Tag Archives: North Africa

Potentilla Tormentilla

Botanical Name:Potentilla Tormentilla
Family:    Rosaceae
Subfamily:Rosoideae
Genus:Potentilla
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Rosales

Synonyms: Septfoil. Thormantle. Biscuits. Bloodroot. Earthbank. Ewe Daisy. Five Fingers. Flesh and Blood. Shepherd’s Knapperty. Shepherd’s Knot. English Sarsaparilla.

Common Names: Shepherd’s Knot, Tormentil

Habitat :Potentilla Tormentilla is native to Europe, western Asia and North Africa. It can be found in pastures, heaths, open woods and moorlands, preferring light acid soils.

Description:
Potentilla Tormentilla is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing 10 to 30 centimeters tall. It has erect and slender stems and pinnately compound, glossy leaves. Leaves have three obovate leaflets with serrated margins.  Leaves on the stalks are sessile and with shorter petioles than the radical ones. Flowering occurs from May to September. During this period a single flower appears at the tip. The flower is yellow and four-petaled.
Parts used: Dried rhizome and herb.

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In Potentilla Tormentilla the flowers are yellow as in P. reptans, but smaller, and have four petals instead of five, and eight sepals, not ten so separated as to form a Maltese cross when regarded from above.

From the root-stock come leaves on long stalks, divided into three or five oval leaflets (occasionally, but rarely, seven, hence the names Septfoil and Seven Leaves), toothed towards their tips. The stem-leaves, in this species, are stalkless with three leaflets.

A small-flowered form is very frequent on heaths and in dry pastures, a larger-flowered, in which the slender stems do not rise, but trail on the ground, is more general in woods, and on hedge-banks. From the ascending form, 6 to 12 inches high, this species has been called P. erecta, but even in this case the long stems are more often creeping and ascending rather than actually erect.

Medicinal use:

Parts used: Dried rhizome and the herb

Chemical Constituents: It contains 18 to 30 per cent of tannin, 18 per cent of a red colouring principle – Tormentil Red, a product of the tannin and yielding with potassium hydroxide, protocatechuic acid and phloroglucin. It is soluble in alcohol, but insoluble in water. Also some resin and ellagic and kinovic acids have been reported.

There is a great demand for the rhizome, which in modern herbal medicine. Common Tormentil is considered to be a very good astringent and tonic. It is a very beneficial remedy against acute and nervous diarrhea, and can relieve symptoms of mucous and ulcerative colitis. It is also useful in treatment of constipation. It also imparts nourishment and support to the bowels. Quinoric acid found in Common Tormentil is a powerful agent against malaria. Used as a gargle, the plant expresses its astringent properties and helps in cases of mucous membranes inflammations.It is employed as a gargle in sore, relaxed and ulcerated throat and also as an injection in leucorrhoea.

The fluid extract acts as a styptic to cuts, wounds, etc.  It can be also very helpful in the treatment of laryngitis, pharyngitis, bleeding gums and mouth ulcers. Used in a douche, Common Tormentil can be helpful in cases of vaginal infections. It can ameliorate the healing of wounds and cuts. A decoction is said to help in case of conjunctivitis.A strongly-made decoction is recommended as a good wash for piles and inflamed eyes. The decoction is made by boiling 2 OZ. of the bruised root in 50 OZ. of water till it is reduced one-third. It is then strained and taken in doses of 1 1/2 OZ. It may be used as an astringent gargle. If a piece of lint be soaked in the decoction and kept applied to warts, they will disappear.

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://health-from-nature.net/Common_Tormentil.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potentilla_tormentilla
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/tormen25.html

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Water mint (Mentha aquatica)

Botanical Name : Mentha aquatica
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Mentha
Species:M. aquatica
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Synonyms: Mentha hirsuta Huds

Common Names : Water mint

Habitat :Water mint is native to much of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced to North and South America, Australia and some Atlantic islands.It grows in damp places,swamps, fen, marshes, near rivers, streams and ponds, in wet woods.

Description:
Water mint is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing to 90 centimetres (35 in) tall. The stems are square in cross section, green or purple, and variably hairy to almost hairless. The rhizomes are wide-spreading, fleshy, and bear fibrous roots. The leaves are ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 6 centimetres (0.79 to 2.36 in) long and 1 to 4 centimetres (0.39 to 1.57 in) broad, green (sometimes purplish), opposite, toothed, and vary from hairy to nearly hairless. The flowers of the watermint are tiny, densely crowded, purple, tubular, pinkish to lilac in colour and form a terminal hemispherical inflorescence; flowering is from mid to late summer. Water mint is pollinated by insects, and also spreads by underground rhizomes, like other species of mint. All parts of the plant have a distinctly minty smell. A variety known as Mentha aquatica var. litoralis is native to areas of Sweden and Finland near the Baltic Sea. It is unbranched, hairless, with narrower leaves and paler flowers.

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Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Plants can grow in water up to 15cm deep. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The whole plant, especially when bruised, has a pungent aroma of bergamot. The flowers are especially attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for brassicas. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation  :       
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses: Edible Parts: Leaves.
Used as Condiment &  Tea.

Leaves – raw or cooked. A strong distinctive peppermint-like fragrance. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. The leaves are too pungent for most people to use as a flavouring. A herb tea is made from the leaves

Medicinal Uses:
Water mint is Emetic, stimulant and astringent. Used in herbal medicine in diarrhoea and as an emmenagogue, the infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses.

In severe cold and influenza, or in any complaint where it is necessary to set up perspiration and in all inflammatory complaints, internal or external, the tea made from this plant may be taken warm as freely as the patient pleases. It can be used in conjunction with stomach remedies and in difficult menstruation. A strong infusion is inclined to be emetic.

A decoction of Water Mint prepared with vinegar is recommended to stop blood vomiting.

Other Uses:
Repellent;  Strewing.

The plant repels flies, mice and rats. It has a pleasant, fresh scent and was formerly used as a strewing herb and has been strewn in granaries to keep mice and rats off the grain. The plant, harvested before flowering, yields about 0.8% essential oil[240]. The fresh or dried plant is very good when used in herbal baths and can also be used in herb pillows.

Known Hazards: Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html#wil
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_aquatica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+aquatica

Crithmum maritimum

Botanical Name : Crithmum maritimum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Crithmum
Species: C. maritimum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Sea Fennel. Crest Marine. Sampier.
(German) Meerfenchel.
(Italian) Herba di San Pietra. Sanpetra.

Common Names : Samphire, Rock samphire, or Sea fennel, Crithmum maritimum

Habitat :Crithmum maritimum is found on southern and western coasts of Britain and Ireland, on mediterranean and western coasts of Europe including the Canary Islands, North Africa and the Black Sea. “Samphire” is a name also used for several other unrelated species of coastal plant.It grows on the cliffs and rocks, or more rarely on shingle or sand, by the sea.

Description:
Crithmum maritimum is a perennial herb, growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).Leaves are biternately or triternately compound; leaflets linear, fleshy, glaucous, 1/2 inch long. It is well distinguished by its long, fleshy, bright-green, shining leaflets (full of aromatic juice) and umbels of tiny, yellowish-green blossoms. The whole plant is aromatic and has a powerful scent.Flowers in compound umbels, very small, whaite or yellowish; fruit ovoid, ribbed, 1/4 inch long.
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It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

 Cultivation:   
Prefers a moist light sandy or gravelly soil, doing very well between stones or by a south-east facing wall. Requires a warm dry well-drained sunny position and shade from the midday sun. Requires saline conditions. Plants are best grown in moist salty soil or a very well-drained poor dry soil. When grown away from the coast, this plant requires a warm sheltered position and some protection in cold winters. At one time this plant was sometimes cultivated in the vegetable garden, though it is quite difficult to do this successfully. It is difficult to grow outside its natural habitat.

Propagation:   
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Sow in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 3 – 6 weeks at 15°c. One report says that the seed only has a short viability and should be sown as soon as it is ripe, but it has germinated well with us when sown in April in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. Division in spring

Edible Uses:
Rock samphire has fleshy, divided aromatic leaves that Culpeper described as having a “pleasant, hot and spicy taste”

The stems, leaves and seed pods may be pickled in hot, salted, spiced vinegar, or the leaves used fresh in salads.

Richard Mabey gives several recipes for samphire, although it is possible that at least one of these may refer to marsh samphire or glasswort (Salicornia europaea), a very common confusion.

Medicinal Uses:
Carminative;  Depurative;  Digestive;  Diuretic.

Rock samphire is little used in herbal medicine, though it is a good diuretic and holds out potential as a treatment for obesity. It has a high vitamin C and mineral content and is thought to relieve flatulence and to act as a digestive remedy. The young growing tips are carminative, depurative, digestive and diuretic. They are gathered when in active growth in the spring and used fresh. The leaves have the reputation for helping people lose weight and so are used in treating cases of obesity as well kidney complaints and sluggishness. The essential oil is a digestive, a few drops being sprinkled on the food.

Other Uses: An essential oil from the plant is used in perfumery.

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/Crithmum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Crithmum+maritimum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/samphi10.html
http://titanarum.uconn.edu/198501242.html

Anagallis arvensis

Botanical Name : Anagallis arvensis
Family: Myrsinaceae
Genus:     Anagallis
Species: A. arvensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Ericales

Synonyms:Scarlet pimpernel, Shepherd’s Barometer. Poor Man’s Weatherglass. Adder’s Eyes.
(Old English) Bipinella.

Common Names: Red pimpernel, Red chickweed, Poorman’s barometer, Poor man’s weather-glass, Shepherd’s weather glass or Shepherd’s clock

Habitat:Anagallis arvensis is native to  Europe and Western and North Africa.  It grows on the roadside in waste places and on the dry sandy edges of corn and other fields; it is widely distributed, not only over Britain, but throughout the world, being found in all the temperate regions in both hemispheres.

Description:
Anagallis arvensis is a low-growing (4″ by 1′-4″) annual plant. It’s creeping, square stems, a foot in length at most, have their eggshaped, stalkless leaves arranged in pairs. The edges of the leaves are entire (i.e. quite free from indentations of any sort), and in whatever direction the stem may run, either along the ground, or at an angle to it, the leaves always keep their faces turned to the light.
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The Pimpernel flowers from May until late into August. The flowers appear singly, each on longish, thin stalks, springing from the junction of each leaf with the stem. The little flower-stalks are erect during flowering, but curved backward when the seed is ripening. The corolla is made up of five petals, joined together at their base into a ring. A purple spot often appears in the centre of the flower. The petals are very sensitive, the flowers closing at once if the sky becomes overcast and threatens rain. Even in bright weather, the flowers are only open for a comparatively short time – never opening until between eight and nine in the morning and shutting up before three o’clock in the afternoon. As the petals are only brilliantly coloured on their upper faces, the flowers when closed disappear from view among the greenness of the leaves.

Cultivation:      
Prefers a sunny position and a good soil. Succeeds in dry or sandy soils. The flowers open at about 8 am and close at 3pm each day, though they close earlier if it rains. The flowers are also said to foretell wet weather if they close early.

Propagation:     
Seed – sow during spring time.

Edible Uses: 
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Used in salads and as a spinach. The tender shoots are cooked as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses:

Anagallis arvensis was at one time highly regarded as a medicinal herb, especially in the treatment of epilepsy and mental problems, but there is little evidence to support its efficacy and it is no longer recommended for internal use because it contains toxic saponins and cytotoxic cucurbitacins. The whole herb is antitussive, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant and vulnerary. It can be taken internally or applied externally as a poultice. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, skin infections and disorders of the liver and gall bladder. The plant is best harvested in June and can be dried for later use. Use with caution, large doses can cause polyuria and tremor. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used internally to treat itchy skins and externally to remove warts.

Other Uses:
Soap…..The squeezed plant is used in Nepal for washing and bathing.

Known Hazards:    The seeds are slightly poisonous to some mammals, but no cases involving people are known. Skin contact with the plant may cause dermatitis in some people.

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/Anagallis_arvensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Anagallis+arvensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/pimper33.html

Adonis autumnalis

Botanical Name : Adonis autumnalis
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Adonis
Species: A. annua
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Red Chamomile. Pheasant’s Eye. Adonis. Red Morocco. Rose-a-rubie. Red Mathes. Sweet Vernal.

Common Names : Pheasant’s-eye, Adonis’ Flower, autumn adonis, Autumn Pheasant’s-eye, Blooddrops, Red Chamomile, Red Morocco, Rose-a-ruby, Soldiers-in-green,

Habitat :  Adonis autumnalis  is native to North Africa, Western Asia, the Mediterranean, and Europe. The name Bird’s Eye is also associated with the bird’s-eye primrose. Pheasant’s eye is also an alternative name for poet’s narcissus.

Description:
Adonis annua grows to an height of 10 inches. The flowers are often scarlet in colour with darker spots at the base.It is a graceful plant, with finely cut leaves and terminal flowers like small scarlet buttercups.
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Medicinal Uses:
Adonis autumnalis contains a glucoside Adonidin and has an action almost exactly like that of digitalin, but is much stronger and is said not to be cumulative. It appears to be about ten times as powerful as digitoxin. It has been prescribed instead of digitalis, and sometimes succeeds where digitalis fails, especially where there is kidney disease. It is, however, less certainly beneficial in valvular disease than digitalis, and should be used only where digitalis fails. It produces vomiting and diarrhoea more readily than digitalis. It is given in the form of an infusion.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/helfal15.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adonis_autumnalis