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Herbs & Plants

Sinapis arvensis

Botanical Name: Sinapis arvensis
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Sinapis
Species: S. arvensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Charlock. Brassica Sinapistrum

Common Names: Field mustard, Wild mustard or Charlock

Habitat: Sinapis arvensis is a native of the Mediterranean basin, it is widespread in all temperate regions of the planet. It has also become naturalized throughout much of North America. It is a highly invasive species, a weed, such as in California.

Description:
Sinapis arvensis is an annual plant. It reaches on average 20–80 centimetres (7.9–31.5 in) of height, but under optimal conditions can exceed one metre. The stems are erect, branched and striated, with coarse spreading hairs especially near the base.

The leaves are petiolate with a length of 1–4 centimetres (0.39–1.57 in). The basal leaves are oblong, oval, lanceolate, lyrate, pinnatifid to dentate, 4–18 centimetres (1.6–7.1 in) long, 2–5 centimetres (0.79–1.97 in) wide. The cauline leaves are much reduced and are short petiolate to sessile but not auriculate-clasping……...CLICK  & SEE  THE PICTURES

The inflorescence is a raceme made up of yellow flowers having four petals. The fruit is a silique 3-5 cm long with a beak 1-2 cm long that is flattened-quadrangular. The valves of the silique are glabrous or rarely bristly, three to five nerved. The seeds are smooth 1-1.5 mm in diameter.

Flowering occurs from May to SeptemberIt is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from May to August.  The flowers are pollinated by various bees and flies (entomophily). Sinapis arvensis is the host plant of the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the small white, Pieris rapae. It contains chemicals of the class glucosinolates, including sinalbin.

Cultivation: Usually found on heavy alkaline soils in the wild. Succeeds on most soils. Dislikes shade. The plant harbours an eelworm that attacks other crops. It is therefore best not to grow it in a garden setting.

Propagation : Seed – germinates in spring and autumn in the wild. It should not really need much encouragement.

Part Used: Seeds.

Edible Uses: Edible Uses: Condiment; Oil; Oil.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Somewhat hot, the young leaves are used as a flavouring in salads, where they add a piquant flavour. Older leaves are used as a potherb. It is best to use just the young shoots and leaves in the spring, older leaves are bitter. Flowering stems – cooked. A pleasant, cabbage/radish flavour, they can be used as a broccoli substitute before the flowers open. The stems should be lightly steamed for no more than 5 minutes. The flowers can also be cooked as a vegetable or used as a garnish. Seed – it can be sprouted and eaten raw. A hot flavour, it can be added to salads and sandwiches. The seed can be ground into a powder and used as a food flavouring. It has a hot mustard flavour. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Black depression’, ‘Melancholia’ and ‘Gloom’.
Other Uses: ..Oil; Oil…..An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It is also used in making soap and burns well so can be used for lighting.

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/Sinapis_arvensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mustar65.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sinapis+arvensis

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Solidago virgaurea

Botanical Name:  Solidago virgaurea
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Solidago
Species: S. virgaurea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Verge d’Or. Solidago. Goldruthe. Woundwort. Aaron’s Rod.

Common Names: European goldenrod or woundwort

Habitat: Solidago virgaurea is native to Great Britain. It grows widespread across most of Europe as well as North Africa and northern, central, and southwestern Asia (China, Russia, India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, etc.). It is grown as a garden flower with many different cultivars. It flowers profusely in late summer.

Description:
Solidago virgaurea is an herbaceous perennial plant.It grows from 2 to 3 feet in height, with alternate leaves, of a clear green, and terminal panicles of golden flowers, both ray and disk, with a branching underground caudex and a woody rhizome. It produces arrays of numerous small yellow flower heads at the top of the stem…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture retentive soil in sun or semi-shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A rather greedy plant, it is apt to impoverish the soil. The bruised plant smells like wild carrots. The sub-species S. virgaurea minuta is only 10cm tall and wide. The plant attracts various beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies to the garden, these insects will help to control insect pests in the garden.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on for their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Edible Uses: Tea…….A tea is obtained from the leaves

Constituents: The plant contains tannin, with some bitter and astringent principles.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Anticoagulant; Antifungal; Antiinflammatory; Antirheumatic; Antiseptic; Aromatic; Astringent; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic;
Febrifuge; Hypoglycaemic; Stimulant; TB.

Goldenrod is a safe and gentle remedy for a number of disorders. In particular, it is a valuable astringent remedy treating wounds and bleeding, whilst it is particularly useful in the treatment of urinary tract disorders, being used both for serious ailments such as nephritis and for more common problems such as cystitis. The plant contains saponins that are antifungal and act specifically against the Candida fungus which is the cause of vaginal and oral thrush. It also contains rutin which is used to treat capillary fragility, and phenolic glycosides which are anti-inflammatory. The leaves and flowering tops are anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, febrifuge and stimulant. A good vulnerary herb, it has also proved of value when used internally in the treatment of urinary infections, chronic catarrh, skin diseases, influenza, whooping cough, bladder and kidney stones etc. Due to its mild action, goldenrod is used to treat gastro-enteritis in children. It makes an excellent mouthwash in the treatment of thrush. The plant is gathered in the summer and dried for later use. The seed is anticoagulant, astringent and carminative. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder disorders, rheumatism and arthritis. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Solidago virgaurea for infection of the urinary tract, kidney & bladder stones for critics of commission.
Other Uses: Dye.………Mustard, orange and brown dyes can be obtained from the whole plant. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves and flowers.

Known Hazards:  Mild allergic reactions. Avoid during pregnancy and breast feeding. Care if chronic kidney disease. Irrigation therapy is contraindicated in oedema cases……..click & see
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/Solidago_virgaurea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Solidago+virgaurea

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Tragopogon pratensis

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Botanical Name: Tragopogon pratensis
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Tragopogon
Species: T. pratensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Noon Flower. Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.

Common Names: Meadow Salsify, Showy Goat’s-beard, Meadow Goat’s-beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.

Habitat: Tragopogon pratensis distributed across Europe and North America, commonly growing in fields (hence its name) and on roadsides. It is found in North America from southern Ontario to Massachusetts; most of England; on the eastern and southern edges of Scotland; and central Ireland but not the coastal edges.

Description:
Tragopogon pratensis is an annual/perennial plant . It grows 30 to 100 cm tall.
It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self. The flower heads are 5 cm wide. They only open in the morning sunshine, hence the name ‘Jack go to bed at noon’. The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It differs from Viper’s-grass (Scorzonera humilis) in that Viper’s-grass has short, pale green bracts, whereas in Goat’s-beard they are long and pointed.The lower leaves are 10 to 30 cm long, lanceolate, keeled lengthwise, grey-green, pointed, hairless, with a white midrib. The upper leaves are shorter and more erect. It is the only United Kingdom dandelion type flower with grass like leaves.

The achenes are rough, long beaked pappus radiating outwards interwoven like a spider’s web of fine white side hairs (referred to as a “Blowball”

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soils, including heavy clays. Goat’s beard was formerly cultivated as a vegetable, though it has now fallen into disuse[2, 4]. Grows well in the summer meadow. The flowers open at daybreak and close before noon.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Make sure to water the seed in if the weather is dry.

Edible Uses:    Root eaten raw or cooked. The roots have a sweet flavour due to their inulin content. The young roots can be eaten raw whilst older roots are best cooked like parsnips or salsify. They are often blanched before use. Young leaves and shoots – raw or cooked. They can be added to mixed salads or used in soups etc. The leaves are best used as they come into growth in the spring. The flowering stem, including the buds, is cooked and served like asparagus.
Young shoots and roots of Meadow Salsify can be used in diabetic salads.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent; Depurative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Stomachic.

Goat’s beard is considered to be a useful remedy for the liver and gallbladder. It appears to have a detoxifying effect and may stimulate the appetite and digestion. Its high inulin content makes this herb a useful food for diabetics since inulin is a nutrient made of fructose rather than glucose units and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels. The root is astringent, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, nutritive and stomachic. A syrup made from the root gives great relief in cases of obstinate coughs and bronchitis. A decoction of the root is given in the treatment of heartburn, loss of appetite and disorders of the breast or liver. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The fresh juice of young plants is said to be a good dissolver of bile, relieving the stomach without side effects.

Other Uses:
Cosmetic…….An infusion of the petals is used to clear the skin and lighten freckles. A distilled water made from the plant is used in cleansing lotions for dry skins

In Armenia, rural kids make bubble gum from the juice of meadow salsify. For this purpose, when milky juice is released from the torn stems it is collected on the walls of a glass and dried.
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/Tragopogon_pratensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/goabea23.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tragopogon+pratensis

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Herbs & Plants

Fumaria officinalis

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Botanical Name: Fumaria officinalis
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Fumaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Synonyms: Earth Smoke. Beggary. Fumus. Vapor. Nidor. Fumus Terrae. Fumiterry, Scheiteregi. Taubenkropp. Kaphnos. Wax Dolls.

Common Names: Common fumitory, Drug fumitory or Earth smoke

Habitat: Fumaria officinalis occurs in Europe and America. Parts of Asia, Australia and South Africa. It grows on arable land and as a weed in gardens, usually on lighter soils. It is also found growing on old walls.

Description:
Fumaria officinalis is an herbaceous annual plant, which grows weakly erect and scrambling, with stalks about 10 to 50 cm long. Its pink 7 to 9 mm flowers appear from April to October in the northern hemis phere. They are two lipped and spurred, with sepals running a quarter the length of the petals. The fruit is an achene. It contains alkaloids, potassium salts, and tannins. It is also a major source of fumaric acid….CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES
Cultivation:
Prefers a light well-drained soil in a sunny position. This plant can be a common weed in some gardens, self-sowing freely, though it is fairly easy to control by hand weeding[K]. The flowers are seldom visited by insects, but they are self-fertile and usually set every seed.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. There is normally very little need to sow this seed, the plant normally self-sows freely and should manage quite nicely by itself.

Part Used in medicines: The Herb.

Constituents:
The plant contains isoquinoline alkaloids protopine and allocryptopine. Both protopine and allocryptopine increased CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 mRNA levels in human hepatocyte cells. The use of products containing protopine and/or allocryptopine may be considered safe in terms of possible induction of CYP1A enzymes.

The leaves yield by expression a juice which has medicinal properties. An extract, prepared by evaporating the expressed juice, or a decoction of the leaves, throws out upon its surface a copious saline efflorescence. Fumaric acid was early identified as present, and its isomerism with maleic acid was established later. The alkaloid Fumarine has been believed to be identical with corydaline, but it differs both in formula and in its reaction to sulphuric and nitric acids. It occurs in colourless, tasteless crystals, freely soluble in chloroform, less so in benzine, still less so in alcohol and ether, sparingly soluble in water.

Edible Uses: ……Curdling agent.

The fresh or dried herb can be added to sour plant milks. A few sprays are added to each litre of liquid and left until the liquid has soured thickly. The sprays are then removed. It gives a tangy taste to the milk, acts as a preservative and prevents the rancid taste that can accompany soured milk.

Medicinal Uses:
A weak tonic, slightly diaphoretic, diuretic, and aperient; valuable in all visceral obstructions, particularly those of the liver, in scorbutic affections, and in troublesome eruptive diseases, even those of the leprous order. A decoction makes a curative lotion for milk-crust on the scalp of an infant. Physicians and writers from Dioscorides to Chaucer, and from the fourteenth century to Cullen and to modern times value its purifying power. The Japanese make a tonic from it. Cows and sheep eat it, and the latter are said to derive great benefit from it. The leaves, in decoction or extract, may be used in almost any doses. The inspissated juice has also been employed, also a syrup, powder, cataplasm, distilled water, and several tinctures.

French and German physicians still preferit to most other medicines as a purifier of the blood; while sometimes the dried leaves are smoked in the manner of tobacco, for disorders of the head. Dr. Cullen, among its good effects in cutaneous disorders, mentions the following:
‘There is a disorder of the skin, which, though not attended with any alarming symptoms of danger to the life of the patient, is thought to place the empire of beauty in great jeopardy; the complaint is frequently brought on by neglecting to use a parasol, and may be known by sandy spots, vulgarly known as freckles, scattered over the face. Now, be it known to all whom it may concern, that the infusion of the leaves of the abovedescribed plant is said to be an excellent specific for removing these freckles and clearing the skin; and ought, we think, to be chiefly employed by those who have previously removed those moral blemishes which deform the mind, or degrade the dignity of a reasonable and an immortal being.’

The herb has a stimulant action on the liver and gallbladder and is chiefly used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and exanthema.  Its action is probably due to a general cleansing mediated via the kidneys and liver.   It is also diuretic and mildly laxative.  Taken over a long period, it helps to cure depression.  Also used internally for biliary colic and migraine with digestive disturbances.  Externally used for conjunctivitis.

Other Uses:
 Dye & Baby care;

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A decoction makes a curative lotion for ‘milk-crust’ on the scalps of babies.

Caution: It was traditionally thought to be good for the eyes, and to remove skin blemishes. In modern times herbalists use it to treat skin diseases, and conjunctivitis; as well as to cleanse the kidneys. However, Howard (1987) warns that fumitory is poisonous and should only be used “under the direction of a medical herbalist.

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/Fumaria_officinalis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fumito36.html

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

http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fumaria+officinalis

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Inula dysenterica

Botanical Name: Inula dysenterica
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Inuleae
Genus: Inula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Pulicaria dysenterica (Gaertn.). Middle Fleabane.
(Arabian) Rarajeub.

Common Name: Fleabane, Meadow false fleabane

Habitat: Inula dysenterica is a native of most parts of Europe, in moist meadows, watery places, by the sides of ditches, brooks and rivers, growing in masses and frequently overrunning large tracts of land on account of its creeping underground stems. In Scotland, however, it is rare, though common in Ireland. It grows on
Marshes, wet meadows, ditches etc, avoiding calcareous soils.

Description:
Inula dysenterica is a rough-looking plant, well marked by its soft, hoary foliage, and large terminal flat heads of bright yellow flowers, single, or one or two together, about an inch across, large in proportion to the size of the plant, the ray florets very numerous, long and narrow, somewhat paler than the florets in the centre or disk.

The creeping rootstock is perennial, and sends up at intervals stems reaching a height of 1 to 2 feet. These stems are woolly, branched above and very leafy, the leaves oblong, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, heart or arrowshaped at the base, embracing the stem, irregularly waved and toothed. Like the stem, the leaves are more or less covered with a woolly substance, varying a good deal in different plants. The under surface is ordinarily more woolly than the upper, and though the general effect of the foliage varies according to its degree of woolliness, it is at best a somewhat dull and greyish green....CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

The plant is in bloom from the latter part of July to September. The fruit is silky and crowned by a few short, unequal hairs of a dirty-white, with an outer ring of very short bristles or scales, a characteristic which distinguishes it from Elecampane and other members of the genus Inula, whose pappus consists of a single row of hairs this being the differing point which has led to its being assigned to a distinct genus, Pulicaria.

Another English plant bears the name of Fleabane (Erigeron acris), a member of the same order. For the sake of distinction, it is commonly known as the Blue Fleabane, its flowerheads having a yellow centre, and being surrounded by purplish rays. It is a smaller, far less striking plant, growing in dry situations.

Parts Used in medicines: Herb, root.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves when bruised have a somewhat soap-like smell. The sap that lies in the tissues is bitter, astringent and saltish, so that animals will not eat the plant, and this astringent character, to which no doubt the medicinal properties are to be ascribed, is imparted to decoctions and infusions of the dried herb.

Other Uses:
Repellent……..The plant is burnt to repel parasites.

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/Inula
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/flecom27.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pulicaria+dysenterica