Monthly Archives: November 2012

Krameria triandra

Botanical Name : Krameria triandra
Family: Krameriaceae
Genus: Krameria
Species: triandra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zygophyllales

Common names: Ratanya, Rhatany

Habitat :Krameria triandra is native to the Andes Mountains in Bolivia and Peru.

Krameria triandra is a perennial shrubs which act as root parasites on other plants. The flowers have glands called elaiophores which produce a lipid which is collected by bees of the genus Centris as they pollinate the flowers.It is low Peruvian plant, shrubby, with numerous procumbent and branching stems about an inch in diameter. Leaves alternate, sessile, oval, silky. Flowers single, axillary or terminal, on pedicels subtended by two bracts; calyx of four silky sepals; corolla of five unequal, spreading, lake-colored petals; stamens three. Fruit a one-celled globular drupe, covered with stiff, reddish hairs.

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The root of rhatany comes to market in cylindrical pieces of various lengths, and in diameters from an eighth of an inch to two inches. The bark is reddish-brown, brittle, and easily separable from the yellowish-red center. The chief medicinal strength lies in the bark, which contains about forty percent of tannic acid. It has a pleasant smell; and yields its properties to water and diluted alcohol, which it colors dull-red.

Chemical Constituents:
D-catechin, Dl-catechin, Epicatechin, Gambir-catechin, Geoffroyine, Gum, N-methyl-tyrosine, Phlobaphene, Phloroglucin, Proanthocyanidins, Procyanidins, Propelargonidin, Protocatechuic-acid, Ratanine, Rhatany-tannic-acid, Rhatany-tannic-acid, Tannin, Wax

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent, Antiasthmatic, Antiherpetic, Antioxidant, Antitussive, Antiviral, Bactericide, Fungicide, Pesticide Styptic, Tonic, Vulnerary

Rhatany is a powerful astringent that was retained in the official pharmacopea until recently.  It may be used wherever an astringent is indicated, that is, in diarrhea, hemorrhoids, hemorrhages or as a styptic.  Rhatany is often found in herbal toothpastes and powders as it is especially good for bleeding gums. It can be used as a snuff with bloodroot to treat nasal polyps.  The plant’s astringency makes it effective when used in the form of an ointment, suppository, or wash for treating hemorrhoids.  Rhatany may also be applied to wounds to help staunch blood flow, to varicose veins, and over areas of capillary fragility that may be prone to easy bruising.   Gargle the tea or diluted tincture for acute or lingering sore throat.  It can be combined for this purpose with Yerba Mansa or Echinacea.  For diarrhea, combine with Silk Tassel (for cramps) and Echinacea (immunostimulant), and with either Trumpet Creeper, Desert Willow or Tonadora (for Candida) and Chaparro Amargosa (Protozoas).  For a hemorrhoidal salve and rectal fissure ointment, use either alone or with Echinacea flowers as a salve.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider



Ononis spinosa

Botanical Name : Ononis spinosa
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Ononis
Species: O. spinosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Name :Spiny restharrow or just Restharrow

Other Names; Finweed, Ground Furze, Harrow Rest, Horse’s Breath, Lady-whin, Wild Liquorice,  Rassels,  Whin, Cat Whin.

Habitat :Ononis spinosa is native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.It is found throughout much of Europe but seldom as far north as Scotland. It can usually be found on rough and scrubby pastures, on hillsides and sandy shores.

Ononis spinosa is a perennial subshrub (usually lower than 1 meter). It has spiny, prostrate stems and tough roots. Leaves are lance-shaped, coarsely toothed. Flowers appear in June, July and August. Solitary or paired flowers are borne in axils. They are either stalkless or on small, short stalks.  Flowers are pink, purple or white in color, being similar to Lotus flower.

You may click to see the pictures of Ononis spinosa

Chemical Constituents: Onocerin, sitosterol, isoflavones, ononin, essential oil

Medicinal use: The plant is considered to be antitussive, diuretic, laxative and lithontripic. Traditionally Rest Harrow had been used in treatment of skin ulcers. A decoction made from the leaves and stem is used in treatment of various skin conditions, and also as a revitalizing skin toner. An infusion made from the root is used in treatment of dropsy, kidney and bladder inflammations. Rest Harrow root is beneficial in treatment of urinary tract infections, gout, joint and muscle pain.
Safety: Rest Harrow shouldn’t be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and in cases of fluid retention and edema. Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore it is advisable to contact your doctor/herbalist before consumption of any herb.

For excess fluid retention, Ononis spinosa is best taken as a short-term treatment, in the form of an infusion.  The root contains a fixed oil that is anti-diuretic and an essential oil that is diuretic. If the diuretic action is required then the root should be infused and not decocted or the essential oil will be evaporated. It is also of value in treating gout and cystitis.  An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, inflammation of the bladder and kidneys, rheumatism and chronic skin disorders.  A cough mixture is made from

Safety Features:: Ononis spinosa shouldn’t be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and in cases of fluid retention and edema. Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore it is advisable to contact your doctor/herbalist before consumption of any herb

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


Cercis canadensis

Botanical Name :Cercis canadensis
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Cercis
Species: C. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Name : Redbud or Eastern redbud

Habitat : Cercis canadensis is native to eastern North America from Southern Ontario, Canada south to northern Florida.

Cercis canadensis typically grows to 6–9 m (20–30 ft) tall with a 8–10 m (26–33 ft) spread. It generally has a short, often twisted trunk and spreading branches. A 10-year-old tree will generally be around 5 m (16 ft) tall. The bark is dark in color, smooth, later scaly with ridges somewhat apparent, sometimes with maroon patches. The twigs are slender and zigzag, nearly black in color, spotted with lighter lenticels. The winter buds are tiny, rounded and dark red to chestnut in color. The leaves are alternate, simple, heart shaped with an entire margin, 7–12 cm (3-5 inches) long and wide, thin and papery, and may be slightly hairy below.

The flowers are showy, light to dark magenta pink in color, 1.5 cm (½ inch) long, appearing in clusters from Spring to early Summer, on bare stems before the leaves, sometimes on the trunk itself. The flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees such as blueberry bees and carpenter bees. Short-tongued bees apparently cannot reach the nectaries. The fruit are flattened, dry, brown, pea-like pods, 5–10 cm (2-4 inches) long that contain flat, elliptical, brown seeds 6 mm (¼ inch) long, maturing in August to October.

In some parts of southern Appalachia, green twigs from the eastern redbud are used as seasoning for wild game such as venison and opossum. Because of this, in these mountain areas the eastern redbud is sometimes known as the spicewood tree.

In the wild, eastern redbud is a frequent native understory tree in mixed forests and hedgerows. It is also much planted as a landscape ornamental plant. The leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, for example the Io moth (Automeris io).

A small tree with a sturdy upright trunk which divides into stout branches that usually spread to form a broad flat head. Found on rich bottom lands throughout the Mississippi River valley; will grow in the shade and often becomes a dense undergrowth in the forest. Very abundant in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and eastern Texas. Hardy far north; grows rapidly; is a satisfactory ornamental tree. Many trees are sterile and produce no fruit. It is also known as the Judas tree.

This tree is difficult to grow as far west as western Kansas and Colorado, as there is not sufficient water. Its far northern range of growth is southern New England. It grows well in New York State, New Jersey and southward.

You may click to see the pictures of  Cercis canadensis   

*Bark: Red brown, with deep fissures and scaly surface. Branchlets at first lustrous brown, later become darker.

*Wood: Dark reddish brown; heavy, hard, coarse-grained, not strong. Sp. gr., 0.6363; weight of cu. ft. 39.65 lbs.

* Winter buds: Chestnut brown, obtuse, one-eighth inch long.

* Leaves: Alternate, simple, heart-shaped or broadly ovate, two to five inches long, five to seven-nerved, chordate or truncate at the base, entire, acute. They come out of the bud folded along the line of the midrib, tawny green; when they are full grown they become smooth, dark green above, paler beneath. In autumn they turn bright clear yellow. Petioles slender, terete, enlarged at the base. Stipules caduceous.

*Flowers: April, May, before and with the leaves, papilionaceous. Perfect, rose color, borne four to eight together, in fascicles which appear at the axils of the leaves or along the branch and sometimes on the trunk itself.

*Calyx: Dark red, campanulate, oblique, five-toothed, imbricate in bud.

*Corolla: Papilionaceous, petals five, nearly equal, pink or rose color, upper petal the smallest, enclosed in the bud by the wings, and encircled by the broader keel petals.

*Stamens: Ten, inserted in two rows on a thin disk, free, the inner row rather shorter than the others.

*Pistil: Ovary superior, inserted obliquely in the bottom of the calyx tube, stipitate; style fleshy, incurved, tipped with an obtuse stigma.

*Fruit: Legume, slightly stipitate, unequally oblong, acute at each end. Compressed, tipped with the remnants of the style, straight on upper and curved on the lower edge. Two and a half to three inches long, rose color, full grown by midsummer, falls in early winter. Seeds ten to twelve, chestnut brown, one-fourth of an inch long -can be made to germinate by first dipping in boiled (99C) water (very hot) for a minute and then sowing in a pot (do not boil the seeds); cotyledons oval, flat

C. canadensis is grown in parks and gardens, with several cultivars being available. The cultivar ‘Forest Pansy’, with purple leaves, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Edible Uses:
Native Americans consumed redbud flowers raw or boiled, and ate roasted seeds. Analysis of nutritional components in edible parts of eastern redbud reported that:

*The flower extract contains anthocyanins,

*Green developing seeds contained proanthocyanides, and

*Linolenic, alpha-linolenic, oleic and palmitic acids to be present in seeds

Medicinal Uses:
Cercis canadensis inner bark and root can be made into a tea or decoction. This was used by different Native American Indian tribes to clear lung congestion, for whooping cough, to prevent nausea and vomiting, and to break fevers.  It has also been used for diarrhea, dysentery, and leukemia.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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Lamium purpureum

Botanical Nanme : Lamium purpureum
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Lamium
Species: L. purpureum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name :Red Deadnettle, Purple Deadnettle, or Purple Archangel

Habitat : Lamium purpureum is native to Europe and Asia.

Lamium purpureum is a herbaceous flowering plant.It grows to 5–20 cm (rarely 30 cm) in height. The leaves have fine hairs, are green at the bottom and shade to purplish at the top; they are 2–4 cm long and broad, with a 1–2 cm petiole (leaf stalk), and wavy to serrated margins.

You may click to see pictures of Lamium purpureum 

The zygomorphic flowers are bright red-purple, with a top hood-like petal, two lower lip petal lobes and minute fang-like lobes between.They may be produced throughout the year, including mild weather in winter. This allows bees to gather its nectar for food when few other nectar sources are available. It is also a prominent source of pollen for bees in March/April (in UK), when bees need the pollen as protein to build up their nest.

It is often found alongside Henbit Deadnettle (Lamium amplexicaule), which is easily mistaken for it since they both have similar looking leaves and similar bright purple flowers; they can be distinguished by the stalked leaves of Red Deadnettle on the flower stem, compared to the unstalked leaves of Henbit Deadnettle.

Edible Uses:
Young plants have edible tops and leaves, good in salads or in stirfry as a spring vegetable. If finely chopped it can also be used in sauces, but there is little to recommend about its flavour.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves, when bruised and used as a poultice, are said to staunch blood flowing from a deep cut.  The dried herb, made into a tea and sweetened with honey, promotes perspiration and acts on the kidneys, being useful in cases of chill.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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Smilax lanceolata

Botanical Name : Smilax lanceolata
Family : Smilacaceae
Gender : Smilax
Species : S. laurifolia
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Liliopsida
Subclass: Liliidae
Order : Liliales

*Parillax laurifolia (L.) Raf.
*Smilax alba Pursh
*Smilax hastata var. lanceolata (L.) Pursh
*Smilax lanceolata L.
*Smilax laurifolia var. bupleurifolia A.DC.
*Smilax reticulata Std.

Common Name :Red China Root

Habitat : Smilax lanceolata is native to South-eastern N. America – New Jersey to Florida and Texas.It grows on swamps and low ground. Moist woods and thickets. Bays, bogs, pocosins, swamp margins, marshy banks.

Smilax laurifolia is an evergreen Climber growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). It is a vine that forms extensive colonies woody, with rhizomes irregularly branched, tuberous. Stems perennial cylindrical reaching 5 + m in length and 15 mm in diameter, dark spines, flat 12 mm rigid. The leaves are evergreen, ± evenly arranged, with petiole 0.5-1.5 cm, green undersides, dried light brown to brownish green, oblong-elliptic, lance-elliptic, or sometimes linear or broadly ovate , leathery. The inflorescence in umbels numerous, axillary to leaves, branches usually short, 5-12 (-25) flowers. The perianth yellow, cream or white, petals 4-5 mm. The fruits as berries ovoid, 5-8 mm, shiny black, glaucous. The stems of Smilax laurifolia are brutally armed with thorns.

You may click to see the pictures of  Smilax lanceolata :

It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Succeeds in most soils in sun or semi-shade. This species is not very hardy in Britain. It succeeds outdoors in S.W. England, but even there it is best when grown against a wall. The fruit takes two growing seasons to ripen. The stems have viscious thorns. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required

Seed – sow March in a warm greenhouse. This note probably refers to the tropical members of the genus, seeds of plants from cooler areas seem to require a period of cold stratification, some species taking 2 or more years to germinate. We sow the seed of temperate species in a cold frame as soon as we receive it, and would sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if we could obtain it then. When the seedlings eventually germinate, prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first year, though we normally grow them on in pots for 2 years. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in early spring as new growth begins. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer. Cuttings of half-ripe shoots, July in a frame

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Root – cooked. Rich in starch , it can be dried and ground into a powder to be used as a flavouring in soups etc or for making bread. The root can be up to 15cm thick. Young shoots – cooked. Used as an asparagus substitute.

Medicinal Uses:

Astringent;  Birthing aid;  Poultice;  Rubefacient;  Tonic.

The stem prickles have been rubbed on the skin as a counter-irritant to relieve localised pains, muscle cramps and twitching. A tea made from the leaves and stems has been used in the treatment of rheumatism and stomach problems. The wilted leaves are applied as a poultice to boils. A tea made from the roots is used to help the expelling of afterbirth. Reports that the roots contain the hormone testosterone have not been confirmed, they might contain steroid precursors, however . The root bark is astringent and slightly tonic. An infusion of the root bark has been used as a wash in treating burns, sores and pox.

Chop and boil a small handful of roots in 3 cups of water to use as a pleasant tasting blood tonic and for fatigue, anemia, acidity, toxicity, rheumatism, and skin conditions.  Drink with milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg to strengthen and proliferate red blood cells.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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