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Herbs & Plants

Gentiana lutea

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Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. lutea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms : Asterias hybrida. Asterias lutea. Coilantha biloba. Gentiana major.

Common Names: Great yellow gentian, Yellow Gentian, Bitter root, Bitterwort‘, Centiyane and Genciana

Habitat: Gentiana lutea is native to central & southern Europe . It grows in grassy alpine and sub-alpine pastures, usually on calcareous soils.

Description:
Gentiana lutea is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) tall, with broad lanceolate to elliptic leaves 10–30 cm (3.9–11.8 in) long and 4–12 cm (1.6–4.7 in) broad. The flowers are yellow, with the corolla separated nearly to the base into 5–7 narrow petals. It grows in grassy alpine and sub-alpine pastures, usually on calcareous soils.It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, lepidoptera……CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation:
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This species is easily grown in any good garden soil so long as it is deep enough to accommodate its roots, though it prefers alkaline conditions. It prefers full sun but succeeds in partial shade. A slow-growing plant, it takes many years to reach its full stature. A moisture loving plant, growing well by water, it prefers to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer and it grows better in the north and west of Britain. Plants are very deep-rooted and are intolerant of root disturbance. They are very long lived, to 50 years or more. A very ornamental plant, it takes about 3 years to reach flowering size from seed. Cultivated as a medicinal plant in Europe.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring.

Edible Uses: Condiment…….The root is sometimes used in the manufacture of gentian bitters. The root contains sugar and mucilage(this is probably a reference to its medicinal properties). The root was occasionally used as a flavouring in beer before the use of hops (Humulus lupulus) became widespread.

Chemical Constituents: The bitter principles of gentian root are secoiridoid glycosides amarogentin and gentiopicrin. The former is one of the most bitter natural compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Antiinflammatory; Antiseptic; Appetizer; Bitter; Cholagogue; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Refrigerant; Stomachic; Tonic.

Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant and stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root, which can be as thick as a person’s arm and has few branches, is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Gentiana lutea as a tonic.

Known Hazards : Contraindicated with gastric or duodenal ulcer patients. Possible headaches, nausea and vomiting.

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/Gentiana_lutea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+lutea

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Herbs & Plants

Illicium anisatum

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Botanical Name : Illicium anisatum
Family: Schisandraceae
Genus: Illicium
Species: I. anisatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Austrobaileyales

Synonyms:
*Illicium japonicum Sieb.
*Illicium religiosum Sieb. et

Common Names: Star Anise, Chinese Anise,Japanese Anise, Japanese star anise, Aniseed tree, and Sacred anise tree

Habitat : Illicium anisatum is native to E. Asia – S. China, Japan, Taiwan. It grows in the thickets and woods in foothills, S. and C. Japan.
Description:
Illicium anisatum is an evergreen Shrub. It is an upright, rounded, bushy shrub or small tree that attains a height of 10 to 15 feet . The foliage of this plant is exceptional. In contrast to Illicium parviflorum and Illicium floridanum, the evergreen leaves of Illicium anisatum are a lustrous medium to dark green color with undulate margins. All anise leaves smell a little like root beer when they are crushed. Leaves of anise tree are generally 2 to 4 inches long, a little smaller than those on the other two species. Many yellowish-white or greenish-white flowers, with up to 30 petals, are produced in spring. These axillary flowers are star-shaped and have no fragrance, but can be showy if you are close to the plant. They are produced in abundance in some years. The fruits of the anise tree are star-shaped follicles that eventually release dark brown seeds………..CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURE
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

Bloom Color: White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Oval
Cultivation :
Landscape Uses:Border, Pest tolerant, Massing, Screen, Woodland garden. Prefers a light, moist well-drained loam and a sheltered position. Prefers a humus-rich lime-free soil. Succeeds in sun or semi-shade. A slow-growing plant. This species is not very cold-hardy, it tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c but normally requires the protection of a wall in most of Britain. It succeeds outdoors in the mildest areas of the country. Star anise is a very ornamental and aromatic plant that is much planted near Buddhist shrines and temples in Japan. The plants have the scent of anise. All parts of the plant are pleasingly aromatic. The leaves release a powerful aromatic odour when touched and the flowers have a spicy odour. Plants seldom grow larger than about 2 metres in Britain, but are often 10 metres tall in their native habitat. Special Features: Attracts birds, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – it does not require pre-treatment and can be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give some protection from the cold over the winter for the first year or two. Layering in early spring. Takes 18 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Pot up the cuttings when they start to root and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting out after the last expected frosts
Edible Uses:…. Condiment……The fruit is used as a flavouring and is also chewed after meals in order to sweeten the breath. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter. Some caution is advised because it is said to be poisonous in quantity.

Medicinal Uses:
Diuretic, odontalgic, stimulant. The fruit is carminative, stimulant and stomachic. It is used primarily to promote digestion and the appetite, and to relieve flatulence. It also makes a good additive to other medicines to improve their taste. The leaves and the seeds are antibacterial

It has been burned as incense in Japan, where it is known as shikimi . Cases of illness, including serious neurological effects such as seizures, reported after using star anise tea may be a result of using this species.

Known Hazards: The essential oil obtained from this plant is poisonous. The fruit is poisonous in quantity. Japanese star anise contains anisatin, shikimin, and sikimitoxin, which cause severe inflammation of the kidneys, urinary tract, and digestive organs. Other compounds present in toxic species of Illicium are safrole and eugenol, which are not present in I. verum and are used to identify its adulteration. Shikim Illiciumi gave its name to shikimic acid, a substance also present in the plant.

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/Illicium_anisatum
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp276
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Illicium+anisatum