Herbs & Plants

Fragaria nubicola

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Botanical Name : Fragaria nubicola
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. nubicola
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name : Indian Strawberry

Habitats: Fragaria nubicola is native to E. Asia – Himalayas from Kashmir to western China. It grows in open grassland at elevations of 1600 – 4000 metres in Nepal. Meadows on mountain slopes, forests in valleys and forest edge at elevations of 2500 – 3900 metres.

Fragaria nubicola is a low-growing, softly hairy perennial herb with trifoliate leaves, and long runners rooting at the nodes. White flowers, 1.5-2.5 cm across, have 5 broadly obovate petals. The 5 sepals alternate with the petals. Leaves are long-stalked, with 3 leaflets which are ovate, 2.5-4 cm long, deeply and coarsely toothed. Himalayan Strawberry is found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to Burma, at altitudes of 1800-3800 m. Flowering: April-June and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It is distinguished by its 1 cm round red berry and entire sepals.

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. However, judging by its native range, it is likely to succeed outdoors in many areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced. Likes a mulch of pine or spruce leaves.

Propagation :
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: .…Fruit  is  eaten raw. It has a very pleasant strawberry flavour.
Medicinal Uses :

Astringent…….The juice of the plant is used in the treatment of profuse menstruation. The unripe fruit is chewed to treat blemishes on the tongue.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Black Alder Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

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Botanical Name: Ilex verticillata
Family:    Aquifoliaceae
Genus:    Ilex
Species:    I. verticillata
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Aquifoliales

Synonyms:Prinos verticillatus

Common Names:  Black Alder Winterberry, Brook Alder, Canada holly ,Coralberry, Deciduous Holly, Deciduous Winterberry, False alder, Fever bush, Inkberry, Michigan Holly, Possumhaw, Swamp Holly, Virginian Winterberry, or Winterberry Holly.

Habitat : Black Alder is  native to eastern North America in the United States and southeast Canada, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Alabama. It grows on swamps, pond margins and damp thickets.

Black Alder  or Ilex verticillata is a  multi-stemmed shrubshrub growing to 1–5 metres (3.3–16.4 ft) tall. It is one of a number of hollies which are deciduous, losing their leaves in the fall. In wet sites, it will spread to form a dense thicket, while in dry soil it remains a tight shrub. The leaves are glossy green, 3.5–9 cm long, 1.5–3.5 cm broad, with a serrated margin and an acute apex. The flowers are small, 5 mm diameter, with five to eight white petals.


The fruit is a globose red drupe 6–8 mm diameter, which often persists on the branches long into the winter, giving the plant its English name. Like most hollies, it is dioecious, with separate male and female plants; the proximity of at least one male plant is required to pollenize the females in order to bear fruit. The Bark is dark gray to brown  generally smooth with some lenticels

It is a tough plant which is easy to grow, with very few diseases or pests. Although wet acidic soils are optimal, the winterberry will grow well in the average garden. Numerous cultivars are available, differing in size and shape of the plant and color of the berry. At least one male plant must be planted in proximity to one or more females for them to bear fruit.

*Early summer cuttings are easily rooted
*Seeds possess a dormancy making germination tricky

Constituents: The bark contains about 4-8 per cent tannin, two resins, the one soluble and the other insoluble in alcohol, albumen, gum, sugar, and a bitter principle and a yellow colouring matter not yet isolated. There is no berberine.

Medicinal Uses:
Native American herbal tradition regarded the bark as a botanical aid for relieving occasional constipation. In fact, later herbalists describe its action similar to Cascara Sagrada.The berries were used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes, the origin of the name “fever bush”.

This remedy is a stimulant to the digestive and blood-making organs, and may be advantageously employed for the general purposes of a tonic. But beyond this, it influences the vegetative processes, probably through the sympathetic system of nerves, strengthening the circulation, aiding nutrition, and the removal of waste. We have used it but little, yet the testimony in its favor is such, that we strongly recommend its trial.

Other Uses:
Ornamental plant:
Ilex verticillata – the American Winterberry – is prized as an ornamental plant in gardens for the midwinter splash of bright color from densely packed berries, whose visibility is heightened by the loss of foliage; therefore it is popular even where other, evergreen, hollies are also grown. The bare branches covered in berries are also popular for cutting and use in floral arrangements.

Known Hazards:   Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity. The fruit is poisonous

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.



Herbs & Plants


Botanical Name : Liatris
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Liatris
Gaertn. ex Schreb.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common names: Blazing-star, Gay-feather or Button snakeroot

Habitat ; Liatri is native to North America, Mexico, and the Bahamas. These plants are used as a popular summer flowers for bouquets.

Liatris is a  perennial  plant, surviving the winter in the form of corms.

Liatris species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Schinia gloriosa, Schinia sanguinea (both of which feed exclusively on the genus), Schinia tertia and Schinia trifascia.

Liatris is in the tribe Eupatorieae of the aster family. Like other members of this tribe, the flower heads have disc florets and no ray florets. Liatris is in the subtribe Liatrinae along with, for example, Trilisa and Carphephorus. Liatris is closely related to Garberia from Florida, but can be distinguished because the latter is a shrub and has a different karyotype.

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Botanical Source and History.—LIATRIS SPICATA, Willdenow, Button snakeroot. This plant, also known by the names of Gay-feather, Devil’s bit, etc., has a perennial, tuberous root, an erect, annual stem, 2 to 5 feet in height, mostly stout, and very leafy. The leaves are linear, glabrous, alternate, punctate, ciliate at base, lower ones 3 to 5-nerved, and narrowed at base. The flowers are sessile, of a bright-purple color; the heads many, densely crowded in a long, terminal spike, and from 8 to 12-flowered. The scales of the cylindrical, bell-shaped involucre are oblong or oval, and appressed, with slight scarious margins. Achenia pubescent, obconic. Pappus permanent, colored, barbellate, not evidently plumose to the naked eye. Receptacle naked. This plant is found in moist places in the middle and southern states, and in abundance in the prairies (G.—W.).

LIATRIS SQUARROSA, Willdenow, or Blazing-star, has a perennial, tuberous root, with a stem 2 to 3 feet high, thickly beset with long-linear, nerved leaves; the lower ones attenuated at the base. The heads are few, sessile or nearly so, with brilliant purple flowers; the racemes flexuous and leafy; the involucre ovate-cylindric, and the scales of the involucre large, numerous, squarrose-spreading; outer ones larger and leafy, inner ones mucronate-acuminate, and scarcely colored. Pappus plumose. This plant is found in the middle and southern states, in dry soil, and is known in the South by the name of Rattlesnake’s master (G.—W.).

LIATRIS SCARIOSA, Willdenow, or Gay-feather, has a perennial, tuberous root, with a stout, scabrous-pubescent stem, 4 to 5 feet in height, whitish above. The leaves are numerous, lanceolate, tapering at both ends, glabrous, with rough margins, entire, lower ones on long petioles, 3 to 9 inches long, upper ones 1 to 3 inches in length by 1 to 3 lines in width. The heads number from 5 to 20, an inch in diameter, and are disposed in a long raceme, with 20 to 40 purple flowers. The involucre is globose-hemispherical; the scales of the involucre obovate or spatulate, very obtuse, with dry and scarious margins, often colored. Pappus scabrous. This plant is found in dry woods and sandy fields from New England to Wisconsin, and extending southward (G.—W.).

LIATRIS ODORATISSIMA, Willdenow.—This plant, known as Deer’s tongue or Vanilla plant, has radical and stem leaves; the former are obovate-spatulate, tapering below, generally 7-veined, and sometimes slightly obtusely toothed. The stem leaves are oblong and clasping. The leaves are more or less glaucous and fleshy. The flower-heads are arranged in a panicle or corymb, and are from 4 to 10-flowered, the blossoms being of a vivid purple hue. The involucre has but few scales, and these are spatulate-oblong, and imbricated. Pappus not plumose, but finely barbollate. The rhizome of this species is not tuberous. Deer’s tongue is found from Virginia south, and flowers in September and October. The leaves, when dry, have a pleasant odor.
Native American plant used in smoking blends to flavor tobacco. Their perfume is largely due to Coumarin, which can be seen in crystals on the upper side of the smooth, spatulate leaves. -Demulcent, febrifuge, diaphoretic

History and Chemical Composition.—All the above plants are splendid natives, and flowering through August, September, and October. There are several other species of this genus which appear to possess medicinal properties analogous to each other, and which deserve further investigation—e.g., L. cylindracea, L. graminifolia, etc. The roots are the medicinal parts; they are all tuberous, except L. odoratissima, with fibers, and have a hot, somewhat bitter taste, with considerable acrimony, and an agreeable, turpentine odor. They appear to contain a resinous substance, volatile oil, and a bitter principle. Their virtues are extracted by alcohol, and partially by hot water in infusion. The leaves of L. odoratissima are often covered with glistening crystals of coumarin (C9H6O2) (Procter, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1859, p. 556). On account of this constituent, it is used in North Carolina for keeping moths out of clothes. Deer’s tongue is also of interest as a reputed adulterant of tobacco, it being said to be especially employed in the making of cigarettes, the deleterious effects of which have been attributed, by some, to the coumarin present in them. Liatris spicata was analyzed by W. F. Henry (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1892, p. 603). It contained 0.09 per cent of volatile oil, about 4.5 per cent of resin, 2.3 per cent of a caoutchouc-like body, 16 per cent of inulin, also mucilage, glucose, etc., but no glucosid nor alkaloid.

Medicinal Uses:
These plants are diuretic, with tonic, stimulant, and emmenagogue properties. A decoction of them is very efficient in gonorrhoea, gleet, and nephritic diseases, in doses of from 2 to 4 fluid ounces, 3 or 4 times a day. It is also reputed beneficial in scrofula, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, after-pains, etc. It is likewise of advantage used as a gargle, in sore throat, and chronic irritation of the throat, with relaxed tissues, and in injection has proved useful in leucorrhoea. It acts kindly on the stomach, and is of some value in dyspepsia associated with renal torpor. While it relieves colic and other spasmodic bowel affections of children, it has some reputation as a remedy for pain and weakness in the lumbar region. Said to be beneficial in Bright’s disease     in connection with Lycopus virginicus and Aletris farinosa; equal parts of each in decoction. These plants are celebrated for their alexipharmic powers in bites of venomous snakes. Pursh states that, when bitten, the inhabitants of the southern states bruise the bulbous roots, and apply them to the wound, at the same time drinking freely of a decoction of them in milk. This requires corroboration. The eliminative action of liatris may be taken advantage of in removing morbific products left in the system after serious forms of illness. The decoction is prepared from an ounce of the root to 1 pint of water. Dose, 1 fluid drachm to 4 fluid ounces.

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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Herbs & Plants

Cirsium Setosum

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Botanical Name : Cirsium setosum
Family : Compositae
Genus  : Cirsium

Synonyms : Breea segetum – (Bunge.)Kitam.,Breea setosum – (M.Bieb.)Kitam.,Cirsium segetum – Bunge.,Serratula setosa – Willd.Breea arvensis,  Cirsium incanum, Cirsium arvense var. vestitum, Cirsium arvense var. mite, Cirsium arvense var. integrifolium, Cirsium arvense var. horridum, Cirsium arvense var. argenteum, Carduus arvensis, Breea incana, Serratula arvensis
Species :  Cirsium arvense

Habitat : E. Asia – China, S. Japan, Korea, Manchuria. Edges of fields and streams. Mountain slopes, by rivers, water lands and farmlands at elevations of 100 – 2700 metres throughout


Perennial growing to 0.5m.
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies), beetles. The plant is self-fertile.


The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.


There is a difference amongst botanists as to how this species should best be treated. In the Flora of China it is treated as one aggregate species, but in the Flora of Japan it is split into two distinct species and moved to a different genus as Breea segetum and Breea setosum. The plant has wide-ranging roots that send up adventitious shoots and so it has the potential to become an invasive plant in areas to which it is introduced. This species is dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. An easily grown plant, succeeding in any ordinary garden soil in a sunny position.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young leaves – cooked.

Medicinal Uses
The whole plant is antipyretic, depurative and haemostatic. It resolves clots and is used in the treatment of haemoptysis, haematemesis, metrorrhagia, boils and carbuncles and traumatic bleeding .

Other Uses

The seed of all species of thistles yields a good oil by expression. No details of potential yields etc are given.

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.