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Herbs & Plants

Mentha piperita officinalis

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Botanical Name: Mentha piperita officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name : White Peppermint

Habitat : White Peppermint is native to Europe and was first described in 1753 by Linnaeus and thought to be a new species. However, it was later determined to be a hybrid from parents Mentha aquatica (Watermint) and Mentha spicata (Spearmint). It is still sometimes found in the wild near the parent plants. The preferred native habitat is moist soils near streams and natural drainage lines. White Peppermint is fast growing and is one of the main cultivated varieties of Peppermint.

Description:
White Peppermint is an evergreen perennial growing from 30-90 cm high, with a spreading habit. It has green leaves that end in a point and have serrated edges. The leaves are quite large at 4-9cm long and 1.5-4cm wide. The leaves a stems may be slightly fuzzy. The purple flowers are held in whorls and appear in summer. White Peppermint is very similar to Peppermint, however it lacks the red flush sometimes appearing on leaves and the red stems. Overall, the White Peppermint is a lighter shade of green and it has a milder taste than Peppermint.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

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 the production of essential oils, but the plant also succeeds in partial shade. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Often grown in the herb garden and also commercially for its essential oil. The whole plant has a pleasant aroma of peppermint. 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 flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Produces a better quality essential oil if the plant is grown in dry ground. 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:
Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. It may be used added to drinks, salads, desserts and cooked dishes. It is used in toothpaste…..click & see
Medicinal Uses:
White peppermint is a very important and commonly used remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists. It is also widely used as a domestic remedy. This cultivar is considered to be milder acting than black peppermint (Mentha x piperita vulgaris). A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders (especially flatulence) and various minor ailments. The herb is abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator. An infusion is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, spastic colon etc. Externally a lotion is applied to the skin to relieve pain and reduce sensitivity. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, they are harvested for drying in August as the flowers start to open. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic and strongly antibacterial, though it is toxic in large doses. When diluted it can be used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Cooling’.
Menthol, the active constituent in Peppermint, activates cold sensitive receptors on the skin and mucosal tissues creating the cooling sensation

Other Uses:
An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is used in perfumery. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri. They were formerly used as a strewing herb The plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards : In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so should not be used by pregnant women.

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/Peppermint
http://www.herbcottage.com.au/mint-white-peppermint.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+x+piperita+officinalis

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Mentha asiatica

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Botanical Name: Mentha asiatica
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. asiatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Common Names: Asian mint
Habitat: Mentha asiatica is native to E. AsiaChina to central Asia. It grows on riverbanks, landfills, waste areas and wet valleys from sea level to 3100 metres.
Description:

Mentha asiatica is a perennial herb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
We do not have much information on this species but it has been seen growing in a number of gardens in Britain and would seem to be quite hardy. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but succeeds in partial shade. 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 has a minty aroma. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to deter insect pests. 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[K]. 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: Condiment; Tea.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. A herb tea is made from the leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
Asian mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

Other Uses :
Essential; Repellent; Strewing.

An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_asiatica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+asiatica

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Mentha arvensis villosa

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Botanical Name : Mentha arvensis villosa
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Mentha canadensis. L.

Common Names: American Wild Mint

Habitat :Mentha arvensis villosa is native to N. America – New Brunswick to Manitoba, British Columbia, Virginia, New Mexico and Nevada. It grows on moist of the places at low to moderate elevations.

Descriptions:
Mentha arvensis villosa is a perennial herb growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is not frost tender.It  blooms  during  July – September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pHj: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. This species tolerates much drier conditions than other members of the genus. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. 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. The whole plant has a very strong smell of mint. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near brassicas and tomatoes, helping to deter insect pests. 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:
Leaves – raw or cooked. Fragrant and pleasant tasting, the leaves are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. A herb tea is made from the leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
Mentha arvensis villosa is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. A decoction of the ground leaves and stems is used to treat feelings of nausea. The tea is also used in the treatment of colds, fevers, sore throats, gas, colic, indigestion etc. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

Other Uses:
The plant is used as an insect repellent. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain. An essential oil is obtained from the leaves, it is used as a flavouring for toothpastes etc. It contains thymol and pulegone.
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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+arvensis+villosa

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Lactuca sibirica

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Botanical Name: Lactuca sibirica
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Lactuca sibirica (L.) Benth., Lagedium sibiricum (L.) Sojak., Sonchus sibiricus L., Mulgedium sibiricum Less., Agathyrsus sibiricus D.Don.

Common Names: Prickly lettuce

Habitat:Lactuca sibirica is native to N. Europe to E. Asia. It grows on woods and scrub, also on river sands and gravels.

Description:
Lactuca sibirica is a perennial herb . Stalks are 25-100 (to 140) cm in height, straight, simple, non-pubescent, frequently red. The main root is erect, sometimes branchy. The root system consists of numerous roots and rhizomes. Leaves are sessile, lanceolate, elongate-acuminate, 1-5 cm in width, 6-18 cm in length, full, less often runcinate or pinnatilobate. Leaves are naked or weakly pubescent, amplexicaul cordate or sagittate at base; upper side green, underside glaucous. Phyllotaxy alternate. Corymbose-paniculate inflorescence consists of rather large calathidia 2.5-3 cm in diameter. Flowers are dark blue or violet, with ligules. Ligules are 10-15 mm in length and 2-3-mm in width. Involucre is cylindrical in form, 3-4-seriate, 9-14 mm in length, 4-8 mm in width. Leaflets lanceolate, bare with the pubescent top. Fruits are hemicarps, slightly compressed and ribbed, up to 5 mm in length, densely pubescent. Rostellum is usually a quarter the size of the hemicarp. Pappus is yellowish, up to 10 mm in length. It is in flower during July -and in fruit during August-September.

Flower color is blue, rarely white. Achene brown to olive green, narrowly ellipsoid, ca. 4 mm, subcompressed, either marginal rib almost as thick as ca. 1/3 of achene diam., middle third with 4 or 5 narrow ribs on either side, apically attenuate or with a ca. 1 mm beak. Pappus 5-7 mm.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Cultivation:
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. But light sandy loam in a sunny position is prefered.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick. Division in spring. Make sure that each portion of root has at least one leaf bud.

Edible Uses: Young plants are eaten – raw or cooked. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.
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/Lactuca

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200024118

http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/weeds/Lactuca_sibirica/http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+sibirica

 

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Lactuca triangulata

 

Botanical Name: Lactuca triangulata
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Cichorioideae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Subtribes: Lactucinae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Species: Lactuca triangulata

Common Names: Lactuca triangulata var. sachalinensis Kitamura; Pterocypsela triangulata (Maximowicz) C. Shih.

Habitat : Lactuca triangulata is native to E. Asia – China, Japan. It grows on grasslands on mountain slopes, mountain forests, forest margins, trailsides; 700-1900 m. Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Shanxi [Japan, Korea, SE Russia].

Description:
Lactuca triangulata is a biennial or perennial herb growing 1M tall. Roots ramose. Stem solitary, usually purplish red, erect, branched in apical half or third, glabrous. Lower and middle stem leaves ± glabrous, margin with unequal and triangular teeth; basal portion winged petiole-like, 6-13 cm, base broadly auriculately to hastately clasping stem; apical portion triangular, broadly ovate, or broadly ovate-cordate, 8.5-13 × 9-16 cm. Upper stem leaves similar to middle stem leaves or basally shortly cuneate or winged petiole-like and auriculately or sagittately clasping and apically elliptic to rhombic. Uppermost leaves with semiamplexicaul base. Synflorescence rather narrowly paniculiform, with numerous capitula. Capitula with 10-16 florets. Involucre cylindric, 1-1.1 cm at anthesis, to 1.5 × 0.5-0.6 cm in fruit. Outer phyllaries narrowly triangular to lanceolate, longest ca. 7 × 1 mm, apex acute; inner phyllaries 8, usually purplish red, apex acute to obtuse. Florets yellow. Achene 4-6 mm; body blackish, reddish, or dark brown, ellipsoid, compressed, broadly winged, 2-2.5 mm wide, with 1(or 2) prominent rib on either side, apically contracted into an apically pale stout 0.1-0.5 mm beak. Pappus 6-8 mm, caducous. It is in flower during June-July and fruit comes in August- September.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil.
Cultivation: Prefers a light sandy loam in a sunny position. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Propagation : Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses: Leaves – cooked. They are sometimes eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
Although we have seen no specific reports for this species, most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance ‘lactucarium‘ and can probably be used as the report below details. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Lactuca_triangulata
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200024121
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+triangulata