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Fun & Facts

Fun and Facts...

You won’t believe that you actually have herbal plants just at your home in your yard or just around the neighbor hood.  Medicinal herbs are the heart of perfect health adding transformative natural changes in the garden and our life. They are not only easy growing but also beautiful and health-promoting too.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” — Alfred Austin

“Medicinal plants heal more than the physical body. They help open our hearts, reconnect us with spirits, and guide us in developing respectful and joyful relationships with the Nature world.” – (Deb Soule)

 

INTRODUCTION

People have been using plants to treat illness and heal wounds since age-old. The practice of cultivating medicinal herbs at home garden has started more than 5000 years ago.  Recently, as many peoples are being aware of health benefits from herbal medicine without having any side-effect; they are shifting their preference of pharmaceutical drugs to medicinal herbs. 

Herb gardening have many health benefits such as dealing with anxiety & depressions, manage weight, control blood pressure and many more. Healing garden might be the unique and highly valuable garden in urban areas where masses are vulnerable to different types of illness due to different kinds of pollution and environmental degradation.

 

SCIENCE BEHIND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF HERBAL GARDEN (HEALING GARDEN)

Presence of compounds known as tannins might be the major factor behind healing properties possessed by medicinal plants. They are known to possess astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhea, anti-oxidative and antimicrobial properties thus, also used to cure inflamed mucous membrane. Medicinal plants are found to prevent diseases without any side-effects as in synthetic treatments. Flavonoids and other phenolic compounds found in medicinal plants are proved to be boon for humankind in medical aspects.

 

MEDICINAL HERB GARDEN (HERBAL GARDEN) AND THEIR BENEFITS

  • Aromatherapy: Treatment from aroma or fragrance.
  • Relieve stress & enhance mood along with treating minor disorders.
  • Stimulate and strengthens the immune system.
  • Seasonings and flavorings in foods and beverages.
  • cancer-fighting antioxidants, valuable nutrients and fat-free flavor.
  • Alleviate digestive problems like constipation and abdominal spasms.
  • Enhance the respiratory system to treat coughs, sinusitis and tonsillitis.
  • Ease muscular pain by promoting relaxation and toning.
  • Improve circulation and lowers blood pressure.
  • Prevent stress-related disorders like insomnia, tension headaches, anxiety, depression and grief.

 

TOP 12 MEDICINAL HERBS RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR HOME GARDENS

To get you started, here are top 12 medicinal herbs which are proved to be boon if you have them at your home garden:

 

1. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe Vera is a thick, short-stemmed plant primarily cultivated as a crop for ‘Aloe gel’ that is extracted from its leaf. This gel contains beneficial bio-active compounds including vitamins, minerals, amino-acids and antioxidants. This species could be grown indoor too in cooler climates. 

 

Aloe possesses powerful antioxidant known as polyphenols and antibacterial properties which inhibit the growth of infection-causing bacteria. It is best known for skin injuries treatment as the juice of their leaves could relieve pain from scrapes and burns too. Many studies have proved this species to be effective in healing wounds, mouth ulcers and canker sores. 

 

2. Basil 

This species has many varieties and are known by different name such as Holy Basil, Sweet Basil and Great Basil on the basis of species. This is one of the multipurpose herb belonging to lamiaceae family. The above-ground parts of the plants are used to make medicine.

Sweet basil can provide vitamins, minerals, essential oils and a range of antioxidants. Holy basic is considered as a tonic from leaves to seed. Its flower is used to cure bronchitis. Leaves and seed along with peppermint is used in treatment of malaria. Whole plant is used for treatment of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Alcohol extract is used for stomach ulcers and eye diseases. Essential oils extracted from this species is also used to treat worm infections, and snake and insects bites. 

 

3. Mint (Mentha)

Mint has been preferred by large mass of gardeners around the globe since centuries as a herbal remedy. It has around 15-20 different species which are consumed after drying in many dishes and infusions.

Tea of mint (especially pepper mint) is used to treat gastro-intestinal problems. This species also prevents from allergies as it contain anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent called rosmarinic acid. Besides this, it soothes common cold symptoms, ease upset stomach and treat indigestion, gas and cramps. But, it is recommended not to consume mint for people with severe chronic illness as this might worsens due to several reaction with particular diseases. 

 

4. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)

Rosemary is a highly fragrant, evergreen, woody, perennial herb belonging to lamiaceae family. This species is rich source of iron, calcium and vitamin B-6.  This herb has been found to be cultivated since ancient times for its medicinal benefits. This is consumed as culinary herb in dishes or in the form of tea.

This species are believed to strengthen immune system and improve blood circulation as they are rich source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is also used to treat indigestion and prevent brain aging. Carnosic acid found in these species promote eye health by preventing macular degeneration. The aroma from Rosemary could enhance person’s memory, concentration and mood. Besides these, it helps to lower your blood sugar and slow down the spread of human leukemia & breast carcinoma cells (cancer causing agents).

 

5. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Chamomile is a well known medicinal plant species belonging to asteraceae family. This species is often referred as “star” among medicinal species. Chamomile are highly flavored and favored medicinal plant in traditional medicines. A cup of hot chamomile tea will be the perfect way to end your stressful and tiresome day.

This species calms both the nervous system as well as digestive system. It help to treat inflammation, calm the mind and relax the spirit. If someone has the problem related to lack of sleep and relaxation this species is preferred as it promotes sleep and relaxation. This medicinal plants is also preferred for skin and hair lightening. 

 

6. Lavender (Lavandula species)

Lavender is a herbal plant belonging to mint family i.e. Lamiaceae. This is one of the species best known for aromatherapy. People usually prefer lavender cultivation for its fragrance, color and medicinal properties.

Lavender oil is used in the form of fragrance for aromatherapy or applied in massage oil. Lavender is being used to treat different ailments such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, headaches, hair loss, nausea, acne, toothache, skin irritations and cancer since many years. Due to this multiple health benefits this species is among the most recommended one for your medicinal gardens.

 

7. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm is a perennial herb from the mint family. The leaves with lemon aroma are particularly used as a medicine. Traditionally, these species used to be cultivated to improve mood and cognitive functions. But now people have been aware about its more health related benefits and hence, preferred for herbal gardens.

This species are believed to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and ease insomnia & sleeping disorders. Lemon balm, when used as a tea improves and strengthen digestive system. It also possesses medicinal properties that cure cold sores and minimizes menstrual cramps.

 

8. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Salvia officinalis is a staple herb commonly known as common sage or garden sage. This species is also one of the part of mint family. Sage has a strong aromas and earthy flavor. They are considered as best herbal plants to be in your garden due to richness in nutrient and compounds along with its medicinal value.

 

These species are loaded with antioxidant that strengthen immune system, lower risk of cancer and improved brain functions. Common sage was traditionally used to reduce menopause symptoms too. Reducing blood pressure, cholesterol level and protecting against certain cancers are other health benefits of this species.

 

9. Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Pot marigold is one of the most beloved herb belonging to asteraceae family, and commonly known as Calendula. Flowers of calendula are incorporated into topical oils and salves for healing wounds, rashes, burns and dry skin.

 Flowers of this species are used in teas, tinctures, and broths as an antifungal and antibacterial. It is also used to cure gastro-intestinal diseases and peptic ulcers along with other skin related diseases

 

10. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple coneflower is one of the popular ornamental herbs that also has multiple health related benefits. So, amalgamation of beauty and healthy benefits made it a preferable medicinal herb for your home garden

These species are found to improve immunity, maintain blood sugar level, reduce anxiety & inflammation and promote skin health.  It is also used to cure cough and cold as well as to treat bronchitis and upper respiratory infection.

 

11. Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)

Urtica dioicaalso known as common nettle, nettle leaf or stinger is a perennial flowering herbs belonging to urticaceae family. This species are consumed by drying its leaf followed by cooking. These are rich in minerals, vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.

The leaves and seeds of stinging nettles are used as teas and foods that prevent allergies, treat arthritis and act as a kidney tonic. Beside these, it treats genital disorders such as Enlarged Prostate Symptoms, hay fever, lower blood pressure and aid in sugar level control.

 

12. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Botanists considers dandelion to be the herbs with great medicinal value. Leaves, stem, flowers and root of dandelion are used all over the world for medicinal purpose. This species is being used as a traditional medicine since age-old.

Dandelion contains high level of beta-carotene that are evident to be beneficial for curing eye-defects. Being an overly proven diuretic, this species helps to detoxify the body. It is also used to treat eczema, intestinal problems and arthritis. The leaves of dandelion helps to reduce blood sugar level too. We could easily understand from these benefits regarding why this species is recommended for your home garden.

 

What are your views on this species? Do you feel there are any other peculiar species besides these that should be included in the list of favorable medicinal herbs for your home garden? Please feel free to share your views and knowledge so that it would result in an interesting integrated shared learning approach for all of us. 

Your comments are heartily welcomed and highly appreciated. We “Learn Agro” team are always excited to share our knowledge with all of you. Happy Reading! Keep supporting! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What will be a better place than the moon garden to enjoy perfumed breezes, watch night flies, beetles & butterflies, and luminous flowering plants on a windy summer night? Planting a few night-blooming flowering species could relieve your stress and make you feel rejuvenated at night after a tiresome daytime. 

“Every Flower is a soul blossoming in nature”     – Gerard de Nerval

 

INTRODUCTION

The darkness of a long summer night offers dramatic opportunities to create a whole new landscape in the form of a night garden. With the commence of night time some specific night-blooming flower species become more prominent by reflecting the moonlight, adding color from its beauty for your guest to enjoy and spreading much more fragrant breezes that perfume night air as compared to their day blooming counter-parts. Many species only flower after dark and releases their perfumes to attracts pollinators.

But the selection of those specific flower species with hidden benefits and eye-soothing effects for your night garden is where most of the people fail.

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF NIGHT-BLOOMING FLOWERING PLANTS

  • Show 3 traits- white or light-colored blossoms, fragrance, and most summer flowers.
  • Almost all white blooms open at night.
  • Often open at twilight and close the next morning or next afternoon.
  • Strong sweet scents or flower aromas to attract pollinators such as moths, bats, beetles, butterflies, and so on.
  • Gardens with plants that primarily bloom in the evening and at night are sometimes called moon gardens too.

 

ADVANTAGES OF MOON GARDEN

  1. Relieve from stress and a long, hectic day.
  2. Flowers do not dry out or lose much nectar through evaporation at the night.
  3. Eye-soothing and pleasurable view of night bloom.
  4. Fewer pollinators may benefit pollinator-sensitive flower species.
  5. Refresh and enlighten your energy through flower aromas.

 

TOP 12 BEST FLOWERS RECOMMENDED FOR NIGHT GARDEN

To get you started, here are 12 best flowers recommended for a night garden or moonlit garden:

 

1. Orchid cactus flower (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) 

Night-blooming cereus or E. oxypetalum is also known as “Queen of the night”. This is a cool, semi-epiphytic plant with aerial roots and spectacular blooming capability belonging to the cactus family i.e. Cactaceae. This is a nocturnal white flowering species with a strong fragrance and evergreen foliage. 

It blooms at night and wilts in the morning. Due to its aesthetic beauty and aromatic fragrance, this is considered as one of the best flower species for moonlight garden.

 

2. White Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens)

Hydrangeas blooms are huge i.e. of 8 to 12 inches which starts with green flowering at the beginning stage of its growth. Then, it turns into white as the summer season arrives.

Hydrangea’s impressive blooms are a real eye-catcher during night time. It is one of the eye-soothing species favorable to get relieved from stressful days. For learning more on how to grow   Hydrangea’s- https://youtu.be/OEGMLngmFj4   please check this link. 

 

3. Night-flowering Jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)

This flowering species has a tiny flower but with fragrance flowing at a top. They are intensely fragrant, particularly during the night time.

The plants usually bloom from spring through fall. The aroma of the flower is so acute that it could spread up to 20 feet away and attracts many pollinators.

 

4. Four O’ Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)

These are multicolored flower species i.e. having pink, red, yellow, or white blossoms that open during the late afternoon till next morning but as soon as the temperature rises their flower wilt out.

On a cloudy day; they open earlier due to low temperature releasing their lemon spicy scent. Hence, these species are preferred for night garden due to their perfumes and aid in creating beautiful aesthetic landscapes.

 

5. Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)

This species is native to Northern America and is prolific throughout the United States. Sweet yellow flower of this species is very decorative with sweet aromatic smell.

This wildflower blooms at night particularly during the months of May to July and is believed to possess many medicinal properties that cure skin diseases and problems.

 

6. Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

Moonflower is one of the most beautiful flowering species to enjoy in your garden on a warm summer evening with a full moon overhead. This is a twinning, vine-like plants which bloom at night.

It brings ethereal magic in the garden with its mesmerizing beauty and eye-catching abilities. So, this species is preferred as one of the most attractive night garden species for your home garden.

 

7. Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa)

This species is one of the night-bloomer species producing long flowering spikes that could reach up to 4 feet tall and white blooms.

Besides the heavenly aromatic scent, these flower species reflect the moonlight during summer evenings. The bulb of this flower is also richly fragrant.

 

8. Flowering Tobaccos (Nicotiana)

The trumpet-like, night-scented flowers available in varieties or ranges of colors and choices could be a perfect pick for your moon garden. Based on the species, you could get a different sense of sweet-smelling fragrance, colorful flowers, or fleshy blue-green foliage.

These are frost-hardy species that add bold architectural presence. Nicotiana’s strong scent also attracts hummingbird moths with the commencement of dusk which makes it a more favorable species for your night garden.

 

9. Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

These are low growing bushy shrubs with shiny green leaves producing heavily fragrant white summer flowers. This is the only species of Gardenia grown indoors.

The flowers of this species are mainly popular for its aromas which give out a heady perfume so that we sit back in the garden and feel the nature to get refreshed.

 

10. White Chiffon (Hibiscus syriacus)

White Chiffon is also known as Rose of Sharon. This is a bushy deciduous shrub known for its large white flowers that may be up to 10 cm across. This species blooms continuously from late summer to fall.

This aids in creating a beautiful flower garden with eye-soothing effects. These species have bright colors blooms with sweet fragrance which specifies its importance in the night garden. For learning how to grow them please check the link https://youtu.be/w3tODlnMklQ

 

11. Night Phlox (Zaluzianskya ovata)

Night Phlox is also known as mid-night candy. This is compact evergreen species that blooms white scented flowers in the evening particularly for summer season and releases a delicious, honey-like fragrance.

This species is 12-14 inches tall that grows well in pot too. Its wonderful scent could be enjoyed in evening times so preferred for your night gardens.

 

12. Wisterias (Wisteria floribunda)

This species is also known as Japanese wisteria. Although many wisterias are scented Wisteria floribunda is believed to be the one with strongest scent at night. It could grow against wall of the house and spreads scent up to your windows too.

This flowering species of pea family carries a distinctive fragrances similar to that of grapes. It has the longest flower racemes among all wisterias. Due to the above-mentioned features it is one of the best preferred species for night gardens.

 

NOTE

  • Brugmansia and Datura are the poisonous flowering plants so, it is strongly recommended to avoid them.

Brugmansia

 

Datura

 

What are your views on this species? Do you feel there are other peculiar species besides these that should be included in the list of favorable night garden species? Please feel free to share your views and knowledge so that it would result in an interesting integrated shared learning approach for all of us. 

Your comments are highly appreciated. Happy Reading! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow indoors or outdoors, perfect for beginner gardeners. Hone your gardening expertise by growing lettuce and improve your hydroponic skills.

lettuce lettuce

Please check the following video for growing mint plant in home easily:

Introduction

Lettuce commonly known as Lactuca sativa is an annual leaf vegetable that belongs to the aster family. It is one of the most popular and everyone’s favorite garden vegetables throughout the world. Most Lettuce varieties are eaten fresh and raw and can also be served as green salads. North America and Europe commercialized the growth of Lettuce for the first time. Nowadays, It has been transported all over the world. 

lettuce

 

Climatic Condition

Lettuce is a cool-season crop that grows to its full potential in the spring and fall seasons. Low temperature is highly preferred because it can prevent these plants from flowering quickly. However, in warmer, temperate seasons requires an adequate amount of water or irrigation. Temperature is preferred around 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring season and late summer can be considered as the best season to grow Lettuce. Seedlings of Lettuce can barely tolerate light frost.

 

Types of Lettuce

  • Iceberg
  • Cosberg
  • Buttercrunch
  • Red/Green Oak
  • Red/Green coral
  • Endive, etc

 

Specialties

  • Lettuce plants can grow up to a height of 15-30 cm.
  • These plants can have tap roots or fibrous root systems.
  • Leaf colors of lettuce vary from green and deep red to purple and sometimes blue-teal.
  • They are found in a wide range of shapes and textures.
  • Generally, lettuce survives 65-130 days from planting to harvesting.

 

Variety of lettuce to grow

Butterhead, Romaine and Leaf lettuce are the most common varieties of lettuce to grow. The planting techniques for each type don’t differ at all, so you can pick up any kind of lettuce and grow any way you like.

 

Planting Techniques

All varieties of lettuce are flexible and can be grown using any method. The most common ways are as follows:

  • Directly sow the seeds in the soil
  • Indoor container method
  • Hydroponics

 

Growing medium

To grow lettuce, the soil needs to be well-drained. Natural compost such as humus soil is great for planting lettuce as it contains fallen leaves, dead plants, and animal matter decayed over time. Mixing the soil with perlite, coir, peat moss, etc. always provides the perfect balance for the healthy growth of the lettuces.

 

Steps to grow lettuce indoors by using a container

Take a shallow depth tray and fill it with growing medium as mentioned above

container container full with growing medium

Get some lettuce seeds and spread a couple of them in each slot.

lettuce seeds

Cover the container with the growing medium and pour some water on top of it.

spreading growing medium on top of the lettuce seeds spraying some water

Cover the container with light plastic wrap, so the moisture inside it won’t escape.

covering the container with a plastic wrap

After 4 days, you can see the seeds sprouting very well. Note: Watering is not required for a few days.

lettuce seeds sprouting after 4 days

Lettuces need light as well, so you can put them under growth lights or natural light. After 10 days, you can see the lettuce plants flourishing and tilting towards the growing light. Spray some water as well.

lettuce plants flourishing

After 21 days, you can see the lettuce growing taller, spread some more soil to strengthen the lettuce roots, and spray some water.

lettuce growing taller after 21 days spraying some soil on top

If you witness the roots getting longer as well, that means the lettuces need a lot of water, so don’t be afraid of the consequences of overwatering the plants as there are none.

lettuce roots getting longer watering the lettuce

After 35 days, the plants have grown vigorously. This also means that these lettuce plants are now ready to be transplanted.

lettuce after 35 days, ready to be transplanted

Now for transplanting, get any ordinary aluminum tray and make some holes on the bottom for drainage. Pour the growing medium almost full into the container.

aluminium container with holes on the bottom for transplantation aluminium container full with growing medium

You can transplant each to their independent container or all of them in a single container. Sprinkle some growing medium on top after transplantation is complete.

transplanting lettuce sprinkling some growing medium on top

Don’t forget to water every day, lettuces need tons of water to grow healthy.

watering the transplanted lettuce plants

After transplanting, place them again in the growing light. After 45 days you can see the plants have grown taller, which is a good sign that they are growing properly.

lettuce growing much tallerafter 35 days I lettuce growing much tallerafter 35 days II

At this stage, they are ready to be harvested. You can continue to grow it taller or prune external leaves that have grown taller so you can make your favorite salad.

harvesting long external leaves

Don’t forget to get rid of dying or decaying lettuce plants, they can affect other healthy plants as well.

pruning dead lettuce

 

Salad Recipe

salad

Grab a few romaine lettuce leaves and clean the leaves thoroughly with water.

lettuce leaves

Slice a cucumber into small pieces and mix it with the salad leaves.

mixing cucumber with salad

Slice and dice a few cherry tomatoes.

mixing cherry tomatoes with the salad

Add some cheese and mix it with olive oil.

mixing olive oil and cheese with the salad

 

Health Benefits

  1. It enhances and promotes the metabolism of the body.
  2. Maintain the hydration level of the body.
  3. Great source of Antioxidants.
  4. Reduces various heart problems.
  5. Maintain sugar level and lowers diabetes.
  6. It prevents the growth of cancer.
  7. Reduces fatigue and stress.
  8. Used as food to counteract the chances of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Nutritional Facts (1 cup shredded, 36 g of Lettuce plant contains)

  Source: https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/lettuce/

 

Calories: 5 KCal

Vitamin K: 37.92%

Vitamin A: 19.00%

Manganese: 3.91%

Iron:  3.88%

Vitamin C:  3.67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin):  0.029 mg (2.23%)

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):  0.025 mg (2.08%)

Isoleucine:  0.03 g (1.79%)

 

Interesting Fun Facts

  • Egyptians used to produce oil from lettuce seeds.
  • It is said that Lettuce was served on the tables of the Persian kings of the 6th century BC.
  • Ethylene can cause lettuce to ripen very fast.
  • Lettuce should not be stored or placed near apples, bananas.
  • The United States produces 70% of the total world’s lettuce plants.
  •  Christopher Columbus who is known for discovering America was the person who actually introduced lettuce to America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green leafy vegetables are not only believed to be an important part of a healthy diet but are considered to be best for enhancing your eyesight through its phytonutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids).

But, still the truth behind this need to be revealed with supportive facts and evidence. Let’s explore whether green leafy vegetables improve eyesight or not, and differentiate between reality and myth.

 

INTRODUCTION

Green leafy vegetables (GLVs) are believed to be a blessing for safe and a healthier life. These vegetables are being popular day by day due to increased awareness among consumers about natural and organic food. They can be used in both fresh forms as a salad or in the form of cooked/processed one. These are considered to be rich sources of nutrients such as ascorbic acid, vitamin K, magnesium, beta-carotene flavonoids with high fiber, low caloric value, and low lipids. Green vegetables are also considered to be good for eyesight and age-related eye diseases.

 

 

SOME SURVEYS  EXPLORING GREEN DIET-EYE HEALTH RELATIONSHIP

 

Randomized controlled trials (RCT) in the USA in 3640 individuals

Daily, long-term supplementation with vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (400 international units (IU)), beta-carotene (15 mg), zinc (80 mg, as zinc oxide), and copper (2 mg, as cupric oxide) reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) from 28% to 20%. This proves that green leafy vegetables could also reduce AMD to some extent.

 

Simple nutrition education intervention with the parents for night blindness in coastal area of Bangladesh

When parents were given nutritional education to grow leafy green vegetables containing a high source of vitamin in their garden the rate of night blindness among children drops from 4.1% to 0.47%. There were not any cases of night blindness in the study population after a certain intervention period.

 

A multi-center eye disease case-control study in the US

This study revealed that higher dietary intake of carotenoids i.e. lutein and zeaxanthin is associated with reduction of cataracts and AMD. This proves that green leafy vegetables have the potentiality to reduce eye problems with the help of its compound.

 

National Food Survey

This survey revealed that people of ages 40 to 59 who had consumed higher intakes of lutein are at a lower risk of developing advanced AMD.

 

American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Opthalmology (AAO) have recommended a higher intake of green leafy vegetables to improve eye health.

 

TRUTH BEHIND GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES FOR EYESIGHT AND EYE HEALTH 

 

GREEN AND LEAFY VEGETABLES FOR EYESIGHT

Although some fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, the precursors of vitamin A, there is still a dearth of evidence that exactly proves green leafy vegetables improve eye defects and promotes eye health.

 

Myopia (nearsightedness)

Many ophthalmologists and optometrists consider that myopia cannot be cured but can be reversed. But, the use of certain fruits and vegetables in your diet along with eye exercise could control myopia and prevents it from worsening.

 

Recommended food and related nutrients to control myopia

  • Fresh fruits like Carrot- Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and Fluoride.
  • Almonds, avocados, brown rice, cashew, lentils, and wheat bread- Magnesium.
  • Brazil nuts, shrimps, and brown rice- Selenium.
  • Onions and tomatoes- Chromium (Balance intraocular eye pressure).
  • Fortified milk, orange juice, yogurt, cheese- Vitamin D.
  • Lemons, tomatoes, strawberries, gooseberry- Vitamin C.

 

Hyperopia (farsightedness)

According to medical science, there is not any evidence of supplements that could cure hyperopia. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and LASIK surgery are only measures to cure farsightedness as per ophthalmology.

However, recent scientific research has confirmed that adding green leafy vegetables in your dietary plan could control these defects from worsening.

Recommended food and related nutrients to control hyperopia 

  • Grape seed extract- possesses antioxidant properties that destroy free radicals which cause damage to cornea and eye muscles.
  • Kale, spinach and collard greens contain a high level of lutein and zeaxanthin (only carotenoids of eye).
  • Citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries- Vitamin C.
  • Orange juice, Kiwis, cereals, and Broccoli- Vitamin D.
  •  Yogurt, milk, tofu, or cottage cheese- Calcium.
  • Spinach, avocados, almonds, and cashews- Magnesium.
  • Flax- Omega-3 essential fatty acid.

 

GREEN AND LEAFY VEGETABLES FOR EYE HEALTH

Incorporating green leafy vegetables in your daily meals could be beneficial if it is practiced parallel with eye exercise, and proper healthy and balanced diet for our eye health.

 

Cataract and its prevention

Clumps of protein (cataract) may form on the surface of the lens of eyes which limit the light passing into eyes. Many studies have predicted that green leafy vegetables could prevent cataracts.

 

Recommended green leafy vegetables for prevention of cataract

  1. Spinach
  2. Watercress
  3. Broccoli

Watercress is a highly recommended leafy vegetable as it contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, B6, B12, C, K, iron, calcium, magnesium, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are only compound among the 20 carotenoids that are found in the visual system. They reduce disability from glare, enhance contrast, and reduce photo stress recovery time.

 

Supplements (amount) recommended for preventing cataract

American Optometric Association has recommended the following amount of nutrients per day:

  • Vitamin C- greater or at least equal to 250 mg.
  • Vitamin E- greater or at least equal to 100 International unit (IU)
  • Lutein and Zeaxanthin (combined)- 6.9 mg

 

Macular degeneration

It refers to the deterioration of macula or retina’s focal point. This condition is one of the problems that arises usually with the age.

Antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin present in green leafy vegetables are found to be highly beneficial to prevent free radicals in your eyes that might kill healthy cells.

 

Recommended green leafy vegetables for prevention of macular degeneration

  1. Kale
  2. Spinach
  3. Squash
  4. Collard greens

Along with these leafy vegetable intakes of fruits like berries containing antioxidants, nuts and flax seeds are evident to be highly beneficial.

 

Supplements (amount) recommended for reducing macular degeneration

National Eye Institute (NEI) has suggested the following nutrients and their amount to reduce this age-related macular degeneration by 25%.

  • Vitamin C- 500 mg
  • Vitamin E- 400 IU
  • beta-carotene- 15 mg
  • Zinc- 80 mg ( in the form of zinc oxide)
  • Copper- 2 mg (in the form of cupric oxide)

 

Blue-light protection

Carotenoids present in eyes such as lutein and zeaxanthin help to filter blue rays reaching your eyes and thus, prevent retinal damage.

But, there is no such evidence that proves these compounds found in leafy vegetables could benefit the human eye when it is ingested. However, there is a possibility that it may lower the risk of digital eye-stain.

 

TOP 10 FOODS RECOMMENDED FOR IMPROVING EYE HEALTH AND PREVENTING EYE DEFECTS & DISEASES

 

Flax seeds ( as a supplement of fish and fish oil for Omega-3 supplements) 

 

Almonds and Cashews (For magnesium)

 

Spinach (For multivitamin supplements)

 

Carrots (Vitamin A or beta-carotene and fluoride)

 

Grapes (High anti-oxidant properties)

 

Bell peppers (best for macular degeneration)

 

Blueberries (For vitamin C)

 

Kale (For multivitamin supplements)

 

Broccoli (for multivitamin supplements)

 

 

Sweet potatoes (For Vitamin A)

 

REFERENCES

  • Lawrenson, J. G., & Downie, L. E. (2019). Nutrition and Eye Health.
  • Yusuf, H. K., & Islam, M. N. (1994). Improvement of night blindness situation in children through simple nutrition education intervention with the parents. Ecology of food and nutrition31(3-4), 247-256.
  • Abdel-Aal, E. S. M., Akhtar, H., Zaheer, K., & Ali, R. (2013). Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids and their role in eye health. Nutrients5(4), 1169-1185.
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321226.

 

CONCLUSION

Although eyesight defects such as myopia, hyperopia, cataract, and age-related macular degeneration cannot be cured completely; they could be controlled and prevented to some extent by the intake of the above-mentioned food species and following a medical procedure such as wearing glasses, using the lens and having medical eye surgery.

 

Please feel free to comment your questions and views regarding the fore-mentioned information. Your comment will be highly appreciated.

We “Learn Agro” team will be happy to quench your thirst and provide you with a handful of vital information. We believe in sharing and learning. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Flax are one of the first crop cultivated by humankind and are also know as super food these days. The ketogenic benefit of flax seeds has hiked their demand in todays market.  

It was primarily used for fiber but its hidden benefits lies within compound present in this species i.e. Omega-3 fatty acid (alternative supplements for fish and fish oil) which ameliorate heart health and improves overall eye health too.

Let’s learn about fast, easy and reliable breeding techniques of this valuable species at our home and explore its benefits.  

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Common flax (Alas or Alsi) is an annual plant thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region of Europe primarily for the production of fiber. Commercial production of fiber flax has been started since 1753 A.D. Flax was first introduced in the United States by colonists and grew on small field of flax for home use but with the increase in building construction; demand for flax rise high. After 1793, flax was substituted by cotton for fiber (linen) production which reduce its demand. But, recently people have again began to cultivate this species for extracting its health-related benefits.

Most of you might already have the idea of wildflower cousins of this species i.e. blue flax and scarlet flax as it is common in the United States too. Alike these species common flax is also cool season species which add beauty to garden and provides multiple other benefits.

 

USES 

  1. Linseed oil- to mix paints and protect woods.
  2. Linseed cake- to feed animals.
  3. Linen (Fiber)- for clothing.
  4. Flax seed- for ketogenic benefits.

 

EVERYDAY INTAKE / KETO BENEFIT 

Studies have show that everyday intake of ground flaxseeds should be at least be at least 10g (1 table spoon) but should not be more than 50g. That contains less than 5 grams of carbs.

Ground flaxseeds can be used in drinks or in bread spread or as per the consumer preference.

Flaxseed contains outer cover contain with high amount of fiber which if taken before meal make us feel less likely to eat more. It helps in less intake of carbs resulting in weight loss.

 

 

HEALTH BENEFITS (FLAX SEED)

It is available in the form of seeds, oil, powder, tablets, capsules and flour. People use it as dietary supplements to generate its benefits.

  1. Key ingredient for keto diet as it helps in loose wight and keep apatite low.
  2. Prevents Constipation and diabetes
  3. Omega-3 essential fatty acid i.e. good fat from flax seed protects against heart diseases.
  4. Remove free radicals from the body, lower the risk of prostate cancer in men.
  5. Improve cholesterol level in body.
  6. Ease the symptoms of arthritis.
  7. High fiber context improves digestive health.
  8. Lignin of flax seed exhibits anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties.
  9. Reduce the risk of breast cancer after menopause.
  10. Prevents lungs diseases, lowers blood pressure.
  11. Treatment of respiratory disorders, flu, common cold, fever and rheumatism.
  12. Improve bone health and fight against bone disease called as osteoporosis.

 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Two tablespoon of flax (100g) provides adequate or sufficient amount of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Besides this, they are also rich in vitamins and minerals.

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 3 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrate: 4 g (all keto food contain less than 5g carbs)
  • Fat: 6 g (omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Phosphorous: 100 milligram (mg)
  • Magnesium: 60 mg
  • Potassium: 120 mg

Source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet/flaxseed-what-superfood-offers-how-add-it-your-diet/

 

REQUIRED LOCATION TO GORW AND CLIMATIC CONDITIONS

Well-adapted in average to sandy well-drained soils. But, rich soil is optimum for its well growth.

Full sun site is preferred.

Crop-rotation i.e. cultivating different crops in same field every year need to be considered for reducing disease outbreak and improving yield.

Warm moist climate provides promising results for commercial flax production.

Doesn’t shows promising growth in heavy clay and wet conditions.

Planted in early spring and once it germinates, couldn’t be harmed by late spring frosts.

 

PLANTING METHODS (HOME GARDEN)

Recent trend has shown people growing flax seeds at home too. Let’s learn how to grow them.

Get a seed from nearby supermarket or seed store (Groceries).

 

Dig the soil (mix it with compost manure or organic manure if soil is poor).

 

Mix the soil well and smooth it with rake then spread seed evenly over the prepared soil at the rate of 1 table spoon of seed for every 1 square meter of planting space.

 

 

Cover the seed with 1 cm of soil and then water it using fine spray which should not remove soil cover and expose seed.

Keep them moist all the time

 

Water the soil regularly with fine spray for 15 days until the seed germinates. Then supplemental irrigation should be done for warm and windy weather period to make the soil cool and moist.

 

Mulching could be done to control weeds and conserve soil moisture.

 

 

Flax plants does not need fertilizers for rich soil but if soil is poor or low in nutrients for the plant then you could use organic manure. It will be enough for proper development of flax.

 

NOTE

Direct seeding is preferred rather than transplanting by cultivating in flat large pot.

 

HARVESTING

The flax seeds are harvested generally after 90 to 100 days.

At the time of harvesting there will be few flowers blooming and only few green leaves on the plant.

Could be identified by analyzing seeds i.e. 90% of the seeds turns brown.

Up rooting the plants is preferred.

Finally, bundle the stem and dry it for 3-5 weeks until the seeds dry out completely.

 

INTERESTING FUN FACTS

  • Flax fiber is stronger than cotton fiber but less elastic.
  • It is raw-materials for high quality paper industry.
  • Flax fiber is renewable and 100% recyclable.
  • Linen cloth made up of flax fiber are used to wrap the mummies of early Egyptian tombs.
  • Flax seeds are indigestible unless ground in powder form.
  • Linen was considered as symbol of purity in ancient Egypt.

 

 

 

 

 

Hydroponic crops consume almost 90% less water than that of a traditional method.

Hydroponic is the fastest growing sector of agriculture, and it could dominate food production very well in the future. Let’s find out why hydroponic is a very beneficial method.

hydroponics  hydroponics

Introduction

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in nutrient-fortified water, instead of in soil. It can also be termed as aquaculture or soilless culture. This technique is first introduced by Greek. The hydroponic method came in practice due to various problems faced by people due to climate-related events, urbanization, and natural disaster. The hydroponic method is gaining popularity all over the world because of efficient resources management as well as quality food production.

 

Types of Hydroponic system

Wick hydroponic system

This is one of the most simple hydroponic systems. It is cheap, manageable, and effortless compared to other active hydroponic systems as this system doesn’t involve any moving parts to work at all. The wicks are there to connect the growing medium and nutrients solution at either end. They transport nutrients from the solution reservoir into the growing medium such as perlite, coco coir, etc. 

wicking system

 

Water culture hydroponic system

It is an active hydroponic system, and compared to other active hydroponic systems it is one of the easiest/manageable. This approach involves plants floating on top of the solution with some sort of the medium in between so the plants don’t drown. This results in their roots dangling in a nutrient solution. An air pump is required to oxygenate the solution for the proper growth of the plant.

relocating mint plant where it receives much more sunlight

water culture technique

 

Nutrient Film Technique

This approach requires a constant flow of nutrient solution in the growing tub which flows through the tip of the roots with the help of a pump in the reservoir. The solution simply drains into the reservoir. Plants are generally suspended in the air just as in Aeroponics, so no growing mediums are required which minimizes the cost. There is also no need for oxygenating the solution since the plants are already suspended in the air. Since this method requires a constant flow of nutrient solution, any power outage can disrupt the process.

nutrient film technique

 

Ebb and flow

Ebb and flow are very much similar to the N.F.T approach as this also involves drowning the tip of roots in the nutrient solution except the nutrient solution is pumped between specific time intervals in the growth tray. The solution drains back into the reservoir at a slow pace. This system requires a pump hooked to a timer.

ebb and flow hydroponics

 

Aeroponics

It is one of the simple hydroponic systems which is similar to a Nutrient film technique. In this method, the roots of plants are mostly suspended in air and are misted with a nutrient solution. There are two methods to get the solution to the exposed roots. The very first method involves a fine spray nozzle to mist the roots of the plants whereas another method uses a pond fogger. Comparatively, the Aeroponics system can be considered as an expensive method.

aeroponics

 

Drip System

It is one of the simple and common hydroponic systems and is used mostly for commercial purposes. In this method, roots of plants are suspended in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water. Different slow draining mediums such as rock wool, coconut coir or peat moss, etc. should be used. Generally, This method is favorable to use on a large scale rather than small gardens.

 

 

Hydroponics at home

You can grow different plants in your home or indoor by building your own DIY hydroponic grow system. There are various DIY hydroponic system plans. Simple bucket hydroponic system in one of those plans which is absolutely a beginner material.

simple bucket hydroponics

Simple Bucket Hydroponic System:

It is one of the most simple hydroponic systems. For this setup, a 5-gallon bucket and some growing mediums like coco-pit or perlite-vermiculite along with some nutrient mix is required.

Capillary action is needed to move nutrients to the plant roots which is achieved using growing media. Water the plants and their roots manually.

Difficulty level: Beginner (1/5)

 

Advantages of hydroponics

  1. One of the most efficient ways of farming.
  2. Plants can be grown under any weather conditions provided that a hydroponic system is already in place; results in a growth rate much better than of traditional farming.
  3. Improves harvest quality and increases production by 3 to 4 folds or even more.
  4. No need to worry about any pests and diseases affecting the plants.
  5. Saves water.
  6. Nutrients are not wasted.
  7. No need to worry about spraying insecticides and pesticides affecting the plants.

 

Disadvantages of Hydroponics

  1. The hydroponic system requires a lot of time as well as commitment.
  2. Different knowledge and experiences should be gained.
  3. Generally, the Hydroponic system is expensive.
  4. Waterborne diseases can easily spread from one plant to another within an artificial environment.
  5. System failure as well as other threats are likely to occur.

 

Interesting fun facts of Hydroponics

  1. Hydroponic crops consume almost 90% less water than that of a traditional method. 
  2. No soil is required in the Hydroponic system.
  3. No seasonal disturbances while growing plants.
  4. Plants grow faster and larger in the Hydroponic system.
  5. In Hydroponic, crops don’t require any pesticide or any other chemicals for growing properly.

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