Tag Archives: Agrostemma

Helleborus niger

Botanical Name: Helleborus niger
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Helleborus
Species: H. niger
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Christe Herbe. Christmas Rose. Melampode.

Common Names: Christmas rose or Black hellebore,

Parts Used: Rhizome, root.
Habitat: Helleborus niger is a native of the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Europe, Greece and Asia Minor, and is cultivated largely in this country as a garden plant. Supplies of the dried rhizome, from which the drug is prepared, have hitherto come principally from Germany.

Description:
Helleborus niger is an evergreen perennial flowering plant with dark leathery pedate leaves carried on stems 9–12 in (23–30 cm) tall. The large flat flowers, borne on short stems from midwinter to early spring, are white or occasionally pink.

There are two subspecies: H. niger niger as well as H. niger macranthus, which has larger flowers (up to 3.75 in/9 cm across). In the wild, H. niger niger is generally found in mountainous areas in Switzerland, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and northern Italy. Helleborus niger macranthus is found only in northern Italy and possibly adjoining parts of Slovenia….click & see the pictures

Cultivation & Propagation:  All kinds of Hellebore will thrive in ordinary garden soil, but for some kinds prepared soil is preferable, consisting of equal parts of good fibry loam and welldecomposed manure, half fibry peat and half coarse sand. Thorough drainage is necessary, as stagnant moisture is very injurious. It prefers a moist, sheltered situation, with partial shade, such as the margins of shrubberies. If the soil is well trenched and manured, Hellebore will not require replanting for at least seven years, if grown for flowering, but a top dressing of well-decayed manure and a little liquid manure might be given during the growing season, when plants are making their foliage. Propagation is by seeds, or division of roots. Seedlings should be pricked off thickly into a shady border, in a light, rich soil. The second year they should be transplanted to permanent quarters, and will bloom in the third year. For division of roots, the plant is strongest in July, and the clumps to be divided must be well established, with rootstocks large enough to cut. The plants will be good flowering plants in two years, but four years are required to bring them to perfection.

Constituents: Helleborus niger contains two crystalline glucosides, Helleborin and helleborcin, both powerful poisons. Helleborin has a burning, acrid taste and is narcotic, helleborcin has a sweetish taste and is a highly active cardiac poison, similar in its effects to digitalis and a drastic purgative. Other constituents are resin, fat and starch. No tannin is present.

Medicinal Uses:
In the early days of medicine, two kinds of hellebore were recognized: black hellebore, which included various species of Helleborus, and white hellebore (now known as Veratrum album or “false hellebore”, which belongs to a different plant family, the Melanthiaceae). “Black hellebore” was used by the ancients to treat paralysis, gout and particularly insanity, among other diseases. “Black hellebore” is also toxic, causing tinnitus, vertigo, stupor, thirst, a feeling of suffocation, swelling of the tongue and throat, emesis and catharsis, bradycardia (slowing of the pulse), and finally collapse and death from cardiac arrest. Research in the 1970s, however, showed that the roots of H. niger do not contain the cardiotoxic compounds helleborin, hellebrin, and helleborein that are responsible for the lethal reputation of “black hellebore”. It seems that earlier studies may have used a commercial preparation containing a mixture of material from other species such as Helleborus viridis, green hellebore

The drug possesses drastic purgative, emmenagogue and anthelmintic properties, but is violently narcotic. It was formerly much used in dropsy and amenorrhoea, and has proved of value in nervous disorders and hysteria. It is used in the form of a tincture, and must be administered with great care.

The active constituents have an action similar to that of those found in foxglove.  Toxic when taken in all but the smallest doses, the acrid black hellebore is purgative and cardiotonic, expels worms, and promotes menstrual flow.  In the 20th century, the cardiac glycosides in the leaves came into use as a heart stimulant for the elderly.  The herb has also been taken to stimulate delayed menstruation.  Now considered too strong to be safely used.

Applied locally, the fresh root is violently irritant.

Known Hazards: Helleborus niger contains protoanemonin, or ranunculin, which has an acrid taste and can cause burning of the eyes, mouth and throat, oral ulceration, gastroenteritis and hematemesis.

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/h/helbla14.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helleborus_niger

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

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Agrostemma githago

Botanical Name :Agrostemma githago
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus:     Agrostemma
Species: A. githago
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Corn Pink. Corn Campion. Ray. Nigella. Zizany. Darnel. Tare. Gith. Lychnis. Githage. Agrostemma. Pseudo-melanthium. Lolium.

Common Names : “corncockle” and “corn cockle” and known locally simply as “the corncockle”

Habitat : It is very likely that until the 20th century, most wheat contained some corncockle seed. It is now present in many parts of the temperate world as an alien species, probably introduced with imported European wheat. It is known to occur throughout much of the United States and parts of Canada, parts of Australia and New Zealand.In parts of Europe such as the United Kingdom, intensive mechanised farming has put the plant at risk and it is now uncommon or local. This is partly due to increased use of herbicides but probably much more to do with changing patterns of agriculture with most wheat now sown in the autumn as winter wheat and then harvested before any corncockle would have flowered or set seed.

Description:
It is a stiffly erect plant up to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) tall and covered with fine hairs. Its few branches are each tipped with a single deep pink to purple flower. The flowers are scentless, are 25–50 millimetres (1–2 in) across and are produced in the summer months – May to September in the northern hemisphere, November to March in the southern hemisphere.

click to see the  pictures :

Each petal bears two or three discontinuous black lines. The five narrow pointed sepals exceed the petals and are joined at the base to form a rigid tube with 10 ribs. Leaves are pale green, opposite, narrowly lanceolate, held nearly erect against stem and are 45–145 mm (1.8–5.7 in) long. Seeds are produced in a many-seeded capsule. It can be found in fields, roadsides, railway lines, waste places, and other disturbed areas.

Medicinal Uses:

The seed is diuretic, expectorant and vermifuge.  Minute amounts are used medicinally. It has a folk history of use in the external treatment of cancer, warts etc. The plant is not used in allopathic medicine, but it has been found efficacious in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice if used for long enough.
Corn Cockle is not used in alopathic medicine to-day, but according to Hill, if used long enough, it was considered a cure for dropsy and jaundice.

In homoeopathy a trituration of the seeds has been found useful in paralysis and gastritis.

Known Hazards:  All parts of the plant are poisonous (githagin, agrostemmic acid).

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/Agrostemma_githago
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cornc101.html

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

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