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Herbs & Plants

Veronicastrum virginicum

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Botanical Name : Veronicastrum virginicum
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Veronicastrum
Species: V. virginicum
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonyms : Leptandra virginica (L.) Nutt., Veronica virginica L

Common Names : Culver’s root, Culver’s-root, Culverpsyic, Culver’s physic,Bowman’s root,Blackroot;

Habitat :Veronicastrum virginicum is  native to the United States.It grows in  Eastern N. America – Ontario to Manitoba, south to Massachusetts, Alabama and Texas. It is frequently found in wet to wet-mesic prairies and sometimes moist upland sites  on Meadows, rich woods, thickets and prairies

Description;
Veronicastrum virginicum is an erect perennial herb that grows 80-200 cm in height. The leaves are serrated and arranged in whorls of 3-7 around the stem. The inflorescence is erect with slender and spike-like racemes. The stamens are crowded and protrude in a brush-like fashion perpendicular to the raceme . The corollas are white and are roughly 2 mm. in length. These plants flower from mid-summer to early fall.

You may click to see  pictures of  Veronicastrum virginicum

It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moderately fertile moisture retentive well drained soil. Prefers cool summers. Prefers a sunny position[188]. Hardy to at least -20°c. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value.

Propagation:
Seed – sow autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient quantity the seed can be sown outdoors in situ in the autumn or the spring. Division in autumn or spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Cathartic; Cholagogue; Emetic; Hepatic; Laxative; Tonic.

Native Americans used this plant as a remedy for several ailments including as a laxative,(A tea made from the roots is strongly laxative. The roots are harvested in the autumn and should be stored for at least a year before use.) treatment for fainting and treating kidney stones.  The root was used as a blood cleanser. It was used for ceremonial purification to cleanse the body by inducing vomiting by drinking tea made from the plant’s dried root.  The fresh root is a violent cathartic and possibly emetic, the dried root is milder in its action, but less certain. The root also gently excites the liver and increases the flow of bile. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhea, coughs, chills and fevers, and also to ease the pain of backaches. A tea made from the roots is strongly laxative.

Other Uses: It is cultivated as a garden flower in the Eastern United States.
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/Veronicastrum_virginicum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Veronicastrum+virginicum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Ranunculus sceleratus

Botanical Name : Ranunculus sceleratus
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Ranunculus
Species: R. sceleratus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Synonym: Marsh Crowfoot.

Common Name:Cursed buttercup and Celery-leaved buttercup

Habitat : A common plant native to Europe and naturalized in the United States. Can be found in fields, pastures and dry meadows of the northeastern United States and the Pacific northwest coastal areas

Description:
It is an annual herb growing up to half a meter tall. The leaves have small blades each deeply lobed or divided into usually three leaflets. They are borne on long petioles. The flower has three to five yellow petals a few millimeters long and reflexed sepals. The fruit is an achene borne in a cluster of several.

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General: hairless to sparsely stiff-hairy annual with
numerous slender, fleshy roots. Stems 1 to several, erect,
20-50 cm tall, usually freely branched, hollow.

Leaves: the basal with a stalk 2-4 times as long as the
blades, the blade kidney-shaped in outline, mostly 2.5-4
cm long and deeply 3 (or apparently 5)-parted into more or
less wedge-shaped, and again less deeply once- or twice-
lobed or toothed. Stem leaves numerous, alternate, more
deeply cleft or divided than the basal leaves.

Flowers: several on stalks rather stout, 1-3 cm long.
Sepals 5, spreading, yellowish, 2-4.5 mm long, soon
dropped. Petals 5, yellow, 2-5 mm long. Nectary scale 1
mm long, largely joined to the petal, the edges and base
forming a slight pocket bordering and partially covering the
exposed gland. Receptacle in fruit ellipsoid-cylindric, up to
14 mm long, usually slightly short-hairy. Stamens 15-20.
Flowering time: May-September.

Fruits: achenes, 100-250 in a cylindrical cluster,
obovate in outline, about 1 mm long, flattened, the central
portion of the face smooth and set off from the edges by a
distinct depression. Style pimple-like, about 0.1 mm long.

Cultivation :: In and by slow streams, ditches and shallow ponds of mineral rich water and muddy bottoms, avoiding acid soils.

Propagation :: Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. This plant is unlikely to need much assistance. Division in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible parts of Celery-Leaved Buttercup: Young plant cooked. It is said to be not unwholesome if the plant is boiled and the water thrown away and then the plant cooked again. Caution is strongly advised, see the notes above on toxicity and below on medicinal uses.

Medicinal Uses:
Part used: Juice of leaves and flowers

Acrid, anodyne, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, rebefacient.
Has been used for abrasions, toothache, and rheumatism.
The Montagnais tribe of Native Americans relieved sinus headache by using the dried plant as snuff to promote sneezing. The Algonquins of Temiscaming used the flowers and seeds powdered for the same purpose.

The celery-leafed buttercup is one of the most virulent of  plants. When bruised and applied to the skin it raises a blister and creates a sore that is not easy to heal. If chewed it inflames the tongue and produces violent effects. The herb should be used fresh since it loses its effects when dried. The leaves and the root are used externally as an antirheumatic.  The seed is tonic and is used in the treatment of colds, general debility, rheumatism and spermatorrhea. When made into a tincture, given in small diluted doses, it proves curative of stitch in the side and neuralgic pains between the ribs.

Homeopathic :
Mostly used homeopathically.A homeopathic tincture is used for skin diseases, rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis, rhinitis.

Other Uses:
Dye:
*Sources state both red and yellow can be produced. The Ojibwe used burr oak to set the color which was probably red. The Forest Potawatomi used the entire plant to produce a yellow dye which they used on rushes or flags to make baskets and mats (color was set by placing a handful of clay in the pot).

*The Ojibwe smoked the seeds in their pipes along with other herbs to lure deer close enough for a shot with bow and arrow.

Known hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous when fresh, the toxins are destroyed by heat or by drying. The plant also has a strongly acrid juice that can cause blistering to the skin.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranunculus_sceleratus
http://www.sdnhm.org/fieldguide/plants/ranu-sce.html
http://earthnotes.tripod.com/buttercup.htm

http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/r/ranunculus-sceleratus=celery-leaved-buttercup.php

http://montana.plant-life.org/species/ranun_scele.htm

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