Sometimes, new or young olive trees are obtained by cutting larger branches of the mature tree. Moreover, the olive trees are also sometimes raised from the seeds. In this case, the oily pericarp or the part of the fruit that surrounds the seed is first made softer by rotting it a little or by soaking it in hot water. Alkaline solutions may also be used in place of hot water to smoothen the germination progress.
In places like Languedoc and Provence, where the olive trees are vigilantly cultivated, they are subjected to regular pruning as this process helps in safeguarding the flower-bearing shoots of the previous year. At the same time, the pruning helps to keep the tree low enough to enable collection of the fruits without much effort. On the other hand, the space or distance between two trees is fertilized at frequent intervals for higher yields. Normally, old trees yield vast harvest, but it has seldom been found to be the same in two successive years. It may be noted here that large harvests of olive fruits can normally be calculated once in every six or seven years.
Irrespective of the fact that it is arid or poor, any soil containing traits of calcium carbonate appears to be most suitable for the healthy growth of olive trees. It has been found that the olive trees will grow almost on most types of soil, including light soil or clay, if there is a proper drainage system. On the other hand, olive trees growing on such soils are more susceptible to diseases and the oil produced by these trees is inferior in quality when compared to that produced by trees growing on not as good or rocky earth.
Normally it has been seen that weather conditions where the temperature is less than 14°F (-10°C) many cause damage to the mature olive trees. However, barring the young trees, a temperature of approximately 16°F (-9°C) is considered to be conducive for the healthy growth of olive trees.
RESEARCH
According to clinical experiments carried from time to time on olive leaves, it has been established that the substance helps in reducing blood pressure.
CONSTITUENTS
Olive leaves contain oleoropine, oleasterol, and leine. Olive oil contains about 75% oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid.
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