Verbena hastata

 Botanical Name : Verbena hastata
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Verbena
Species: V. hastata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names :Vervain , Blue Vervain, Wild Hyssop, Simpler’s Joy, Herb of the cross, Swamp Verbena

Habitat : Verbena hastata grows in every county of Illinois; it is fairly common. Habitats include riverbottom prairies, moist meadows near floodplain woodlands, soggy thickets, borders of rivers and ponds, marshes, ditches, fence rows, and pastures. This plant adapts readily to degraded wetlands and other disturbed areas, but it can be found in higher quality habitats as well.

Description:
Verbena hastata is a slender, but erect, perennial plant that grows up to 5′ tall, branching occasionally in the upper half. The green or red stems are four-angled, sometimes with fine white hairs. The opposite leaves are up to 6″ long and 1″ across. They are lanceolate, conspicuously veined, and have short petioles. The margins are coarsely serrated with variably sized teeth. The upper stems terminate in a panicle of flowering spikes. These erect spikes are up to 5″ long, and densely crowded all around with numerous reddish blue or violet flowers. Each flower is a little less than ¼” across, and has 5 lobes flaring outward from a slender corolla tube. There is no scent. Four nutlets are produced per flower – they are reddish brown, oblong, and triangular convex. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late summer, and lasts about 1½ months. The root system has fibrous roots and short rhizomes.The flowers are often a pretty blue or violet, but they are quite small. Blue Vervain is easy to identify because it is the only vervain with elegant spikes of flowers in this color range.
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Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sunlight and moist conditions. The soil should consist of a fertile loam or wet muck. This plant tolerates standing water, if it is temporary. This is a good plant to locate near a small river or pond in a sunny location.

Medicinal Uses:

: * Anxiety * Colds * Depression * Lupus * Nerve/Back Pain

Properties: * AntiCancer * Antiscrofulous * Antispasmodic * Astringent * Bitter * Digestive * emetic * Emmenagogue * Febrifuge * Nervine * Stomachic * Vulnerary
Parts Used: Leaves, flowering heads
Constituents:  tannin

Vervain has been useful to herbal healers for many centuries of recorded history, both in the Europe (Verbena officinalis)Netje Blanchan  and in North America, (V. hastata),yet there is a dearth of human studies with this herb. Vervain’s healing properties are attributed primarily to its bitter and stimulating effect on the liver and other organs, as well as its relaxing effect on the nervous system. 2 Vervain is useful in many diseases as a pain reliever and natural tranquilizer, an expectorant used to treat chronic bronchitis, and an antirheumatic used to relive joint pain. Herbalists consider vervain especially helpful when depression is related to chronic illness. As an added benefit, it can help to heal any damage that has occurred to the liver.

Other Uses:
The flowers attract many kinds of long-tongued and short-tongued bees, including Epeoline Cuckoo bees, Eucerine Miner bees, Halictid bees, and the oligolege Calliopsis verbenae (Verbena Bee).These bees seek primarily nectar, although some species collect pollen. Other flower visitors include Ammophila spp. (Thread-Waisted wasps), Bee flies, Thick-Headed flies, small butterflies and skippers, and Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (Goldenrod Soldier Beetle). The caterpillars of Crambodes talidiformis (Verbena Moth) feed on the foliage. Most mammalian herbivores avoid eating this plant because of the bitter leaves – an exception is the Cottontail Rabbit, which may eat the foliage of young plants to a limited extent. Also, various songbirds occasionally eat the seeds, including the Cardinal, Swamp Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Slate-Colored Junco (during the winter). Experimental studies have shown that these seeds can pass undamaged through the digestive tracts of cattle, therefore they are probably distributed to some extent by these seed-eating birds.

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:
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/wetland/plants/bl_vervain.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbena_hastata
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail121.php

Aloysia citriodora

Botanical Name :Aloysia citriodora
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Aloysia
Species: A. citrodora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

 Synonyms: Verbena triphylla L’Hér., Verbena citriodora Cav., Lippia triphylla, Lippia citriodora, Aloysia citriodora (Cav.) Ort.Aloysia triphylla

Common Names:vervain,lemon verbena and lemon beebrush

Habitat :Aloysia citriodora is  native to western South America.(S. America – Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay. Locally naturalized in the Mediterranean) It grows in fields and roadsides

Description:
Lemon verbena is a perennial shrub or subshrub growing to 2–3 m high. The 8 cm long glossy, pointed leaves are slightly rough to the touch and emit a powerful scent reminiscent of lemon when bruised (hence the Latin specific epithet citrodora—lemon-scented).It is hardy to zone 8 . It is in leaf from May to November, in flower in August, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
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Sprays of tiny lilac or white flowers appear in late Spring or early Summer. It is sensitive to cold, losing leaves at temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) although the wood is hardy to ?10 °C (14 °F). Due to its many culinary uses, it is widely listed and marketed as a plant for the herb garden.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most moderately fertile soils if they are well-drained. Prefers a light soil. Requires a sunny sheltered position. Requires a warm damp climate. A very ornamental plant, lemon verbena is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain, growing well in Cornwall. It can withstand about 10°c of frost and survives outdoors on a wall at Kew. It generally survives most winters outdoors if growing in a suitable position, though it is often cut back to ground level and then resprouts from the base in late spring or early summer. Giving the roots a good, thick organic mulch will confer extra protection from winter cold. The plant succeeds outdoors at Howick, a garden on the coast of Northumberland. The leaves are very aromatic with a lemon scent, they are often used to make a drink or for their essential oils. There has been considerable confusion over the naming of this species. We are following the treatment used in  and , which is also the current treatment in the 1999 edition of The Plant Finder. However, the book ‘World Economic Plants’ uses the name A. citrodora Palau (a different author to the one we cite) as the correct name. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in late spring. Only just cover the seed and keep in a light position, making sure the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in early summer and give some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of softwood, May/June in a frame. Grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. The cuttings root quickly and easily, though there can be losses in the first winter[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts[K]. The cuttings root quickly and easily, though there can be losses in the first winter

Edible Uses:
Leaves are occasionally cooked as a spinach but more commonly used as a flavouring in salads, fruit salads etc. A delicious lemon-like flavour, it is adored by most people who try it. A delicious and refreshing tea is made from the leaves. The dried leaves will retain their lemon aroma for many years.

Medicinal Uses:
Antispasmodic; Aromatherapy; Febrifuge; Sedative; Stomachic.

An undervalued medicinal herb, lemon verbena contains a strong lemon-scented essential oil that has calming and digestive qualities. The plant has a gentle sedative action and a reputation for soothing abdominal discomfort. It has a mildly tonic effect upon the nervous system and helps to lift the spirits and counter depression[254]. The leaves and the flowering tops are antispasmodic, febrifuge, sedative and stomachic. A tea made from the leaves has a deliciously refreshing lemon flavour and is used mainly in treating digestive disorders such as flatulence, indigestion and acidity. Some caution is advisable though, since prolonged use or large internal doses can cause gastric irritation[268]. The herb is also useful as a stimulant for treating lethargy or depression whilst it is also used to treat feverish colds[238]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy in the treatment of nervous and digestive problems and also for acne, boils and cysts.

Other Uses:
Essential; Insecticide; Pot-pourri; Repellent.

An essential oil obtained from the leaves is extensively used in perfumery. An average yield of 0.5% is obtained. There is some evidence that the use of this oil can sensitise the skin to sunlight and so its use has been largely replaced by the tropical plant lemongrass, Cymbopogon spp.. The dried leaves retain their fragrance well and so are used in pot-pourri. The growing plant repels midges, flies and other insects. The essential oil is an effective insecticide in 1 – 2% concentration.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed DriedThe leaves are very aromatic with a strong lemon scent.

Known Hazards:
The essential oil from the plant might sensitise the skin to sunlight

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:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Aloysia+triphylla
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloysia_citrodora
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail348.php

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Galium odoratum

Botanical Name :Galium odoratum
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Galium
Species: G. odoratum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Synonyms: Asperula odorata – L.
Common Names: woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby’s breath; master of the woods
Habitat :Galium odoratum  is  native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.

Description:
Galium odoratum  is a Perennial herb, growing to 0.15m by 0.45m at a medium rate.The leaves are simple, lanceolate, glabrous, 2–5 cm long, and borne in whorls of 6-9. The small (4–7 mm diameter) flowers are produced in cymes, each white with four petals joined together at the base. The fruits are 2–4 mm diameter, produced singly, and each is covered in tiny hooked bristles which help disperse them by sticking temporarily to clothing and animal fur.

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It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, bees. The plant is self-fertile.

This plant prefers partial to full shade in moist, rich soils. In dry summers it needs frequent irrigation. Propagation is by crown division, separation of the rooted stems, or digging up of the barely submerged perimeter stolons. It is ideal as a groundcover or border accent in woody, acidic gardens where other shade plants fail to thrive. Deer avoid eating it (Northeast US

Cultivation:
Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun. This species does not thrive in a hot climate. Prefers a moist calcareous soil. Dislikes very acid soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. This species is very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and grows well in towns. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. Sweet woodruff is occasionally cultivated in the herb garden for its medicinal and other uses. The dried foliage has the sweet scent of newly mown hay. A very ornamental plant but it spreads rapidly and can be invasive. However, this is rarely to the detriment of other plants since these are normally able to grow through it. It does no harm to any plants more than 60cm tall.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate. A period of cold stratification helps reduce the germination time. Lots of leafmold in the soil and the shade of trees also improves germination rates. Division in spring. The plant can also be successfully divided throughout the growing season if the divisions are kept moist until they are established. 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. Cuttings of soft wood, after flowering, in a frame.

Edible Uses:
Leaves are eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are coumarin-scented (like freshly mown hay), they are used as a flavouring in cooling drinks and are also added to fruit salads etc. The leaves are soaked in white wine to make ‘Maitrank‘, an aromatic tonic drink that is made in Alsace. A fragrant and delicious tea is made from the green-dried leaves and flowers. Slightly wilted leaves are used, the tea has a fresh, grassy flavour. The sweet-scented flowers are eaten or used as a garnish

Medicinal Uses:
Antispasmodic; Cardiac; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Homeopathy; Sedative.

Sweet woodruff was widely used in herbal medicine during the Middle Ages, gaining a reputation as an external application to wounds and cuts and also taken internally in the treatment of digestive and liver problems. In current day herbalism it is valued mainly for its tonic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory affect. The leaves are antispasmodic, cardiac, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative. An infusion is used in the treatment of insomnia and nervous tension, varicose veins, biliary obstruction, hepatitis and jaundice. The plant is harvested just before or as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use. One report says that it should be used with caution whilst another says that it is entirely safe. Excessive doses can produce dizziness and symptoms of poisoning. The dried plant contains coumarins and these act to prevent the clotting of blood – though in excessive doses it can cause internal bleeding. The plant is grown commercially as a source of coumarin, used to make an anticoagulant drug. Do not use this remedy if you are taking conventional medicine for circulatory problems or if you are pregnant. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry. A homeopathic remedy made from the plant is used in the treatment of inflammation of the uterus

Other Uses
Dye; Ground cover; Pot-pourri; Repellent; Strewing.
A red dye is obtained from the root. Soft-tan and grey-green dyes are obtained from the stems and leaves. A good ground-cover plant for growing on woodland edges or in the cool shade of shrubs. It spreads rapidly at the roots. It is an ideal carpeting plant for bulbs to grow through. Although the fresh plant has very little aroma, as it dries it becomes very aromatic with the scent of newly-mown grass and then retains this aroma for years. It is used in the linen cupboard to protect from moths etc. It was also formerly used as a strewing herb and is an ingredient of pot-pourri. It was also hung up in bunches in the home in order to keep the rooms cool and fragrant during the summertime.

Scented Plants:
As the epithet odoratum suggests, the plant is strongly scented, the sweet scent being derived from coumarin. This scent increases on wilting and then persists on drying, and the dried plant is used in pot-pourri and as a moth deterrent. It is also used, mainly in Germany, to flavour May wine (called “Maibowle” in German), syrup for beer (Berliner Weisse), brandy, sausages, jelly, jam, a soft drink (Tarhun, which is Georgian), ice cream, and a herbal tea with gentle sedative properties. In Germany it is also used to flavour sherbet powder. Mixed with German “Korn schnapps” or vodka, it is a popular party drink among young people. Also very popular at parties is Waldmeister flavoured jelly made from vodka

 

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:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Galium+odoratum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galium_odoratum
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail499.php

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Stachys officinalis

Botanical; Name :Stachys officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Stachys
Species: S. officinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Syn.: Betonica officinalis

Common Names:betony, purple betony, wood betony, bishopwort, or bishop’s wort.  (The name betony is alleged to derive from the ancient Celtic words bew (head) and ton (good), an indication of its use for headaches. The word stachys comes from the Greek, meaning “an ear of grain,” and refers to the fact that the inflorescence is often a spike.)

Habitat :In Europe, Stachys can be found growing in wastelands, grasslands and woodland edges. All-heal thrives in any damp soil in full sun or in light shade. Plants are apt to become troublesome weeds in turf that is at all damp.
.

Stachys officinalis is a pretty woodland plant, met with frequently throughout England, but rare in Ireland and northern Scotland. Though generally growing in woods and copses, it is occasionally to be found in more open situations, and amongst the tangled growths on heaths and moors.

Description:
Stachys officinalis is a perennial grassland herb growing to 30 to 60  cm (1 to 2 ft) tall. Its leaves are stalked on upright stems, narrowly oval, with a heart-shaped base, with a somewhat wrinkled texture and toothed margins. The calyx is 5–7 mm long, with 5 teeth, edged with bristles. The corolla 1–1.5 cm long. Its upper lip flat, almost straight when seen from the side. The anthers stick straight out. It flowers in mid summer from July to September, and is found in dry grassland, meadows and open woods in most of Europe, western Asia and North Africa.

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It comes up year after year from a thickish, woody root. The stems rise to a height of from 1 to 2 feet, and are slender, square and furrowed. They bear at wide intervals a few pairs of oblong, stalkless leaves, 2 to 3 inches long, and about 3/4 to 1 inch broad, with roughly indented margins in other plants of this group, the pairs of leaves arise on alternate sides of the stem. The majority of the leaves, however, spring from the root and these are larger, on long stalks and of a drawn-out, heart shape. All the leaves are rough to the touch and are also fringed with short, fine hairs; their whole surface is dotted with glands containing a bitter, aromatic oil.

At the top of the stem are the two-lipped flowers of a very rich purplish-red, arranged in dense rings or whorls, which together form short spikes. Then there is a break and a piece of bare stem, with two or four oblong, stalkless leaves and then more flowers, the whole forming what is termed an interrupted spike, a characteristic peculiarity by which Wood Betony is known from all other labiate flowers. The cup or calyx of each flower is crowned by five sharp points, each representing a sepal. The corolla is a long tube ending in two lips, the upper lip slightly arched, the lower one flat, of three equal lobes. The four stamens lie in two pairs within the arch of the upper lip, one pair longer than the other, and shed their pollen on to the back of bee visitors who come to drink the honey in the tube, and thus unconsciously effect the fertilization of the next flower they visit, by carrying to it this pollen that has been dusted upon them. After fertilization, four brown, smooth three-cornered nutlets are developed. The flowers are in bloom during July and August.

The common name of this plant is said by Pliny to have been first Vettonica, from the Vettones a people of Spain, but modern authors resolve the word into the primitive or Celtic form of bew (a head) and ton (good), it being good for complaints in the head. It has sometimes, also, been called Bishopswort, the reason for which is not evident. The name of the genus, Stachys, is a Greek word, signifying a spike, from the mode of flowering.

Cultivation:
Prefers a light moist neutral to acid soil in sun or light shade[7, 17, 238]. A characteristic plant of healthy roadside banks on heavy soils[187]. Hardy to at least -25°c[187]. At one time bugle was often cultivated for its medicinal virtues, though it is now little used[4]. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value[188]. An excellent bee plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Very easy, the plant can be successfully divided at almost any time of the year. 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.

Sow seed in very early spring in a flat outdoors, or give a short cold and moist conditioning treatment before sowing in a warm place. Growing from 1 to 2 feet high, with creeping, self-rooting, tough, square, reddish stems branching at leaf axis. The leaves are lance shaped, serrated and reddish at tip, about an inch long and 1/2 inch broad, grow on short stalks in opposite pairs down the square stem. The flowers grow from a clublike, somewhat square, whirled cluster, immediately below this club are a pair of stalkless leaves standing out on either side like a collar. Flowers are two lipped and tubular, the top lip is a purple hood, and the bottom lip is often white, it has three lobes with the middle lobe being larger and fringed upwardly. Flowers bloom at different times depending on climate and other conditions. Mostly from June to August. Gather whole plant when flowers bloom, dry for later herb use.

Edible Uses:The leaves and flowering tops make a good tea substitute. Refreshing and aromatic, it has all the good qualities of tea without the negative ones

Constituents:
The aerial parts contain phenylethanoid glycosides, (betonyosides A-F) and acetoside, acetoside isomer, campneosides II, forsythoside B and leucosceptoside B. The roots contain diterpene glycosides, betonicosides A-D and the diterpene, betonicolide.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is medicinal as an alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves makes a refreshing beverage, while a weak infusion of the plant can be used as a medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye. It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart.

Betony was once the sovereign remedy for all maladies of the head, and its properties as a nervine and tonic are still acknowledged, though it is more frequently employed in combination with other nervines than alone. It is useful in hysteria, palpitations pain in the head and face, neuralgia and all nervous affections. In the Medicina Britannica (1666) we read: ‘I have known the most obstinate headaches cured by daily breakfasting for a month or six weeks on a decoction of Betony made with new milk and strained.’

As an aromatic, it has also astringent and alterative action, and combined with other remedies is used as a tonic in dyspepsia and as an alterative in rheumatism, scrofula and impurities of the blood.

The weak infusion forms a very acceptable substitute for tea, and in this way is extensively used in many localities. It has somewhat the taste of tea and all the good qualities of it, without the bad ones. To make Betony tea, pour a pint of boiling water on an ounce of the dried herb. A wineglassful of this decoction three times a dayproves a benefit against languid nervous headaches.

The dried herb may also be smoked as tobacco, combined with Eyebright and Coltsfoot, for relieving headache.

A pinch of the powdered herb will provoke violent sneezing. The dried leaves formed an ingredient in Rowley’s British Herb Snuff, which was at one time quite famous for headaches.

Gerard tells us, among other uses, that Betony, ‘preserveth the lives and bodies of men from the danger of epidemical diseases. It helpeth those that loathe and cannot digest their food. It is used either dry or green either the root or herb – or the flowers, drunk in broth or meat or made into conserve syrup, water, electuary or powder – as everyone may best frame themselves, or as time or season requires.’ He proceeds to say that the herb cures the jaundice, falling sickness, palsy, convulsions, gout, dropsy and head troubles, and that ‘the powder mixed with honey is no less available for all sorts of colds or cough, wheezing, of shortness of breath and consumption,’ also that ‘the decoction made with mead and Pennyroyal is good for putrid agues,’ and made in wine is good as a vermifuge, ‘and also removes obstructions of the spleen and liver.’ Again, ‘the decoction with wine gargled in the mouth easeth the toothache…. It is a cure for the bites of mad dogs…. A dram of the powder taken with a little honey in some vinegar is good for refreshing those that are wearied by travel. It stayeth bleeding at the nose and mouth, and helpeth those that spit blood, and is good for those that have a rupture and are bruised. The green herb bruised, or the juice, applied to any inward hurt, or outward wound in body or head will quickly heal and close it up. It will draw forth any broken bone or splinter, thorn or other thing gotten into the flesh, also healeth old sores or ulcers and boils. The root is displeasing both to taste and stomach, whereas the leaves and flowers by their sweet and spicy taste, comfort both in meat and medicine.

Other Uses:
The fresh leaves are said to have an intoxicating effect. They have been used to dye wool a fine yellow.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys_officinalis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/betowo35.html
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Stachys+officinalis
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail252.php

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Gaultheria procumbens

 

Botanical Name :Gaultheria procumbens
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaultheria
Species: G. procumbens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:Eastern teaberry, Checkerberry, BHoxberry, or American wintergreen, Teaberry, Mountain Tea, Spice Berry, Checker-berry, Partridge-berry.

Other Names:
American mountain tea, boxberry, Canada tea, canterberry, checkerberry, chickenberry, chinks, creeping wintergreen, deerberry, drunkards, gingerberry, ground berry, ground tea, grouseberry, hillberry, mountain tea, one-berry, partridge berry, procalm, red pollom, spice berry, squaw vine, star berry, teaberry, spiceberry, spicy wintergreen, spring wintergreen, teaberry, wax cluster, youngsters,

While this plant is also known as partridge berry, that name more often refers to the ground cover Mitchella repens.

Habitat : Gaultheria procumbens is native to northeastern North America from Newfoundland west to southeastern Manitoba, and south to Alabama. It is a member of the Ericaceae (heath family).It grows in Sterile woods (poor acid soils) and clearings. Especially found beneath evergreen trees

Description:
Gaultheria procumbens is a small low-growing shrub, typically reaching 10–15 centimeters (3.9–5.9 in) tall. The leaves are evergreen, elliptic to ovate, 2–5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, with a distinct oil of wintergreen scent. The flowers are bell-shaped, 5 mm long, white, borne solitary or in short racemes. The berry-like fruit is actually a dry capsule surrounded by fleshy calyx, 6–9 mm diameter.
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It is a calcifuge, favoring acidic soil, in pine or hardwood forests, although it generally produces fruit only in sunnier areas. It often grows as part of the heath complex in an oak-heath forest.

G. procumbens spreads by means of long rhizomes, which are within the top 20–30 mm of soil. Because of the shallow nature of the rhizomes, it does not survive most forest fires, but a brief or mild fire may leave rhizomes intact, from which the plant can regrow even if the above-ground shrub was consumed.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit

Edible Uses:Fruit are eaten raw or cooked. Pleasant but insipid. The fruit is not at all insipid, it has a very strong spicy taste of germolene, just like being in a hospital waiting room. Best after a frost, the fruit hangs onto the plant until spring if it is not eaten by birds etc. The fruits can also be used in pies, or made into jams etc. The fruit is up to 15mm in diameter. Young leaves – raw. A pleasant wayside nibble if used when very young. Dry and powdery according to our taste buds. A very agreeable tea is made from the fresh leaves. A stronger tea can be made by first fermenting the bright red leaves. ‘Oil of wintergreen’ can be distilled from this plant. It is used to flavour beer, sweets, chewing gum etc

For the leaves to yield significant amounts of their essential oil, they need to be fermented for at least 3 days.

Teaberry is also an ice cream flavor in regions where the plant grows. It also inspired the name of Clark’s Teaberry chewing gum.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil. Succeeds in dry soils once it is well established and tolerates considerable drought. Grows well under the thin shade of deciduous shrubs or evergreens. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -35°c. Plants can become invasive when growing in good conditions. Some named forms have been developed for their ornamental value, ‘Dart’s Red Giant’ has specially large berries. All parts of the plant are aromatic, the bruised leaves having the scent of wintergreen. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 – 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 – 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 – 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring. A good percentage usually take. Division can be carried out at almost any time of the year, but works best in the spring just before new growth begins. 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.

Constituents:
Constituents:  methyl salicylate, ketone, alcohol

Gaultheria procumbensis one of the richest sources of salicylic acid compared to other plants 1 including Salix spp. (willow), Betula spp. (birch), many poplars, and Viburnum prunifolium (black haw).

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Aromatic; Astringent; Carminative; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Stimulant; Tonic.

Checkerberry leaves were widely used by the native North American Indians in the treatment of aches and pains and to help breathing whilst hunting or carrying heavy loads. An essential oil (known as ‘oil of wintergreen’) obtained from the leaves contains methyl salicylate, which is closely related to aspirin and is an effective anti-inflammatory. This species was at one time a major source of methyl salicylate, though this is now mainly synthesized. The leaves, and the oil, are analgesic, anti-inflammatory, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant and tonic. An infusion of the leaves is used to relieve flatulence and colic. The plant, especially in the form of the essential oil, is most useful when applied externally in the treatment of acute cases of rheumatism, sciatica, myalgia, sprains, neuralgia and catarrh. The oil is sometimes used in the treatment of cellulitis, a bacterial infection that causes the skin to become inflamed. Some caution is advised, especially if the oil is used internally, since essential oil is toxic in excess, causing liver and kidney damage. It should not be prescribed for patients who are hypersensitive to salicylates (aspirin). The leaves can be gathered at any time from spring to early autumn, they are dried for use in infusions or distilled to produce the oil

The plant has been used by various tribes of Native Americans for medicinal purposes.

Other Uses:
Essential; Ground cover.

An essential oil is obtained from the leaves by steam distillation. In order to obtain the oil, the leaves need to be steeped for 12 – 24 hours in water. The essential oil is used as a food flavouring, medicinally (the original source of Wintergreen oil used as a liniment for aching muscles) and in perfumery and toothpastes. In large doses it can be toxic. A good ground-cover plant for shady positions though it requires weeding for the first year or so. Forming a dense tuft-like carpet, it roots as it spreads and should be spaced about 45cm apart each way.

Scented Plants:     Plant: CrushedAll parts of the plant are aromatic, the bruised leaves having the scent of wintergreen.

Known Hazards : The pure distilled essential oil is toxic in large doses

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaultheria_procumbens
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Gaultheria+procumbens
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail148.php

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Dioscorea villosa

Botanical Name :Dioscorea villosa
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea
Species: D. villosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dioscoreales

Common Names: Wild Yam Root , Colic root, rheumatism root

Habitat : Dioscorea villosa  is native to  Eastern N. America – New England to Minnesota and Ontario, south to Virginia and Texas. It grows in  borders of bogs, swamps, marshes, river and lake margins, creek bottoms, sandy or rocky soils, moist or dry woods, hammocks, thickets, limestone or talus slopes, roadsides, sea level to 1500 m.

Description:
Dioscorea villosa is a perennial climber growing to 3 m (9ft 10in). It is a species of a twining tuberous vine.

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It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Sep to October. 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.

Cultivation:   
An easily grown plant, succeeding in a fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position or light shade[200]. Prefers a rich light soil . Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. Plants produce tubercles (small tubers that are formed in the leaf axils of the stems), and can be propagated by this means[K]. A climbing plant that supports itself by twining around the branches of other plants. . This is a highly polymorphic species, some botanists dividing it up into several species.  Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :   
Seed – sow March to April in a sunny position in a warm greenhouse and only just cover. It germinates in 1 – 3 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for their first year. Plant out in late spring as the plant comes into new growth. Basal stem cuttings in the summer. Division in the dormant season, never when in growth. The plant will often produce a number of shoots, the top 5 – 10 cm of the root below each shoot can be potted up to form a new plant whilst the lower part of the root can possibly be eaten. Tubercles (baby tubers) are formed in the leaf axils. These are harvested in late summer and early autumn when about the size of a pea and coming away easily from the plant. They should be potted up immediately in individual pots in a greenhouse or cold frame. Plant out in early summer when in active growth.

Edible Uses  : Tuber is cooked and eaten. Some caution should be exercised with this plant.

Constituents:  steroidal saponins (including dioscin and trillin which yield diosgenin), phytosterols, alkaloids including dioscorine, tannins, starch

Medicinal Uses:

Antiinflammatory;  Antirheumatic;  Antispasmodic;  Cholagogue;  ContraceptiveDiaphoreticHomeopathy;  Vasodilator.

Wild yam roots, and the roots of many other members of the genus, contains diosgenin[222]. This is widely used in modern medicine in order to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs. These are used as contraceptives and in the treatment of various disorders of the genitary organs as well as in a host of other diseases such as asthma and arthritis. The roots are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic and vasodilator. They are also a visceral relaxant. This plant affords one of the best and fastest cures for bilious colic, it is especially helpful in treating the nausea of pregnant women and has been used to ease the pain of childbirth. It is also taken internally in the treatment of arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, gall bladder complaints, painful menstruation etc. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The root should not be stored for longer than 1 year, since it is likely to lose its medicinal virtues. Caution is advised in the use of the this plant, when taken fresh it can cause vomiting and other side effects. The root, harvested in September, is used to make a homeopathic remedy. Its main use is in the treatment of infant colic.

Wild yam also contains beta carotene, the antioxidant that is so important to maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. Other colorful folk names include Devil’s bones, Yuma, Colic root and Rheumatism root, referring to Native Americans use of the boiled root to treat morning sickness and in childbirth, also arthritis and digestive problems.

Its fame is based on its steroid-like saponins which can be chemically converted to progesterone contraceptives; and cortisone.

Known Hazards:
Edible species of Dioscorea have opposite leaves whilst poisonous species have alternate leaves. Use of the fresh plant can cause vomiting and other side effects. Known to cause headaches, menstrual irregularities & acne. May cause hair loss & oily skin. Avoid during pregnancy. Avoid in patients with cancers of the breast, ovaries, prostate & uterus.

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:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dioscorea+villosa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioscorea_villosa
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail119.php

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Lactuca virosa

Botanical Name : Lactuca virosa
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. virosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names:Wild Lettuce, Bitter lettuce, Laitue vireuse, Opium Lettuce, Poisonous Lettuce, or Rakutu-Karyumu-So.

Habitat : Lactuca virosa is found in  Europe, including Britain, from Belgium south and west to N. Africa, Central Russia and W. Asia.It is also found in the Punjab Region of Pakistan India and Australia where it grows in the wild.

Description:
Lactuca virosa is an  annual  or biennial  plant and is   similar to prickly lettuce Lactuca serriola but taller – it can grow to 200 cm. It is also stouter, the stem and leaves are more purple flushed,[disputed – discuss] the leaves are less divided, but more spreading.

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It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
The achene is purple black, without bristles at the tip. The pappus is the same as Lactuca serriola.

Cultivation :   
Prefers a light sandy loam and a sunny position. The wild lettuce is cultivated as a medicinal plant in many areas of Europe.

Propagation :    
Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses:      
Leaves are eaten  raw or cooked. Very tender. A mild flavoured oil, used in cooking, is obtained from the seeds.

Constituents:
A latex which is called lactucarium can be derived from the extract of the stem secretions of Lactuca virosa. Oils and extracts can also be produced from L. virosa. These oils and extracts have sedative properties in rodents. They may be added to tea to help induce sleep. While its use as a galactagogue (a substance that increases breast milk) has been reported, the sedative effects on the baby would strongly argue against its use for this purpose. Many add the greens to salads, though the leaves of L. virosa are more bitter than other salad greens. Smoking involves either dried leaves or a sticky precipitate extracted from the leaves. Beverages can be prepared by soaking the leaves in alcohol.

The plant contains flavonoids, coumarins, and N-methyl-?-phenethylamine.[unreliable source?] A variety of other chemical compounds have been isolated from L. virosa. One of the compounds, lactucin, is an adenosine receptor agonist in vitro, while another, lactucopicrin, has been shown to act as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor in vitro

Medicinal Uses:.

Anodyne;  Antispasmodic;  Digestive;  Homeopathy;  Hypnotic;  Narcotic;  Sedative;  Tonic.

The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. This species is probably the richest supply of lactucarium. The plant also contains ‘hyoscyamine’, a powerful depressant of the parasympathetic nervous system. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of chronic catarrh, coughs, swollen liver, flatulence and ailments of the urinary tract.

Wild lettuce is a valuable remedy for insomnia and muscular arthritis. The common name “lettuce opium“, as it was known in the earlier official pharmacopoeias, refers to the potent milky latex produced by the stems and leaves. There has been a recent internet driven surge of popularity of wild lettuce as a recreational herb, however wild lettuce will disappoint those only looking for a legal high similar to opium. The powers that be have outlawed all the truly narcotic herbs, leaving only the less potent ones available to use without fear of running afoul of the law. That said, this relaxing and sedative herb can be a ally for those needing help to induce sleep, and calm restlessness.

Known Hazards:
Poisonous. Cases of poisoning caused by this plant have only been recorded very rarely.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactuca_virosa
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail364.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+virosa

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Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Botanical Name :Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Scilloideae
Genus: Hyacinthoides
Species: H. non-scripta
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Common Names:Wild Hyacinth , Bluebell

Habitat :Hyacinthoides non-scripta is native to the western parts of Atlantic Europe, from north-western Spain (occasionally even north-western Portugal) to the Netherlands and the British Isles. It is found in Belgium, Great Britain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain, and also occurs as a naturalized species in Germany, Italy, and Romania. It has also been introduced to parts of North America, in both the Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Washington and Oregon) and the north-eastern United States (Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York).

Description:
Hyacinthoides non-scripta is a perennial plant that grows from a bulb.[8] It produces 3–6 linear leaves, all growing from the base of the plant, and each 7–16 millimetres (0.28–0.63 in) wide. An inflorescence of 5–12 (exceptionally 3–32) flowers is borne on a stem up to 500 mm (20 in) tall, which droops towards the tip; the flowers are arranged in a 1-sided nodding raceme. Each flower is 14–20 mm (0.55–0.79 in) long, with two bracts at the base, and the six tepals are strongly recurved at their tips. The tepals are violet–blue. The three stamens in the outer whorl are fused to the perianth for more than 75% of their length, and bear cream-coloured pollen. The flowers are strongly and sweetly scented. The seeds are black, and germinate on the soil surface.

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The bulbs produce contractile roots; when these roots contract, they draw the bulbs down into deeper layers of the soil where there is greater moisture, reaching depths of 10–12 cm (3.9–4.7 in). This may explain the absence of H. non-scripta from thin soils over chalk in South East England, since the bulbs are unable to penetrate into sufficiently deep soils.

H. non-scripta differs from H. hispanica, which occurs as an introduced species in the British Isles, in a number of ways. H. hispanica has paler flowers which are borne in radially symmetrical racemes; their tepals are less recurved, and are only faintly scented. The outer stamens are fused with the tepals for less than 75% of their length, and the anthers are the same colour as the tepals. These two species are thought to have diverged 8000 years ago. The two species also hybridise readily to produce fertile offspring known as Hyacinthoides × massartiana; the hybrids are intermediate between the parental species, forming a spectrum of variation which connects the two.

Constituents:  inulin, mucilage

Medicinal Uses:
Bluebells, a classic wildflower is no longer used in herbal medicine, its slight benefits being outweighed by the toxic nature of the bulbs. According to the account by Ms. Grieve, the medicinal reputation Wild Hyacinth of England benefits greatly from being associated with the Hyacinthus of Greek mythology, although it is not clear it is in the same genus as the ancient plant of legend. What little medicinal use attributed to the plant originated in writings of John Hill, a noted 18th century botanist who recommended it as a styptic.

Other Uses:
Bluebells are widely planted as garden plants, either among trees or in herbaceous borders. They flower at the same time as hyacinths, Narcissus and some tulips. Their ability to reproduce vegetatively using runners, however, means that they can spread rapidly, and may need to be controlled as weeds.

Bluebells synthesise a wide range of chemicals with potential medicinal properties. They contain at least 15 biologically active compounds that may provide them with protection against insects and animals. Certain extracts – water-soluble alkaloids – are similar to compounds tested for use in combating HIV and cancer. The bulbs of bluebells are used in folk medicine as a remedy for leucorrhoea, and as a diuretic or styptic, while the sap can be used as an adhesive.

The bluebell may be regarded as the United Kingdom’s “favourite flower”, and a stylised bluebell has been used since 2005 as the logo for the Botanical Society of the British Isles.

Taxonomic history:
Hybrids between H. non-scripta and H. non-scripta were first given a specific name in 1997, when the Belgian botanist D. Geerinck described them as H. × massartiana, honouring the botanist Jean Massart. The type locality is Watermael-Boitsfort, near Brussels, Belgium; the holotype is held in Brussels, with an isotype in Liège. The same taxon had already been given the name “Hyacinthoides × variabilis” by P. D. Sell in 1996 in the Flora of Great Britain and Ireland, but without a valid Latin diagnosis

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:
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail281.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinthoides_non-scripta
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinthoides_%C3%97_massartiana

 

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Watercress

Botanical Name :Nasturtium officinale
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Nasturtium
Species: N. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms:  Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum – (L.)Hayek., Sisymbrium nasturtium-aquaticum – L.

Common Name :Watercress

Habitat : Watercress is native to Europe and Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. It is a member of the family Brassicaceae, botanically related to garden cress, mustard and radish — all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavour.

Description:
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

In some regions, watercress is regarded as a weed, in other regions as an aquatic vegetable or herb. Watercress has been grown in many locations around the world.

Cultivation :
Watercress is easily grown when given the correct conditions of slowly flowing clean water, preferably coming from chalky or limestone soils. It prefers to grow in water about 5cm deep with an optimum pH 7.2. Plants can be grown in wet soil if the position is somewhat shaded and protection is given in winter, though the flavour may be hotter. Hardy to about -15°c. Watercress is often cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. The plant is very sensitive to pollution so a clean source of water is required. Plants will often continue to grow all through mild winters. A fast-growing plant, the stems trail along the ground or float in water and produce new roots at the leaf nodes, thus making the plant very easy to propagate vegetatively. Unfortunately, virus diseases have become more common in cultivated plants and so most propagation is carried out by seed. This is a diploid species. It has hybridised naturally in the wild with the triploid species N. microphyllum to produce the sterile hybrid N. x sterilis which is also commonly cultivated as a salad crop. The flowers are a rich source of pollen and so are very attractive to bees.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a pot emmersed to half its depth in water. Germination should take place within a couple of weeks. Prick out seedlings into individual pots whilst they are still small and increase the depth of water gradually until they are submerged. Plant out into a pond in the summer. Cuttings can be taken at any time in the growing season. Virtually any part of the plant, including a single leaf, will form roots if detached from the parent plant[56]. Just put it in a container of water until the roots are well formed and then plant out in shallow water.

Edible Uses.
Leaves – raw or cooked. Water cress is mainly used as a garnish or as an addition to salads, the flavour is strong with a characteristic hotness[183]. It has a reputation as a spring tonic, and this is its main season of use, though it can be harvested for most of the year and can give 10 pickings annually. Some caution is advised if gathering the plant from the wild, see the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron. A nutritional analysis is available. The seed can be sprouted and eaten in salads. A hot mustardy flavour. The seed is ground into a powder and used as a mustard. The pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed – an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 – 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild but bitter mustard.

Chemical Constituents:
Stems and leaves:
vitamins a, c and e, nicotinamide, a glycoside, gluconastur-tin, volatile oil, manganese, iron, phosphorus, iodine, copper, calcium

Leaves (Fresh weight)•19 Calories per 100g
•Water: 93.3%
•Protein: 2.2g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 3g; Fibre: 0.7g; Ash: 1.2g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 151mg; Phosphorus: 54mg; Iron: 1.7mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 52mg; Potassium: 282mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 2940mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.08mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.16mg; Niacin: 0.9mg; B6: 0mg; C: 79mg;

Medicinal Uses:
Antiscorbutic; Depurative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Hypoglycaemic; Odontalgic; Purgative; Stimulant; Stomachic; TB.

Watercress is very rich in vitamins and minerals, and has long been valued as a food and medicinal plant. Considered a cleansing herb, its high content of vitamin C makes it a remedy that is particularly valuable for chronic illnesses. The leaves are antiscorbutic, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, purgative, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic, stimulant and stomachic. The plant has been used as a specific in the treatment of TB. The freshly pressed juice has been used internally and externally in the treatment of chest and kidney complaints, chronic irritations and inflammations of the skin etc. Applied externally, it has a long-standing reputation as an effective hair tonic, helping to promote the growth of thick hair. A poultice of the leaves is said to be an effective treatment for healing glandular tumours or lymphatic swellings. Some caution is advised, excessive use of the plant can lead to stomach upsets. The leaves can be harvested almost throughout the year and are used fresh.

Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, iodine, and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. Because it is relatively rich in Vitamin C, watercress was suggested (among other plants) by English military surgeon John Woodall (1570–1643) as a remedy for scurvy.

Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties; it is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer. A 2010 study conducted by the University of Southampton found that consumption of watercress may also inhibit the growth of breast cancer. The content of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) in watercress inhibits HIF, which can inhibit angiogenesis.

Watercress is mentioned in the Talmud as being able to stop bleeding, when mixed with vinegar

Other Uses:
Hair; Miscellany.
The juice of the plant is a nicotine solvent and is used as such on strong tobaccos.

Known Hazards:
Whilst the plant is very wholesome and nutritious, some care should be taken if harvesting it from the wild. Any plants growing in water that drains from fields where animals, particularly sheep, graze should not be used raw. This is due to the risk of it being infested with the liver fluke parasite. Cooking the leaves, however, will destroy any parasites and render the plant perfectly safe to eat.

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:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Nasturtium+officinale
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watercress
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail372.php

Juglans nigra (walnut)

Botanical Name :Juglans nigra
Family: Juglandaceae
Genus: Juglans
Species: J. regia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Common Names:Black Walnut,Persian walnut, English walnut, common walnut or California walnut

Habitat : Juglans regia is native to the mountain ranges of Central Asia, extending from Xinjiang province of western China, parts of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and southern Kirghizia and from lower ranges of mountains in Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, northern India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, through Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Iran to portions of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and eastern Turkey. In these countries, there is a great genetic diversity, in particular ancestral forms with lateral fruiting. During its migration to western Europe, the common walnut lost this character and became large trees with terminal fruiting. A small remnant population of these J. regia trees have survived the last glacial period in Southern Europe, but the bulk of the wild germplasm found in the Balkan peninsula and much of Turkey was most likely introduced from eastern Turkey by commerce and settlement several thousand years ago

Description:
Juglans regia is a large, deciduous tree attaining heights of 25–35 m, and a trunk up to 2 m diameter, commonly with a short trunk and broad crown, though taller and narrower in dense forest competition. It is a light-demanding species, requiring full sun to grow well.

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The bark is smooth, olive-brown when young and silvery-grey on older branches, and features scattered broad fissures with a rougher texture. Like all walnuts, the pith of the twigs contains air spaces; this chambered pith is brownish in color. The leaves are alternately arranged, 25–40 cm long, odd-pinnate with 5–9 leaflets, paired alternately with one terminal leaflet. The largest leaflets are the three at the apex, 10–18 cm long and 6–8 cm broad; the basal pair of leaflets are much smaller, 5–8 cm long, with the margins of the leaflets entire. The male flowers are in drooping catkins 5–10 cm long, and the female flowers are terminal, in clusters of two to five, ripening in the autumn into a fruit with a green, semifleshy husk and a brown, corrugated nut. The whole fruit, including the husk, falls in autumn; the seed is large, with a relatively thin shell, and edible, with a rich flavour.

Cultivation:
Walnut trees grow best in rich, deep soil with full sun and long summers, such as the California central valley. In the U.S., J. regia is often grafted onto a rootstock of a native black walnut, Juglans hindsii to provide disease resistance. Other plants often will not grow under walnut trees because the fallen leaves and husks contain juglone, a chemical which acts as a natural herbicide. Horses that eat walnut leaves may develop laminitis, a hoof ailment. Mature trees may reach 50 feet in height and width, and live more than 200 years, developing massive trunks more than eight feet thick.

Edible Uses: Like all other nuts walnuts are eaten and are used in making various  sweet dishes.

Chemical Constituents:
Seven phenolic compounds (ferulic acid, vanillic acid, coumaric acid, syringic acid, myricetin, juglone and regiolone) have been identified in walnut husks by using reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography or crystallography.

Walnuts also contain the ellagitannin pedunculagin.

(?)-Regiolone has been isolated with juglone, betulinic acid and sitosterol from the stem-bark of J. regia

Medicinal Uses:
Scientists are not yet certain whether walnuts act as a cancer chemopreventive agent, an effect which may be a result of the fruit’s high phenolic content, antioxidant activity, and potent in vitro antiproliferative activity.

Compared to certain other nuts, such as almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts, walnuts (especially in their raw form) contain the highest total level of antioxidants, including both free antioxidants and antioxidants bound to fiber.

Walnuts are a good source dietary source of serotonin, which is important in maintaining a healthy emotional balance. A lack of serotonin in the brain is thought to be a cause of depression. Walnuts are also one of the best plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Both research and population studies have shown that having the right balance of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet reduces inflammation and may help lower risk such as heart disease, cancer, and auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.1

Herbalists are most interested in the bark, leaves and nut husks of black walnut. Black walnut hulls contain juglone, a chemical that is antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and a fungicide. As a skin wash, black walnut is used to treat ringworm and yeast infections of the skin. Black walnut hull extract is unquestionably one of the best and safest worming agents offered by the plant world. But it can be toxic if not used with proper care, caution, and training. It is an herb best reserved for use by experienced practitioners.

Other uses:
Walnut heartwood is a heavy, hard, open-grained hardwood. Freshly cut live wood may be Dijon-mustard colour, darkening to brown over a few days. The dried lumber is a rich chocolate-brown to black, with cream to tan sapwood, and may feature unusual figures, such as “curly”, “bee’s wing”, “bird’s eye”, and “rat tail”, among others. It is prized by fine woodworkers for its durability, lustre and chatoyance, and is used for high-end flooring, guitars, furniture, veneers, knobs and handles as well as Gunstocks.

Methyl palmitate, which has been extracted from green husks of J. regia has insecticidal properties: at a concentration of 10 mg/ml, it killed 98% of Tetranychus cinnabarinus (carmine spider mites) in one study.

Known Hazards:To remove the husk from kernel can lead to hand staining. Walnut hulls contain phenolics that stain hands and can cause skin irritation.

Black Walnut Side Effects:  Not for long term or chronic use, the juglone in black walnut has carcinogenic effects. Can be toxic if not used with proper care and respect. Remember anything that can kill a tapeworm has the potential of being harmful to the host.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juglans_regia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walnut
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail221.php