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Botanical Name : Chelone Glabra
Family: Plantaginaceae/N.O. Scrophulariaceae
Species: C. glabra
Synonyms: Chelone. Snake-head. Turtle-head. Turtle-bloom. Shellflower. Salt-rheum Weed. Bitter Herb. Chelone Obliqua. Glatte. White Chelone. The Hummingbird Tree.
Common Names:Balmony, White turtlehead
Habitat:Balmony is native to Eastern United States and Canada.Its native range extends from Georgia to Newfoundland and Labrador and from Mississippi to Manitoba. It is found in wetlands and riparian forests of eastern North America , grows sparingly on the margins of swamps, wet woods, and rivers.
Balmony is a perennial herbaceous plant with opposite, simple leaves, on stout, upright stems. This plant grows from 2 to 4 feet high. It is a perennial, smooth herb, bearing opposite, oblong leaves, and short, dense, terminal spikes of two-lipped, white or purplish, cream or rose flowers, the lower lip bearded in the throat and the heart-shaped anthers and filaments woolly.
The flowers are white, borne in late summer and early fall. It can be used as a method of birth control, as used by Abenaki people. The leaves have a slight somewhat tea-like odour and a markedly bitter taste. They should be planted in pots to prevent the roots from creeping too far……CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The name of the genus Chelone comes from the Greek word meaning a tortoise, from the resemblance of the corolla to a tortoise-head. The whole, fresh plant is chopped, pounded to a pulp, and weighed, and a tincture is prepared with alcohol. The decoction is made with 2 oz. of the fresh herb to a pint.
Easily grown in any ordinary soil, but it grows best in a light loam. Tolerates heavy clays and light shade. Prefers growing in light shade. Survives but does not thrive in dry conditions. Prefers growing in a bog garden or in a soil that is unlikely to dry out. Plants are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. A polymorphic species, there are several named forms. The plant spreads freely at the roots and so is best grown in a large pot.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and keep moist. The seed germinates in 2 – 6 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring or early summer. Division in autumn. Cuttings of soft tips in summer in a sandy soil in a frame.
Constituents: The bitter leaves communicate their properties to both water and alcohol. Chelonin is an eclectic medicine prepared from Chelone, and is a brown, bitter powder given as a tonic laxative.
Balmony is a very bitter herb with a tea-like flavour that acts mainly as a tonic for the liver and digestive system. The leaves have anti-bilious, anthelmintic, tonic and detergent properties, with a peculiar action on the liver, and are used largely in consumption, dyspepsia, debility and jaundice, in diseases of the liver, and for worms in children for which the powder or decoction may be used internally or in injection. As an ointment it is recommended for inflamed tumours, irritable ulcers, inflamed breasts, piles, etc.
For long it has been a favourite tonic, laxative and purgative among the aborigines of North America, though their doses render its tonic value doubtful.
It is the primary plant that the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly will lay its eggs on (although the butterfly to some extent will use a few other species). Balmony is also a foodplant for the sawflies Macrophya nigra (Norton) and Tenthredo grandis (Norton) (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae), (Stamp, 1984). A flea beetle in the genus Dibolia (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) has also been shown to feed on C. glabra (Wilcox, 1979).
Balmony is a popular browse plant for deer, although certain other plants such as Eurybia divaricata (white wood aster), Symphyotrichum prenanthoides (crooked-stem aster), and Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) are even more preferred by deer. In measuring damage to plants as a way of finding out the level of deer browsing, it is more effective to use a collection of deer browse species rather than just one.
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.