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Herbs & Plants

Gentiana campestris

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Botanical Name : Gentiana campestris
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentianella
Species: G. campestris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms: Bitterroot. Felwort.
Common name : Field Gentian

Habitat: Gentiana campestris is widespread in Northern and Central Europe and its distribution range includes the European Alps and the Jura. The plant is present in Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Estonia and Russia. It grows in moderately moist to rather dry substrates and neutral or acid soils of alpine meadows, lawns, pastures, forest clearings and roadsides, at an altitude of 1,000–2,300 metres (3,300–7,500 ft) above sea leve

Description:
Gentianella campestris is a plant of small size, reaching on average 3–30 centimetres (1.2–11.8 in) in height. It has erect stems, simple or branched at the base and the leaves are opposite, ovate-lanceolate and unstalked. The flowers are 15–30 millimetres (0.59–1.18 in) in size. Their color is usually bluish-purple, but may be white, pink or lilac, with petals and sepals fused (gamopetalous and gamosepalous). There are four petals, ciliate at the base. There are also four sepals, which differ in size (two are wide and two narrow). The flowering period extends from June to October. The fruit is a capsule

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Part Used: Root.

Edible Uses:
Alcoholic Drink:
Fresh Gentian root is used in Germany and Switzerland in the production of an alcoholic beverage.

The roots are cut, macerated with water, fermented and distilled. The resulting liquid gives it a characteristic odour and taste.

Medicinal Uses:
One of the medicinal uses was that it was used as an antidote to poison.

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/Gentianella_campestris
https://www.virtualheb.co.uk/field-gentian-wildflowers-western-isles/

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Herbs & Plants

Rhododendron groenlandicum

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Botanical Name :Rhododendron groenlandicum
Family: Ericaceae
Genus:     Rhododendron
Species: R. groenlandicum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Ericales

Synonyms :St. James’s Tea. Ledum Groenlandicum.

Common Names : Labrador tea,  Ledum latifolium

 Habitat: Rhododendron groenlandicum is native to  Greenland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, Hudson’s Bay. It is found growing in northern latitudes around the world. In Europe, it occurs south to the Alps. It is reported from Greenland, as well as from every province and territory in Canada and in the northeastern and northwestern United States (New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Alaska). It grows in bogs and on wet shores, and sometimes on rocky alpine slopes.

Description:
Rhododendron groenlandicum is an evergreen flowering plant  grows to a height of 4 to 5 feet, with irregular, woolly branches  . The leaves are alternate, entire, elliptical or oblong, 1 to 2 inches long, the upper side smooth and woolly underneath, with the edges rolled back.The leaves are wrinkled on top, densely hairy white to red-brown underneath, and have a leathery texture, curling at the edges. The tiny white flowers grow in hemispherical clusters and are very fragrant and sticky. The large, white, five-petalled flowers grow in flattened terminal clusters, opening in June and July. The plant grows in cold bogs and mountain woods. It is taller, more regularly formed, and has larger leaves than L. palustre. During the American War of Independence the leaves were much used instead of tea-leaves.They should be collected before flowering time, and the tops when the flowers begin to open.
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Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Leaves and tops.

Constituents: There has been found in the leaves tannin, gallic acid, a bitter substance, wax, resin, and salts.

The leaves are tonic, diaphoretic, and pectoral, having a pleasant odour and rather spicy taste. They yield their virtues to hot water or to alcohol. It is useful in coughs, dyspepsia, and irritation of the membranes of the chest. An infusion has been used to soothe irritation in infectious, feverish eruptions, in dysentery, leprosy, itch, etc. The strong decoction, as a wash, will kill lice. The leaves are also used in malignant and inflamed sore throat.

Pacific Northwest natives use a strong leaf tonic as a blood purifier and treatment for rheumatism.  Tribes farther north use the same infusion to combat cold symptoms.  They also marinate strong meats in it.  In Alaska, Labrador tea has been used to treat stomach ailments, hangovers, and dizziness, as well as pulmonary disorders including tuberculosis.  Infusions have also been used as a wash  to soothe itching rashes including poison ivy, sores, burns, lice, and leprosy.  In modern herbalism it is occasionally used externally to treat a range of skin problems. A tea is taken internally in the treatment of headaches, asthma, colds, stomach aches, kidney ailments etc. Externally, it is used as a wash for burns, ulcers, itches, chapped skin, stings, dandruff etc. An ointment made from the powdered leaves or roots has been used to treat ulcers, cracked nipples, burns and scalds.  The plant is apparently a mild narcotic, it was taken by Indian women three times daily shortly before giving birth .

Other Uses:
Bees are much attracted by the flowers, but animals do not browse on the plants,

Strewed among clothes, the leaves will keep away moths, and in Lapland the branches are placed among grain to keep away mice.

In Russia the leaves are used for tanning leather.

The Athabaskans brew the leaves as a beverage and some people chew the raw leaves because they enjoy the flavor. Others use Labrador tea to spice meat by boiling the leaves and branches in water and then soaking the meat in the decoction.

The Pomo, Kashaya, Tolowa and Yurok of Northern California boiled the leaves of Western Labrador Tea similarly, to make a medicinal herbal tea.[1] In Greenland, this is still the case. Here it is also used in facial steam bath.

In medieval Northern Europe, R. groenlandicum and R. tomentosum were often brewed in “gruit” ales, prior to the adoption of hops.

Known Hazards: Labrador tea has narcotic properties. Evidence suggests that excessive consumption of the plant may cause delirium or poisoning. Toxic terpenes of the essential oils cause symptoms of intoxication, such as slow pulse, lowering of blood pressure, lack of coordination, convulsions, paralysis, and death. It is apparently safe as a weak herbal tea, but should not be made too strong.

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/Rhododendron_groenlandicum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/labrad01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrador_tea

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Gentiana

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Botanical Name : Gentiana lutea
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. lutea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name :Great yellow gentian

Other names:   Yellow gentian, bitter root, bitterwort, centiyane, genciana   and   the Devil’  taint

Habitat: The Yellow Gentian is a native of the Alpine and sub-alpine pastures of central and southern Europe, frequent in the mountains of Spain and Portugal, the Pyrenees, Sardinia and Corsica, the Apennines, the Mountains of Auvergne, the Jura, the lower slopes of the Vosges, the Black Forest and throughout the chain of the Alps as far as Bosnia and the Balkan States. It does not reach the northern countries of the Continent, nor the British Isles. At an elevation of from 3,000 to 4,500 feet, it is a characteristic species of many parts of France and Switzerland, where, even when not in flower, the numerous barren shoots form conspicuous objects: the leaves are at first sight very similar to Veratrum album, the White Hellebore, which is its frequent companion. Out of Europe, the plant occurs in the mountains of Lydia. In some parts it occupies large tracts of country, being untouched by any kind of cattle.

Description:
Gentiana lutea is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 1–2 m tall, with broad lanceolate to elliptic leaves 10–30 cm long and 4–12 cm broad. The flowers are yellow, with the corolla separated nearly to the base into 5-7 narrow petals. It grows in grassy alpine and sub-alpine pastures, usually on calcareous soils.

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The root is long and thick, generally about a foot long and an inch in diameter, but sometimes even a yard or more long and 2 inches in diameter, of a yellowish-brown colour and a very bitter taste. The stem grows 3 or 4 feet high or more, with a pair of leaves opposite to one another, at each joint. The lowest leaves have short foot-stalks, but the upper ones are stalkless, their bases almost embracing the stem. They are yellowish-green in colour, oblong in shape and pointed, rather stiff, with five prominent veins on the underside, and diminish gradually in size as they grow up the stem. The large flowers are in whorls in the axils of the uppermost few pairs of leaves, forming big orange-yellow clusters. The corollas are wheel-shaped, usually five-cleft, 2 inches across, sometimes marked with rows of small brown spots, giving a red tinge to the otherwise deep yellow. Seeds in abundance are produced by strong plants, and stock is easily raised from them.

Cultivation:
For the successful cultivation of G. lutea, a strong, loamy soil is most suitable, the deeper the better, as the stout roots descend a long way down into the soil. Plenty of moisture is also desirable and a position where there is shelter from cold winds and exposure to sunshine. Old plants have large crowns, which may be divided for the purpose of propagation, but growing it on a large scale, seeds would be the best method. They could be sown in a frame, or in a nursery bed in a sheltered part of the garden and the young seedlings transplanted. They take about three years to grow to flowering size. It is, however, likely that the roots are richest in medicinal properties before the plants have flowered. A big clump of G. lutea is worthy of a conspicuous position in any large flower garden, quite apart from its medicinal value.

Medicinal Uses:    Gentiana is a plant extract made from gentians, which are a group of perennial plants belonging to the Gentianaceae family. There are about 180 species of gentians worldwide. They have a long history of use in healing both in Asian and Western herbalism . In the West, the common gentian used in healing is Gentiana lutea, or yellow gentian. In China, two different gentians are used in healing, Gentiana macrophylla, known in Chinese as qin jiao ; and Gentiana scabra, known in Chinese as long dan cao.

Part Used: The rhizome and roots collec

ted in autumn and dried. When fresh, they are yellowish-white externally, but gradually become darker by slow drying. Slow drying is employed to prevent deterioration in colour and to improve the aroma. Occasionally the roots are longitudinally sliced and quickly dried, the drug being then pale in colour and unusually bitter in taste, but this variety is not official.

Gentian is used in herbal medicine to treat digestive problems, fever, hypertension, muscle spasms, parasitic worms, wounds, cancer, sinusitis, and malaria, although studies have shown no efficacy beyond that of a placebo.

Gentiana punctata leaves and roots have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally and externally as liqueur or tea for treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, skin, locomotor system, liver and bile, for paediatric problems, fever, flu, rheumatism and gout

Constituents:  The dried Gentian root of commerce contains Gentiin and Gentiamarin, bitter glucosides, together with Gentianic acid (gentisin), the latter being physiologically inactive. Gentiopicrin, another bitter glucoside, a pale yellow crystalline substance, occurs in the fresh root, and may be isolated from it by treatment with boiling alcohol. The saccharine constituents of Gentian are dextrose, laevulose, sucrose and gentianose, a crystallizable, fermentable sugar. It is free from starch and yields from 3 to 4 per cent ash.

Gentian is one of the most useful of our bitter vegetable tonics. It is specially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of general debility, weakness of the digestive organs and want of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative to prevent its debilitating effects. Many dyspeptic complaints are more effectually relieved by Gentian bitters than by Peruvian Bark. It is of extreme value in jaundice and is prescribed extensively.

Besides being unrivalled as a stomachic tonic, Gentian possesses febrifuge, emmenagogue, anthelmintic and antiseptic properties, and is also useful in hysteria, female weakness, etc. Gentian with equal parts of Tormentil or galls has been used with success for curing intermittent fever.

As a simple bitter, Gentian is considered more palatable combined with an aromatic, and for this purpose orange peel is frequently used. A tincture made with 2 OZ. of the root, 1 OZ. of dried orange peel, and 1/2 oz. bruised cardamom seeds in a quart of brandy is an excellent stomachic tonic, and is efficacious in restoring appetite and promoting digestion. A favourite form in which Gentian has been administered in country remedies is as an ingredient in the so-called Stockton bitters, in which Gentian and the root of Sweet Flag play the principal part.

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/g/gentia08.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentiana_lutea

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3435100338.html

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Herbs & Plants

Auricula

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Botanical Name :Primula auricula
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula
Species: P. auricula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names: Auricula, mountain cowslip or bear’s ear (from the shape of its leaves)

Habitat : Primulaceae, that grows on basic rocks in the mountain ranges of central Europe, including the western Alps, Jura mountains, the Vosges, the Black Forest and the Tatra Mountains.

Description:
It is an evergreen perennial growing to 20 cm (8 in) tall by 25 cm (10 in) wide. The leaves are obovate and stalkless, with a cartilaginous edge, all growing in a basal rosette, and sometimes covered in a mealy white bloom. The yellow flowers grow in clusters on 5–20 cm (2–8 in) long stalks.

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The specific epithet auricula means “ear-shaped”, and refers to the shape of the leaves.

Cultivation:
This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Medicinal uses:
The leaves are used as a remedy for coughs. Used in the treatment of headaches

Other Uses:
When growing in the right conditions this species and its cultivars make a good ground cover. They are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.

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/Primula_auricula
http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Primula_auricula

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Herbs & Plants

Mountain avens

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Botanical Name:Dryas octopetala
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Dryas
Species: D. octopetala
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common names: Mountain avens, white dryas, and white dryad

Habitat : Dryas octopetala has a widespread occurrence throughout mountainous areas where it is generally restricted to limestone outcrops. These include the entire Arctic, as well as the mountains of Scandinavia, Iceland, the Alps, Carpathian Mountains, Balkans, Caucasus and in isolated locations elsewhere. In Great Britain it occurs in the Pennines (northern England), at two locations in Snowdonia (north Wales), and more widely in the Scottish Highlands; in Ireland it occurs on The Burren and a few other sites. In North America it is found in Alaska, most frequently on previously glaciated terrain, reaching as far south as Colorado in the Rocky Mountains.

It is the official territorial flower of the Northwest Territories, and the national flower of Iceland.

Description:
The Mountain Avens  is a small plant, 2 to 3 inches high, distinguished from all other plants of the order Rosaceae by its oblong deeply-cut leaves, which are white with a woolly down beneath, and by its large, handsome, anemone-like, white flowers, which have eight petals. It blooms in the spring. It is not uncommon in the mountainous parts of the British Isles, especially on limestone.

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The stems are woody, tortuous, with short, horizontal rooting branches. The leaves are glabrous above, densely white-tomentose beneath. The flowers are produced on stalks 3–10 cm (1.2–3.9 in) long, and have eight creamy white petals – hence the specific epithet octopetala. The style is persistent on the fruit with white feathery hairs, functioning as a wind-dispersal agent. The feathery hairs of the seed head first appear twisted together and glossy before spreading out to an expanded ball which the wind quickly disperses.

It grows in dry localities where snow melts early, on gravel and rocky barrens, forming a distinct heath community on calcareous soils.

When cultivated, it likes a sunny spot, not too dry, and prefers a little lime in the soil. It is propagated by layers or seeds, layers being the easiest method.

Cultivation :
Easily grown in ordinary gardening soil, preferring a sunny position. Prefers limestone soils. Prefers a gritty well-drained peaty soil. A sub-shrub, producing annual stems from a woody base. A good plant for a rock garden, it succeeds on banks and on walls. A very ornamental plant. The sub-species D. octopetala hookeriana has been shown to produce nitrogen nodules on its roots due to a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, in the same way as peas and beans. It has been assumed here that the species type can also do this[K]. Some of the nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Established plants strongly resent root disturbance.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in pots a shady cold frame or sheltered place outdoors as soon as it is ripe[200]. Stored seed requires stratification and should be sown as soon as possible. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 12 months or more at 20°c[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division of self-layered shoots in early spring[1, 200]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in sharp sand in a frame

Medicinal Uses:
Antidiarrhoeal;  Astringent;  Digestive.

The entire plant, harvested just before or at flowering time is astringent and digestive[9]. An infusion is used as a stomach tonic, and also as a gargle for treating gingivitis and other disorders of the mouth and throat.

Other Uses:
The plant makes a good ground cover for spring bulbs, though it is not strongly weed suppressive. Slow-growing at first, it then forms a dense mat. Plants should be spaced about 30cm apart each way and they form a carpet, the branches rooting at intervals along the stems.

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/a/avens084.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dryas+octopetala
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryas_octopetala

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