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Adiantum Capillus-veneris

Botanical Name: Adiantum Capillus-veneris
Family: Pteridaceae
Subfamily: Vittarioideae
Genus: Adiantum
Species: A. capillus-veneris
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Polypodiales

Synonyms: Capillaire commun, or de Montpellier. Hair of Venus.

Common Names: True Maidenhair, Southern maidenhair fern’, Black maidenhair fern, Maidenhair fern and Venus hair fern
Habitat: Adiantum capillus-veneris is native to the southern half of the United States from California to the Atlantic coast, through Mexico and Central America, to South America. It is also native to Eurasia, the Levant in Western Asia, and Australasia. There are two disjunct occurrences in the northern part of North America: at Cascade Springs in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia. In both instances, the warm microclimate created by hot mineral springs permits the growth of the plant far north of its normal range.

It is found in temperate climates from warm-temperate to tropical, where the moisture content is high but not saturating, in the moist, well-drained sand, loam or limestone many habitats, including rainforests, shrub and woodlands, broadleaf and coniferous forests, and desert cliff seeps, and springs. It often may be seen growing on moist, sheltered and shaded sandstone or limestone formations, generally south-facing in the southern hemisphere, north-facing in the north, or in gorges. It occurs throughout Africa in moist places by streams. On moist sandstone cliffs it grows in full or partial shade, even when unprotected.

Description:
Adiantum capillus-veneris grows from 6 to 12 in (15 to 30 cm) in height; its fronds arising in clusters from creeping rhizomes 8 to 27.5 in (20 to 70 cm) tall, with very delicate, light green fronds much subdivided into pinnae 0.2 to 0.4 in (5 to 10 mm) long and broad; the frond rachis is black and wiry.

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The rootstock is tufted and creeping. The fern grows in masses, the fronds, however, separating and arching apart, giving the appearance of a perfect miniature tree. The stems are slender, of a shining, brownish black, the fronds themselves usually twice or three times pinnate, 6 inches to a foot long, the delicate pinnules fan-shaped, indented and notched. The sori are conspicuous, occupying the extremities of most of the lobes of the pinnules, in oval spots on the inner surface of the indusium, which is formed of the reflexed edge of the pinnule. The pinnules are very smooth: ‘in vain,’ said Pliny, ‘do you plunge the Adiantum into water, it always remains dry.’

Cultivation:
Adiantum capillus-veneris is cultivated and widely available around the world for planting in natural landscape native plants and traditional shade gardens, for outdoor container gardens, and commonly as an indoor houseplant.

Part Used in medicines: The herb.

Constituents: Tannin and mucilage. It has not been very fully investigated.

Medicinal Uses:
Adiantum capillus-veneris is used medicinally by Native Americans. The Mahuna people use the plant internally for rheumatism, and the Navajo people of Kayenta, AZ use an infusion of the plant as a lotion for bumblebee and centipede stings. The Navajo people also smoke it or take it internally to treat mental illness.

It is sed by   western herbalists to treat coughs, bronchitis, excess mucus, sore throat, and chronic nasal congestion.  The plant also has a longstanding reputation as a remedy for conditions of the hair and scalp.  It may be used as an infusion.  Native American sometimes chewed the leaves of the plant to stop internal bleeding.  An extract of the plant has diuretic and hypoglycemic activity in animals.  It needs to be used fresh as it’s highly sensitive to time and heat.  Can be used in a poultice (raw and crushed), directly applied to a wound or scalded and infused for several minutes for a topical poultice to treat eczema, suppurating infections and wounds.  In the form of a hair lotion, it stimulates hair growth.  In a tea (1 plant in 1 cup water), it is excellent in treating coughs and chronic skin disorders.  In the case of poor blood circulation, take 3 cups daily.  A tincture is also a good choice as an effective concentrated preparation: 2/3 oz in 1 cup alcohol.

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/Adiantum_capillus-veneris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/ferns-08.html#mal

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

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Commiphora Opobalsamum

Botanical Name: Commiphora Opobalsamum
Family:    Burseraceae
Genus:    Commiphora
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Sapindales

Synonyms: Balsamum Meccae var. Judiacum. Balsamum Gileadense. Baume de la Mecque. Balsamodendrum Opobalsamum. Balessan. Bechan. Balsam Tree. Amyris Gileadensis. Amyris Opobalsamum. Balsumodendron Gileadensis. Protium Gileadense. Dossémo.

Part Used: The resinous juice.

Habitat:Commiphora Opobalsamum is native to  countries on both sides of the Red Sea.

Description:
Commiphora Opobalsamum is a small tree, the source of the genuine Balm of Gilead around which so many mystical associations have gathered stands from 10 to 12 feet high, with wandlike, spreading branches. The bark is of a rich brown colour, the leaves, trifoliate, are small and scanty, the flowers unisexual small, and reddish in colour, while the seeds are solitary, yellow, and grooved down one side. It is both rare, and difficult to rear, and is so much valued by the Turks that its importation is prohibited. They have grown the trees in guarded gardens at Matarie, near Cairo, from the days of Prosper Alpin, who wrote the Dialogue of Balm, and the balsam is valued as a cosmetic by the royal ladies. In the Bible, and in the works of Bruce Theophrastes, Galen, and Dioscorides, it is lauded.

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Leaves in Commiphora are pinnately compound (or very rarely unifoliolate). Many species are armed with spines. Bark is often exfoliating, peeling in thin sheets to reveal colorful, sometimes photosynthetic bark, below. Stems are frequently succulent, especially in species native to drier environments. Flowers are subdioecious and fruits are drupes, usually with a 2-locular ovary (one is abortive). In response to wounding, the stems of many species will exude aromatic resins

The wood is found in small pieces, several kinds being known commercially, but it rapidly loses its odour. The fruit is reddish grey, and the size of a small pea, with an agreeable and aromatic taste. In Europe and America it is so seldom found in a pure state that its use is entirely discontinued .

Constituents:  The liquid balm is turbid whitish, thick, grey and odorous, and becomes solid by exposure. It contains a resin soluble in alcohol, and a principle resembling Bassorin.

Medicinal  Uses:  It has been used in diseases of the urinary tracts, but is said to possess no medicinal properties not found in other balsams.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commiphora
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/balofg05.html