Botanical Name: Daucus carota
Species: D. carota
Synonyms: Birds’ Nest and Bees’ Nest.
Common Name: Wild carrot, Bird’s nest, Bishop’s lace, and Queen Anne’s lace
Habitat: Probably originally a native of the sea-coasts of Southern Europe degenerated into its present wild state, but of very ancient cultivation. Now it is grown in Britain, near the sea in greatest abundance, and in waste places throughout Europe, Russian Asia, America, and is even found in India.
Daucus carota is a biennial plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate. The stems are erect and branched, generally about 2 feet high, tough and furrowed. Both stems and leaves are more or less clothed with stout coarse hairs. The leaves are very finely divided, the lowest leaves considerably larger than the upper; their arrangement on the stem is alternate, and all the leaves embrace the stem with the sheathing base, which is so characteristic of this group of plants, the Umbelliferae, to which the Carrot belongs. The blossoms are densely clustered together in terminal umbels, or flattened heads, in which the flower-bearing stalks of the head all arise from one point in rays, like the ribs of an umbrella, each ray again dividing in the case of the Carrot, in like manner to form a secondary umbel, or umbellule of white flowers, the outer ones of which are irregular and larger than the others. The Wild Carrot is in bloom from June to August, but often continues flowering much longer. The flowers themselves are very small, but from their whiteness and number, they form a conspicuous head nearly flat while in bloom, or slightly convex, but as the seeds ripen, the umbels contract, the outer rays, which are to begin with 1 to 2 inches long, lengthening and curving inwards, so that the head forms a hollow cup hence one of the old popular names for the plant – Birds’ Nest. The fruit is slightly flattened, with numerous bristles arranged in five rows. The seeds ripen from Aug to September.The ring of finely-divided and leaf-like bracts at the point where the umbel springs is a noticeable feature….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The Carrot is well distinguished from other plants of the same order by having the central flower of the umbel, or sometimes a tiny umbellule, of a bright red or deep purple colour, though there is a variety, Daucus maritimus, frequent in many parts of the seacoast in the south of England, which differs in having somewhat fleshy leaves and no central purple flower. In this case, all the flowers of the head have usually a somewhat pinkish tinge. There was a curious superstition that this small purple flower of the Carrot was of benefit for mitigating epilepsy.
Landscape Uses:Border, Seashore. Prefers a sunny position and a well-drained neutral to alkaline soil. A good plant for the summer meadow, it is a food plant for caterpillars of the Swallow-tail Butterfly. This species is the parent of the cultivated carrot. It can act as an alternative host for pests and diseases of the cultivated carrots. The plant has become a pest weed in N. America, where it is spreading rapidly and crowding out native vegetation. The whole plant, when bruised, gives off an aniseed-like scent. Special Features: Edible, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers.
Seed – sow August/September or April in situ. The seed germinates better if it is given a period of cold stratification.
Edible Uses: Root – cooked. Thin and stringy. The flower clusters can be french-fried to produce a carrot-flavoured gourmet’s delight. The aromatic seed is used as a flavouring in stews etc. The dried roasted roots are ground into a powder and are used for making coffee
Parts Used in Medicines: Whole herb, seeds, root.
Constituents: The medicinal properties of the seeds are owing to a volatile oil which is colourless or slightly tinged with yellow; this is procured by distilling with water. They also yield their virtues by infusion to water at 212 degrees F.; boiling dissipates them. No thorough analysis has been made.
Anthelmintic; Carminative; Contraceptive; Deobstruent; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Galactogogue; Ophthalmic; Stimulant.
This vegetable is a wonderful cleansing medicine. It supports the liver, and stimulates urine flow and the removal of waste by the kidneys. The juice of organically grown carrots is a delicious drink and a valuable detoxifier. Carrots are rich in carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the liver. This nutrient acts to improve night blindness as well as vision in general. The raw root, grated or mashed, is a safe treatment for threadworms, especially in children. Wild carrot leaves are a good diuretic. They have been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed. The seeds are also diuretic and carminative. They stimulate menstruation and have been used in folk medicine as a treatment for hangovers. Both leaves and seeds relieve flatulence and gassy colic and are a useful remedy for settling the digestion and upsets of the stomach. Many Pennsylvania Dutch have used wild carrot seed as both an emmenagogue and a morning-after contraceptive. Indian researchers have confirmed that carrot seed has anti-implantation activity in laboratory animals. One teaspoonful of the seeds is taken daily starting at the time of ovulation or immediately after unprotected intercourse during the fertile time and continued for up to one week to prevent pregnancy. Carrots contain 8 compounds that lower blood pressure. Scottish studies showed that over a period of three weeks, a daily snack of two carrots lowered cholesterol levels by 10-20% in study participants. Because the fiber pectin is the source of most of these benefits, don’t use a juicer which extracts most of the fiber.
Scientists in India have discovered that carrots afford significant protection for the liver in laboratory animals. When liver cell injury was induced experimentally with chemicals, paralleling the liver damage inflicted by chemical pollutants, experiments showed that lab animals could recover with the help of carrot extracts which increase the activity of several enzymes that speed up detoxification of the liver and other organs.
The wild carrot is an aromatic herb that acts as a diuretic, soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the uterus. A wonderfully cleansing medicine, it supports the liver, stimulates the flow of urine and the removal of waste by the kidneys. The whole plant is anthelmintic, carminative, deobstruent, diuretic, galactogogue, ophthalmic, stimulant. An infusion is used in the treatment of various complaints including digestive disorders, kidney and bladder diseases and in the treatment of dropsy. An infusion of the leaves has been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed. Carrot leaves contain significant amounts of porphyrins, which stimulate the pituitary gland and lead to the release of increased levels of sex hormones. The plant is harvested in July and dried for later use. A warm water infusion of the flowers has been used in the treatment of diabetes. The grated raw root, especially of the cultivated forms, is used as a remedy for threadworms. The root is also used to encourage delayed menstruation. The root of the wild plant can induce uterine contractions and so should not be used by pregnant women. A tea made from the roots is diuretic and has been used in the treatment of urinary stones. The seeds are diuretic, carminative, emmenagogue and anthelmintic. An infusion is used in the treatment of oedema, flatulent indigestion and menstrual problems. The seed is a traditional ‘morning after’ contraceptive and there is some evidence to uphold this belief. It requires further investigation. Carrot seeds can be abortifacient and so should not be used by pregnant women.
Other Uses: An essential oil obtained from the seed has an orris-like scent. It is used in perfumery and as a food flavouring. The oil has also been used cosmetically in anti-wrinkle creams.
Known Hazards: The wild carrot sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people. Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Daucus has been reported to contain acetone, asarone, choline, ethanol, formic acid, HCN, isobutyric acid, limonene, malic acid, maltose, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, pyrrolidine, and quinic acid. Reviewing research on myristicin, which occurs in nutmeg, mace, black pepper, carrot seed, celery seed, and parsley, Buchanan (J. Food Safety 1: 275, 1979) noted that the psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties of mace, nutmeg, and purified myristicin have been studied. It has been hypothesized that myristicin and elemicin can be readily modified in the body to amphetamines. Handling carrot foliage, especially wet foliage, can cause irritation and vesication. Sensitized photosensitive persons may get an exact reproduction of the leaf on the skin by placing the leaf on the skin for awhile, followed by exposure to sunshine.
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.