Herbs & Plants

Astragalus floridus

Botanical Name : Astragalus floridus
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Galegeae
Subtribe: Astragalinae
Genus: Astragalus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Name : Duo Hua Huang Qi

Habitat : Astragalus floridus is native to East AsiaHimalayas. It grows in the forests and alpine meadows at elevations of 3800-4400 metres in the Himalayan regions of Sikkim and western China.

Astragalus floridus is a perennial herb growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil.   CLICK  &  SEE THE PICTURES

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. Whilst it is likely to tolerate low temperatures it may not be so happy with a wet winter. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position. Succeeds in poor soils. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small. This plant is a sub-shrub and although it produces woody stems these tend to die back almost to the base each winter. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing – but make sure that you do not cook the seed. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 – 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Medicinal Uses:
The entire plant is used in Tibetan medicine, it is said to have a sweet taste and a heating potency. Antihydrotic, diuretic, emmenagogue and tonic, it is used in the treatment of body weakness from prolonged illness, renal inflammation from lack of exercise, lack of appetite, excessive perspiration (especially when asleep), diabetes, boils/sores, diarrhoea, irregular menses and vaginal/seminal discharge.
Known Hazards: Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element.
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.


Herbs & Plants

Acalypha lindheimeri

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Botanical Name: Acalypha lindheimeri
Family : Euphorbiaceae
Tribe : acalypheae
Subtribu: Acalyphinae
Genre : acalypha
Species : A. phleoides
United : Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division : magnoliophyta
Class : magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order : Malpighiales

Common Names: Yerba del Cancer

Habitat : Acalypha lindheimeri is native to Mexico , where he is in semi – arid climates at an altitude of between 200 and 1850 meters , associated with disturbed vegetation of scrub xerófilo .

Acalypha lindheimeri is a perennial herb with a bottlebrush like inflorescence. It is found in disturbed areas where there is sufficient moisture. It is prostrate to somewhat ascending. The flowers occur in terminal spikes with pistillate and staminate flowers on the same spike. The fruit is a capsule with a single pitted seed per chamber.

A trailing plant of oak/juniper/pinyon woodland. Distinguished from other Acalypha in the area, in part, by the placement of staminate flowers at the tip of the inflorescences. This species is sometimes lumped into Acalypha phleoides, from which it is distinguished by being merely puberulent, rather than conspicuously hirsute.
It is a grass evergreen , erect it reaches a size of 20 to 50 cm. The leaves are guaranteed. The inflorescence is composed of a single flower. The fruit is a capsule containing 3 seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and flowers are brewed as a mild tea for regular use to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers. It also seems effective for colitis.

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.


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

*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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Dendrobium nobile

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Botanical Name :Dendrobium nobile
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Genus: Dendrobium
Tribe: Dendrobieae
Subtribe: Dendrobiinae
Species: D. nobile
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Synonyms : D. lindleyanum. D. coerulescens.
Common Name : Noble Dendrobium, Dendrobium nobile,
Chinese Name: shí hú or shí hú lán

Habitat : The plant is native to southern Asia.China to the Himalayas.Tree trunks in mountain forests, also on rocks in mountain valleys at elevations of 500 – 1700 metres.

An evergreen Perennial growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

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

Hybrids derived from the species Dendrobium nobile have been very popular for more than a hundred years. Their long running popularity springs from their profuse show of long lasting brightly colored flowers, which bloom along their stems in late winter and early spring. The species itself is also very popular because it regularly flowers freely and lasts for a long time as cutflower.This orchid is one of the most widespread ornamental members of the family. There are many different created varieties which bloom in different colors – yellow, white, etc.These traits have been passed along to its progeny.

Dendrobium nobile is a sympodial orchid which forms pseudobulbs. When the life cycle of the mother plant ends it produces little offsets, continuing the life of the plant. The same cycle is used every year. The stem is erect and during the flowering period it forms blooms on its sides along the whole length of the orchid. This monocot has thin, white roots and leads an epiphytic type of life.

Dendrobium nobile and its hybrids are very easy to grow, if a couple of specific cultural requirements are met.

As the new growths begins in the spring, increase water and fertilizer frequency. During the active growing period of spring and summer Dendrobium nobile prefers reduced light, increased water, and fertilizer every two weeks (1/2 teaspoon per gallon of urea free water soluble fertilizer ). As the plants mature in the fall, cultural needs change drastically. Now brighter light, cooler temperatures, and no fertilizer will help to initiate flower buds. Water normally so that the bulbs do not shrivel. Buds will appear when the night temperatures drop to 55 or lower and the growths have fully matured. This is usually in November to December in the northern US, and January to February in the southern US. Blooms will follow in about two months after the cooling period.

When these plants are grown inside, they should be placed outside in the fall to benefit from the cooler temperatures at night. In the northern US, they should brought inside, when the night temperatures are consistently below 45F. In the southern US, they should be brough inside before the onset of freezing weather. They should kept in a relatively cool location (such as an unheated room or an enclosed porch) until buds start to form.

Dendrobium nobile and their hybrids enjoy being root bound, so never overpot the plants. They do very well in small pots for their root mass. Clay pots does them well. Many growers use regular seedling bark mixture or osmunda for a potting media; however, some growers also use long-fibered sphagnum moss. Dendrobium nobile can also be grown mounted, or in baskets, but watering must be increased.

If keikis or off-shoot plantlets form along the stems, that is usually a sign of too much fertilizer and/or too warm night temperatures. These keikeis may be potted as new plants after they have formed roots of at leat 3 or 4 inches. If plants produce all keikis and no blooms, definite culture changes are in order, such as longer cooling period in the fall and reduction in fertilizer amounts.

Propagation  :

Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil[200]. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.

Medicinal Uses:

It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.The whole plant contains mucilage and the alkaloid dendrobine. It is antiphlogistic, pectoral, sialogogue, stomachic and tonic. It is used in Vietnam as a tonic in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, general debility, flatulence, dyspepsia, reduced salivation, parched and thirsty mouth, night sweats, fever and anorexia. It is also said to be effective in the treatment of sexual impotence, arthralgia, lumbago, pain in the extremities etc. The plant is harvested at the end of the growing season and dried for later use. The dried plants are imbued with alcohol and steam cooked before use.

The medicinal plant is usually cut prior to flowering or harvested toward the end of its growing season where it is subsequently dried until ready for use. Typically, the dried stems are used for making herbal remedies, but they are occasionally used fresh. Decoctions and tinctures of Dendrobium nobile are created by steeping the dried, shredded stems in alcohol and then steaming them. In addition, an herbal tea can be made from the stems.

Remedies made from Dendrobium nobile have commonly been used throughout history to help boost the immune system. Its primary use, however, has been for the replenishment of fluids. Dendrobium increases salivation and is often prescribed to treat complaints associated with dry mouth, dry cough, and severe thirst. Additionally, the plant is effective in treating conditions related to dry, hot weather, such as sunstroke. Indigenous people of the Eastern Himalayas believed that these flowers could also cure eye ailments.

The tonic made frmo Dendrobium also nourishes the stomach, lungs, and kidneys. It can be given to lower fever and ease both vomiting and abdominal pain. The plant also has a history of medicinal use in treating pulmonary tuberculosis, impotence, and anorexia. Since Dendrobium nobile is known for increasing fluids, it should come as no surprise that the plant can also moisten and enhance the skin.

As with any other herbal remedy, supervision from qualified providers is important. Although Dendrobium nobile is thought to be quite safe in appropriate doses, the wrong dosage can have adverse effects on the body. For example, overdoses of Dendrobium can lead to heart and lung problems as well as convulsions.

You may click to see
;What Are the Medical Uses of Dendrobium Nobile?

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.