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Artemisia persica

Botanical Name : Artemisia persica
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily:Asteroideae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Artemisia
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asterales
Habitat :Artemisia persica is native to E. Asia – Himalayas from Afghanistan to northern India and western Tibet. It grows on rocky slopes and sandy beaches at an elevation of 2900 – 4000 metres.

Description:
Artemisia persica is a perennial plant. It is densely greyish tomentose, basally woody shrublet with several or occasionally solitary, 25-75 cm tall, ascending or upright, simple or branched, striate-costate, densely leaved, rarely glabrescent stems from a much branched, woody rootstock. Leaves 3-pinnatisect, primary and secondary rachis lobulate; basal and lower stem leaves with up to 1.5 cm long petiole, lamina oblong-obovate, 1.2-3.5 (-4.5) x 0.8-2 cm, primary segments ascending to patent, ultimate segments linear-oblong to lanceolate, 1.5-2.5 x 0.5-0.8 (-1) mm, obtuse; upper leaves sessile and gradually smaller; uppermost in floral region linear. Capitula heterogamous, on (1-) 2-4 mm long peduncles, remote, subglobose, c. 3-3.5 mm long and broad, secund nodding in narrow, ± oblong-pyramidate, up to 30 x 8-12 cm panicle with ascending to obliquely erect, 6-20 cm long branches. Involucre 3-4-seriate; phyllaries loosely imbricate, ± keeled; outermost linear-oblong, c. 2 mm long; inner elliptic, 2-2.5 x 0.75-1 mm, obtuse, hoary pubescent in the middle part, margins scarious. Receptacle convex, densely to laxly long hairy or almost glabrous. Florets all fertile, yellow, 40-50; marginal florets 8-12, with compressed, c. 0.8 mm long, punctate-glandulose corolla tube; disc-florets bisexual, 30-40, with 5-dentate, apically densely long hairy, 1-1.5 mm long corolla tube. Cypselas light brown, oblong, c. 1 mm long, smooth.

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It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

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Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a warm sunny dry position. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

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Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse, making sure that 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 their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the young shoots when about10 – 15cm long, pot up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse or cold frame and plant them out when well rooted. Very easy.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is strongly scented and used as a tonic, febrifuge and vermifuge in Afghanistan and Chitral.

Known Hazards : Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.

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.

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Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_(genus)
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=200023300
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+persica

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Dionaea muscipula

Botanical Name : Dionaea muscipula
Family: Droseraceae
Genus: Dionaea
Species:D. muscipula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonym:
Dionaea sensitiva Salisb., Dionaea corymbosa Raf., Dionaea sessiliflora Raf., Dionaea uniflora Raf., Drosera sessiliflora Raf., Drosera uniflora Raf.

Common Names: Venus’s flytrap or Venus’ flytrap. Historically, the plant was also known by the slang term “tipitiwitchet” or “tippity twitchet”, possibly an oblique reference to the plant’s resemblance to human female genitalia.

Habitat : Dionaea muscipula is native to subtropical wetlands on the East Coast of the United States in North Carolina and South Carolina
Description:
Dionaea muscipula is a carnivorous plant. It is a small plant whose structure can be described as a rosette of four to seven leaves, which arise from a short subterranean stem that is actually a bulb-like object. Each stem reaches a maximum size of about three to ten centimeters, depending on the time of year; longer leaves with robust traps are usually formed after flowering. Flytraps that have more than 7 leaves are colonies formed by rosettes that have divided beneath the ground.

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Leaves will reach up to 5 inches (13 cm) long with flat, winged petioles. The blades are reniform (kidney-shaped), 2 lobed with the lobes hinged and fringed with stiff cilia. The upper surface has 3 sensitive hairs that when stimulated by insects cause the lobes to close together quickly (much this closing happens within ~1/30 of a second). Plants are easy to grow and are great plants for terraria. They are hardy in USDA zone 8, but growing them in nature may be a challenge because of their need for low nutients and low pH — difficult unless you intend to simulate their natural bog environment.

Blooming Time: The small white flower is ¾ of inch (2 cm) across.

The leaf blade is divided into two regions: a flat, heart-shaped photosynthesis-capable petiole, and a pair of terminal lobes hinged at the midrib, forming the trap which is the true leaf. The upper surface of these lobes contains red anthocyanin pigments and its edges secrete mucilage. The lobes exhibit rapid plant movements, snapping shut when stimulated by prey. The trapping mechanism is tripped when prey contacts one of the three hair-like trichomes that are found on the upper surface of each of the lobes. The mechanism is so highly specialized that it can distinguish between living prey and non-prey stimuli, such as falling raindrops; two trigger hairs must be touched in succession within 20 seconds of each other or one hair touched twice in rapid succession, whereupon the lobes of the trap will snap shut, typically in about one-tenth of a second. The edges of the lobes are fringed by stiff hair-like protrusions or cilia, which mesh together and prevent large prey from escaping. These protrusions, and the trigger hairs (also known as sensitive hairs) are likely homologous with the tentacles found in this plant’s close relatives, the sundews. Scientists have concluded that the snap trap evolved from a fly-paper trap similar to that of Drosera.

The holes in the meshwork allow small prey to escape, presumably because the benefit that would be obtained from them would be less than the cost of digesting them. If the prey is too small and escapes, the trap will usually reopen within 12 hours. If the prey moves around in the trap, it tightens and digestion begins more quickly.

Speed of closing can vary depending on the amount of humidity, light, size of prey, and general growing conditions. The speed with which traps close can be used as an indicator of a plant’s general health. Venus flytraps are not as humidity-dependent as are some other carnivorous plants, such as Nepenthes, Cephalotus, most Heliamphora, and some Drosera.

The Venus flytrap exhibits variations in petiole shape and length and whether the leaf lies flat on the ground or extends up at an angle of about 40–60 degrees. The four major forms are: ‘typica’, the most common, with broad decumbent petioles; ‘erecta’, with leaves at a 45-degree angle; ‘linearis’, with narrow petioles and leaves at 45 degrees; and ‘filiformis’, with extremely narrow or linear petioles. Except for ‘filiformis’, all of these can be stages in leaf production of any plant depending on season (decumbent in summer versus short versus semi-erect in spring), length of photoperiod (long petioles in spring versus short in summer), and intensity of light (wide petioles in low light intensity versus narrow in brighter light).

When grown from seed, plants take around four to five years to reach maturity and will live for 20 to 30 years if cultivated in the right conditions.

Cultivation:
Venus flytraps are popular as cultivated plants, but have a reputation for being difficult to grow. Successfully growing these specialized plants requires recreating a close approximation to the plant’s natural habitat.

CLICK TO LEARN : Growing Dionaea muscipula ,   How  & where to get  the plant

 

Healthy Venus flytraps will produce scapes of white flowers in spring; however, many growers remove the flowering stems early (2–3 inches), as flowering consumes some of the plant’s energy and thereby reduces the rate of trap production. If healthy plants are allowed to flower, successful pollination will result in seeds.

Propagation:
Plants can be propagated by seed, although seedlings take several years to mature. More commonly, they are propagated by clonal division in spring or summer.

Cultivars:
Venus flytraps are by far the most commonly recognized and cultivated carnivorous plant, and they are frequently sold as houseplants. Various cultivars (cultivated varieties) have come into the market through tissue culture of selected genetic mutations, and these plants are raised in large quantities for commercial markets.
Medicinal Uses:
In alternative medicine
Venus flytrap extract is available on the market as an herbal remedy, sometimes as the prime ingredient of a patent medicine named “Carnivora”. According to the American Cancer Society, these products are promoted in alternative medicine as a treatment for a variety of human ailments including HIV, Crohn’s disease and skin cancer, but “available scientific evidence does not support the health claims made for Venus flytrap extract”

Immunodeficiency diseases. Adult malignant tumors. Ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease. Neurodermitis. Multiple sclerosis. Primary chronic polyarthritis.

Dr. Keller claims that partial to total remissions have been achieved in glioblastomas, hypernephroma with lung metastases (not bones), pancreas carcinoma, viral induced tumors in the ear, nose and throat, adenocarcinomas of the lung and colon. In CML and CLL, remission time is prolonged together with the use of chemotherapy. He says in all the other malignancies Venus’ Fly Trap extract decreases the suppresser cells, increases the helper and natural killer cells, and therefore improves the patient’s general condition.

Other Uses: It is an ornamental plant. It can be grown as a fly trap or cosquito trap.

Venus flytrap is commonly grown as a curiosity and is a source of wonder for children and adults alike. Indeed, it is likely that Venus flytrap has been the source of inspiration for many a horror film involving man-eating plants – a somewhat unique ‘use’ within the plant kingdom! .
For more information You may click…...(1) …...

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/Venus_flytrap
http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week252.shtml

http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/dionaea-muscipula-venus-flytrap

http://www.herbaled.org/THM/Singles/venusflytrap.html

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Botanical Name : Cephalanthus occidentalis
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Cinchonoideae
Tribe: Naucleeae
Genus: Cephalanthus
Species: C. occidentalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Button Bush, Common buttonbush, Button Willow, Honey Bells

Habitat :Cephalanthus occidentalis is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Minnesota and California. It is a lowland species, growing along the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, swamps and wet floodplains.

Description:
Cephalanthus occidentalis is a deciduous shrub or small tree that averages 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) in height, but can reach 6 m (20 ft). The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three, elliptic to ovate, 7–18 cm (2.8–7.1 in) long and 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) broad, with a smooth edge and a short petiole. The flowers are arranged in a dense spherical inflorescence 2–3.5 cm (0.79–1.38 in) in diameter on a short peduncle. Each flower has a fused white to pale yellow four-lobed corolla forming a long slender tube connecting to the sepals. The stigma protrudes slightly from the corolla. The fruit is a spherical cluster of achenes (nutlets)....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation:
Easily grown in moist, humusy soils in full sun to part shade. Grows very well in wet soils, including flood conditions and shallow standing water. Adapts to a wide range of soils except dry ones. Pruning is usually not necessary, but may be done in early spring to shape. If plants become unmanageable, however, they may be cut back near to the ground in early spring to revitalize.

Propagation :
Seed – It is  suggested  to sow  the seed as soon as it is ripe in an acid compost in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of soft or semi-ripe wood, July in a frame. Layering.

Medicinal Uses:
Button bush was often employed medicinally by native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a range of ailments. It is little used in modern herbalism. A tea made from the bark is astringent, emetic, febrifuge and tonic. A strong decoction has been used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery, stomach complaints, haemorrhages etc. It has been used as a wash for eye inflammations. A decoction of either the roots or the fruits have been used as a laxative to treat constipation The leaves are astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic and tonic. A tea has been used to check menstrual flow and to treat fevers, kidney stones, pleurisy etc. The plant has a folk reputation for relieving malaria. The inner bark has been chewed in the treatment of toothaches.

Other Uses:
Buttonbush is cultivated as an ornamental plant for a nectar source or ‘honey plant’ and for aesthetics in gardens and native plant landscapes, and is planted on slopes to help control erosion. Buttonbush is a suitable shrub for butterfly gardens. Wood – light, tough.

Known Hazards : The leaves contain glucosides and can be toxic in large doses. Symptoms include vomiting, convulsions, chronic spasms and muscular paralysis

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalanthus_occidentalis
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cephalanthus+occidentalis
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=g830

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

Urtica dioica

Botanical Name:Urtica dioica
Family:    Urticaceae
Genus:    Urtica
Species:    U. dioica
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Rosales

Common Names: Common nettle or Stinging nettle

Habitat : Urtica dioica is native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America, and is the best-known member of the nettle genus Urtica.
Urtica dioca is abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia, usually found in the countryside. It is less widespread in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil but still common to find. In North America it is widely distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii and also can be found in northernmost Mexico. It grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest, especially in places where annual rainfall is high. The European subspecies has been introduced into North America as well as South America.

In Europe nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings. The presence of nettles may indicate the site of a long-abandoned building. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate[10] and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for nettles.

Description:
Urtica dioica is a dioecious herbaceous perennial, 1 to 2 m (3 to 7 ft) tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. It has widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, which are bright yellow, as are the roots. The soft green leaves are 3 to 15 cm (1 to 6 in) long and are borne oppositely on an erect wiry green stem. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin, a cordate base and an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals. It bears small greenish or brownish numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and in most subspecies also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds causes a painful sting or paresthesia from which the species derives one of its common names, stinging nettle, as well as the colloquial names burn nettle, burn weed, and burn hazel.

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Cultivation:
Prefers a soil rich in phosphates and nitrogen. Plants must be grown in a deep rich soil if good quality fibre is required[4, 115]. Nettles are one of the most undervalued of economic plants. They have a wide range of uses, for food, medicines, fibres etc and are also a very important plant for wildlife. There are at least 30 species of insects that feed on it and the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species are dependant upon it for food[30]. Especially when growing in rich soils, the plant can spread vigorously and is very difficult to eradicate. It is said that cutting the plant down three times a year for three years will kill it[4]. It is a good companion plant to grow in the orchard and amongst soft fruit[53, 54]. So long as it is not allowed to totally over-run the plants, it seems to improve the health of soft fruit that grows nearby and also to protect the fruit from birds, but it makes harvesting very difficult. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :         
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame, only just covering the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and plant them out in the summer. Division succeeds at almost any time in the growing season. Very easy, plant them straight out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: Colouring;  Curdling agent;  Drink;  Oil.
Young leaves – cooked as a potherb and added to soups etc. They can also be dried for winter use. Nettles are a very valuable addition to the diet, they are a very nutritious food that is easily digested and is high in minerals (especially iron) and vitamins (especially A and C). Only use young leaves (see the notes above on toxicity) and wear stout gloves when harvesting them to prevent being stung. Cooking the leaves, or thoroughly drying them, neutralizes the sting, rendering the leaf safe to eat. The young shoots, harvested in the spring when 15 – 20cm long complete with the underground stem are very nice. Old leaves can be laxative. The plants are harvested commercially for extraction of the chlorophyll, which is used as a green colouring agent (E140) in foods and medicines. A tea is made from the dried leaves, it is warming on a winters day. A bland flavour, it can be added as a tonic to China tea. The juice of the leaves, or a decoction of the herb, can be used as a rennet substitute in curdling plant milks. Nettle beer is brewed from the young shoot

Medicinal Uses:
Antiasthmatic;  Antidandruff;  Antirheumatic;  Antiseborrheic;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Galactogogue;  Haemostatic;  Hypoglycaemic;  Stings;  Tonic.

Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy and nutritious addition to the diet. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a cleansing tonic and blood purifier so the plant is often used in the treatment of hay fever, arthritis, anaemia etc. The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating tonic. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding, it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc. The fresh leaves of nettles have been rubbed or beaten onto the skin in the treatment of rheumatism etc. This practice, called urtification, causes intense irritation to the skin as it is stung by the nettles. It is believed that this treatment works in two ways. Firstly, it acts as a counter-irritant, bringing more blood to the area to help remove the toxins that cause rheumatism. Secondly, the formic acid from the nettles is believed to have a beneficial effect upon the rheumatic joints. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use. This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns. The root has been shown to have a beneficial effect upon enlarged prostate glands. A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of rheumatic gout, nettle rash and chickenpox, externally is applied to bruises. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle for rheumatic ailments (internal use of leaf), irrigation therapy, for inflammatory disease of the lower urinary tract and prevention of kidney ‘gravel’ formation, urination difficulty from benign prostatic hyperplasia (root)  for critics of commission

Urtica dioica herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (as tea or fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, locomotor system, skin, cardio-vascular system, hemorrhage, flu, rheumatism and gout.

Nettle is used in shampoo to control dandruff and is said to make hair more glossy, which is why some farmers include a handful of nettles with cattle feed.

Nettle root extracts have been extensively studied in human clinical trials as a treatment for symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). These extracts have been shown to help relieve symptoms compared to placebo both by themselves  and when combined with other herbal medicines.

Because it contains 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, certain extracts of the nettle are used by bodybuilders in an effort to increase free testosterone by occupying sex-hormone binding globulin.

As Old English stiðe, nettle is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century. Nettle is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that promotes lactation.

Urtication, or flogging with nettles, is the process of deliberately applying stinging nettles to the skin in order to provoke inflammation. An agent thus used is known as a rubefacient (something that causes redness). This is done as a folk remedy for rheumatism, providing temporary relief from pain. The counter-irritant action to which this is often attributed can be preserved by the preparation of an alcoholic tincture which can be applied as part of a topical preparation (but not as an infusion) which drastically reduces the irritant action.

Extracts of Urtica dioica leaves may help with glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients needing to use insulin.

Known Hazards:
Nettle stings are irritating and poisonous but are very rarely serious.The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin. This action is neutralized by heat or by thorough drying, so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious. However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys. Possible interference with allopathic drugs for diabetes mellitus, hypertension. Central nervous system depression drugs (e.g. morphine, alcohol) may also interact with nettle. Avoid during pregnancy,

Other Uses:
Biomass;  Compost;  Dye;  Fibre;  Hair;  Liquid feed;  Oil;  Repellent;  Waterproofing.

A strong flax-like fibre is obtained from the stems. Used for making string and cloth, it also makes a good quality paper. It is harvested as the plant begins to die down in early autumn and is retted before the fibres are extracted. The fibre is produced in less abundance than from flax (Linun usitatissimum) and is also more difficult to extract. The plant matter left over after the fibres have been extracted are a good source of biomass and have been used in the manufacture of sugar, starch, protein and ethyl alcohol. An oil obtained from the seeds is used as an illuminant. An essential ingredient of ‘QR’ herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. The leaves are also an excellent addition to the compost heap and they can be soaked for 7 – 21 days in water to make a very nutritious liquid feed for plants. This liquid feed is both insect repellent and a good foliar feed. The growing plant increases the essential oil content of other nearby plants, thus making them more resistant to insect pests. Although many different species of insects feed on nettles, flies are repelled by the plant so a bunch of freshly cut stems has been used as a repellent in food cupboards. The juice of the plant, or a decoction formed by boiling the herb in a strong solution of salt, will curdle milks and thus acts as a rennet substitute. This same juice, if rubbed into small seams of leaky wooden tubs, will coagulate and make the tub watertight again. A hair wash is made from the infused leaves and this is used as a tonic and antidandruff treatment. A beautiful and permanent green dye is obtained from a decoction of the leaves and stems. A yellow dye is obtained from the root when boiled with alum

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/Urtica_dioica
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Urtica+dioica
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html

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