Category Archives: Herbs & Plants

Masterwort

Botanical Name: Imperatoria ostruthium
Family:
Apiaceae
Genus:
Peucedanum
Species:
P. ostruthium
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Apiales

Common Name: Masterwort

Habitat :Masterwort is native to the mountains of Central and Southern Europe, including the Carpathians, Alps, northern Apennines, Massif Central and isolated occurrences in the Iberian Peninsula. It has, however, been widely introduced and cultivated and its native range is therefore not entirely clear.It grows in woodland, damp fields, river banks and mountain meadows.
Description:
Masterwort is a smooth, perennial plant, the stout, furrowed stem growing 2 to 3 feet high. The dark-green leaves, which somewhat resemble those of Angelica, are on very long foot-stalks and are divided into `three leaflets, each of which is often again sub-divided into three. The umbels of flowers are large and many-rayed, the corollas white; the fruit has very broad wings…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position. Dislikes shade. This report contradicts the report that this plant grows wild in woodlands. Masterwort was at one time cultivated as a pot herb and for medicinal purposes, though it has now fallen into virtual disuse. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden.

Propagation:
Seed – It is suggested to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – cooked. Used as a potherb or as a flavouring. The aromatic roots can be used as a flavouring. They are said to taste hotter than pepper. A particularly popular drink is made from the fermented roots.

Part Used in medicine: The Root.

Chemical constituents:
The plant is a source of coumarins, including oxypeucedanin, ostruthol, imperatorin, osthole, isoimperatorin and ostruthin.

Medicinal Uses:
Stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative; of use in asthma, dyspepsia, menstrual complaints.
Masterwort is little used in modern herbalism, but it may well be a herb that bears further investigation. It was held in high regard in the Middle Ages where it was especially valued for its ability to resolve all flatulence in the body and stimulate the flow of urine and menstruation. It was also used in treating rheumatic conditions, shortness of breath, kidney and bladder stones, water retention and wounds. The root is antispasmodic, aromatic, bitter, strongly carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant and stomachic. It is of use in the treatment of asthma, dyspepsia and menstrual complaints, an infusion helps to relieve migraine. The root is gathered in the spring or autumn and dried for later use. An essential oil from the plant has a euphoric and odontalgic effect. Used externally, it relieves skin irritation. When used externally, the plant or the extracted essential oil can cause an allergic reaction to sunlight. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. No details of its applications are given.
Known Hazards: Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. It is also said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Imperatoria+ostruthium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/master22.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peucedanum_ostruthium

Peucedanum officinale

Botanical Name : Peucedanum officinale
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Peucedanum
Species: P. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Sow Fennel. Sulphurwort. Chucklusa. Hoar Strange. Hoar Strong. Brimstonewort. Milk Parsley. Marsh Parsley. Marsh Smallage.
(French) Persil des Marais.
(German) Sumpfsilge.

Common Names: Hog’s Fennel, Sulphurweed, Hoar Strange, Hoar Strong

Habitat:Peucedanum officinale or the Hog’s Fennel is a a native of Great Britain.It is found mainly in Central Europe and Southern Europe. It grows on rough grassland, clayey banks and cliffs near the sea.
Description:
Peucedanum officinale is a herbaceous perennial plant with stems up to 2 m in height, solid, striate, sometimes weakly angled, sparsely blotched wine red, surrounded by fibrous remains of petioles at the base and springing from a stout rootstock. The umbels of greenish-yellow flowers contrast pleasingly with the bushy, radiating mass of dark green, long-petioled leaves, which bear linear, sessile lobes, attenuate at both ends and having narrow, cartilaginous margins (i.e., individual lobes resembling blades of grass)
Flowers bloom from July to September. Its leaves are cut into long narrow segments, hence perhaps its popular name of Hog’s Fennel....CLICK & SEE HE PICTURES

The thick root has a strong odour of sulphur – hence one of the other popular names of the plant, Sulphurwort, and when wounded in the spring, yields a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green juice, which dries into a gummy resin and retains the strong scent of the root.

This plant is now naturalized in North America, where in addition to the name of Sulphurwort, it is called Chucklusa.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position[200]. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses:The gum.
Part Used in medicines : The whole Herb.

Constituents: The active constituent of the root is Peucedanin, a very active crystalline principle, stated to be diuretic and emmenagogue.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antispasmodic; Aperient; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Pectoral.

The plant is anodyne, antispasmodic, aperient, diaphoretic, diuretic and pectoral. An infusion is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchial catarrh etc[9]. The root is mainly used, it is harvested in the spring or autumn and dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. It is used in the treatment of bronchial catarrh, coughs, intermittent fevers and to stimulate menstrual flow.

The long stout taproot – ‘black without and white within’ and sometimes ‘as big as a man’s thigh’, as Gerard has it – yields,when incised in Spring, a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green latex, which dries into a gummy oleoresin and retains the strong, sulphurous scent of the root. This harvesting technique,and the product so obtained, very much recall those of two other medicinal umbellifers: Ferula assa-foetida and Dorema ammoniacum. A decoction of the root of P. officinale is diuretic, sudorific, antiscorbutic and controls menstruation. Gummi Peucedani, the oleoresin derived from the drying of the root latex, has properties similar to those of Gum Ammoniac (the oleoresin derived from Dorema ammoniacum). Peucedanum officinale has also been used in veterinary medicine

The juice used with vinegar and rose-water, or with a little Euphorbium put to the nose benefits those that are troubled with the lethargy, frenzy or giddiness of the head, the falling sickness, long and inveterate headache, the palsy, sciatica and the cramp, and generally all the diseases of the sinews, used with oil and vinegar. The juice dissolved in wine and put into an egg is good for a cough or shortness of breath, and for those that are troubled with wind. It also purgeth gently and softens hardness of the spleen…. A little of the juice dissolved in wine and dropped into the ears or into a hollow tooth easeth the pains thereof. The root is less effectual to all the aforesaid disorders, yet the powder of the root cleanseth foul ulcers, and taketh out splinters of broken bones or other things in the flesh and healeth them perfectly; it is of admirable virtue in all green wounds and prevents gangrene.’
Other Uses: The root is wounded in the spring and then yields a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green juice which dries into a gummy resin and retains the strong sulphur-like smell of the plant. The gum of Ferula communis is used as an incense and also has medicinal value.

.
Known Hazards: Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people[65, 218]. It is also said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine.

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.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peucedanum_officinale
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fenhog05.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Peucedanum+officinale

Euphorbia resinifera

 

Botanical Name: Euphorbia resinifera
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. resinifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Euphorbia officinarum. Poisonous Gum-Thistle. Dergmuse. Darkmous. Euphorbium Bush. Gun Euphorbium.

Habitat:  Euphorbia resinifera grows in the slopes of the Great Atlas range in Morocco.

Description:    Euphorbia resinifera is a leafless perennel shrub growing about 4 feet in height, resembling a cactus in appearance forming multi-stemmed cushion-shaped clumps up . It has many branches. The stems are erect, succulent, four-angled, with short but sharp pairs of 6 mm spines on the angles, spaced about 1 cm apart up the stem..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are small, simple, and bright yellow, and the fruit a small capsule with one seed in each cell. Specimens sent to Kew in 1870 have never flowered, but others have done so in Paris. Both Pliny and Dioscorides knew the drug, and its name is classical.

The milky juice is collected from incisions made in the fleshy branches, and is so acrid that it burns the fingers. It flows down the stems and encrusts them as it hardens in the sun. Poor Arabs bring in the resinous masses for sale in Morocco, whence it is chiefly exported from Mogador. The dust is so intensely irritant to the mucous membrane that the mouth and nose of those handling it must be covered by a cloth.

In commerce the drug is found in yellowish-brown ‘tears’ that have a waxy appearance. They are almost transparent, slightly aromatic only when heated, and often pierced with holes made by the prickles of the plant while drying. The taste is slight, but becomes very acrid.

It is said to be employed as an ingredient of paint used for preserving ships’ bottoms.

Part Used in medicines: Concrete resinous juice.

Constituents: The chief constituent is resin, and it also contains wax, calcium malate, potassium malate, lignin, bassorin, volatile oil, and water, with no soluble gum. Another analysis gives euphorbone, euphorbo-resene, euphorbic acid, calcium malate, a very acrid substance not yet isolated, and vegetable debris.

The acrid resin is soluble in alcohol, and will burn brilliantly, becoming very aromatic.

The powder is yellowish, and violently sternatatory.

Medicinal Uses:
The internal use of the drug has been abandoned, owing to the severity of its action. It is an irritant emetic and cathartic. Its chief use is as a vesicant, and principally in veterinary practice. It has been used in dropsy; mixed with cantharides as a ‘gout plaister'; and as an errhine in chronic brain, ear, or eye complaints, sometimes mitigated with the powder of Convallaria maialis, but accidents have led to its use being discontinued.

In commerce the drug is found in yellowish-brown ‘tears’ that have a waxy appearance. They are almost transparent, slightly aromatic only when heated, and often pierced with holes made by the prickles of the plant while drying. The taste is slight, but becomes very acrid.

Other Uses:  

It is said to be employed as an ingredient of paint used for preserving ships’ bottoms.

At Mogador, the branches are used for tanning leather.
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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphorbia_resinifera
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/spurge84.html

Ulmus campestris

Botanical Name: Ulmus campestris
Family: Ulmaceae
Genus: Ulmus
Species: U. minor
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Ulmi cortex. Broad-leaved Elm. Ulmus suberosa (var. Orme).
Habitat: Ulmus campestris grows in Europe, Asia, North Africa. The tree’s typical habitat is low-lying forest along the main rivers, growing in association with oak and ash, where it tolerates summer floods as well as droughts.

Description:
Ulmus campestris typically grows to < 30 m and bears a rounded crown. The bark of the trunk is rough, furrowed lightly in older trees to form a block pattern. Young branchlets occasionally have corky wings. The shoots are slender compared with those of wych elm. The leaves are smaller than those of the other European species, hence the specific epithet minor, however they can vary greatly according to the maturity of the tree. Leaves on juvenile growth (suckers, seedlings etc.) are coarse and pubescent, whereas those on mature growth are generally smooth, though remaining highly variable in form; there are generally fewer than 12 pairs of side veins. A common characteristic is the presence of minute black glands along the leaf veins, detectable with the aid of a magnifying glass. The samarae are typically ovate and notched, the notch extending to the central seed…..CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

The species readily produces suckers from roots and stumps, even after devastation by Dutch elm disease; consequently genetic resources are not considered endangered.

Cultivation:
Owing to its susceptibility to Dutch elm disease, U. minor is now uncommon in cultivation. However, in an ongoing project that began in the 1990s, several thousand surviving Field Elms have been tested for innate resistance by national research institutes in the EU, with a view to returning Field Elm to cultivation. Results from Spain (2013), for example, confirm that a very small number of surviving Field Elms (about 0.5% of those tested) appear to have comparatively high levels of tolerance of the disease, and it is hoped that a controlled crossing of the best of these will produce resistant Ulmus minor hybrids for cultivation.

In the UK, despite its late leaf-flush in the north and its suckering habits, continental Ulmus minor was occasionally planted as an ornamental urban tree. Augustine Henry wrote in 1913 that the U. minor planted in parks in Scotland were of French origin. Among mature survivors in Edinburgh (2013), the specimen in the grounds of Holyrood Palace, opposite Abbeyhill Crescent, the elm at the corner of Granton Road and Boswall Road in the forecourt of the former Royal Forth Yacht Club, and the elm on the corner of Abbey Mount and Regent Road, appear old enough to fall into this category.

Ulmus campestris has been introduced to the southern hemisphere, notably Australasia and Argentina.

Part Used in medicines: The dried inner bark.

Constituents: Analyses of Elm wood show 47.8 per cent of lime, 21.9 of potash and 13.7 of soda.

A peculiar vegetable principle, called Ulmin or Ulmic Acid, was first discovered in the gummy substance which spontaneously exudes in summer from the bark of the Common Elm, becoming by the action of the air a dark-brown, almost black substance, without smell or taste, insoluble in cold sparingly soluble in boiling water, which it colours yellowish-brown, soluble in alcohol and readily dissolved by alkaline solutions.

The inner bark is very mucilaginous, and contains a little tannic acid which gives it a somewhat bitter and slightly astringent taste, it also contains a great deal of starch.

Medicinal Uses:
Tonic, demulcent, astringent and diuretic. Wasformerly employed for the preparation of an antiscorbutic decoction recommended in cutaneous diseases of a leprous character, such as ringworm. It was applied both externally and internally. Under the title of Ulmus the dried inner bark was official in the British Pharmacopoeia of 1864 and 1867 directions for the preparation of Decoc. Ulmi being as follows: Elm Bark 1 part, water 8 parts; boil for 10 minutes, strain, make up to 8 parts.

A homoeopathic tincture is made of the inner bark, and used as an astringent.

Fluid extract, dose 2 to 4 oz. three or four times daily.

A medicinal tea was also formerly made from the flowers.

In Persia, Italy and the south of France, galls, sometimes the size of a fist, are frequently produced on the leaves. They contain a clear water called eau d’orme, which is sweet and viscid, and has been recommended to wash wounds, contusions and sore eyes. Culpepper tells us:
‘the water that is found in the bladders on the leaves of the elm-tree is very effectual to cleanse the skin and make it fair.’

Towards autumn, these galls dry, the insects in them die and there is found a residue in the form of a yellow or blackish balsam, called beaume d’ormeau, which has been recommended for diseases of the chest.
Other Uses:
All parts of the tree, including sapwood, are used in carpentry. The wood is close-grained, free from knots, hard and tough, and not subject to splitting, but it does not take a high polish. It does not crack when once seasoned and is remarkably durable under water, being specially adapted for any purpose which requires exposure to wet. To prevent shrinking and warping in drying, it may be preserved in water or mud, but is best worked up soon after felling. In drying, the wood loses over 60 per cent of its weight.

Elm wood is used for keels and bilge planks, the blocks and dead eyes of rigging and ship’s pumps, for coffins, wheels, furniture, turned articles and general carpenter’s work. Elm boards are largely used for lining the interior of carts, wagons and wheelbarrows on account of the extreme toughness of the wood, and it has been much employed in the past for making sheds, most of the existing farm buildings being covered with elm. Previous to the common employment of cast-iron, Elm was very much in use for waterpipes.

The inner bark is very tough and is made into mats and ropes. The leaves and young shoots have been found a suitable food for live stock.
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.
Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/e/elmcom08.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulmus_minor

Carduus acaulis

 

Botanical Name: : Carduus acaulis
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Carduoideae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Cirsium
Species: C. acaule
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Ground Thistle. Dwarf May Thistle (Culpepper).

Johns (Flowers of the Field) calls this the Ground Thistle, and Culpepper calls it the Dwarf May Thistle, and says that ‘in some places it is called the Dwarf Carline Thistle.’
Habitat: Carduus acaulis, the Dwarf Thistle, is found in pastures, especially chalk downs, and is rather common in the southern half of England, particularly on the east side.It grows in poor soils in dry sandy pastures and on rocky slopes, especially on limestone.

Description:
Carduus acaulis is a perennial plant, with a long, woody root-stock. The stem in the ordinary form is so short that the flowers appear to be sessile, or sitting, in the centre of the rosette of prickly leaves, but very occasionally it attains the length of a foot or 18 inches, and then is usually slightly branched. The leaves are spiny and rigid, with only a few hairs on the upper side, and on the veins beneath, and are of a dark, shining green. The flowers are large and dark crimson in colour, and are in bloom from July to September….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a neutral to alkaline soil. Prefers a poor soil. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. The stemless carline thistle is a protected plant in the wild because of its rarity. This species resents root disturbance, it should be planted into its final position as soon as possible. Plants are usually short-lived or monocarpic. The plant is popular in dried flower arranging, the dried heads keeping their appearance indefinitely.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in a cold frame in the spring. The seed usually germinates in 4 – 8 weeks at 15°c. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.

Edible Uses: Flowering head is cooked. Used as a globe artichoke substitute, though they are considerably smaller and even more fiddly. The fleshy centre of the plant is edible.

Part Used in medicine:—Root.

Medicinal Uses:
Antispasmodic; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Digestive; Diuretic; Emetic; Febrifuge; Purgative.

Stemless carline thistle is seldom used in modern herbalism. The plant was at one time in great demand as an aphrodisiac, it is occasionally used nowadays in the treatment of spasms of the digestive tract, gall bladder and liver disorders, dropsy, urine retention etc]. The root has also been used in treating a range of skin complaints such as acne and eczema. A decoction of the root can be used externally to cleanse wounds or as an antiseptic gargle. Some caution should be employed since in large doses the root is purgative and emetic. The root is antibiotic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, mildly diuretic, emetic in large doses, febrifuge and purgative in large doses. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later

At one time the root used to be chewed as a remedy for toothache.

Other Uses:
Weather forecasting. : The dried flowers respond to the amount of humidity in the air and can be used as hygrometers. Flowers on the growing plant close at the approach of rain.

Known Hazards:The Thistle is very injurious in pastures; it kills all plants that grow beneath it and ought not to be tolerated, even on the borders of fields and waste places.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cirsium_acaule
https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/thistl11.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=carlina+acaulis

Onopordum acanthium

 

Botanical Name: Onopordum acanthium
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Carduoideae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Onopordum
Species: O. acanthium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms-: Woolly Thistle.

Common Names: Cotton thistle, Scotch thistle

Habitat : Cotton thistle is native to Europe and Asia. The plant prefers habitats with dry summers, such as the Mediterranean region, growing best in sandy, sandy clay and calcareous soils which are rich in ammonium salts. It grows in ruderal places, as well as dry pastures and disturbed fields. Its preferred habitats are natural areas, disturbed sites, roadsides, fields, and especially sites with fertile soils, agricultural areas, range/grasslands, riparian zones, scrub/shrublands valleys and plains along with water courses. Temperature and moisture, rather than soil nutrient concentrations determine the ecological performance of Onopordum species.

Description:
Onopordum acanthium is a biennial plant, producing a large rosette of spiny leaves the first year. The plants typically germinate in the autumn after the first rains and exist as rosettes throughout the first year, forming a stout, fleshy taproot that may extend down 30 cm or more for a food reserve.

In the second year, the plant grows (0.2–) 0.5–2.5 (–3) m tall and a width of 1.5 m. The leaves are 10–50 cm wide, are alternate and spiny, often covered with white woolly hairs and with the lower surface more densely covered than the upper. The leaves are deeply lobed with long, stiff spines along the margins. Fine hairs give the plant a greyish appearance. The massive main stem may be 10 cm wide at the base, and is branched in the upper part. Each stem shows a vertical row of broad, spiny wings (conspicuous ribbon-like leafy material), typically 2–3 cm wide, extending to the base of the flower head.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are globe shaped, 2–6 cm in diameter, from dark pink to lavender, and are produced in the summer. The flower buds form first at the tip of the stem and later at the tip of the axillary branches. They appear singly or in groups of two or three on branch tips. The plants are androgynous, with both pistil and stamens, and sit above numerous, long, stiff, spine-tipped bracts, all pointing outwards, the lower ones wider apart and pointing downwards. After flowering, the ovary starts swelling and forms about 8,400 to 40,000 seeds per plant.
Edible Uses: Colouring; Oil; Oil.

Flower buds – cooked. A globe artichoke substitute, though they are much smaller and very fiddly to use. Stems – cooked. Used as a vegetable, they are a cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) substitute. The stems are cooked in water like asparagus or rhubarb. They are best if the rind is removed. Leaves and young plants – cooked. They are harvested before the flowers develop and the prickles must be removed prior to cooking. The petals are an adulterant for saffron, used as a yellow food colouring and flavouring. A good quality edible oil is obtained from the seed. The seed contains about 25% oil.

Parts Used in medicines: Leaves, root.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent; Cancer; Cardiotonic.

Onopordum acanthium is a cardiotonic. It is used in some proprietary heart medicines. The juice of the plant has been used with good effect in the treatment of cancers and ulcers. A decoction of the root is astringent. It is used to diminish discharges from mucous membranes.

Other Uses:
Oil; Oil; Stuffing.

The cotton is occasionally collected from the stem and used to stuff pillows, and the oil obtained from the seeds has been used on the Continent for burning, both in lamps and for ordinary culinary purposes.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onopordum_acanthium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Onopordum+acanthium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/thistl11.html#hol

Centaurea Scabiosa

Botanical Name : Centaurea Scabiosa
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species: C. scabios
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: AsteralesBotanical Name
: Centaurea Scabiosa

Synonyms: Hardhead. Ironhead. Hard Irons. Churls Head. Logger Head. Horse Knops. Matte Felon. Mat Fellon. Bottleweed. Bullweed. Cowede. Boltsede.

Common Name:  Greater Knapweed

Habitat: Centaurea Scabiosa is native to Europe and bears purple flower heads.
It is found growing in dry grasslands, hedgerows and cliffs on lime-rich soil.Frequent in the borders of fields and in waste places, being not uncommon in England, where it is abundant on chalk soil, but rare in Scotland. It grows in pastures, field edges and roadsides, usually on chalk.

Description:
Centaurea Scabiosa is a perennial plant, the rootstock is thick and woody in old plants. The stem is 1 to 3 feet high, generally branched, very tough. The leaves, which are firm in texture, are very variable in the degree of division, but generally deeply cut into, the segments again deeply notched. The lower leaves are very large, often a foot or even more in length, making a striking looking rosette on the ground, from which the flowering stems arise. The whole plant is a dull green, sparingly hairy. It flowers in July and August. The flowers are terminal, somewhat similar to those of the Cornflower in general shape, though larger. All the florets are of the same colour, a rich purplish-crimson, the outer ray ones with the limb divided nearly to the base into narrow, strap-shaped segments. The flower-head is hard and solid, a mass of bracts lapping over each other like tiles, each having a central green portion and a black fringe-like edge. In some districts the plant is called from these almost round heads, ‘Hardhead,’ and the ordinary English name, Knapweed, is based on the same idea, Knap, being a form of Knop, or Knob.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils. Does well in the summer meadow. An important nectar plant for bees and butterflies. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. This should be done at least once every three years in order to maintain the vigour of the plant. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Parts Used  in medicine: ––Root, seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Tonic; Vulnerary.

The roots and seeds are diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary. The plant once had a very high reputation as an ingredient of the Medieval ‘salve’, an ointment applied to heal wounds and treat skin infections.
The root and seeds are used. Its diuretic diaphoretic and tonic properties are recognized.

It is good for catarrh, taken in decoction, and is also made into ointment for outward application for wounds and bruises, sores, etc.

Culpepper tells us: ‘it is of special use for soreness of throat, swelling of the uvula and jaws, and very good to stay bleeding at the nose and mouth.’
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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurea_scabiosa
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/k/knagre06.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+scabiosa

Succisa pratensis

Botanical Name : Succisa pratensis
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Succisa
Species: S. pratensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms: Ofbit. Premorse Scabious.

Common Names: Devil’s-bit or Devil’s-bit Scabious

Habitat : Succisa pratensis is distributed throughout the British Isles, western and central Europe, extending eastwards into central Asia. It is absent from eastern Asia and North America. It grows in wet or dry grassland and heath on acid or basic soils.It grows in meadows, pastures, marshes, fens and damp woods on slightly acid or calcareous
Description:
Succisa pratensis is a perennial herb up to 1m tall, growing from a basal rosette of simple or distantly-toothed, lanceolate leaves. Its unlobed leaves distinguish it from Field scabious,. The plant may be distinguished from Greater Knapweed by having its leaves in opposite pairs, not alternate as in knapweed. The bluish to violet (occasionally pink) flowers are borne in tight compound flower heads or capitula. Individual flowers are tetramerous, with a four-lobed epicalyx and calyx and a four-lobed corolla. Male and female flowers are produced on different flower heads (gynodioecious), the female flower heads being smaller. The flowering period is from June until October.

The florets composing the head are all very much the same size, the outer ones being scarcely larger than the inner. The stamens of each floret, as in the other species of Scabious are a very conspicuous feature, the anthers being large and borne upon filaments or threads that are almost as long again as the corolla. The root is, when fully grown, nearly the thickness of a finger, and ends in so abrupt a way as almost to suggest that it had been bitten off, a peculiarity that has given it a place in legends. In the first year of the plant’s existence the root is like a diminutive carrot or radish in shape; it then becomes woody and dies away, the upper part excepted; as it decays and falls away, the gnawed or broken look results. The portion left throws out numerous lateral roots, which compensate for the portion that has perished. The plant derives its common name from this peculiarity in the form of the root.

‘The greater part of the root seemeth to be bitten away; old fantastick charmers report that the divel did bite it for envie, because it is an herbe that hath so many good vertues and it is so beneficial to mankinde.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, preferring damp conditions, in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a moist peaty soil. Hardy to about -20°c. Grows well in the summer meadow, it is an excellent bee and butterfly plant and a food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly species.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a cold frame. Germination is usually rapid, but the seedlings are prone to damp off so make sure they are well ventilated[1]. Prick them out into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Plant them straight out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: Young shoots is eaten raw. The tender young shoots are sometimes added to spring salads

Part Used in medicine: The whole Herb.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Demulcent; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Stomachic.

The herb is anthelmintic, demulcent, depurative, slightly diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, mildly expectorant, febrifuge and stomachic. It makes a useful tea for the treatment of coughs, fevers and internal inflammations and is also a popular application externally to eczema and other cutaneous eruptions. A tincture of the plant is a gentle but reliable treatment for bruises, aiding quick re-absorption of the blood pigment. The whole herb is collected in early autumn and dried for later use. Good results have been achieved by using a distilled water from the plant as an eye lotion to treat conjunctivitis

The whole herb being collected in September and dried.

It makes a useful tea for coughs, fevers and internal inflammation. The remedy is generally given in combination with others, the infusion being given in wineglassful doses at frequent intervals. It purifies the blood, taken inwardly, and used as a wash externally is a good remedy for cutaneous eruptions. The juice made into an ointment is effectual for the same purpose. The warm decoction has also been used as a wash to free the head from scurf, sores and dandruff.

Culpepper assigned it many uses, saying that the root boiled in wine and drunk was very powerful against the plague and all pestilential diseases, and fevers and poison and bites of venomous creatures, and that ‘it helpeth also all that are inwardly bruised or outwardly by falls or blows, dissolving the clotted blood,’ the herb or root bruised and outwardly applied, taking away black and blue marks on the skin. He considered ‘the decoction of the herb very effectual as a gargle for swollen throat and tonsils, and that the root powdered and taken in drink expels worms.’ The juice or distilled water of the herb was deemed a good remedy for green wounds or old sores, cleansing the body inwardly and freeing the skin from sores, scurf, pimples, freckles, etc. The dried root used also to be given in powder, its power of promoting sweat making it beneficial in fevers.

The SHEEP’S (or SHEEP’S-BIT) SCABIOUS (Jasione montana) is not a true Scabious, though at first sight its appearance is similar. It may be distinguished from a Scabious by its united anthers, and it differs from a Compound Flower (Compositae, to which the Scabious belongs) in having a two-celled capsule. It is a member of the Campanulaceae, and is the only British species. The whole plant, when bruised, has a strong and disagreeable smell.

Other Uses:  A green dye is obtained from the leaves.

It is a good source of nectar and is the foodplant of Marsh fritillary, whose eggs are laid in groups on the underside of the plant, and Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Hemaris tityus. As both plant and invertebrates are rare, their survival relies on careful management of sites containing these species.

The aim is to produce an uneven patchwork of short and long vegetation by the end of the grazing period, between 8 and 25 cm (3.1 and 9.8 in). This is to allow the devil’s bit scabious food plant to grow.This can be achieved through low intensity grazing (also known as extensive grazing) using cattle. Sheep are not so good as they are more efficient at removing wild plants.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Succisa_pratensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/scadev31.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Succisa+Pratensis

Aplopappus laricifolius

 

Botanical Name: Aplopappus laricifolius
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Ericameria
Species: E. laricifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Aplopappus. Bigelovia Veneta.Haplopappus laricifolius Gray, Ericameria laricifolia

Common Names: Turpentine bush, or Turpentine-brush
Habitat: Aplopappus laricifolius is native to the southwestern United States (Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, southwestern Utah, southern Nevada, southeastern California) and northern Mexico (Chihuahua). It grows in desert scrub and woodlands.

Description:
Aplopappus laricifolius is a shrub reaching 50-100 cm (20-40 inches) in height, is generally hairless, somewhat glandular, and aromatic. It sometimes has naked stems at the base but the upper branches are densely foliated in needlelike, pointed leaves one to three centimeters (0.4-1.2 inches) long. The many erect branches bear inflorescences of bright golden yellow flower heads, each with up to 16 long disc florets and as many as 6 ray florets

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Part Used in medicine :  The leaves.

Constituents: A volatile oil, also a fatty oil which has the smell of the plant, brown acid, resin, tannin. The resin is peculiar in containing other resins.

Medicinal Uses:
It is used as a stimulant in flatulent dyspepsia and chronic inflammation with haemorrhage of the lower bowel. It is very useful in dysentery and in genito-urinary catarrh and as a stimulant expectorant; the tincture is useful for slowly healing ulcers.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ericameria_laricifolia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/damian06.html

Bellis perennis

Botanical Name: Bellis perennis
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Bellis
Species: B. perennis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Bruisewort. (Scotch) Bairnwort. (Welsh) Llygad y Dydd (Eye of the Day).

Common Names: Common daisy, Lawn daisy or English daisy. bruisewort and occasionally woundwort

Habitat : Bellis perennis is native to western, central and northern Europe, but widely naturalised in most temperate regions including the Americas and Australasia

Description:
It is an herbaceous perennial plant with short creeping rhizomes and rosettes of small rounded or spoon-shaped leaves that are from 3/4 to 2 inches (approx. 2–5 cm) long and grow flat to the ground. The species habitually colonises lawns, and is difficult to eradicate by mowing – hence the term ‘lawn daisy’. Wherever it appears it is often considered an invasive weed.

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The flowerheads are composite, in the form of a pseudanthium, consisting of many sessile flowers about 3/4 to 1-1/4 in (approx. 2–3 cm) in diameter, with white ray florets (often tipped red) and yellow disc florets. Each inflorescence is borne on single leafless stems 3/4 – 4 in (approx. 2–10 cm), rarely 6 in (approx. 15 cm) tall. The capitulum, or disc of florets, is surrounded by two rows of green bracts known as “phyllaries”.

Cultivation:
B. perennis generally blooms from early to midsummer, although when grown under ideal conditions, they have a very long flowering season and will even produce a few flowers in the middle of mild winters.

It can generally be grown in USDA Zones 4 – 8 (i.e. where minimum temperatures are above ?30 °F (?34 °C)) in full sun to partial shade conditions, and requires low or no maintenance. It has no known serious insect or disease problems and can generally be grown in most well-drained soils. The plant may be propagated either by seed after the last frost, or by division after flowering.

Though invasive, the species is still considered a valuable ground cover in certain garden settings (e.g., as part of English or cottage inspired gardens, as well as spring meadows where low growth and some color is desired in parallel with minimal care and maintenance while helping to crowd out noxious weeds once established and naturalised).

Numerous single- and double-flowered varieties are in cultivation, producing flat or spherical blooms in a range of sizes (1 cm to 6 cm) and colours (red, pink & white). They are generally grown from seed as biennial bedding plants. They can also be purchased as plugs in Spring. The cultivar ‘Tasso series’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Edible Uses:
This daisy may be used as a potherb. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, noting that the leaves become increasingly astringent with age. Flower buds and petals can be eaten raw in sandwiches, soups and salads. It is also used as a tea and as a vitamin supplement.

Parts Used- in medicine:–Root, leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Daisies are a popular domestic remedy with a wide range of applications. They are a traditional wound herb and are also said to be especially useful in treating delicate and listless children. Recent research (1994) has been looking at the possibility of using the plant in HIV therapy. The herb is mildly anodyne, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, digestive, emollient, expectorant, laxative, ophthalmic, purgative and tonic. The fresh or dried flowering heads are normally used. An infusion is used in the treatment of catarrh, rheumatism, arthritis, liver and kidney disorders, as a blood purifier etc. The daisy once had a great reputation as a cure for fresh wounds. An ointment made from the leaves is applied externally to wounds, bruises etc whilst a distilled water is used internally to treat inflammatory disorders of the liver. Chewing the fresh leaves is said to be a cure for mouth ulcers. Daisies also have a reputation for effectiveness in treating breast cancers. The flowers and leaves are normally used fresh in decoctions, ointments and poultices. A strong decoction of the roots has been recommended for the treatment of scorbutic complaints and eczema, though it needs to be taken for some time before its effect becomes obvious. A mild decoction may ease complaints of the respiratory tract, rheumatic pains and painful or heavy menstruation. The plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a homeopathic remedy. Its use is especially indicated in the treatment of bruising etc.

Herbal medicine:
Bellis perennis has astringent properties and has been used in herbal medicine. In ancient Rome, the surgeons who accompanied Roman legions into battle would order their slaves to pick sacks full of daisies in order to extract their juice, hence the origin of this plant’s scientific name in Latin. Bandages were soaked in this juice and would then be used to bind sword and spear cuts.

Bellis perennis is still used in homeopathy for wounds and after certain surgical procedures, as well as for blunt trauma in animals. Typically, the plant is harvested while in flower when intended for use in homeopathy.

Bellis perennis flowers have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea (or the leaves as a salad) for treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tract.

Other uses:
Daisies have traditionally been used for making daisy chains in children’s games.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellis_perennis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/daisyc03.html
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/b/bellis-perennis=daisy.php