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Herbs & Plants

Cocculus palmatus

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Botanical name: Jateorhiza palmata
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Cocculus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Synonym: Menispermum calumba of Roxbury; Jateorhiza calumba of Miers.

Common Name : Moonseed, Colombo

Habitat :Cocculus palmatus is native to warm temperate to tropical regions of North America, Asia and Africa. This plant inhabits the forests near the southeastern coast of Africa, in the neighborhood of Mozambique, where the natives call it Kalumb.

Description: This is a climbing annual plant. The stems are herbaceous and twining; root perennial, fasciculated, fleshy, one to three inches in diameter, brownish without, deep yellow within. The stems, of which one or two proceed from the same root, are twining, simple in the male plant, branched in the female, round, hairy, and about an inch or an inch and a half in circumference. The leaves stand on rounded glandular hairy footstalks, and are alternate, distant, cordate, and have three, seven, or nine lobes and nerves. The flowers are small and inconspicuous . Flowers on solitary axillary racemes; small, green, dioecious. Calyx six-sepaled; corolla six-petaled; stamens six; pistils three. Fruit about the size of a hazel-nut, densely covered with long spreading hairs, either drupaceous or a berry.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 

The fusiform roots of this plant appear in market in thin slices transversely. “The slices are flat, circular or oval, mostly two inches in diameter and from two to four lines thick and branching. grayish-yellow, bitter.” (Pereira.) The root is often worm-eaten. Its powder has a greenish-yellow tint, a faint smell, and an aromatic bitter taste. The root is covered with a thin brown skin, marked with transverse warts.

Water, alcohol, diluted alcohol, and ether extract its virtues, which most abound in the cortical. It contains starch; a colorless neutral principle named calumbin; and an alkaloid berberia or berberin.

Medicinal Uses:
Columbo, so important in the present practice of medicine. The root is a bitter of the more relaxing order of tonics, stimulating only to a very moderate degree, and having a slightly demulcent character. It resembles the American article of a similar common name, (Frasera Carolinensis,) but is much pleasanter and not at all astringent. Its chief action is upon the stomach; and it is admirably suited to feeble conditions of this organ, with want of appetite, indigestion, flatulence, and vomiting. It never excites nausea, but on the contrary is an excellent agent to allay all forms of sympathetic vomiting, as in pregnancy; and few tonics are so well received by weak and irritable stomachs. During convalescence from fever, diarrhea, and dysentery, it is one of the most useful tonics; and it exerts a very mild influence on the hepatic apparatus, which well fits it for numerous cases of biliousness. It imparts a desirable tonic influence to the bowels. Some class it among the very powerful tonics, like gentian; but this is a mistake, for it is altogether a milder article, and suited for quite other conditions than those to which the gentian is applied. It is generally compounded with other tonics and with aromatics; and deserves more attention than it receives in America. Dose of the powder, ten to twenty grains three times a day.
Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Infusion. Calumba in coarse powder, six drachms; boiling water, one pint. Macerate for an hour. Dose, eight to twelve fluid drachms three times a day. By adding a few grains of dill seed or fennel, the flavor is much improved.

II. Tincture. This is prepared by macerating two and a half ounces of calumba in a sufficient quantity of proof spirit; transferring to a percolator, and adding proof spirit till one pint in all has been used; then pressing the drugs strongly, and adding enough spirit to the liquid to make the product one pint. Dose, half a fluid drachm to two fluid drachms. This is often added to other tonic preparations, or to such nervine aromatic infusions as may be in use for excessive vomiting. This agent is an ingredient in the compound wine of comfrey.
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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocculus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/cook/COCCULUS_PALMATUS.htm
http://chestofbooks.com/health/herbs/O-Phelps-Brown/The-Complete-Herbalist/Columbo-Cocculus-Palmatus.html#.Vk_j_SpTffI

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Herbs & Plants

Capparis spinosa

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Botanical Name : Capparis spinosa
Family: Capparaceae
Genus: Capparis
Species: C. spinosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Name : Caper ,Common Caper, Caper Bush, Flinders rose

Habitat :Capparis spinosa is found in the wild in Mediterranean, East Africa, Madagascar, south-western and Central Asia, Himalayas, the Pacific Islands, Indomalaya, Australia. It grows on rocks, affecting the hottest localities, to 3600 metres in the Himalayas. Old walls, cliffs and rocky hillsides in the Mediterranean.
Description:
Capparis spinosa is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate. The shrubby plant is many-branched, with alternate leaves, thick and shiny, round to ovate. It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The flowers are complete, sweetly fragrant, and showy, with four sepals and four white to pinkish-white petals, and many long violet-colored stamens, and a single stigma usually rising well above the stamens. The bloom Color is red & white….CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation:
Requires a hot, well-drained dry position in full sun. Plants are tolerant of drought. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.3 to 8.3. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. A perennial species, this plant produces annual stems from a woody base. The flowers open in the early morning and fade by midday. Capers are often cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical zones for their aromatic flower buds, which are used as a condiment, they are also frequently gathered from the wild. There are some named varieties, the most commonly cultivated form tends to be the spineless C. spinosa inermis. Special Features: Not North American native, Invasive, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle. Grow on the young plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in sand in a cold frame.

Edible Uses: The flower buds are pickled and used as a flavouring in sauces, salads etc. The young fruits and tender branch tips can also be pickled and used as a condiment. The flower buds are harvested in the early morning and wilted before pickling them in white vinegar. Young shoots – cooked and used like asparagus.  CLICK  & SEE  THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Anthelmintic; Antihaemorrhoidal; Aperient; Deobstruent; Depurative; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Tonic; Vasoconstrictor.
The root-bark is analgesic, anthelmintic, antihaemorrhoidal, aperient, deobstruent, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, tonic and vasoconstrictive. It is used internally in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections, diarrhoea, gout and rheumatism. Externally, it is used to treat skin conditions, capillary weakness and easy bruising. The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The stem bark is bitter and diuretic. If taken before meals it will increase the appetite. The unopened flower buds are laxative. They are used internally in the treatment of coughs, and externally to treat eye infections. The buds are a rich source of compounds known as aldose-reductose inhibitors – it has been shown that these compounds are effective in preventing the formation of cataracts. The buds are harvested before the flowers open and can be pickled for later use – when prepared correctly they are said to ease stomach pain. A decoction of the plant is used to treat vaginal thrush. The leaves are bruised and applied as a poultice in the treatment of gout.

The unopened flower buds are laxative and, if prepared correctly with vinegar, are thought to ease stomach pain. The bark is bitter and diuretic, and can be taken immediately before meals to increase the appetite. The root bark is purifying and stops internal bleeding. It is used to treat skin conditions, capillary weakness, and easy bruising, and is also used in cosmetic preparations. A decoction of the plant is used to treat yeast and vaginal infections such as candidiasis. Capers are an appetizer and digestive. Since ancient times, caper poultices have been used to ease swellings and bruises and this led to the belief that rutin had properties affecting the permeability of the blood capillaries; such as reducing their fragility though clinical evidence is inconclusive .

Other Uses: An extract of the root is used as a cosmetic and is particularly useful in treating rose-coloured rashes and capillary weaknesses. The plant is used as Landscaping :Cascades, Container, Erosion control, Ground cover.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caper
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Capparis+spinosa
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Coreopsis tinctoria

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Botanical Name : Coreopsis tinctoria
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Coreopsis
Species: C. tinctoria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name : Coreopsis, Golden tickseed, Atkinson’s tickseed, Dyer’s Coreopsis, Plains Coreopsis, Annual Coreops

Habitat : Coreopsis tinctoria is native to Central and Eastern N. America – Minnesota to Texas . It grows in moist low ground. Roadsides and waste places.

Description:
Coreopsis tinctoria is an annual plant,  growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a medium rate. It is in leaf 11-Apr . Leaves are pinnately-divided, glabrous and tending to thin at the top of the plant where numerous 1- to 1.5-inch (2.5-to 4-cm) flower heads sit atop slender stems. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jun to October. Flower heads are brilliant yellow with maroon or brown disc florets of various sizes. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife. The small, slender seeds germinate in fall (overwintering as a low rosette) or early spring. …...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a fertile well-drained moisture retentive medium soil. Does well in sandy soils. Requires a sunny position. Established plants are drought resistant. A good bee plant. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers.

Propagation :
Seed – sow March in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can also be sown in situ outdoors.

Edible Uses: ……. Coffee……This variety was formerly used to make a hot beverage until the introduction of coffee by traders. Women also use a infusion of whole plant of this variety, except for the root if they desire female babies.

Medicinal Uses:
Native Americans chewed the leaves for toothache, and applied a poultice of them to skin sores and bruises. The powdered root in warm water was used as a wash for sore eyes. A tea made of the root was used for stomachache, diarrhea, and fever. This plant is an effective astringent and hemostatic, with its effects lasting the length of the intestinal tract and therefore of use in dysentery and general intestinal inflammations. It may be used as a systemic hemostatic; when drunk after a sprain or major bruise or hematoma will help stabilize the injury and facilitate quicker healing. The tea will also lessen menstrual flow. A few leaves in a little water or a weak tea is a soothing eyewash.
Other Uses:
The Zuni people use the blossoms of the tinctoria variety to make a mahogany red dye for yarn.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plains_coreopsis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Coreopsis+tinctoria
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Lycopus virginicus

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Botanical Name: Lycopus virginicus
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Lycopus
Species: L. virginicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms : Euhemus officinalis. Euhemus sylvaticus. Lycopus macrophyllus

Common Names: Bugleweed, Virginia water horehound, Virginia water horehound, American water hoarhound, Sweet bugleweed, Water bugle, Carpenter’s herb, Green archangel, Purple archangel, Paul’s betony, Woodbetony, Wolf foot, and Egyptian’s herb.

Habitat : Lycopus virginicus is native to Eastern N. America – New York and Wisconsin south to Georgia and Texas. It grows in Low damp shady ground in rich moist soils.

Description:
Lycopus virginicus is a perennial herb with a hairy, squared stem reaching a meter tall. The oppositely arranged leaves have oval to lance-shaped blades with toothed edges. The leaves are dark green or purple. Clusters of tiny white or pink-tinged flowers occur in the leaf axils. It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant has a mint scent and a bitter taste. This species can be easily confused with Lycopus uniflorus. The latter has stamens exserted from the flowers, while the stamens of L. virginicus are included. The two species may hybridize, producing Lycopus × sherardii……..CLICK & SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation : Tolerates most soil types so long as they are wet. Succeeds in full sun or in partial shade, in damp meadows or in wet places by ponds or streams.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Edible Uses: Root – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:

Antianxiety; Antidandruff; Astringent; Cardiac; Hypoglycaemic; Narcotic; Sedative.

Bugleweed has sedative properties and is used in modern herbalism principally to treat an overactive thyroid gland and the racing heartbeat that often accompanies this condition. The whole plant is used as an astringent, hypoglycaemic, mild narcotic and mild sedative. It also slows and strengthens heart contractions. The plant has been shown to be of value in the treatment of hyperthyroidism, it is also used in the treatment of coughs, bleeding from the lungs and consumption, excessive menstruation etc. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women or patients with hypothyroidism. The root has been chewed, a portion swallowed and the rest applied externally in the treatment of snakebites. Current uses are predominantly for increased activity of the thyroid gland and for premenstrual syndrome symptoms such as breast pain . The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Lycopus for nervousness and premenstrual syndrome.

It should be used only in its fresh state (or freshly tinctured), not dried. For treating traumatic bruises and injuries, it is combined with other herbs in a liniment, and also taken internally. Good for cardiac problems. Studies indicate that bugleweed reduces the activity of the thyroid gland by slowing the release of the hormone thyroxine in the thyroid. It should help ease abnormal excitability, relieve acute hyperventilation, slow a rapid heart rate and relieve spastic coughing from those suffering from spontaneous hyperthyroidism. Bugleweed is also useful in many heart and vascular system disorders. It is believed to work in the cardiovascular system in a way that is similar to the drug digitalis—by strengthening the heartbeat while slowing a rapid pulse. But it is virtually free of the dangerous side effects.

Bugleweed is a good hemostatic or coagulant for home use, nearly as specific as shepherd’s purse without the latter’s diuretic or hypertensive effects. The fresh tincture is preferable, but the dried herb is adequate; one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of the tincture or a rounded teaspoon to tablespoon of the herb in tea. Treatment should be continued one dose after the bleeding has stopped to allow firm clotting or sealing. It can be used for nosebleeds, excess menstruation, bleeding piles and the like. Particularly useful for two or three days after labor, exerting little effect on colostrums or milk production.

Known Hazards : Known to cause the enlargement of the thyroid gland. Avoid in patients with thyroid disease or given concomitantly with thyroid therapy. Avoid during pregnancy.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycopus_virginicus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lycopus+virginicus

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Liatris punctata

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Botanical Name : Liatris punctata
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Liatris
Species: L. punctata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms : Laciniaria punctata. (Hook.)Kuntze

Common Names ; Snakeroot, Dotted blazing star, Mexican blazing star, Nebraska blazing star

Habitat : Liatris punctata occurs in Alberta east to Manitoba in Canada, and in most of the central United States, its distribution extending into Mexico. There are three varieties, with var. punctata in western areas, var. nebraskana more common to the east, and var. mexicana in Oklahoma and Texas. It grows in dry prairies and plains.

Description:
Liatris punctata is a perennial herb produces one or more erect stems up to 80 centimetres (2.6 feet) tall. They grow from a thick taproot which may extend 5 m (16 ft) deep in the ground. It also has rhizomes. The inflorescence is a spike of several flower heads. The heads contain several flowers which are usually purple, but sometimes white. The fruit is an achene tipped with a long pappus. The plant reproduces sexually by seed and vegetatively by sprouting from its rhizome. This species is long-lived, with specimens estimated to be over 35 years old
It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation :
Grows well in a moderately good light soil. Tolerates poor soils. Plants are prone to rot overwinter in wet soils. A good bee plant. Rodents are very fond of the tubers so the plants may require some protection.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in autumn in a greenhouse. Sow stored seed as soon as possible in the year in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in spring[1]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Basal cuttings taken in spring as growth commences. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses: …….Root – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour when harvested in the spring and baked. Eating the root is said to improve the appetite.

Medicinal Uses:
Antipruritic; Diuretic; Poultice; Stomachic.

An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of stomach aches, bloody urine and women’s bladder complaints. The root has been chewed and the juice swallowed in the treatment of swollen testes. A decoction of the roots is used as a wash for itching skin complaints. A poultice of the boiled roots is applied to swelling.

Other Uses:
This plant is palatable to livestock and wild ungulates such as elk, white-tailed deer, and pronghorn. Its nectar is favored by lepidopterans, such as the rare butterfly Pawnee montane skipper (Hesperia leonardus montana), which is known to occur wherever the plant does. This plant species is considered good for revegetating prairie habitat. It is also used as an ornamental plant.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Liatris+punctata
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liatris_punctata