Tag Archives: Native Americans in the United States

Allium textile

Botanical Name : Allium textile
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. textile
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms:
*Allium angulosum Pursh 1813, illegitimate homonym not L. 1753
*Allium aridum Rydb.
*Allium geyeri var. textile (A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr.) B. Boivin
*Allium reticulatum Fraser ex G. Don 1827, illegitimate homonym , not J. Presl & C. Presl 1817
*Allium reticulatum var. playanum M.E. Jones
*Maligia laxa Raf.

Common Name: Prairie onion or Textile onion

Habitat : Allium textile is native to North America – Saskatchewan to South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. It grows on dry prairies, calcareous rocks and open woods.

Description:
Allium textile produces egg-shaped bulbs up to 2.5 cm long. There are no rhizomes. Scapes are round in cross-section, up to 40 cm tall. Flowers are bell-shaped or urn-shaped, about 6 mm in diameter; tepals white or pink with reddish-brown midribs; pollen and anthers yellow. It is in flower from May to July.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Plants require a period of summer rest at which time they should be kept dry or they are likely to rot, they are therefore more easily grown in a bulb frame or cold greenhouse. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Closely related to A. stellatum. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. Fairly large, the bulb is up to 2cm in diameter. It is used as an onion substitute in stews etc. The bulb can be eaten fresh or can be stored for later use. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.
Other Uses:….Repellent…..The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles

Known Hazards:Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_textile
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+textile

Arisaema triphyllum

Botanical Name : Arisaema triphyllum
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe:     Arisaemateae
Genus:     Arisaema
Species: A. triphyllum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Alismatales

Synonyms: Arum triphyllum , Dragon Root. Wild Turnip. Devil’s Ear. Pepper Turnip. Indian Turnip. Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Memory Root. Arisamae triphyllum (Schott.).
(French) Gouet à trois feuilles.
(German) Dreiblattiger Aron.

Common Names: jack-in-the-pulpit, bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip, American wake robin, or wild turnip

Habitat: Arisaema triphyllum is native to  Eastern North America in damp places. Indigenous almost all over United States and Canada.

Description:
Arisaema triphyllum  is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a corm. It’s leaves are trifoliate, with groups of three leaves growing together at the top of one long stem produced from a corm; each leaflet is 8–15 centimetres (3.1–5.9 in) long and 3–7 centimetres (1.2–2.8 in) broad. Plants are sometimes confused with Poison-ivy especially before the flowers appear or non-flowering plants. The inflorescences are shaped irregularly and grow to a length of up to 8 cm long. They are greenish-yellow or sometimes fully green with purple or brownish stripes. The spathe, known in this plant as “the pulpit” wraps around and covers over and contain a spadix (“Jack”), covered with tiny flowers of both sexes. The flowers are unisexual, in small plants most if not all the flowers are male, as plants age and grow larger the spadix produces more female flowers. This species flowers from April to June. It is pollinated by flies, which it attracts using heat and smell. The fruit are smooth, shiny green, 1 cm wide berries clustered on the thickened spadix. The fruits ripen in late summer and fall, turning a bright red color before the plants go dormant. Each berry produces 1 to 5 seeds typically, the seeds are white to light tan in color, rounded, often with flattened edges and a short sharp point at the top and a rounded bottom surface. If the seeds are freed from the berry they will germinate the next spring, producing a plant with a single rounded leaf. Seedlings need three or more years of growth before they become large enough to flower.

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In addition the plant is not self-pollinating since the male flowers on a specific plant have already matured and died before the female flowers of that same plant are mature. So the female flowers need to be pollinated by the male flowers of a different plant. This inhibits inbreeding and contributes to the health of the species.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Massing, Woodland garden. Prefers a cool peaty soil in the bog garden, woodland garden or a sheltered border in semi-shade. Prefers a loamy or peaty soil and will tolerate a sunny position if the soil is moist but not water-logged and the position is not too hot or exposed. Tubers should be planted about 10cm deep. Only plant out full sized tubers and mulch them with organic matter in the winter. Plants need protection from slugs. Most species in this genus are dioecious, but they are sometimes monoecious and can also change sex from year to year. Special Features: Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Wetlands plant.
Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. Stored seed remains viable for at least a year and can be sown in spring in the greenhouse but it will probably require a period of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 6 months at 15°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least a coupe of years until the corms are more than 20mm in diameter. Plant out into their permanent positions whilst they are dormant. Division of tubers when the plant dies down in late summer.

Edible Uses:If the plant is properly dried or cooked it can be eaten as a root vegetable.

Constituents: In the recent state it has a peculiar odour and is violently acrid. It has been found to contain besides the acrid principle, 10 to 17 per cent of starch, albumen, gum, sugar, extractive, lignin and salts of potassium and calcium.

Medicinal Uses:
Acrid, expectorant, and diaphoretic. Used in flatulence, croup, whooping-cough, stomatitis, asthma, chronic laryngitis, bronchitis and pains in chest.A preparation of the root was reported to have been used by Native Americans as a treatment for sore eyes. Preparations were also made to treat rheumatism, bronchitis, and snakebites, as well as to induce sterility.

Known Hazards: In the fresh state it is a violent irritant to the mucous membrane, when chewed burning the mouth and throat; if taken internally this plant causes violent gastro-enteritis which may end in death.

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/w/wakero03.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arisaema_triphyllum

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arisaema+triphyllum

Polygala Senega

Botanical Name : Polygala Senega
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fabales
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus:     Polygala
Species: P. senega

Synonyms:  Snake Root. Senegae Radix. Seneca. Seneka. Polygala Virginiana. Plantula Marilandica. Senega officinalis. Milkwort. Mountain Flax. Rattlesnake Root.

Common Names : Seneca snakeroot, senega snakeroot, senegaroot, rattlesnake root, and mountain flax

Habitat:Polygala Senega is native to North America.The plant grows on prairies and in woods and wet shoreline and riverbank habitat. It grows in thin, rocky, usually calcareous soils. It also occurs in disturbed habitat, such as roadsides.

Description:
Polygala Senega is a perennial herb with multiple stems up to 50 centimeters tall. The stems are usually unbranched, but some old plants can have branching stems. A mature plant can have up to 70 stems growing from a hard, woody rootstock that spreads horizontally. The lance-shaped leaves are alternately arranged. The lower leaves are reduced and scale-like. The inflorescence is a spike of rounded white or greenish flowers. The fruit is a capsule containing two hairy black seeds. The root is twisted and conical, with a scent somewhat like wintergreen and a very pungent taste. There are two root morphs; a northern morph growing in Canada and toward Minnesota has larger roots up to 15 centimeters long by 1.2 wide which are dark brown and sometimes purplish toward the top, and a southern morph found in the southeastern United States that has smaller, yellow-brown roots.
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Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Dried Root.

Constituents: The root contains polygalic acid, virgineic acid, pectic and tannic acids, yellow, bitter, colouring matter, cerin fixed oil, gum, albumen, woody fibre, salts, alumina, silica, magnesia and iron. The powder is yellowish-grey to light yellowishbrown.

The active root (pharmaceutically referred to as Senegae Radix) constituents are triterpinoid saponins (notably senegin). Also recorded are phenolic acids, polygalitol (a sorbitol derivative), methyl salicylate, and sterols.

Oil of Senega is bitter, rancid, and disagreeable, with the consistency of syrup and an acid reaction. It is not Seneca oil.

This plant had many uses among Native Americans. The Cherokee used it as an expectorant and a diuretic, and for inflammation, croup, and common cold. The Chippewa used preparations of the root to treat convulsions and bleeding wounds. The Cree chewed the root for sore throat and toothache. According to Canadian botanist Frère Marie-Victorin, the Seneca may have been inspired to use the tortuous root to treat snakebite by its resemblance to the tail of a rattlesnake.

The root was exported to Europe in the 1700s and was sold widely by pharmacists into the 1800s. It was marketed as a treatment for pneumonia. It is still in use as an herbal remedy. It is ground and made into patent medicines, mainly remedies for respiratory complaints. It is added to cough syrups, teas, lozenges, and gargles. It is toxic in large amounts, and overdose causes such symptoms as diarrhea and “violent vomiting”. The powdered root can be sternutatory (sneeze-inducing).

The root product is called Senegae Radix, Radix Senegae, or simply senega. Active compounds include saponins such as senegin, as well as phenolic acids, sorbitol derivatives, methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen), and sterols. The expectorant property comes from the irritation of mucous membranes by the
saponins, which causes an increase in respiratory secretions and a decrease in their viscosity, giving a productive cough.

Other Uses: It grows in gaeden as an ornamental plant.

Known Hazards:  The root is a severe and serious irritant when too much is consumed. It can cause nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and violent vomiting.

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/Polygala_senega
http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/science-and-innovation/science-publications-and-resources/resources/canadian-medicinal-crops/medicinal-crops/polygala-senega-l-seneca-snakeroot/?id=1301436228908
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/senega41.html

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Botanical Name :Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Balsamorhiza
Species: B. sagittata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :Balsamorrhiza sagittata

Habitat : Arrowleaf Balsamroot  is native to much of western North America from British Columbia to California to the Dakotas, where it grows in many types of habitat from mountain forests to grassland to desert scrub. It is drought tolerant.

Description:
Arrowleaf Balsamroot is a taprooted perennial herb growing a hairy, glandular stem 20 to 60 centimeters tall. The branching, barky root may extend over two meters deep into the soil. The basal leaves are generally triangular in shape and are large, approaching 50 centimeters in maximum length. Leaves farther up the stem are linear to narrowly oval in shape and smaller. The leaves have untoothed edges and are coated in fine to rough hairs, especially on the undersides.

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The inflorescence bears one or more flower heads. Each head has a center of long yellowish tubular disc florets and a fringe of bright yellow ray florets, each up to 4 centimeters long. The fruit is a hairless achene about 8 millimeters long. Grazing animals find the plant palatable, especially the flowers and developing seed heads.

Edible Uses:  All of the plant can be eaten. It can be bitter and pine-like in taste. The seeds were particularly valuable as food or used for oil

Medicinal Uses:
The root of the plant is sometimes used as an expectorant and mild immunostimulant.  Native Americans used the sticky sap as a topical antiseptic for minor wounds.  Medicinally, the Indians used the large coarse Balsamroot leaves as a poultice for burns. The roots were boiled and the solution was applied as a poultice for wounds, cuts and bruises. Indians also drank a tea from the roots for tuberculosis and whooping cough.  As an antibacterial the tincture may be applied to infections and hard to heal wounds. The tincture of the root and bark may be used internally or externally for bacterial problems. Perhaps the most common use for arrowleaf balsamroot is as an immune system enhancer. Use the tincture as you would Echinacea, taking 1 tsp. twice daily to strengthen the immune system.
Many Native American groups, including the Nez Perce, Kootenai, Cheyenne, and Salish, utilized the plant as a food and medicine.

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/Balsamorhiza_sagittata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/images/arrowleafbalsamroot/balsamorhiza_sagittata_lg.jpg

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Chimaphila umbellata

Botanical Name :Chimaphila umbellata
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Chimaphila
Species: C. umbellata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:Umbellate Wintergreen, Pipsissewa, or Prince’s pine,Ground Holly

Habitat :Chimaphila umbellata is native to  N. Europe, N. America, E. Asia. It grows in dry coniferous woods in Europe. Moist woods, particularly coniferous stands, and along mountain streams from the lower hills to about 2,500 metres in Western N. America

Description:
Chimaphila umbellata  is a small perennial  evergreen flowering plant found in dry woodlands, or sandy soils. It grows 10-35 cm tall, and has evergreen shiny, bright green, toothed leaves arranged in opposite pairs or whorls of 3-4 along the stem.It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. Leaves have a shallowly toothed margin, where the teeth have fine hairs at their ends. The flowers are white or pink, produced in a small umbel of 4-8 together.
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The leaves are gathered in summer.
Cultivation:
Requires a light moist but well-drained lime-free soil and shade from direct sunligh. This species is difficult to propagate and grow in cultivation, mainly because it has certain mycorrhizal associations in the wild and these are necessary if the plant is to thrive. It is best to use some soil collected from around an established plant when sowing seed or planting out into a new position. The plant has wide-spreading fibrous feeding roots and will often die or fail to increase in size if these are disturbed. The flowers have a sweet but refreshing perfume.
Propagation :
Seed – this is very difficult to germinate, see the notes above in cultivation details. It is best sown in a shady area of the greenhouse on moist sphagnum peat as soon as it is ripe. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division. Rather difficult because the plant is very sensitive to root disturbance. It is best attempted in the spring as the plant comes into growth. Cuttings of softwood, June in a frame. Use some soil from around an established plant.

Edible Uses:
The leaves are nibbled, brewed into a tea or used as a flavouring in root beer. They have a delicious scent and flavour. An extract of the leaves is used to flavour candy and soft drinks. In Mexico the herb is used in the preparation of ‘navaitai’, an alcoholic beverage produced from sprouted maize. A tea can be made from an infusion of the stems and roots.

Medicinal Uses;
Pipsissewa was an important herb among Native Americans, who used it for various problems, including rheumatism.  It induced sweating.  The Pennsylvania Dutch used it as a tonic and diuretic for kidney complaints and rheumatism.  Internally used for urinary infections, prostates, urethritis, kidney stones, arthritis and rheumatism.  It is mainly used in an infusion for urinary tract problems such as cystitis and urethritis.  It has also been prescribed for more serious conditions such as gonorrhea and kidney stones.  By increasing urine flow, it stimulates the removal of waste products from the body and is therefore of benefit in treating rheumatism and gout.  It is also a lymphatic catalyst.  The fresh leaves may be applied externally to rheumatic joints or muscles, as well as to blisters, sores and swellings.  In tests on animals, pipsissewa leaves appear to lower blood sugar levels.  Solvent in diluted alcohol, boiling water.
Known Hazards: Weak skin sensitizing effects. May cause diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Not suitable for long term use. Reduces mineral absorption from gut.

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.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_pipsissewa.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimaphila_umbellata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Chimaphila+umbellata

Prairie Clover

Botanical Name : Dalea purpurea
Family :Fabaceae – Pea family
Genus: Dalea L. – prairie clover
Species: Dalea purpurea Vent. – purple prairie clover
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division :Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class :Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass; Rosidae
Order :Fabales

Synonyms: Petalostemon violaceum. Michx.

Common Name : Clover, Velvet Prairie,Prairie Clover

Habitat :Native in Eastern and central United States. It grows in dry desert and alluvial soils to 2000 metres. Sandy prairies in Texas.

Description:
Purple prairie clover is a perennial forb, 8 to 35 inches (20-90 cm) tall, with a woody stem. The numerous leaves are 0.4-1.6 inches (1-4 cm) long, with 3 to 7 leaflets. The inflorescence is a 0.4- to 2.6-inch (1-7 cm) spike located at the ends of the branches. Branches are numerous, usually 3 per stem, but sometimes as many as 10 to 12. The mature purple prairie clover has a coarse, nonfibrous root system with a strong woody taproot that is 5.5 to 6.5 feet (1.7-2.0 m) deep. The taproot gives rise to several minutely branched lateral roots. The fruit is a 1- to-2-seeded pod enclosed in bracts

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Bloom Time: June – August
Bloom Color: Rose/Purple

Cultivation :
Requires a well-drained soil in full sun. A deep-rooted plant, it prefers a sandy loam with added leaf mould. This species is well-suited to informal and naturalistic plantings, especially as part of a collection of native species. Plants are monocarpic, living for a number of years without flowering and then dying after flowering. The stems, leaves and flowers are dotted with glands, making the plant look blistered. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation :
Seed – pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow in early spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summe

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Root.
 Tea.…….The root was used for chewing. A pleasant sweet flavour. The dried leaves are a tea substitute

Medicinal Uses:
This was one of the favored plants of the Native Americans of the prairies. A tea made from the leaves was applied to open wounds and a tea made from the bruised leaves steeped in hot water was used to aid in the healing of wounds as well. Some tribes pulverized the root and made a tea from that powder that was a very healthy drink and a preventative medicine. Some tribes used the entire plant as a prophylactic. Early settlers mixed the bark of the white oak tree and the flowers of this species to make a medicine for diarrhea.  The Chippewa Indians made a decoction of the leaves and blossoms to be used in the treatment of heart problems. The Meskwaki Indians used it to treat diarrhea, and they also made an infusion of the roots in the treatment of measles. The Navajo used the plant to treat pneumonia.

A poultice of the steeped bruised leaves has been applied to fresh wounds. A decoction of the leaves and blossoms has been used in the treatment of heart problems, diarrhoea. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of measles.
Other Uses: Broom……The tough, elastic stems have been made into brooms.

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.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/plant.asp?code=J970
http://www.prairienursery.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_plant_info&products_id=197
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/dalpur/all.html#DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=DAPU5&photoID=dapu5_4v.jpg

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dalea+purpurea

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Apocynum cannabinum

Botanical Name :Apocynum cannabinum
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Apocynum
Species: A. cannabinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales

Common Names:Dogbane,Canadian Hemp, Amy Root, Hemp Dogbane, Indian Hemp, Rheumatism Root, or Wild Cotton

Habitat :Apocynum cannabinum is native to California and is also found elsewhere in North America and beyond. It grows in open wooded areas, ditches, and hillsides, and prefers moist places.

Description:
Apocynum cannabinum, a dicot, is a perennial herb. It grows up to 2 meters/6 feet tall. The stems are lack hairs, often have a reddish-brown tint when mature, become woody at the base, and are much-branched in the upper portions of the plant. are reddish and contain a milky latex capable of causing skin blisters.  The flowers are produced in mid summer, with large sepals, and a five-lobed white corolla.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Leaves: Entire margins (meaning the leaf’s edges are smooth, not notched or toothed), ovate or elliptic, 2-5 inches long, 0.5-1.5 inches wide, and arranged oppositely along the stem. Leaves have short petioles (stems) and are sparingly pubescent or lacking hairs beneath. The lower leaves have stems while the upper leaves may not. The leaves turn yellow in the fall, then drop off.

Fruit: Long (5 inches or more), narrow follicles produced in pairs (one from each ovary) that turn reddish-brown when mature and develop into two long pods containing numerous seed with tufts of silky white hairs at their ends.

Identifying Characteristics: Stems and leaves secrete a milky sap when broken. Sprouts emerging from the underground horizontal rootstock may be confused with Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) emerging shoots. But note that they are not related to milkweeds, despite the milky sap and the similar leaf shape and growth habit. The flower shape is quite unlike that of milkweed flowers and the leaves of hemp dogbane are much smaller than those of common milkweed. When mature, these native plants may be distinguished by the branching in the upper portions of the plant that occurs in hemp dogbane, and also the smaller size of hemp dogbane compared to Common milkweed.

Medicinal Uses:
Indian hemp is an unpleasantly bitter stimulant irritant herb that acts on the heart, respiratory and urinary systems, and also on the uterus. It was much employed by various native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a wide variety of complaints including rheumatism, coughs, pox, whooping cough, asthma, internal parasites, diarrhea and also to increase milk flow in lactating mothers. The fresh root is the most active part medicinally. It has been used in the treatment of syphilis and as a tonic. A weak tea made from the dried root has been used for cardiac diseases.  A tea made from the root has been used as a vermifuge.  The milky sap is a folk remedy for venereal warts.  It is favored for the treatment of amenorrhea and leucorrhea.  It is also of value for its diaphoretic and emetic properties.  A half-ounce of crushed root was boiled in a pint of water and one or two ounces of the decoction administered several times a day as a laxative.  The powered root was used to induce vomiting.  The entire plant, steeped in water, was used to treat intestinal worms, fever, dysentery, asthma, pneumonia, inflammation of the intestines, and indigestion.  The plant is considered a heart stimulant.

This plant causes large and liquid stools, accompanied by but little griping; acts with more or less freedom upon the kidneys; and in large doses produces much nausea, and rather copious vomiting. Emesis from its use is followed by rather free perspiration, as is to be expected from any emetic; though this agent also acts considerably upon the surface. The pulse becomes softer and fuller under its use; and it is accused of producing drowsiness and a semi-narcotism.  It has been most used for its effects as a hydrogogue cathartic and diuretic in dropsies; but should be employed only in moderation, and in connection with tonics and diffusive stimulants. It usually increases the menstrual flow, and some have lately attributed decided antiperiodic properties to it, but this is not yet satisfactorily confirmed. An ounce of the root boiled a few minutes in a pint of water, is the better mode of preparing it; and from one to two fluid ounces of this are a laxative dose. An extract is made, of which the dose is from three to six grains.

It is also used in herbal medicine to treat syphilis, rheumatism, intestinal worms, fever, asthma, and dysentery. Although the toxins from the plant can cause nausea and catharsis, it has also been used for slowing the pulse.

Other Uses:
Phytoremediation
Apocynum cannabinum is a phytoremediation plant, a hyperaccumulator used to sequester lead in its biomass.

Fiber
Apocynum cannabinum was used as a source of fiber by Native Americans, to make hunting nets, fishing lines, clothing, and twine.  It is called qéemu  in Nez Perce and  in Sahaptin.

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.primitiveways.com/hemp_dogbane.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=426
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocynum_cannabinum

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Umbellularia californica

Botanical Name :Umbellularia californica
Family :LauraceaeLaurel family
Genus : Umbellularia (Nees) Nutt. – California laurel
Species: Umbellularia californica (Hook. & Arn.) Nutt. – California laurel
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class : Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Order :Laurales

Common Name :California Laurel

Habitat : Umbellularia californica is a large tree native to coastal forests of California and slightly extended into Oregon.It ranges near the coast from Douglas County, Oregon south through California to San Diego County. It is also found in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It occurs at altitudes from sea level up to 1600 m.

Description:
An evergreen shrub to tree. Its final height is 47′  average (in 100+years). It grows only a few inches a year here along the coast it may grow a much as 4′ or so each year. The leaves are aromatic like its cousin from Greece. Native to the mountains of Calif. and into Oregon. It likes sun in the mountains and along the coast where the rainfall is above 30 inches/year. In the interior give part shade and moderate water. Its leaves used as seasoning. It tolerates serpentine soil. A refined plant. No cold damage at 10 deg., burnt to the ground at 0.Easy to hold at 6-8\’. Good in containers. This species releases terpenes that inhibit seedlings (weeds). (Rice)

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It is the sole species in the genus Umbellularia.

Its pungent leaves have a similar flavor to bay leaves (though stronger), and it may be mistaken for Bay Laurel.The fragrant leaves are smooth-edged and lens shaped, 3–10 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, similar to the related Bay Laurel though usually narrower, and without the crinkled margin of that species.

The flowers are small, yellow or yellowish-green, produced in a small umbel (hence the scientific name Umbellularia, “little umbel”).

An unripe Bay nutThe fruit, also known as “California Bay nut”, is a round and green berry 2–2.5 cm long and 2 cm broad, lightly spotted with yellow, maturing purple. Under the thin, leathery skin, it consists of an oily, fleshy covering over a single hard, thin-shelled pit, and resembles a miniature avocado. Genus Umbellularia is in fact closely related to the avocado’s genus Persea, within the Lauraceae family. The fruit ripens around October–November in the native range.
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In Oregon, this tree is known as Oregon Myrtle, while in California it is called California Bay Laurel, which may be shortened to California Bay or California Laurel. It has also been called Pepperwood, Spicebush, Cinnamon Bush, Peppernut Tree and Headache Tree. This hardwood species is only found on the Southern Oregon and Northern California Coast. It has a color range from blonde (like maple) to brown (like walnut). Myrtlewood is considered a world-class tonewood and is sought after by luthiers and woodworkers from around the world.

Historical usage:
Umbellularia has long been valued for its many uses by Native Americans throughout the tree’s range, including the Cahuilla, Chumash, Pomo, Miwok, Yuki, Coos and Salinan people.

The leaf has been used as a cure for headache, toothache, and earache—though the volatile oils in the leaves may also cause headaches when used in excess. Poultices of Umbellularia leaves were used to treat rheumatism and neuralgias. Laurel leaf tea was made to treat stomach aches, colds, sore throats, and to clear up mucus in the lungs. The leaves were steeped in hot water to make an infusion that was used to wash sores.  The Pomo and Yuki tribes of Mendocino County treated headaches by placing a single leaf in the nostril or bathing the head with a laurel leaf infusion.

Both the flesh and the inner kernel of the fruit have been used as food by Native Americans. The fatty outer flesh of the fruit, or mesocarp, is palatable raw for only a brief time when ripe; prior to this the volatile aromatic oils are too strong, and afterwards the flesh quickly becomes bruised, like that of an overripe avocado. Native Americans dried the fruits in the sun and ate only the lower third of the dried mesocarp, which is less pungent.

The hard inner seed underneath the fleshy mesocarp, like the pit of an avocado, cleaves readily in two when its thin shell is cracked. The pit itself was traditionally roasted to a dark chocolate-brown color, removing much of the pungency and leaving a spicy flavor. Roasted, shelled “bay nuts” were eaten whole, or ground into powder and prepared as a drink which resembles unsweetened chocolate. The flavor, depending on roast level, has been described variously as “roast coffee,” “dark chocolate” or “burnt popcorn”. The powder might also be pressed into cakes and dried for winter storage, or used in cooking. It has been speculated that the nuts of U. californica contain a stimulant;  however this possible effect has been little documented by biologists.

Modern usage
The leaf can be used in cooking, but is spicier and “headier” than the Mediterranean bay leaf sold in groceries, and should be used in smaller quantity. Umbellularia leaf imparts a somewhat stronger camphor/cinnamon flavor compared to the Mediterranean Bay.  The two Bay trees are related within the Laurel family, along with the Cinnamons.

Some modern-day foragers and wild food enthusiasts have revived Native American practices regarding the edible roasted fruit, the bay nut.

U. californica is also used in woodworking. It is considered a tonewood, used to construct the back and sides of acoustic guitars. The wood is very hard and fine, and is also made into bowls, spoons, and other small items and sold as “myrtlewood”.

U. Californica is also grown as an ornamental tree, both in its native area, and elsewhere further north up the Pacific coast to Vancouver in Canada, and in western Europe. It is occasionally used for firewood.

One popular use for the leaves is to put them between the bed mattresses to get rid of, or prevent flea infestations.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is still used a  pain reliever for headaches and rheumatism.  A tea from the leaves is one method of administration.  For rheumatism, early settlers used a hot bath in which they had steeped laurel leaves.  Others blended the oil from the leaves with lard and rubbed the mixture on the body.  The crushed leaves are an excellent herbal “smelling salt,” held briefly under the nose of a person who is faint or has fainted.  Prolonged breathing of the crushed leaves can cause a short-term frontal headache which can be cured, oddly enough, by a tea of the leaves.  The crushed leaves make an excellent tea for all headaches and neuralgia, possessing substantial anodyne effects and they further have value as a treatment for the tenesmus or cramps from diarrhea, food poisoning, and gastroenteritis in general—two to four leaves crushed and steeped for tea, repeated as needed.  California laurel was employed medicinally by some native North American Indian tribes who used it particularly as an analgesic to treat a variety of complaints. It has a beneficial effect upon the digestive system. An infusion has been used by women to ease the pains of afterbirth. Externally, an infusion has been used as a bath in the treatment of rheumatism. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a wash on sores and to remove vermin from the head. They are harvested as required and can be used fresh or dried.  A poultice of the ground seeds has been used to treat sores.  The seeds have been eaten as a stimulant.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=UMCA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbellularia
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/umbellularia-californica

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Indian chickweed


Botanical Name :
Stellaria media
Family:
Caryophyllaceae
Genus:    
Stellaria
Species:    
S. media
Kingdom:  
 Plantae
Order:
Caryophyllales

Other Names: Addre’s mouth, Chickweed, Indian chickweed, tongue grass, satin flower, star chickweed, starwort, starweed, stitchwort, winterweed, tongue-grass

Parts Used:dried herb

Habitat : Chickweed grows  in many areas across the globe, especially in fields, at the side of the road, in waste areas and so on. The scape has the average length of 7 inches and is covered with round-shaped leaves. The plant is characterized by white flowers of compact size.In both Europe and North America this plant is common in gardens, fields, and disturbed grounds. Control is difficult due to the heavy seed sets. Common Chickweed is very competitive with small grains, and can produce up to 80% yield losses among barley

Description:
Chickweed is an annual or biennial weed found in abundance all over the world in gardens, fields, lawns, waste places, and along roadsides. The usually creeping, brittle stems grow from 4 to 12 inches long and bear opposite, entire, ovate leaves. The small white flowers can be found blooming all year long in terminal, leafy cymes or solitary in the leaf axils.Chickweed is a plant with a lifespan of 1-2 years.

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Chemical Constituents:
The active constituents are largely unknown. Chickweed contains relatively high amounts of vitamins and flavonoids, which may explain some of its effect. Although some older information suggests a possible benefit for chickweed in rheumatic conditions, this has not been validated in clinical practice.

Edible Uses:
There is some data on the fact that chickweed was used as a food supplement.Chickweed is still used today as a salad herb or may be cooked as a vegetable. It is one of the ingredients of the symbolic dish consumed in the Japanese spring-time festival, Nanakusa-no-sekku.

Medicinal Uses:
Chickweed is reputed to treat a wide spectrum of conditions in folk medicine, ranging from asthma and indigestion to skin disorders. Traditional Chinese herbalists use chickweed internally as a tea to treat nosebleeds.

Being a widely-used medication in herbal medicine, this herb is known for its ability to have a positive impact on the digestive system, respiratory system and even skin. In China this plant was applied in form of a hot drink to cure nose bleeding. The plant was extensively used to treat stomachaches, digestion problems, coughs, bronchitis, various inflammations and so on. Until recently it has been considered a universal remedy for almost every disease.

It’s applications have traditionally included: bronchitis, pleurisy, coughs, colds, hoarseness, rheumatism, inflammation, or weakness of the bowels and stomach, lungs, bronchial tubes.

Chickweed had been used for externallly for: skin diseases, boils, scalds, burns, inflamed or sore eyes, erysipelas, tumors, piles, cancer, swollen testes, ulcerated throat and mouth, and all kinds of wounds.

External application of chickweed is known to produce healing effect on skin sores of different types, as well as reduce inflammations locally (especially those related to throat diseases). Chickweed was even used to treat cancer.

Chickweed is used for boosting metabolism, healing inflammations, producing an expectorative effect and giving a relief from cough and respiratory diseases.

Severe skin problems like eczema and minor sores like insect bites are also regarded as cases of chickweed application. Stomach and bowel dysfunction, swollen testes, sore-throat, and various types of wounds are effectively treated by applying chickweed.

Chickweed may be useful for:
Used externally for:
Cuts, Wounds, itching and skin irritation; Skin diseases, boils, scalds, burns, inflamed or sore eyes.

Internally:
Rheumatism

Other indications include:
* Eczema
*Insect stings and bites
*Traditionally used for all cases of bronchitis, pleurisy, coughs, colds, hoarseness, rheumatism, inflammation, weakness of the bowels and stomach, lungs, bronchial tubes, and any other forms of internal inflammation.

*Crushed, fresh leaves many be used as a poultice for inflammation and indolent ulcers with most beneficial results. A poultice of Chickweed enclosed in muslin is a sure remedy for a carbuncle or an external abscess. The water in which the Chickweed is boiled should also be used to bathe the affected part.

Also said to regulate the thyroid gland.

Dosage:
Although formerly used as a tea, chickweed’s main use today is as a cream applied liberally several times each day to rashes and inflammatory skin conditions (e.g., eczema) to ease itching and inflammation. As a tincture, 1-5 ml per day can be taken.

Known Hazards:  S. media contains plant chemicals known as saponins, which can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. Chickweed has been known to cause saponin poisoning in cattle. However, as the animal must consume several kilos of chickweed in order to reach a toxic level, such deaths are rare.

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.wildcrafted.com.au/Botanicals/Chickweed.html
http://www.holisticonline.com/herbal-med/_Herbs/h45.htm
http://www.oshims.com/herb-directory/c/chickweed

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellaria_media

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Prunella Vulgris

Botanical Name : Prunella vulgris
Family :Lamiaceae or Labiatae, Mint Family
Genus: Prunella
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Species: P. vulgaris
Common Names :Self-Heal , Self-heal, Heal-all, Blue Curls, Heart-of-the-Earth, Brunella Carpenter-weed

Other Names: In Germany it is known as Kleine Braunelle In the United States, as Lance Selfheal, Aleutian selfheal, Heal-all, Carpenter weed, Heart-of-the-earth, Blue Curls (generically) and as Hook Heal. In Finland it is called Niittyhumala and in Poland it is Glowienka pospolita.

Parts Used: whole herb

Habitat :
Heal-all is  found throughout Europe, Asia, Japan and the United States of America, as well as most temperate climates. Its origin seems to be European, though it has been documented in other countries since before any history of travel. In the United Kingdom it is abundant throughout Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England. In the Republic of Ireland it is currently abundant in the west in counties Galway and Clare, the south-west in Kerry, the south coast and is also found around the central basin of Ireland. It is often found growing in waste ground, grassland, woodland edges, usually on basic and neutral soils.

Description:
It is  a perennial herb, grows 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.

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The flowers are arranged in several whorls at the end of a stem, forming a tight cluster. The upper lip of the flower forms a hood and there is a small lobed lower lip. It blooms throughout June to September. For medicinal purposes, the whole plant is gathered when the flowers bloom, and dried. The leaves and small flowers of heal-all are edible.
Unlike most labiates there is a very clear distinction between bracts and leaves.  Stem-base creeps and roots at nodes, then turns upright.  Flower has upper lip hooded, lower lip 3-lobed, the middle lobe largest and toothed.  Calyx also 2-lipped, the upper lip broad and shallowly 3-toothed, the lower lip deeply 2-toothed.  Calyx closed in fruit.  Stamens with a projection at tip that is pressed against the upper lip of the flower.

Cultivation:
It is grown in any damp soil in full sun or in light shade. Seeds are sown in very early spring in a flat outdoor area.

Propagation:
Prunella Vulgaris thrives in any damp soil in full sun or in light shade. It will grow thicker in a part shade environment. Prunella vulgaris is a good plant for growing in the spring meadow. 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. As Prunella Vulgaris is related to the mint family, it transplants and spreads easily. Some not so enlightened people might consider it a weed.

Click here to see Free Google Video of Prunella Vulgaris in my garden of weeds.

Click here to buy Organic Prunella Vulgaris Herb Seed

Harvesting Information: Gather flowering tops, and dry in small bunches for later herb use, or tincture fresh. Store in cool, dry, dark, place for best shelf life.

Edible Uses:
Heal-all is both edible and medicinal. It can be used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb. It has been used as an alternative medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world[citation needed], and for just about every ailment, Heal-All is something of a panacea, it does seem to have some medicinal uses that are constant.


Constituents:
The plant’s most useful constituents are betulinic acid, D-camphor, delphinidin, hyperoside, manganese, oleanolic acid, rosmarinic acid, rutin, ursolic acid, and tannins.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:
Astringent* Styptic* Antiscrofulous*
Prunella Vulgaris is one of the latest herbs making headlines as a natural treatment for herpes. Next to Jewelweed and possibly Ginseng, this is the herb  mostly asked about lately.
The whole plant is medicinal as alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart. Clinical analysis shows it to have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It is showing promise in research for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies.

A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves is a very tasty and refreshing beverage, weak infusion of the plant is an excellent medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye. Prunella 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. Clinical analysis shows it to have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It is showing promise in research for herpes, cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies.

Folklore
Heal all was once proclaimed to be a holy herb and was thought to be sent by God to cure all ailments of man or beast. It was said to drive away the devil, which lead to the belief that Heal-All was grown in the Witches garden as a disguise. The root was also used to make a tea to drink in ceremonies before going hunting by one Native American tribe to sharpen the powers of observation.

Recent research shows that application of Prunella Vulgaris is helpful in controlling herpes outbreaks.

click here to read more.
Prunella : Herbal Remedy May Help Combat Endometriosis and Cancer

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_detail140.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunella_vulgaris
http://www.altnature.com/gallery/Prunella_Vulgaris.htm

http://www.plant-identification.co.uk/skye/labiatae/prunella-vulgaris.htm