Thursday, August 23, 2012

Medicinal Plants of Tunisia

Tunisia Post  (Office National des Postes Tunisie) has issued the stamp series feature their medicinal plants on June 28 , 2011. The issue stamps comprised of 4 single stamps depicted medicinal plants such as: Green Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Garlic (Allium sativum), Lemon Verbena (Lippa tryphilla), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).
Green Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Green Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is a herbaceous annual plant in the family Apiaceae that can grow to 3 ft  tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, 0.5–2 in  long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous leaves. The flowers are white, approximately 3 mm diameter, produced in dense umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, 3 – 5 mm long, usually called "aniseed".

Green Anise plants grow best in light, fertile, well drained soil. The seeds should be planted as soon as the ground warms up in spring. Its native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia.
Green Anise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its characteristic flavor which has some similarities with liquorice, fennel, and tarragon. Anise contains anethole, a phytoestrogen and has been used to treat menstrual cramps. Its essential oil  has reportedly been used as an insecticide against head-lice and mites. Western cuisines have long used anise to flavor some dishes, drinks, and candies.
Garlic(Allium sativum)

Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium.  With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Allium sativum is a bulb. It grows up to 0.5 m (2ft) in height.It produces hermaphrodite flowers. Pollination occurs by insects and bees.Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates. While sexual propagation of garlic is indeed possible, nearly all of the garlic in cultivation is propagated asexually, by planting individual cloves in the ground.

Garlic or Allium sativum is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer.
Lemon verbena (Lippa tryphilla)

Lemon verbena leaves are used to add a lemony flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, greek yogurt and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas, or added to standard tea in place of actual lemon (as is common with Moroccan tea). It can also be used to make a sorbet. In addition, it has anti-Candida albicans activity.

Lemon Verbena (Lippa tryphilla) is a perennial shrub growing to 2 –3 m high. The 8 cm long glossy, pointed leaves are slightly rough to the touch and emit a powerful lemon scent when bruised.  It is sensitive to cold, losing leaves at temperatures below 0°C although the wood is hardy to -10°C.

Lemon verbena extract containing 25% verbascoside showed strong antioxidant capacity, especially in a lipophilic environment. The capacity of verbascoside to act as an effective radical scavenger in lipophilic environments was also shown. Verbascoside-enriched extracts might have interesting applications in cosmetic, nutraceuticals or functional food.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosmarinus officinalis, commonly known as Rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae. The name "rosemary" derives from the Latin for "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea" because in many locations it needs no water other than the humidity carried by the sea breeze to live.

Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medical uses. The plant is said to improve the memory. The leaves are used to flavor various foods, like stuffings and roast meats.

Rosemary contains the antioxidants carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid, and other bioactive compounds including camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, rosmaridiphenol, and rosmanol. Some of these may be useful in preventing or treating cancers, strokes, and Alzheimer's Disease.

The results of a study suggest carnosic acid, found in rosemary, may shield the brain from free radicals, lowering the risk of strokes and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,and is anti-inflammatory. Carnosol is also a promising cancer chemoprevention and anti-cancer agent.

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