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Herbs & Plants

Rampion bellflower

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Botanical Name : Campanula rapunculus
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Campanula
Species: C. rapunculus
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Campanula elatior Hoffmanns. & Link
*Campanula lusitanica f. bracteosa (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica f. racemoso-paniculata (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica f. verruculosa (Hoffmanns. & Link) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica var. cymoso-spicata (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica auct.
*Campanula verruculosa Hoffmanns. & Link

Common Names : Rampion bellflower, rampion, or rover bellflower

Habitat :Rampion bellflower is found wild in England, on gravelly roadsides and hedgebanks and in open pastures, from Stafford southwards, but it is uncertain whether it should be held as a true native in the localities in southern England, where it is now established.  This species prefers limestone soils and grows in dry meadows, cultivated beds, forests of oaks and pine trees, along roadsides and lane, at an altitude of 0–1,500 metres (0–4,900 ft) above sea level.

This plantis present in western Asia, northern Africa and in most of Europe, except Iceland, Ireland and Norway. It has been introduced in Denmark, southern Sweden and Great Britain

Description:
Rampion bellflower is a biennial (but can be made perennial) herbaceous plant reaches on average 40–80 centimetres (16–31 in) of height, with a maximum of 100 centimetres (39 in) . The stem is erect, lightly hairy, branched on the top. The basal leaves are petiolated, ovate, slightly toothed and arranged in a rosette, while the upper leaves are sessile and narrow lanceolate. The hermaphrodite flowers are clustered in a racemose inflorescence, with a bell-shaped, light blue or violet corolla, about two centimeters long. They are arranged along the stem in a fairly narrow one-sided facing cluster. The flowering period extends from May through September. The fruit is a dehiscent capsule in the form of inverted cone with many seeds. The thick root looks like a small turnip and it is edible.

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The leaves are variable, 1 to 3 inches long, the radical leaves oblong or ovate, on long stalks and slightly crenate, the stem-leaves narrow and mostly entire, or obscurely toothed. The flowers, which bloom in July and August, are about 3/4 inch long, reddish purple, blue or white, on short peduncles, forming long, simple or slightly branched panicles. The corolla is divided to about the middle into five lanceolate segments. The capsule is short and erect, opening in small lateral clefts, close under the narrow linear segments of the calyx.

Drayton names it among the vegetables and pot-herbs of the kitchen garden, in his poem Polyolbion, and there is a reference to it in the slang of Falstaff, showing how generally it was in cultivation in this country in Shakespeare’s time.

There is an Italian tradition that the possession of a rampion excites quarrels among children. The plant figures in one of Grimm’s tales, the heroine, Rapunzel, being named after it, and the whole plot is woven around the theft of rampions from a magician’s garden. In an old Calabrian tale, a maiden, uprooting a rampion in a field, discovers a staircase that leads to a palace far down in the depths of the earth.

Cultivation:
Rampion is easily cultivated and will flourish in ordinary good soil, though a moist, sandy soil suits it best.

Seeds should be sown in shallow drills, a foot apart, in May, and thinned out to 5 or 6 inches in the rows. The young plants should be moderately watered at first.

If grown for culinary use, it must not be allowed to flower, and the roots should be earthed up several inches on each side in order to blanch them. They are fit for use in November, and should be lifted then and stored in a frost-proof place.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
Gerard tells us: ‘Some affirme that the decoction of the roots are good for all inflammation of the mouth and almonds of the throte and other diseases happening in the mouth and throte, as the other Throte warts.’

An old writer states that the distilled water of the whole plant is excellent for the complexion and ‘maketh the face very splendent.’

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/rampio03.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campanula_rapunculus

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Campanula trachelium

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Botanical Name ; Campanula trachelium
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Campanula
Species: C. trachelium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Common Name :Nettle-leaved Bellflower,bats-in-the-belfry

Habitat ;Campanula trachelium is a Eurasian blue wildflower native to Denmark and England and now naturalized in southeast Ireland. It is also found southward through Europe into Africa and is also found in North America and Germany.

Description:
Life cycle : perennial (Z4-9)
Flowers: violet-blue
Size :18″
Light full : sun-part shade
Cultural notes: well-drained soil, not too dry


CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Typical bellflower, with blue flowers on an upright but fairly small plant, with dark green leaves. Close-up inspection shows that the flowers and stems are slightly hairy. The flowering plants from last year didn’t return this year (although last year’s seedlings did, and are blooming now) – so it seems to have a biennial habit at least in our climate.

Medicinal Uses:
For pains in the ear, the blossoms of bellflower were gathered, boiling in a covered pan and after steeping the liquid, used to wash the ears.  If one had pain in the stomach, the root of this plant was cooked and spirits added.  After steeping for three hours, a small drink helped ease the pain.  In the smaller villages of Poland, children suffering from consumption were bathed in this herb: if the child’s skin darkened after such a bath, it was a sign that he/she would live.  If it didn’t, the disease would take them.

The alternate name Throatwort is derived from an old belief that Nettle-leafed campanulas are a cure for sore throat, & the species name trachelium refers to this old belief. There never was an actual medical benefit from the plant, which had no observable effect on the throat. But in past centuries, belief in the occult Doctrine of Signatures was very deeply stamped on superstitioius “believers.”

Other folknames include Our Lady’s Bells because the color blue was identified with the Virgin Mary’s scarf, veil, or shawl; Coventry Bells because C. trachelium was especially common in fields around Coventry; & “Bats-in-the-Belfry” or in the singular “Bat-in-the-Belfry,” because the stamens inside the flower were like bats hanging in the bell of a church steeple. Web site reference: http://www.paghat.com/gardenhome.html

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.robsplants.com/plants/CampaTrach
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campanula_trachelium

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Baloon Flower

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Botanical Name :Platycodon grandiflorum
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Platycodon
Species: P. grandiflorus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:Platycodon chinensis Lindl, P. autumnalis Decne., P. sinensis Lem., P. stellatum, Campanula grandiflora Jacq., Campanula glauca Thunb., Campanula gentianoides Lam.

Common Names : platycodon, Chinese bellflower. Depending upon the region, it is also referred to as the Japanese bellflower, common balloon flower, or balloon flower.

Parts Used : dried root

Local names
Balloon-flower, chieh keng, Chinese bell flower, gil gyeong, Japanese bellflower, jiegeng, jieseng, kikiyou, kikyo, kikyokon, kikyou, platycodon radix

Habitat : It is native to East Asia (such as China, Korea, Japan, and East Siberia) and bears big blue flowers, although varieties with white and pink flowers are in cultivation. In Korea, white flowers are more common.

Description:
Balloon Flower is a Perennial herb wholly glabrous, slightly glaucescent; root white, fleshy, radishshaped, finger-thick, with abundant milky juice; stems ascending from base or straight, simple, 40–50 cm, herbaceous, glabrous or smooth, longitudinally striate in lower part; radical leaves alternate or sometimes nearly opposite, arranged along the lower half of stem or even higher, ovate-lanceolate, sessile, tapering at base, 2.5–3.4 cm long, 2–3 cm wide, rather large-toothed, pale beneath, glaucescent, upper leaves reduced. Flowers usually 1, sometimes 2, large, lengthily pedunculate, broadly campanulate or deeply saucer-shaped; calyx in 5 segments; corolla 5-lobed, violet-blue, 4 cm long; stamens 5; ovary many-celled. Fruit an ovoid capsule dehiscent at the top; seeds ovoid, compressed, obtuse, first violet then brown; albumen fleshy

CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

Chemical assays:
Triterpene saponins, not less than 2%. Saponin content of the root can be evaluated by thin-layer chromatography–densitometry

Major chemical constituents:     The major chemical constituents of Radix Platycodi root are triterpene saponins based on the sapogenins platycodigenin and polygalacic acid; examples are platycodins A–I and polygalacins D and D2

Medicinal Uses:
The root of this species (radix platycodi) is used extensively as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of coughs and colds; in Korea the plant is known as doraji  and its root, either dried or fresh, is a popular ingredient in salads and traditional cuisine. However, doraji (Chinese bellflower) should not be confused with Korean bellflower. Chinese bellflower  is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

It loosens phlegm, stops cough in both hot and cold conditions, aids the elimination of pus in the upper parts of the body, is effective for sore throat, lung abscess, and loss of  voice.  It has an ascending energy and is sometimes added in small amounts to formulas to direct the therapeutic action of other herbs to the upper parts of the body.

Other Uses:
The plant is also a popular garden ornamental. It is hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 3 and requires little care.

Popular culture:-

In Taiwan
In the Taiwanese drama Autumn’s Concerto, “Hua Tuo Ye” refers to the woman of his affection, “Liang Mu Cheng” as a Chinese Bellflower.

In Japan
Rumiko Takahashi named her character Kikyo (??, Kikyou) from her manga Inuyasha after the flower. The Cloud Real Six Funeral Wreath leader, Kikyo, from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is also named after this flower, following the “one thousand flowers” naming of the Millefiore family. Kikyou (aka Reverse Sia) from the Shuffle! series is named after this flower, but her name is written in katakana rather than the actual kanji. Mahoro from Mahoromatic leaves theres flowers at the Grave of Commander Morisato every year and was known to Shugura as the “Bell Flower” person until late in the anime.

In Japan, the pentagram is sometimes called the “Bellflower seal”, and the flower was the symbol of the Onmyoryo (Bureau of Taoist Geomancy), because of its associations with Abe no Seimei and the Five Chinese Elements.

In the manga and anime series Bleach, the insignia for the Fourth Division is the Bellflower; the meaning behind it is Those who grieve are loved.

In Korea
Main article: Doraji (folk song)
In Korea, the white Chinese bellflower is called Doraji and is sung in the traditional folk song, Doraji.

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://www.ask.com/wiki/Platycodon_grandiflorus
http://herbalinformation.awardspace.com/?cm=p&fn=platycodon_grandiflorum

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