Herbs & Plants

Ferula moschata

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Botanical Name:
Ferula moschata
Ferula moschata

Synonyms : Ferula sumbul.

Common Names: Musk Root, Eurangium sumbul; Sumbulus moschatus, Ferula sumbul.

Vernacular Names:
English: Musk-root; Sumbul.
German: Echte; Persische Sambulwurzel.
Dutch: Muskuswortel.

Habitat :Ferula moschata is native to W. Asia – Turkestan to Tibet. It grows on mountains of Samarkand at heights of 900 to 1300 metres. Gravel slopes in bushes in Tibet.

Ferula moschata is a perennial herb, growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in). Stem slender, corymbose-branched, lower branches alternate, upper branches verticillate. Leaf blade broadly elliptic-triangular, ternate-2-pinnatisect; ultimate segments oblong or lanceolate, 20–35 × 10–15 mm, remote, rather thick, adaxially glabrous, abaxially pubescent, sometimes sparsely papillose along veins, distally lobed, lobules entire or toothed. Terminal umbel long-pedunculate, lateral umbels 1–2, solitary or opposite, slightly exceeding terminal; umbels 4–6 cm across; bracts absent; rays 6–12, subequal; bracteoles lanceolate; umbellules 9–12-flowered. Stylopodium low-conic, base dilated, margins undulate. Fruit ellipsoid, ca. 7 mm; vittae 1 in each furrow, 2 on commissure.


It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Succeeds in most soils. Requires a deep fertile soil in a sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -5°c. Plants have a long taproot and are intolerant of root disturbance. They should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible.

Seed – best sown as soon as the seed is ripe in a greenhouse in autumn. Otherwise sow in April in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Plant them out into their permanent positions whilst still small because the plants dislike root disturbance. Give the plants a protective mulch for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in autumn. This may be inadvisable due to the plants dislike of root disturbance.

Edible Uses: Gum is edible.

Medicinal Uses:
The root and the rhizome are antispasmodic, nervine, stimulant and tonic. The medicinal action resembles that of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and the plant is used in the treatment of various hysterical conditions. It is also believed to have a specific action on the pelvic organs and is used in treating dysmenorrhoea and a wide range of other feminine disorders. The root is also a stimulant to mucous membranes and is used in treating chronic dysentery, diarrhoea, bronchitis and even pneumonia.

Other Uses : Gum……..A gum is extracted from the root. Used as a perfume and an incense, it is a musk substitute.

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

Rhus ovata

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Botanical Name : Rhus ovata
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. ovata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names: Sugar Bush, Sugar sumac

Habitat : Rhus ovata is native to South-western N. America – California, Arizona and Mexico. It grows on dry rocky slopes below 800 metres, usually away from the coast, in California. Grows in oak woodlands and chaparral.

Rhus ovata is an evergreen Shrub ranging from 2–10 m (6.6–32.8 ft), tall and it has a rounded appearance. The twigs are thick and reddish in color. Its foliage consists of dark green, leathery, ovate leaves that are folded along the midrib. The leaf arrangement is alternate.

Its inflorescences which occur at the ends of branches consist of small, 5-petaled, flowers that appear to be pink, but upon closer examination actually have white to pink petals with red sepals. Additionally, the flowers may be either bisexual or pistillate. The fruit is a reddish, sticky drupe, and is small, about 6 – 8 mm in diameter.


It is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.

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 or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Plants are usually found in poor dry soils in the wild. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it may not succeed outdoors even in the mildest areas of the country. One report says that it can tolerate temperatures down to about -5°c. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses:
Fruit is eaten raw or cooked. Slightly acid to sweet tasting. The fruit is only 6 – 8mm in diameter with very little flesh, but it is produced in dense racemes and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The fruit can also be sucked for the tart juice that forms on its surface. A sweetish white sap exudes from the fruit and can be used as an acid flavouring or a sugar substitute. The leaves are boiled to make a tea.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of chest pains, coughs and colds. An infusion has also been taken just before giving birth to facilitate an easy delivery. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other Uses :
Dye; Mordant; Oil; Soil stabilization.

The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. Often planted in poor dry soils in America, where its extensive root system helps to prevent erosion.

Known Hazards : There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated.
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

Aconitum Hemsleyanum

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Botanical Name:Aconitum hemsleyanum
Family : Ranunculaceae
Common Name : Climbing Monkshood
Genus : Aconitum
Habitat: Aconitum hemsleyanum  is native to  E. Asia – C. and W. ChinaForests, forest margins, scrub, mountains and grassy slopes at elevations of 1700 – 3500 metres.Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade;

Aconitum hemsleyanum is a deciduous, herbaceous perennial with a climbing habit. Its glossy dark green leaves are ovate-pentagonal, deeply lobed with up to 7 segments and up to 12cm long and 13cm across. Its stems are twining which enables this plan to climb. Its dark violet/ blue flowers are hood shaped, up to 2cm tall and appear in clusters of up to 12.  The flowers are pollinated by Bees.


The etymological root of the binomial name Aconitum is from the ancient Greek name for this plant and is loosely translated as ‘unconquerable poison’. Hemsleyanum is named after William botting Hemsley (1843 – 1924), an English botanist.

The landscape architect may find Aconitum hemsleyanum useful as a relatively low growing climbing plant with blue flowers in early autumn. Care should be taken when locating this plant due to its poisonous nature, including via skin.

Aconitum hemsleyanum prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes wet soils.

Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes. Closely related to A. fischeri and considered to be part of that species by some botanists.


Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year

Medicinal Uses
A widely used herbal remedy in China, where it is cultivated for its root. This is harvested in the autumn as the plant dies down and is then dried before being used. The root is anaesthetic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, cardiotonic, stimulant and vasodilator. Use with caution, the plant is very poisonous and should not be used internally.

Known Hazards: The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people

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.

Aconitum hemsleyanum

Aconitum hemsleyanum


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