Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mansoa alliacea -- Garlic Vine

"Mansoa alliacea or Garlic Vine", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Mansoa alliacea, or garlic vine, is a species of tropical liana [jungle vines whose roots are in the earth, but which use tree trunks to climb skyward] in the trumpet-creeper family, Bignoniaceae. This spectacular bloomer is native to Central and South America, from Mexico to Brazil, and also known as Ajos Sacha ("false garlic" in Spanish). 

Two special features makes this plant somewhat unique. First, the blooms: Deep lavender flowers with a white throat fade to a paler lavender as they mature, finally fading to white. You can see 3 different colours of flowers at the same time on the plant. In the drawing I did, however, I chose to use just the one colour -- the colour of new blossoms. The vine blooms heavily twice a year: in Fall-Winter, and in Spring, although it may also have some flowers on and off throughout the year. Secondly, the leaves of the plant make it a conversation piece and give it its common name: undamaged leaves do not have much odour at all; however, crushed leaves smell strongly of garlic.  In spite of this smell, however, the plant is not related to the common edible onion or garlic. Thus, due to this strong smell, the plant can be and is used as a substitute for garlic in food when regular garlic is unavailable.

This vine is also used for medicinal purposes. The entire plant - roots, stems and leaves, is used medicinally it seems.  It is a very common and well respected plant remedy in the Amazon for the pain and inflammation of arthritis and rheumatism, as well as, colds, flu, and fever. Some capsule products of the leaves are sold in stores in Brazil and Peru, and it can be found as an ingredient in other various multi-herb formulas for colds, flu, pain, inflammation and arthritis in general. The use of ajos sacha is just catching on in the North American market.  A few products are now available and are showing up in some natural remedy formulas for colds and arthritis as well.

If any of you have ever used this remedy, I would really appreciate hearing from you as to its effectiveness.  Maybe it would help my arthritis!



At this point in his life, Braden turns everything into play!  All his activities look like play but so often they are part of his discovery of new things; his learning about how things work.  Whether he is pulling all his books off the bookshelf, figuring out the remote or swinging in the park, he is playing and learning all day long.  I look with wonder at photos of him for in them I can catch glimpses of how quickly he is changing and growing and developing.  What a marvelous thing to watch a child you love grow from that tiny infant into that unique person God has created him to be.

I predict that Braden may well be a voracious reader when he grows up, but never a librarian!!

I think men these days are born wanting to control the remote!
Like most guys, Braden loves the remote!

Braden swinging at the park.  His mom says he really enjoys the swings.  Personally, I think he
may just like checking out any little girls who happen be in the park with their mom or dad!!  



"Suki close-up", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013
First, let me mention the drawing of Suki.  I have seen several close-up photos of cats recently and these made me want to try doing something similar with a drawing.  Of course, Suki did not want to sit as a model.  The moment I got her position just right, she would yawn, stretch and go back to sleep!  

Finally I gave up and just used a photo that showed the side of Suki's head.  In the process of trying to do this drawing, I discovered that a black cat is possibly the worst choice when it comes to creating a close-up of interest!  It finally occurred to me that the eye and the background are the sources of light and so these have to "carry" the drawing.   In fact, the background became so interesting to me that I decided to make the centre of interest the streak of blue/purple light and Suki's nose.  

After I had finished, I showed Suki her portrait.  She yawned, stretched and went back to sleep.  Oh, well, I guess I should be grateful that she didn't take a look and suddenly bolt for her bed in the back of the closet!  If you have any comments, positive or negative, please feel free to pass them along.

I, myself, am doing much the same.  I saw my family doctor today and she read over the recent reports from the various specialists I have seen recently while I was there.  

There was little that was new or that I did not already -- except for one item.  I now know for certain that I have a new condition known as "Dupuytren's Contracture". 

Never heard of it?  Well, I hadn't either until recently when I began to notice something "growing" under the skin of my right palm combined with a slight inward curling of my ring finger and small finger in particular.  My own research led me to this disease and then my suspicions were confirmed today by my doctor.  The literature says that 
"it is a condition that causes connective tissue under the skin of your palm to thicken and become scar-like.  While it isn't painful (thank goodness) it does restrict movement."  
I understand that while injections can break up this thickening somewhat, surgery by a plastic surgeon may be eventually required!

Well, all I can say is thanks be to God that it won't keep me from being able to use a computer mouse so I will be able to keep drawing.  One blessing will be that no one will ever again expect me to shake hands at the sign of peace at Mass (I much prefer a nice, Oriental-type bow)!

As I said previously, all my other issues remain much the same and need no further discussion at this time.  Which means that I am basically doing reasonably well.  It has felt especially wonderful these past days to go outside wearing light clothes and no boots.  How marvelous warmer weather and sunshine seem -- especially when you have been without them for as long as we have here in my part of Canada.  

I pray that all of you are doing well.  I know that there are a number of places in Canada and in other parts of the world where there are real problems at the moment with flooding.  My prayers are especially with these folks as they face another season of damaged homes and property.  I hope my readers will join me in praying for these folks as well.

And finally I express my constant hope that we may all know the peace of God which can only be ours if we are in right relation with Him -- the One who created us and loves us infinitely more than we can know or imagine -- the One who yearns passionately that we might choose Him so that we can spend eternity living in that love.  God bless you all.                                                                                                                                                                                   

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