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Herbs & Plants

Chenopodium olidum

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Botanical Name: Chenopodium olidum
Family: Chenopodiaceae
Genus: Chenopodium
Species: C. album
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Stinking Motherwort. Wild Arrach. Stinking Arrach. Stinking Goosefoot. Netchweed. Goat’s Arrach. C. vulvaria S. Wats.

Common Names: The Wild Arrach, or Netchweed , common Goosefoots

Part Used:  The Herb.

Habitat: Chenopodium olidum is found on roadsides and dry waste ground near houses, from Edinburgh southward.
Description:
Chenopodium olidum is an annual herb. Its stem is not erect, but partly Iying, branched from the base, the opposite branches spreading widely, a foot or more in length.

The stalked leaves are oval, wedge-shaped at the base, about 1/2 inch long, the margins entire.

The small, insignificant green flowers are borne in spikes from the axils of the leaves and consist of five sepals, five stamens and a pistil with two styles. There are no petals and the flowers are wind-fertilized. They are in bloom from August to October.

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The whole plant is covered with a white, greasy mealiness, giving it a grey-green appearance which when touched, gives out a very objectionable and enduring odour, like that of stale salt fish, and accounts for its common popular name: Stinking Goosefoot
Medicinal Uses:
The name of ‘Stinking Motherwort’ refers to the use of its leaves in hysteria and nervous troubles connected with women’s ailments: it has emmenagogue and anti-spasmodic properties. In former days, it was supposed even to cure barrenness and in certain cases, the mere smelling of its foetid odour was held to afford relief.

An infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb in a pint of boiling water is taken three or four times daily in wineglassful doses as a remedy for menstrual obstructions. It is also sometimes used as a fomentation and injection, but is falling out of use, no doubt on account of its unpleasant odour and taste.

The infusion has been employed in nervous debility and also for colic.

An infusion of the dried leaves is used in the treatment of hysteria and nervous troubles connected with women’s ailments.

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/Chenopodium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/arrac059.html

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

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Herbs & Plants

Typhonium trilobatum (Bengali Name:Ghet kachu)

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Botanical Name :Typhonium trilobatum
Family:    Araceae (Arum family)
Subfamily:Aroideae
Tribe:    Areae
Genus:    Typhonium
KingdomPlantae
Order:    Alismatales

Synonyms: Arum trilobatum, Arum orixense

Common names: Bengal Arum, Lobed Leaf Typhonium • Tamil: karunai-k-kilanku, pitikarunai, karunai, karu karunai kilanku • Bengali: Ghat kanchu, Kharkon, Ghet kachu or Gher Kochu. • Assamese: Chema kachu

Tribal Names: Kharbas, Sarakao (Chakma); Kalman (Garo).

Habitat :Typhonium trilobatum is an aroid distributed throughout India,Burma & Bangladesh

Description:
Typhonium trilobatum is a  tuberous herb, with subglobose tuber up to 4 cm diam. Petiole 25-30 cm long; lamina hastate-subtrisect, segments all acuminate, front segment ovate, 8-18 cm long, lateral ones obliquely ovate, shorter, subbilobed at base. Peduncle thin, 5-7 cm long; tube of spathe oblong, 2.5 cm long, lamina oblong-ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, 15 or more cm long, 5-7 cm broad, inside rose-purple. Spadix nearly 15 cm long. Female inflorescence short-cylindric, about 7 mm long; male inflorescence 1.25-1.5 cm long, rose-pink, situated above the female. Flowering: August.
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The plant has very narrow 3 ft flower heads emerging before leaves in spring, then unfurl into only kind of narrow, with intricate maroon and cream patterning. When the leaves do appear, they’re large and compound, similar to Cobra Lily, on a stalk that is light green and black-patterned. It emits a distinctive odour for a few hours when it first blooms, like most arums.

Edible Uses: Tubers are eaten in some tribal societies and the plant also has various medicinal uses.

Chemical Constituents:
Tubers and roots contain a volatile acrid principle, ?-sitosterol, two unidentified sterols and an unidentified crystalline compound (Ghani, 2003).

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is hypnotic. Fresh corms are very acrid and a powerful stimulant; employed as a poultice in tumours. The corms are reported to relax the bowels and provide relief in haemorrhoids and piles. They are eaten with bananas to cure the stomach complaints. The Garo of Madhupur applies root paste locally on ulcer of cattle.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhonium
http://www.mpbd.info/plants/typhonium-trilobatum.php
http://flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Bengal%20Arum.html

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Herbs & Plants

Arum maculatum

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Botanical Name : Arum maculatum
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe:     Areae
Genus:     Arum
Species: A. maculatum
Kingdom:     Plantae
Order:     Alismatales

Synonyms: Lords and Ladies. Arum. Starchwort. Adder’s Root. Bobbins. Friar’s Cowl. Kings and Queens. Parson and Clerk. Ramp. Quaker. Wake Robin.

Common Names : snakeshead, adder’s root, arum, wild arum, arum lily, lords and ladies, devils and angels, cows and bulls, cuckoo-pint, Adam and Eve, bobbins, naked boys, starch-root, wake robin, friar’s cowl and jack in the pulpit. The name “lords and ladies” and other gender related names refer to the plant’s likeness to male ? and female ? genitalia symbolising copulation.

Arum maculatum is also known as Cuckoo Pint or Cuckoo-pint in the British Isles and is named thus in Nicholas Culpepers’ famous 16th Century herbal. This is a name it shares with Arum italicum (Italian Lords-and-Ladies) – the other native British Arum. “Pint” is a shortening of the word “pintle”, meaning penis, derived from the shape of the spadix. The euphemistic shortening has been traced to Turner in 1551.

Habitat :Arum maculatum is widespread across most of Europe, south and east of Sweden, including Britain, south to N. Africa.It grows in hedges, woodlands, copses etc, especially on base-rich substrata

The Arum family, Aroidae, which numbers nearly 1,000 members, mostly tropical, and many of them marsh or water plants, is represented in this country by a sole species, Arum maculatum (Linn.), familiarly known as Lords and Ladies, or Cuckoo-pint.

Description:

Arum maculatum is a perennial plant growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Flies.

The purple spotted leaves of Arum maculatum appear in the spring (April–May) followed by the flowers borne on a poker shaped inflorescence called a spadix. The purple spadix is partially enclosed in a pale green spathe or leaf-like hood. The flowers are hidden from sight, clustered at the base of the spadix with a ring of female flowers at the bottom and a ring of male flowers above them.

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Above the male flowers is a ring of hairs forming an insect trap. Insects, especially owl-midges Psychoda phalaenoides, are attracted to the spadix by its faecal odour and a temperature up to 15 degrees celsius warmer than the ambient temperature. The insects are trapped beneath the ring of hairs and are dusted with pollen by the male flowers before escaping and carrying the pollen to the spadices of other plants, where they pollinate the female flowers. The spadix may also  be yellow, but purple is the more common.

All parts of the plant can produce allergic reactions in many people and the plant should be handled with care. Many small rodents appear to find the spadix particularly attractive and it is common to find examples of the plant with much of the spadix eaten away. The spadix produces heat and probably scent as the flowers mature and it may be this that attracts the rodents.

Cultivation:
Prefers a humus rich soil and abundant water in the growing season. Prefers a shady damp calcareous soil. Succeeds in sun or shade. Plants are very shade tolerant  and grow well in woodland conditions. The inflorescence has the remarkable ability to heat itself above the ambient air temperature to such a degree that it is quite noticeable to the touch. Temperature rises of 11°c have been recorded. At the same time, the flowers emit a foul and urinous smell in order to attract midges for pollination. The smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse or cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Stored seed should be sown in the spring in a greenhouse and can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking a year or more. A period of cold stratification might help to speed up the process. Sow the seed thinly, and allow the seedlings to grow on without disturbance for their first year, giving occasional liquid feeds to ensure that they do not become mineral deficient. When the plants are dormant in the autumn, divide up the small corms, planting 2 – 3 in each pot, and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year, planting out when dormant in the autumn. Division of the corms in summer after flowering. Larger corms can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up the smaller corms and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out.

Edible Uses:
Tuber is cooked and used as a vegetable. A mild flavour, the root contains about 25% starch. A farina can be extracted from the root. Roots can be harvested at any time of the year, though they are best when the plant is dormant. At one time, the tubers of this plant were commonly harvested and used for food, but they are very rarely used nowadays. The root must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten. (see the Known Hazards below) . Leaves – must be well cooked. Available from late winter. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Root.

Antirheumatic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Homeopathy; Purgative; Vermifuge.

Arum maculatum  has been little used in herbal medicine and is generally not recommended for internal use. The shape of the flowering spadix has a distinct sexual symbolism and the plant did have a reputation as an aphrodisiac, though there is no evidence to support this. The root is diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, strongly purgative and vermifuge. It should be harvested in the autumn or before the leaves are produced in the spring. It can be stored fresh in a cellar in sand for up to a year or can be dried for later use. The plant should be used with caution. The bruised fresh plant has been applied externally in the treatment of rheumatic pain. A liquid from the boiled bark of the stem has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the root and leaves. It has been used in the treatment of sore throats.

Other Uses:
Arum maculatum is cultivated as an ornamental plant in traditional and woodland shade gardens. The cluster of bright red berries standing alone without foliage can be a striking landscape accent. The mottled and variegated leaf patterns can add bright interest in darker habitats.

Starch from the root has been used as a laundry starch for stiffening clothes. Its use is said to be very harsh on the skin, producing sores and blisters on the hands of the laundresses who have to use it, though another report says that the powdered root makes a good and innocent cosmetic that can be used to remove freckles.

Known Hazards: In autumn the lower ring of (female) flowers forms a cluster of bright red berries which remain after the spathe and other leaves have withered away. These attractive red to orange berries are extremely poisonous. The berries contain oxalates of saponins which have needle-shaped crystals which irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, and result in swelling of throat, difficulty breathing, burning pain, and upset stomach. However, their acrid taste coupled with the almost immediate tingling sensation in the mouth when consumed mean that large amounts are rarely taken and serious harm is unusual. It is one of the most common causes of accidental plant poisoning based on attendance at hospital A & E departments.

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/c/cucko122.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arum_maculatum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Arum+maculatum

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Herbs & Plants

Oenanthe aquatica

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Botanical Name : Oenanthe aquatica
Family : Apiaceae – Carrot family
Genus : Oenanthe L. – waterdropwort
Species : Oenanthe aquatica (L.) Poir. – fineleaf waterdropwort
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision ; Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division : Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class :Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order : Apiales

Synonyms :  Oenanthe phellandrium. Phellandrium aquaticum

Common Name : Water Dropwort, Water Fennel

Habitat :Water Dropwort  seen  in   Europe, including Britain, though absent from the far north, to W. Asia.It grows in slow moving or stagnant water, and by the sides of streams, avoiding acid conditions.

Description:
Oenanthe aquatica is a perennial plant, growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It is in flower from Jun to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles.The plant is self-fertile.

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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 wet soil and can grow in water.

Cultivation:
Requires shallow water or a very wet fertile soil. Individual plants are biennial, dying after flowering. The plant perrenates, however, by means of offsets.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring or late summer in situ.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiperiodic;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Homeopathy;  Narcotic;  Pectoral.

The fruit is antiperiodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and pectoral. It is used in the treatment of chronic pectoral affections, dyspepsia, intermittent fevers, obstinate ulcers etc. This plant should be used with great caution, and only under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. In overdose the fruits cause vertigo, intoxication and other narcotic effects. The roots have been used externally in the treatment of piles. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fruits. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs etc.

It is used in the treatment of chronic pectoral affections, dyspepsia, intermittent fevers, obstinate ulcers etc. This plant should be used with great caution, and only under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. In overdose the fruits cause vertigo, intoxication and other narcotic effects. The roots have been used externally in the treatment of piles. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fruits. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs etc.  The seeds have been most successfully used in chronic affections of the air-passages, as laryngitis, asthma, hemoptysis, catarrh, etc.; also in periodical febrile diseases, dyspeptic affections, and in indolent ulcerations.  It is used in consumption and bronchitis, to relieve troublesome cough, render expectoration less and easier, and produce sleep at night.

Known Hazards : All parts of the plant are poisonous. It is said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Oenanthe+aquatica
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=OEAQ
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Oenanthe_aquatica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Blue Lettuce

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Botanical Name : Lactuca pulchella
Family :Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Lactuca L. – lettuce
Species: Lactuca tatarica (L.) C.A. Mey. – blue lettuce
Variety:Lactuca tatarica (L.) C.A. Mey. var. pulchella (Pursh) Breitung – blue lettuce
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Lactuca tatarica (Linnaeus) C.A. Meyer subsp. pulchella (Pursh) A.P. de Candolle
*Mulgedium pulchellum (Pursh) G. Don
*Sonchus pulchellus Pursh

Common Name : Blue Lettuce,Chicory Lettuce

Habitat:
In Michigan this species is native only to Isle Royale, where it occurs in rocky openings on ridges. It is adventive elsewhere in the state. In other portions of its range, this species inhabits moist prairies, meadows, clearings, and riverbanks. The Isle Royale populations have not been collected since 1930.

Description:
General: plant with milky sap, 20-100 cm tall.
Growth habit: perennial from white, deep-seated, creeping root, often growing in patches.
Stems: erect, hairless or almost so.
Leaves: alternate, narrowly lance-shaped, 5-18 cm
long and 6-35 mm wide, entire, or the lower ones more or
less with triangular, backward-pointig lobes or sharply
toothed, often with waxy coating beneath.
Flowerheads: blue, showy, about 2 cm wide, with
18-50 ray florets only, several in open clusters. Involucre
15-20 mm high in fruit, with overlapping bracts in 3 rows.
Flowering time: June-September.
Fruits: achenes, 4-7 mm long, the slender body
moderately compressed, prominently several-nerved on
each face, the beak stout, often whitish, equaling or less
than half as long as the body. Pappus of white, hair-like
bristles.
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Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. This species is considered to be a noxious weed in N. America where it spreads freely by suckers in cultivated ground – even a small portion of the root can regenerate to form a new plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a greenhouse, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Root cuttings in spring.

Edible uses:
Young leaves – raw or cooked – of blue lettuce have been eaten by Native tribes. A gum obtained from the roots is used for chewing. However, caution should be used, because of the mild narcotic properties of the plant.

Medicinal Uses:
A tea of the roots and stems has been used by the Okanagan-Colville Indians of British Columbia in the treatment of diarrhea in children. Hemorrhoids have been treated by applying a moist, usually warm or hot mass of plant material. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap, containing ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its mildly pain-relieving, antispasmodic, digestive, urination-inducing, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has mild narcotic effects. It has been taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts. An infusion of the roots and stems has been given to children in the treatment of diarrhea. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Other Uses: The Gum has several uses.

Precautions:
The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness, excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis.

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://montana.plant-life.org/species/lactuca_tatari.htm
http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/explorer/species.cfm?id=13578
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LATAP
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.wnmu.edu/academic/nspages/gilaflora/lactuca_pulchella.html

http://www.wildstaudenzauber.de/Seiten/Praerie.html

http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Fletcher-FarmWeeds/pages/033-Blue-lettuce/411×764-q75.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+pulchella

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