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Cistus creticus

Botanical Name : Cistus creticus
Family: Cistaceae
Genus: Cistus
Species:C. creticus
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales

Synonyms : Cistus incanus auct, Cistus polymorphus, Cistus villosus creticus.

Common Names : Pink Rock-Rose, Hoary Rock-Rose, Rock Rose, Cretan rockrose

Habitat :Cistus creticus is native to southern Europe and the area around the eastern Mediterranean, but is naturalized in other areas of the world, such as California. It grows on amongst the scrub and in bushy places on rocks, dry hills etc to 1000 metres.
Description:
Cistus creticus is a compact and bushy, evergreen shrub, growin.g to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in leaf 12-Jan. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August.The colours of the flowers can vary from rose pink to purple. It prefers a well-drained soil and does best in full sun. All cistus do best if pruned after flowering which will retain shape and provide healthy young growth for next years flowers. The seeds were collected at 2000m if that is relevant. This plant is the source of the resin labdanum – used in perfumes as a replacement for ambergris! Few seeds collected.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Cultivation:
Requires a sunny position in a dry or moist well-drained light sandy soil. Withstands drought once it is established. Tolerates maritime exposure. Plants are hardy to about -15°c, but they require protection in severe winters. Plants are somewhat hardier when grown in poor soils. This is usually a short-lived plant in cultivation, it probably exhausts itself by its very free-flowering habit. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position. Dislikes pruning or root disturbance. Plants should be pot grown and then planted out in their final positions whilst still small. Individual flowers only last one day but there is a long succession of them. A polymorphic species, some forms do not yield much gum. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. The flowers are very attractive to bees. The leaves, which exude a balsamic resin, are especially fragrant on warm sunny days.
Propagation:
Seed – gather when ripe and store dry. Surface sow in late winter in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 4 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots. Grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out the in the following spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed stores for at least 3 years. Cuttings of softish to half-ripe wood, 8cm long with a heel or at a node, June/August in a frame. Roots are formed within 3 weeks. High percentage. Cuttings of almost mature wood, 8 – 12cm with a heel or at a node, September/October in a frame. High percentage. Lift and pot up in the spring, plant out when a good root system has formed. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The oleo-resin obtained from the leaves and stems is used as a commercial food flavouring in baked goods, ice cream, chewing gum etc.
Medicinal Uses:
This plant is an aromatic, expectorant, stimulant herb that controls bleeding and has antibiotic effects. It is used internally in the treatment of catarrh and diarrhoea and as an emmenagogue. The leaves are harvested in late spring and early summer and can be dried for later use, or the resin extracted from them.

Other Uses :
Resin.

The glandular hairs on the leaves yield the oleo-resin ‘ladanum’, used medicinally and in soaps, perfumery, fumigation etc. This resin is an acceptable substitute for ambergris (which is obtained from the sperm whale) and so is important in perfume manufacture. The resin is collected by dragging a type of rake through the plant, the resin adhering to the teeth of the rake, or by boiling the twigs and skimming off the resin[64, 89]. Most resin is produced at the hottest time of the year.  There is a mauve-flowered variety of this species that is the most prolific producer of the resin

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/Cistus_creticus
http://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/view_seed_item/4551
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cistus+creticus

Gossypium herbaceum

Botanical Name : Gossypium herbaceum
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Gossypium
Species: G. herbaceum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Name:  Levant cotton
Habitat: Gossypium herbaceum is native to Asia Minor, and cultivated in U.S.A. and Egypt, India, Mediterranean.

Description:
Gossypium herbaceum is a biennial or triennial plant with branching stems 2 to 6 feet high, palmate hairy leaves, lobes lanceolate and acute flowers with yellow petals, and a purple spot in centre, leaves of involucre serrate, capsule when ripe splits open and shows a loose white tuft surrounding the seeds and adhering firmly to outer coating; it requires warm weather to ripen its seeds, which they do not do north of Virginia.
Their flowers are small and yellow with a purple center. When ripe and in warm weather, the flower capsule will burst and expose the cotton surrounding the seeds firmly. The cotton produced by this plant is short, about 2 inches (5.1 cm) long and is firmly attached to the seed, which is covered in hairy down. An acre of cotton can be expected to produce about 300 pounds (140 kg)……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowering time ends in September, and a month or so earlier the tops are cut off in order to ripen and send the sap back to the capsules. The pods are about the size of a walnut, and are collected by hand as they ripen;the cotton is also separated by hand and packed in bales. In the Levant the seeds are often used as food. An acre may be expected to produce 240 to 300 lb. of cotton.

The herbaceous part of the plant contains much mucilage and has been utilized as a demulcent. Cotton seeds have been used in the Southern States for intermittent fever with great success. The root and stem-bark deteriorates with age, so only newly harvested material should be used. The root-bark of commerce consists of thin flexible bands of quilled pieces covered with a browny yellow periderm, odour not strong, taste slightly acid.

Part Used in medicines: Bark of root and of other cultivated species.
Constituents: A peculiar acid resin, odourless and insoluble in water, absorbing oxygen when exposed, then changes to a red colour. The bark also contains sugar, gum, tannin, fixed oil, chlorophyll.

Medicinal Uses:
Orally administered ethyl ether and ethanol extracts of Gossypium herbaceum significantly decreased the blood glucose level. Gossypium herbaceum is not only lowered TC, TG, LDL, VLDL levels but also increased level of cardioprotective lipid HDL Therefore, Gossypium herbaceum has potential role to prevent formation of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. The study demonstrated that both above given extracts of Gossypium herbaceum could be useful in management of diabetes associated with abnormalities in lipid profiles.

Mainly used as an abortifacient in place of ergot, being not so powerful but safer; it was used largely in this way by the slaves in the south. It not only increases the contractions of the uterus in labour, but also is useful in the treatment of metrorrhagia, specially when dependent on fibroids; useful also as an ecbolic; of value in sexual lassitude. A preparation of cotton seed increases milk of nursing mothers.

Click to see  :  Homeopathic remedies    
Other Uses:
Cotton is usually used as a textile while making clothing and can be made into yarns and sheets of fabric. In the Levant seeds are often used for food. It is utilized so often because of its comfortable, breathable properties. It has been cultivated for women’s menstrual cycle pains and irregular bleeding, and it also has been used after birth to expel placenta afterbirth and to increase lactation. Cotton has been used for gastrointestinal issues also, such as hemorrhages, nausea, and diarrhea, as well as fevers and headaches, especially in the southern United States. Levant cotton seed extract, gossypol, also has a potential use as a male contraceptive but can cause infertility after discontinuing. In lab rat studies, it has been able to stop pregnancies early.
The crushed seeds give a fixed, semi-drying oil used in making soap, etc.
Click & see : Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Oil 

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossypium_herbaceum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cotto109.html