Rhus aromatica

 

Botanical Name: Rhus aromatica
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. aromatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Common Name: Fragrant Sumac

Habitat : Rhus aromatica is native to Canada and the United States.

Description:
Rhus aromatica is a low, irregular spreading shrub with lower branches that grow horizontally then turn up at the tips. Tends to sucker and root along stems that touch the soil, forming a dense stand. Yellow-green flowers appear before leaves emerge. Clusters of fuzzy red fruit form on female plants August-September and may persist into winter. Many birds and mammals feed on the fruit. Leaves turn bright red-purple in fall…...click & see the pictures

It is a woody plant that can grow to around 2 meters tall. It produces yellow flowers in clusters before anthesis. Hairy red drupes are produced, which can be brewed into a tea.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The leaves and stems of fragrant sumac have a citrus fragrance when crushed, and it inhabits mostly uplands areas, while poison ivy has no odor and can inhabit various habitats.
Medicinal Uses:
The root-bark  of   Rhus aromatica is astringent and diuretic. Used in diabetes and excessive discharge from kidneys and bladder. The wood exudes a peculiar odour and is used by the Indians in Arizona, California and New Mexico for making baskets.

click & see homeopathic medicinal uses :

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/Rhus_aromatica
http://grownative.org/plant-picker/plant/fragrant-sumac/
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sumach97.html#smo

Rhus glabra

 

Botanical Name : Rhus glabra
Family:
Anacardiaceae
Genus:
Rhus
Species:
R. glabra
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Sapindales

Synonyms: Upland Sumach. Pennsylvania Sumach. Rhus copallinum (Mountain Sumach). Rhus typhinum (Staghorn or Velvet Sumach).

Common Name: Smooth sumac

Parts Used: Bark of branches and root, dried, ripe berries, and exudation.

Habitat: Rhus glabra is native to North America, from southern Quebec west to southern British Columbia in Canada, and south to northern Florida and Arizona in the United States and Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico.

Description:
Rhus glabra has a spreading, open-growing shrub growing up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall, rarely to 5 metres (16 ft). The leaves are alternate, 30–50 cm long, compound with 11-31 leaflets, each leaflet 5–11 cm long, with a serrated margin. The leaves turn scarlet in the fall. The flowers are tiny, green, produced in dense erect panicles 10–25 centimetres (3.9–9.8 in) tall, in the spring, later followed by large panicles of edible crimson berries that remain throughout the winter. The buds are small, covered with brown hair and borne on fat, hairless twigs. The bark on older wood is smooth and grey to brown…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

In late summer it sometimes forms galls on the underside of leaves, caused by the parasitic sumac leaf gall aphid, Melaphis rhois. The galls are not harmful to the tree.

When broken on the plant, a milky fluid is exuded from both bark and leaves, which forms later a solid gum-like body.

Constituents: The berries contain free malic acid and acid calcium malate coexist, with tannic and gallic acids, fixed oil, extractive, red colouring matter, and a little volatile oil. The active properties of both bark and berries yield to water.
Medicinal Uses: The bark is tonic, astringent, and antiseptic; the berries refrigerant and diuretic.

A strong decoction, or diluted fluid extract, affords an agreeable gargle in angina, especially when combined with potassium chlorate. Where tannin drugs are useful, as in diarrhoea, the fluid extract is an excellent astringent.

The bark, in decoction or syrup, has been found useful in gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea, diarrhoea, dysentery, hectic fever, scrofula and profuse perspiration from debility. Combined with the barks of slippery elm and white pine and taken freely, the decoction is said to have been greatly beneficial in syphilis. As an injection for prolapsus uteri and ani, and for leucorrhoea, and as a wash in many skin complaints, the decoction is valuable. For scald-head it can be simmered in lard, or the powdered root-bark can be applied as a poultice to old ulcers, forming a good antiseptic.

A decoction of the inner bark of the root is helpful for the sore-mouth resulting from mercurial salivation, and also for internal use in mercurial diseases. A free use of the bark will produce catharsis.

The berries may be used in infusion in diabetes, strangury bowel complaints, and febrile diseases; also as a gargle in quinsy and ulcerations of the mouth and throat, and as a wash for ringworm, tetters, offensive ulcers, etc.

The astringent excrescences, when powdered and mixed with lard or linseed oil, are useful in haemorrhoids.

The mucilagic exudation, if the bark be punctured in hot weather, has been used advantageously in gleet and several urinary difficulties.
Other Uses:
The leaves, and, to a less extent, the bark, are largely used in tanning leather and dyeing. This Sumach, for the manufacture of extract for tanner’s use, is largely cultivated in Virginia, where the annual crop amounts to from 7,000 to 8,000 tons. The percentage of tannin in Virginian Sumach varies from 16 to 25 per cent. That in the European or Sicilian Sumach (R. coriaria) falls from 6 to 8 per cent below the percentage of the Virginian Sumach, yet the European is preferred by tanners and dyers, since by its use it is possible to make the finer, white leathers for gloves and fancy shoes.

The American product gives the leather a yellow colour, apparently due to the presence of quercitrin and quercitin.

Large quantities of a dark-red, semi-fluid, bitter, astringent extract are prepared in Virginia from Sumach, and is said to contain 25 to 30 per cent of tannin. It is used both in Europe and America. An infusion of the berries affords an excellent black dye for wool. A medicinal wine can also be prepared from them.

Oil of Rhus may be extracted from the seeds of this and other species of the genus. It will attain a tallow-like consistency on standing, and can be made into candles, which burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke.

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/Rhus_glabra
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sumach97.html#smo

Myrica gale

Botanical Name: Myrica gale
Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Myrica
Species: M. gale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms:  -Bayberry. English Bog Myrtle. Dutch Myrtle. Herba Myrti Rabanitini. Gale palustris (Chevalier).

Common Names: Bog-myrtle and Sweet Gale.
Habitat: Myrica gale is native to northern and western Europe and parts of northern North America. It grows on the Higher latitudes of Northern Hemisphere; Great Britain, especially in the north; abundant on the Scottish moors and bogs.

Description:
Myrica gale is a deciduous, bushy shrub, growing to 4 feet high. The wood and leaves fragrant when bruised. The leaves, not unlike a willow or myrtle, are oblanceolate, tapering entire at the base, toothed and broadest at the apex, the upper side dark glossy green, the underside paler and slightly downy, under which are a few shining glands. The male plant produces flowers in May and June in crowded, stalkless catkins. The fruit catkins about the same size, but thicker, are closely-set, resinous nutlets, the flowers being borne on the bare wood of one year’s growth……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
There is some difference of opinion about the needs of this plant. Most reports say that it prefers a moist soil and that it grows well in an open position in a well-drained soil in sun or light shade. Most reports also say that it prefers or even requires a lime-free loamy or peaty soil[1, 200] but another report says that it succeeds in any ordinary garden soil. In the wild it is usually found in soils with a pH between 3.5 and 6, but it is also sometimes found in fens with a pH as high as 7.5. A suckering shrub, when well sited it can form thickets. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. This habit also allows the plant to succeed in water-logged soils. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. This plant is occasionally monoecious and also can change sex from year to year. Flowers are produced mainly on one-year old wood. All parts of the plant are pleasantly aromatic. A good food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Barely cover the seed and keep it moist. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The aromatic fruits and leaves are used either fresh or dried to flavour soups, stews etc. They are sometimes put in beer and ale to improve the flavour and increase foaming. The fruit is about 3mm in diameter with a single large seed. The dried leaves make a delicate and palatable tea.
Parts Used  : Leaves, branches.

Constituents: Said to contain a poisonous volatile oil and to have properties similar to those of Myrica cerifera.

Medicinal Uses:
Abortifacient; Antipruritic; Aromatic; Astringent; Emmenagogue; Parasiticide; Stomachic.

The leaves are abortifacient, aromatic, astringent, emmenagogue and stomachic. The leaves are normally used as a tea, but they do contain a poisonous aromatic oil, so some caution is advised in their use.

The leaves have been used in France as an emmenagogue and abortifacient. The Swedes use it in strong decoction to kill insects, vermin and to cure the itch. The dried berries are put into broth and used as spice. In China, the leaves are infused like tea, and used as a stomachic and cordial.

Other Uses:
Dye; Essential; Parasiticide; Repellent; Tannin; Wax.

A wax covering on the fruit and leaves is extracted by scalding the fruit with boiling water and immersing them for a few minutes, the wax floats to the surface and is then skimmed off. The fruit is then boiled in water to extract the wax from the pulp and once more the wax is skimmed off. It is then strained through a muslin cloth and can be used to make aromatic candles. These candles diffuse a delightful odour when burnt. Unfortunately this species does not produce enough wax to make it commercially viable. A yellow dye is obtained from the stem tips. Brown according to another report. A yellow dye is obtained from the seeds. The bark contains tannin and can be gathered in the autumn and used as a yellow dye. The plant repels moths and insects in general. The fragrant leaves are used. A strong decoction of the leaves can be used as a parasiticide to kill external body parasites. A fragrant essential oil is obtained from the fruits

The sexes are on different plants. The leaves are often dried to perfume linen, etc., their odour being very fragrant, but the taste bitter and astringent.
The branches have been used as a substitute for hops in Yorkshire and put into a beer called there ‘Gale Beer.’ It is extremely good to allay thirst. The catkins, or cones, boiled in water, give a scum beeswax, which is utilized to make candles. The bark is used to tan calfskins; if gathered in autumn, it will dye wool a good yellow colour and is used for this purpose both in Sweden and Wales.

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/Myrica_gale
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/galswe03.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Myrica+gale

Fumaria officinalis

 

Botanical Name: Fumaria officinalis
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Fumaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Synonyms: Earth Smoke. Beggary. Fumus. Vapor. Nidor. Fumus Terrae. Fumiterry, Scheiteregi. Taubenkropp. Kaphnos. Wax Dolls.

Common Names: Common fumitory, Drug fumitory or Earth smoke

Habitat: Fumaria officinalis occurs in Europe and America. Parts of Asia, Australia and South Africa.

Description:
Fumaria officinalis is an herbaceous annual plant, which grows weakly erect and scrambling, with stalks about 10 to 50 cm long. Its pink 7 to 9 mm flowers appear from April to October in the northern hemisphere. They are two lipped and spurred, with sepals running a quarter the length of the petals. The fruit is an achene. It contains alkaloids, potassium salts, and tannins. It is also a major source of fumaric acid….CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

Part Used in medicines: The Herb.

Constituents:
The plant contains isoquinoline alkaloids protopine and allocryptopine. Both protopine and allocryptopine increased CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 mRNA levels in human hepatocyte cells. The use of products containing protopine and/or allocryptopine may be considered safe in terms of possible induction of CYP1A enzymes.

The leaves yield by expression a juice which has medicinal properties. An extract, prepared by evaporating the expressed juice, or a decoction of the leaves, throws out upon its surface a copious saline efflorescence. Fumaric acid was early identified as present, and its isomerism with maleic acid was established later. The alkaloid Fumarine has been believed to be identical with corydaline, but it differs both in formula and in its reaction to sulphuric and nitric acids. It occurs in colourless, tasteless crystals, freely soluble in chloroform, less so in benzine, still less so in alcohol and ether, sparingly soluble in water.

Medicinal Uses:
A weak tonic, slightly diaphoretic, diuretic, and aperient; valuable in all visceral obstructions, particularly those of the liver, in scorbutic affections, and in troublesome eruptive diseases, even those of the leprous order. A decoction makes a curative lotion for milk-crust on the scalp of an infant. Physicians and writers from Dioscorides to Chaucer, and from the fourteenth century to Cullen and to modern times value its purifying power. The Japanese make a tonic from it. Cows and sheep eat it, and the latter are said to derive great benefit from it. The leaves, in decoction or extract, may be used in almost any doses. The inspissated juice has also been employed, also a syrup, powder, cataplasm, distilled water, and several tinctures.

French and German physicians still preferit to most other medicines as a purifier of the blood; while sometimes the dried leaves are smoked in the manner of tobacco, for disorders of the head. Dr. Cullen, among its good effects in cutaneous disorders, mentions the following:
‘There is a disorder of the skin, which, though not attended with any alarming symptoms of danger to the life of the patient, is thought to place the empire of beauty in great jeopardy; the complaint is frequently brought on by neglecting to use a parasol, and may be known by sandy spots, vulgarly known as freckles, scattered over the face. Now, be it known to all whom it may concern, that the infusion of the leaves of the abovedescribed plant is said to be an excellent specific for removing these freckles and clearing the skin; and ought, we think, to be chiefly employed by those who have previously removed those moral blemishes which deform the mind, or degrade the dignity of a reasonable and an immortal being.’

The herb has a stimulant action on the liver and gallbladder and is chiefly used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and exanthema.  Its action is probably due to a general cleansing mediated via the kidneys and liver.   It is also diuretic and mildly laxative.  Taken over a long period, it helps to cure depression.  Also used internally for biliary colic and migraine with digestive disturbances.  Externally used for conjunctivitis.

Caution: It was traditionally thought to be good for the eyes, and to remove skin blemishes. In modern times herbalists use it to treat skin diseases, and conjunctivitis; as well as to cleanse the kidneys. However, Howard (1987) warns that fumitory is poisonous and should only be used “under the direction of a medical herbalist.

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/Fumaria_officinalis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fumito36.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

Epilobium angustifolium

Botanical Name: Epilobium angustifolium
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Chamerion
Species: C. angustifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Synonyms: Flowering Willow. French Willow. Persian Willow. Rose Bay Willow. Blood Vine. Blooming Sally. Purple Rocket. Wickup. Wicopy. Tame Withy. Chamaenerion angustifolium.

Common Names: Fireweed (mainly in North America), Great willow-herb (some parts of Canada), or Rosebay willowherb (mainly in Britain)
Habitat:Epilobium angustifolium is native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere, including large parts of the boreal forests.  It grows on the rocky ground, waste areas, woodland edges and gardens.

Description:
Epilobium angustifolium is a perennial herbaceous plant in the willowherb family Onagraceae. The reddish stems of this plant are usually simple, erect, smooth, 0.5–2.5 m (1½–8 feet) high with scattered alternate leaves. The leaves are entire, lanceolate, and pinnately veined. A related species, dwarf fireweed (Chamerion latifolium), grows to 0.3–0.6 m tall.

The flowers have four magenta to pink petals, 2 to 3 cm in diameter. The styles have four stigmas, which occur in symmetrical terminal racemes.

CLICK  &  SEE THE PICTURES

The reddish-brown linear seed capsule splits from the apex. It bears many minute brown seeds, about 300 to 400 per capsule and 80,000 per plant. The seeds have silky hairs to aid wind dispersal and are very easily spread by the wind, often becoming a weed and a dominant species on disturbed ground. Once established, the plants also spread extensively by underground roots, an individual plant eventually forming a large patch…

The leaves of fireweed are unique in that the leaf veins are circular and do not terminate on the edges of the leaf, but form circular loops and join together inside the outer leaf margins. This feature makes the plants very easy to identify in all stages of growth. When fireweed first emerges in early spring, it can closely resemble several highly toxic members of the lily family, however, it is easily identified by its unique leaf vein structure.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position, though it succeeds in most soils. It prefers a moist soil, but also succeeds on dry banks. It is best grown in open woodland. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. The rosebay willowherb spreads vigorously by means of a creeping rhizome, and often forms large patches. It is apt to become a weed especially through its seed which is very light and capable of travelling long distances in the wind. It is often one of the first plants to colonize disturbed areas such as scenes of fires. A very ornamental plant, it is the floral emblem of the Yukon. A food plant for the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species, it is also a good bee plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in situ or as soon as the seed is ripe. This plant is more than capable of finding its own way into most gardens and does not usually require an invitation. Division in spring or 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 spring.

Edible Uses:  The young shoots were often collected in the spring by Native American people and mixed with other greens. As the plant matures the leaves become tough and somewhat bitter. The southeast Native Americans use the stems in this stage. They are peeled and eaten raw. When properly prepared soon after picking they are a good source of vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. The Dena’ina add fireweed to their dogs’ food.

The root can be roasted after scraping off the outside, but often tastes bitter. To mitigate this, the root is collected before the plant flowers and the brown thread in the middle removed.

In Alaska, candies, syrups, jellies, and even ice cream are made from fireweed. Monofloral honey made primarily from fireweed nectar has a distinctive, spiced flavor.

In Russia, its leaves are used as tea substitute and were exported, known in Western Europe as Koporye Tea or Russian Tea. Fireweed leaves can undergo fermentation, much like real tea. Today, koporye tea is still occasionally consumed though not commercially important.

Part used in medicine : The Herb

Medicinal Uses:
The roots and leaves have demulcent, tonic and astringent properties and are used in domestic medicine in decoction, infusion and cataplasm, as astringents.

Used much in America as an intestinal astringent.

The plant contains mucilage and tannin.

The dose of the herb is 30 to 60 grains. It has been recommended for its antispasmodic properties in the treatment of whoopingcough, hiccough and asthma.

In ointment, it has been used locally as a remedy for infantile cutaneous affections.

By some modern botanists, this species is now assigned to a separate genus and designated: Chamcenerion angustifolium.

Chamerion angustifolium (Epilobium angustifolium) herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea for treatment of disorders of the prostate, kidneys, and urinary tract.

Fireweed’s natural variation in ploidy has prompted its use in scientific studies of polyploidy’s possible effects on adaptive potential and species diversification.

Fireweed is also a medicine of the Upper Inlet Dena’ina, who treat pus-filled boils or cuts by placing a piece of the raw stem on the afflicted area. This is said to draw the pus out of the cut or boil and prevents a cut with pus in it from healing over too quickly.
Other Uses:
A fibre obtained from the outer stems is used to make cordage. The ‘cottony’ seed hairs are used as a stuffing material or as a tinder. The powdered inner cortex is applied to the hands and face to give protection from the cold.

Known Hazards  : An infusion of the leaves is said to stupefy a person.

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/w/wilher23.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamerion_angustifolium

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Epilobium+angustifolium

Fritillaria Meleagris

Botanical Name: Fritillaria Meleagris
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Fritillaria
Species: F. meleagris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Synonyms-: Lilium variegatum. Chequered Daffodil. Narcissus Caparonius. Turkey Hen. Ginny Flower.

Common Names: Snake’s head fritillary, Snake’s head (the original English name), Chess flower, Frog-cup, Guinea-hen flower, Guinea flower, Leper lily (because its shape resembled the bell once carried by lepers), Lazarus bell, Chequered lily, Chequered daffodil, Drooping tulip or, in northern Europe, simply Fritillary.

Habitat : Fritillaria meleagris is native to Europe and western Asia but in many places it is an endangered species that is rarely found in the wild but is commonly grown in gardens. In Croatia, the flower is known as kockavica and is associated by some with the country’s national symbol. It is the official flower of the Swedish province of Uppland, where it grows in large quantities every spring at the meadows in Kungsängen (Kings meadow), just outside Uppsala, which gives the flower its Swedish name, kungsängslilja (Lily of Kings meadow). It is also found for example in Sandemar Nature Reserve, a nature reserve west of Dalarö in Stockholm Archipelago.

Description:
The flower has a chequered pattern in shades of purple, or is sometimes pure white. It flowers from March to May and grows between 15–40 cm (6–16 in) in height Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet, Bloom Time: April. The flowers are checkered reddish-brown, purple, white, gray. The plant has a button-shaped bulb, about 2 cm in diameter, containing poisonous alkaloids. It grows in grasslands in damp soils and river meadows at altitudes up to 800 m (2,625 ft)....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Now easily available as an ornamental spring bulb for the garden, it is commonly sold as a mixture of different coloured cultivars. The pure white-flowered variety F. meleagris var. unicolor subvar. alba has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Medicinal Uses:
It is said that Fritillaria Meleagris have no medicinal value, though from its presence on the elaborate allegorical frontispiece of the old Herbal of Clusius, Rariorum Plantarum Historia, published in 1601, it bore at that time a reputation as a herb of healing.

Known Hazards: The bulb is poisonous and very distasteful to the palate.

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/Fritillaria_meleagris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fritil33.html
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=q720Related articles

Digitalis purpurea

Botanical Name: Digitalis purpurea
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Digitalis
Species: D. purpurea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Witches’ Gloves. Dead Men’s Bells. Fairy’s Glove. Gloves of Our Lady. Bloody Fingers. Virgin’s Glove. Fairy Caps. Folk’s Glove. Fairy Thimbles.
(Norwegian) Revbielde.
(German) Fingerhut.

Common Names: Foxglove, Common foxglove, Purple foxglove or Lady’s glove

Habitat: Digitalis purpurea is native and widespread throughout most of temperate Europe. It is also naturalised in parts of North America and some other temperate regions. The plants are well known as the original source of the heart medicine digoxin (also called digitalis or digitalin) It flourishes best in siliceous soil and grows well in loam, but is entirely absent from some calcareous districts, such as the chain of the Jura, and is also not found in the Swiss Alps. It occurs in Madeira and the Azores, but is, perhaps, introduced there. The genus contains only this one indigenous species, though several are found on the Continent.

Needing little soil, it is found often in the crevices of granite walls, as well as in dry hilly pastures, rocky places and by roadsides. Seedling Foxgloves spring up rapidly from recently-turned earth. Turner (1548), says that it grows round rabbitholes freely.
Description:
Digitalis purpurea is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant. The leaves are spirally arranged, simple, 10–35 cm long and 5–12 cm broad, and are covered with gray-white pubescent and glandular hairs, imparting a woolly texture. The foliage forms a tight rosette at ground level in the first year.

The flowering stem develops in the second year, typically 1 to 2 m tall, sometimes longer. The flowers are arranged in a showy, terminal, elongated cluster, and each flower is tubular and pendent. The flowers are typically purple, but some plants, especially those under cultivation, may be pink, rose, yellow, or white. The inside surface of the flower tube is heavily spotted. The flowering period is early summer, sometimes with additional flower stems developing later in the season. The plant is frequented by bees, which climb right inside the flower tube to gain the nectar within….….click & see the pictures

The fruit is a capsule which splits open at maturity to release the numerous tiny (0.1-0.2 mm) seeds.

Cultivation:
The plant is popular as a garden subject, and numerous cultivars have been developed with a range of colours from white through pink to purple, such as “Dalmatian Purple”. Cultivated forms often show flowers completely surrounding the central spike, in contrast to the wild form, where the flowers only appear on one side. D. purpurea is easily grown from seed or purchased as potted plants in the spring.

Part Used in medicines: The Leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
Digitalis has been used from early times in heart cases. It increases the activity of all forms of muscle tissue, but more especially that of the heart and arterioles, the all-important property of the drug being its action on the circulation. The first consequence of its absorption is a contraction of the heart and arteries, causing a very high rise in the blood pressure.

After the taking of a moderate dose, the pulse is markedly slowed. Digitalis also causes an irregular pulse to become regular. Added to the greater force of cardiac contraction is a permanent tonic contraction of the organ, so that its internal capacity is reduced, which is a beneficial effect in cases of cardiac dilatation, and it improves the nutrition of the heart by increasing the amount of blood.

In ordinary conditions it takes about twelve hours or more before its effects on the heart muscle is appreciated, and it must thus always be combined with other remedies to tide the patient over this period and never prescribed in large doses at first, as some patients are unable to take it, the drug being apt to cause considerable digestive disturbances, varying in different cases. This action is probably due to the Digitonin, an undesirable constituent.

The action of the drug on the kidneys is of importance only second to its action on the circulation. In small or moderate doses, it is a powerful diuretic and a valuable remedy in dropsy, especially when this is connected with affections of the heart.

It has also been employed in the treatment of internal haemorrhage, in inflammatory diseases, in delirium tremens, in epilepsy, in acute mania and various other diseases, with real or supposed benefits.

The action of Digitalis in all the forms in which it is administered should be carefully watched, and when given over a prolonged period it should be employed with caution, as it is liable to accumulate in the system and to manifest its presence all at once by its poisonous action, indicated by the pulse becoming irregular, the blood-pressure low and gastro-intestinal irritation setting in. The constant use of Digitalis, also, by increasing the activity of the heart, leads to hypertrophy of that organ.

Digitalis is an excellent antidote in Aconite poisoning, given as a hypodermic injection.

Digoxigenin (DIG) is a steroid found exclusively in the flowers and leaves of the plants Digitalis purpurea and Digitalis lanata. It is used as a molecular probe to detect DNA or RNA. It can easily be attached to nucleotides by chemical modifications. DIG molecules are often linked to uridine nucleotides; DIG-labeled uridine (DIG-U) can then be incorporated into RNA probes via in vitro transcription. Once hybridisation occurs in situ, RNA probes with the incorporated DIG-U can be detected with anti-DIG antibodies conjugated to alkaline phosphatase. To reveal the hybridised transcripts, alkaline phosphatase can be reacted with a chromogen to produce a coloured precipitate.

Other Uses: Dye;  Preservative…..An infusion of the plant prolongs the life of cut flowers[54]. Root crops growing near this plant store better[54]. An apple-green dye is obtained from the flowers

Known Hazards:
Due to the presence of the cardiac glycoside digitoxin, the leaves, flowers and seeds of this plant are all poisonous to humans and some animals and can be fatal if ingested.

Extracted from the leaves, this same compound, whose clinical use was pioneered as digitalis by William Withering, is used as a medication for heart failure. He recognized it “reduced dropsy”, increased urine flow and had a powerful effect on the heart. Unlike the purified pharmacological forms, extracts of this plant did not frequently cause intoxication because they induced nausea and vomiting within minutes of ingestion, preventing the patient from consuming more.

The main toxins in Digitalis spp. are the two chemically similar cardiac glycosides: digitoxin and digoxin. Like other cardiac glycosides, these toxins exert their effects by inhibiting the ATPase activity of a complex of transmembrane proteins that form the sodium potassium ATPase pump, (Na+/K+-ATPase). Inhibition of the Na+/K+-ATPase in turn causes a rise not only in intracellular Na+, but also in calcium, which in turn results in increased force of myocardial muscle contractions. In other words, at precisely the right dosage, Digitalis toxin can cause the heart to beat more strongly. However, digitoxin, digoxin and several other cardiac glycosides, such as ouabain, are known to have steep dose-response curves, i.e., minute increases in the dosage of these drugs can make the difference between an ineffective dose and a fatal one.

Symptoms of Digitalis poisoning include a low pulse rate, nausea, vomiting, and uncoordinated contractions of different parts of the heart, leading to cardiac arrest and finally death.

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/Digitalis_purpurea
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/foxglo30.html

Inula dysenterica

Botanical Name: Inula dysenterica
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Inuleae
Genus: Inula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Pulicaria dysenterica (Gaertn.). Middle Fleabane.
(Arabian) Rarajeub.

Common Name: Fleabane, Meadow false fleabane

Habitat: Inula dysenterica is a native of most parts of Europe, in moist meadows, watery places, by the sides of ditches, brooks and rivers, growing in masses and frequently overrunning large tracts of land on account of its creeping underground stems. In Scotland, however, it is rare, though common in Ireland. It grows on
Marshes, wet meadows, ditches etc, avoiding calcareous soils.

Description:
Inula dysenterica is a rough-looking plant, well marked by its soft, hoary foliage, and large terminal flat heads of bright yellow flowers, single, or one or two together, about an inch across, large in proportion to the size of the plant, the ray florets very numerous, long and narrow, somewhat paler than the florets in the centre or disk.

The creeping rootstock is perennial, and sends up at intervals stems reaching a height of 1 to 2 feet. These stems are woolly, branched above and very leafy, the leaves oblong, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, heart or arrowshaped at the base, embracing the stem, irregularly waved and toothed. Like the stem, the leaves are more or less covered with a woolly substance, varying a good deal in different plants. The under surface is ordinarily more woolly than the upper, and though the general effect of the foliage varies according to its degree of woolliness, it is at best a somewhat dull and greyish green....CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

The plant is in bloom from the latter part of July to September. The fruit is silky and crowned by a few short, unequal hairs of a dirty-white, with an outer ring of very short bristles or scales, a characteristic which distinguishes it from Elecampane and other members of the genus Inula, whose pappus consists of a single row of hairs this being the differing point which has led to its being assigned to a distinct genus, Pulicaria.

Another English plant bears the name of Fleabane (Erigeron acris), a member of the same order. For the sake of distinction, it is commonly known as the Blue Fleabane, its flowerheads having a yellow centre, and being surrounded by purplish rays. It is a smaller, far less striking plant, growing in dry situations.

Parts Used in medicines: Herb, root.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves when bruised have a somewhat soap-like smell. The sap that lies in the tissues is bitter, astringent and saltish, so that animals will not eat the plant, and this astringent character, to which no doubt the medicinal properties are to be ascribed, is imparted to decoctions and infusions of the dried herb.

Other Uses:
Repellent……..The plant is burnt to repel parasites.

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/Inula
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/flecom27.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pulicaria+dysenterica

Conyza canadensis

Botanical Name: Erigeron Canadense
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Conyza
Species: C. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Fleawort. Coltstail. Prideweed.
Common names:Conyza canadensis, Horseweed, Canadian horseweed, Canadian fleabane, Coltstail, Marestail and Butterweed
Habitat: Erigeron Canadense is native throughout most of North America and Central America. It is also widely naturalized in Eurasia and Australia.

Description:
Conyza canadensis is an annual plant growing to 1.5 m (60 inches) tall, with sparsely hairy stems. The leaves are unstalked, slender, 2–10 cm long and up to 1 cm (0.4 inches) across, with a coarsely toothed margin. They grow in an alternate spiral up the stem and the lower ones wither early. The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences 1 cm in diameter. Each individual flower has a ring of white or pale purple ray florets and a centre of yellow disc florets. The fruit is a cypsela tipped with dirty white down.

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It has an unbranched stem, with lance-shaped leaves, the lower ones with short stalks and with five teeth, the upper ones with uncut edges and narrower, 1 to 2 inches long. The stem is bristly and grows several feet high, bearing composite heads of flowers, small, white and very numerous, blossoming from June to September.

Conyza canadensis can easily be confused with Canyza sumatrensis, which may grow to a height of 2 m, and the more hairy Canyza bonariensis which does not exceed 1 m (40 inches). Conyza canadensis is distinguished by bracts that have a brownish inner surface and no red dot at the tip, and are free (or nearly free) of the hairs found on the bracts of the other species.

Part Used in medicines:  Herb, seeds. ……. The whole herb is gathered when in bloom and dried in bunches. The seeds are also used.

Constituents: The herb contains a bitter extractive, tannic and gallic acids and a volatile oil, to which its virtues are due

Medicinal Uses: Astringent, diuretic, tonic. It is considered useful in gravel, diabetes, dropsy and many kidney diseases, and is employed in diarrhoea and dysentery.

Oil of Erigeron resembles in its action Oil of Turpentine, but is less irritating. It has been used to arrest haemorrhage from the lungs or alimentary tract, but this property is not assigned to it in modern medicine.

It is said to be a valuable remedy for inflamed tonsils and ulceration and inflammation of the throat generally.

The Zuni people insert the crushed flowers of the canadensis variety into the nostrils to cause sneezing, relieving rhinitis. It is valued by Native Americans for assisting in the clotting of the blood and it has also been used to treat rheumatic complaints and gout. A tincture is made from the dried flowering tops of the plants. Horseweed is a preferable material for use in the hand drill method of making friction fire

The drug has a feeble odour and an astringent, aromatic and bitter taste. It is given in infusion (dose, wineglassful to a teacupful), oil (dose, 2 to 5 drops) on sugar. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conyza_canadensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/flecan26.html

Linum perenne

 

Botanical Name: Linum perenne
Family: Linaceae
Genus: Linum
Species: L. perenne
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Other Names: Perennial flax, Blue flax or Lint

Habitat: Linum perenne is native to Europe, primarily in the Alps and locally in England.

Description:
Linum perenne is a slender herbaceous perennial plant growing to 60 cm tall, with spirally arranged narrow lanceolate leaves 1–2.5 cm long. The flowers are pale blue, 2–2.5 cm diameter, with five petals.

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The English populations are sometimes distinguished as Linum perenne subsp. anglicum and high altitude populations in the Alps as Linum perenne subsp. alpinum. The similar western North American species Linum lewisii is sometimes treated as a subspecies of L. perenne.

Medicinal Uses:      Fluid extract of Linum perenne… 10 to 30 drops.
A tincture is also made from the entire fresh plant, 2 or 3 drops in water being given every hour or two for diarrhoea.

Country people boil the fresh herb and take it for rheumatic pains, colds, coughs and dropsy.

The Perennial Flax is a native plant not uncommon in some parts of the country upon calcareous soils. It grows about 2 feet in height and is readily distinguished from the annual kind by its paler flowers and narrower leaves. The rootstock usually throws up many stems. It flowers in July.

This species has been recommended for cultivation as a fibre plant, but it has been little adopted, the fibre being coarser and the seeds smaller than those of the Common Flax.

As the plant will last several years and yields an abundant crop of stems, it might be advantageously grown for paper making.

The seeds contain the same kind of oil as the ordinary species.

The All-Seed or Flax-Seed (Radiola linoides) belongs to the Flax family also; it is a minute annual with very fine, repeatedly forked branches. The leaves are opposite. Flowers in clusters very small, and seeding abundantly. It occurs inland on gravelly and sandy places, but is not common, from the Orkneys to Cornwall, e.g., near St. Ives, on the hills, and in the New Forest, near Lyndhurst.

Culpepper mentions remedies which include ‘Lin-seed,’ more than once – usually in the form of ‘mussilage of Lin-seed’; in one he mentions ‘the seeds of Flax’ and (later in the same prescription) ‘Linseed.’ He says it ‘heats and moistens, helps pains of the breast, coming cold and pleurises, old aches, and stitches, and softens hard swellings.’
Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/flaper25.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linum_perenne