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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yulan Magnolia


About 80 species of Magnolia are found in in temperate and tropical Asia, North and South America, of which two are cultivated in Pakistan and these are

1- Magnolia denudata: Deciduous; leaves green on both sides. Anthers with lateral dehiscence. Fruit dehiscing ventrally.
2- Magnolia grandiflora:Evergreen; leaves rusty tomentose below. Anthers with introrse dehiscence. Fruit dehiscing dorsally.

Magnolia denudata
is one of the most loved of all Magnolias. Called the "Yulan" or "Jade Lily" by the Chinese, the exquisite lily shape of the blossoms with their pure white petals, has the longest history of cultivation going back to the Tang Dynasty - 618 AD. Its beauty was celebrated on ancient Chinese embroideries, scrolls and porcelains in scenes of the countryside. Its elegant flowers made it a "gift worthy of an emperor." Today old gnarled specimens can be found in Chinese temples and gardens, and elsewhere in China where they are cherished and planted.

Magnolias grow happily in the Himalayas at altitudes of 5-9000 feet, where the nutrients they require from the soil are provided by the snows and heavy rains. It flowers in early spring, its creamy white flowers covering the tree. The coarse foliage is handsome and makes an excellent shade tree. Cultivated in northern part of Pakistan. Oil is extracted from leaves and flowers. The pounded leaves are used for toothache.Habit becomes more open, spreading and horizontal with age.

Sweet Magnolia: Tree Bark Extract Fights Bad Breath And Tooth Decay


"Sweet magnolia" does more than describe the fragrant blossoms of a popular evergreen tree. It also applies to magnolia bark's effects on human breath. Scientists in Illinois are reporting that breath mints made with magnolia bark extract kill most oral bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay within 30 minutes. The extract could be a boon for oral health when added to chewing gum and mints.


Consumers often turn to flavored chewing gum and mints to battle bad breath. However, those products only temporarily mask the odor of bad breath, which is caused by bacteria. Existing anti-bacterial products for bad breath are far from ideal, with some having side effects like tooth staining.

In the new study, Minmin Tian and Michael Greenberg tested the germ-killing power of magnolia bark extract using saliva samples taken from volunteers following a regular meal. Mints containing the extract killed more than 61 percent of the germs that cause bad breath within 30 minutes, compared with only a 3.6 percent germ-kill for the same flavorless mints without the extract, the researchers say.

The extract also showed strong antibacterial activity against a group of bacteria known to cause cavities. Mints and chewing gum containing the extract may also provide a "portable oral care supplement to dentifrice (toothpaste), where brushing is not possible," the study states.

The journal article,"Compressed Mints and Chewing Gum Containing Magnolia Bark Extract Are Effective against Bacteria Responsible for Oral Malodor"is scheduled for the Nov. 14 issue of the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Reference:
ScienceDaily (Nov. 20, 2007)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why We Should Keep Eggshells?


Its a fact that we can make use of anything, there are many things that are useful for us but due to lack of guidance we don't use them. Its a need to share some useful tips that will make you to live a environment friendly life. After you've prepared your breakfast, and you're cleaning up, remember to keep your eggshells this morning, because they can be useful in your garden.They are high in calcium carbonate. They will be a well seasoned free feed for the roses by the time they reach the flower beds. You can crush them up and then spread them around plants to protect them from slugs, lizards and snails. The rough edges are too sharp for the slimy creatures to traverse, thus creating a barrier around your plant. Over time, the eggshells will break down, so they won't harm your garden. I’m also going to use them in the kitchen garden.

Another important use of eggshells is to make eggshell plant pots, its a cheap way to decorate your homes and the method is given below:
Clean eggshells and dry them gently.To give the tiny plant pot a solid base, glue a small square of cardboard to the bottom of the eggshell. If using white glue, let it set for a few hours.Using paint or markers, decorate the eggshells. Let the paint dry.Put potting soil in the eggshells (fill a little over half way). Add many grass seeds or two bean seeds (in case one doesn't germinate). The grass seeds take a few weeks to germinate, but bean seeds will sprout in just a few days.Cover the seeds with a little bit of soil, and sprinkle lightly with water. When the seeds sprout, put the tiny plant pot in a sunny spot and enjoy.

Age-old Chinar tree collapses

Perched on the eastern hill of Chitral town, a historic tree that is believed to be over 140 years old and has a diameter of 7 feet collapsed.

There are different stories about the origins of this Chinar. One story says a saint stuck his walking stick into the ground, out of which point the tree grew. Another story says it was planted by Asaqal Fateh Ali Shah who had gone to Chitral for hunting. At a height of 5,000 feet, the tree was prominently visible to all in Chitral town.

The majestic Chinar had a spring under it, which provided it the water to survive so long. Hunters and high altitude log poachers used the Chinar as a shelter. Visitors burnt up most of the hollow part of the trunk by igniting fire inside it for heating or cooking purposes. The breakdown of this gigantic Chinar is due to such fires.

Reference:
Daily Times,
Saturday, June 02, 2007

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