Herbs & Plants

Knautia arvensis

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Botanical Name : Knautia arvensis
Family: Dipsacaceae
Genus: Knautia
Species: K. arvensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms:Scabiosa arvensis.

(The generic name, Knautia, is derived from a Saxon botanist of the seventeenth century, Dr. Knaut. The name Scabious is supposed to be connected with the word ‘scab’ (a scaly sore), a word derived from the Latin scabies (a form of leprosy), for which and for other diseases of a similar character, some of these species were used as remedies.)

Common Name :Field Scabious

Habitat :  Knautia arvensis is native to  Europe, including Britain, north to latitude 69°, east to the Caucasus and W. Siberia.It bis found in meadows, pastures, hedgebanks and grassy hills, usually on dry soils and especially on limestone.

Knautia arvensis is a perennial plant that grows between 25 and 100 cm. It prefers grassy places and dry soils, avoiding heavy soils, and flowers between July and September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It is noted for attracting wildlife. The flowered head is flatter than similar species Devils bit scabious and Small Scabious. There are 4 stamens in each flower, and 1 notched long stigma.

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The fruit is nut like, cylindrical and hairy, 5–6 mm in size.

It has a tap root. The stem has long stiff hairs angled downwards. There are no stipules.

The leaves form a basal rosette, are paired on the stem, the lowest typically 300 mm long, spear shaped, whereas the upper are smaller.

It is occasionally used by the Marsh Fritillary as a foodplant instead of its usual foodplant of Devils Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis). It is also the foodplant of the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Hemaris tityus.

It is hardy to zone 6.

Succeeds in any well-drained soil. Prefers a dry soil. Grows well on chalky soils. Prefers a sunny position. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -25°c. Grows well in the summer meadow. The plant is an important source of nectar and pollen for bees and lepidoptera. The plants are sometimes dioecious, if this is the case then male and female plants will need to be grown if seed is required.

Seed – sow spring or 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 enough seed it would be worthwhile trying a sowing in situ outdoors in the spring. The seed germinates in the spring in the wild. Division in the spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Herb.

The whole plant is astringent and mildly diuretic. An infusion is used internally as a blood purifier and externally for treating cuts, burns and bruises. The fresh or dried flowering plant can be used, with or without the roots. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used as a blood purifier and as a treatment for eczema and other skin disorders.

Gerard tells us: ‘The plant gendereth scabs, if the decoction thereof be drunke certain daies and the juice used in ointments.’ We are told that this juice ‘being drunke, procureth sweat, especially with Treacle, and atenuateth and maketh thin, freeing the heart from any infection or pestilence.’ Culpepper informs us also that it is ‘very effectual for coughs, shortness of breath and other diseases of the lungs,’ and that the ‘decoction of the herb, dry or green, made into wine and drunk for some time together,’ is good for pleurisy. The green herb, bruised and applied to any carbuncle was stated by him to dissolve the same ‘in three hours’ space,’ and the same decoction removed pains and stitches in the side. The decoction of the root was considered a cure for all sores and eruptions, the juice being made into an ointment for the same purpose. Also, ‘the decoction of the herb and roots outwardly applied in any part of the body, is effectual for shrunk sinews or veins and healeth green wounds, old sores and ulcers.’ The juice of Scabious, with powder of Borax and Samphire, was recommended for removing freckles, pimples and leprosy, the head being washed with the same decoction, used warm, for dandruff and scurf, etc.

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


Herbs & Plants

Buxus sempervirens

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Botanical Name :Buxus sempervirens
Family: Buxaceae
Genus: Buxus
Species: B. sempervirens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Buxales

Synonym : Dudgeon.

Common Names :Common box, European box, or boxwood

Habitat : Buxus sempervirens is native to western and southern Europe, northwest Africa, and southwest Asia, from southern England south to northern Morocco, and east through the northern Mediterranean region to Turkey. Buxus colchica of western Caucasus and B. hyrcana of northern Iran and eastern Caucasus are commonly treated as synonyms of B. sempervirens

Buxus sempervirens is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 1–9 m (3 ft 3 in–29 ft 6 in) tall, with a trunk up to 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in diameter (exceptionally to 10 m tall and 45 cm diameter). Arranged in opposite pairs along the stems, the leaves are green to yellow-green, oval, 1.5–3 cm long, and 0.5–1.3 cm broad. The hermaphrodite flowers are inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, with no petals, and are insect pollinated; the fruit is a three-lobed capsule containing 3-6 seeds

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Box in its familiar dwarfed state is merely a shrub, but when left to grow naturally it will become a small tree 12 to 15 feet in height, rarely exceeding 20 feet, with a trunk about 6 inches in diameter covered with a rugged, greyish bark, that of the branches being yellowish. It belongs to the family Buxacece, a very small family of only six genera and about thirty species, closely related to the Spurge family – Euphorbiaceae. Only this evergreen species has been utilized in medicine.

Its twigs are densely leafy and the leaves are about 1/2 inch in length, ovate, entire, smooth, thick, coriaceous and dark green. They have a peculiar, rather disagreeable odour and a bitter and somewhat astringent taste. The flowers are in heads, a terminal female flower, surrounded by a number of male flowers. The fruit dehisces explosively the inner layer of the pericarp separating from the outer and shooting out the seed by folding into a U-shape.

Constituents:  The leaves have been found to contain besides a small amount of tannin and unimportant constituents, a butyraceous volatile oil and three alkaloids: (i) Buxine, the important constituent, chiefly responsible for the bitter taste and now regarded as identical with the Berberine of Nectander bark, (ii) Parabuxine, (iii) Parabuxonidine, which turns turmeric paper deep red. The bark contains chlorophyll, wax, resin, argotized tallow, gum, lignin, sulphates of potassium and lime, carbonates of lime and magnesia, phosphates of lime, iron and silica.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
The wood in its native countries is considered diaphoretic, being given in decoction as an alterative for rheumatism and secondary syphilis. Used as a substitute for guaiacum in the treatment of venereal disease when sudorifics are considered to be the correct specifics.

It has been found narcotic and sedative in full doses; emetico-cathartic and convulsant in overdose. The tincture was formerly used as a bitter tonic and antiperiodic and had the reputation of curing leprosy.

A volatile oil distilled from the wood has been prescribed in cases of epilepsy. The oil has been employed for piles and also for toothache.

The leaves, which have a nauseous taste, have sudorific, alterative and cathartic properties being given in powder, in which form they are also an excellent vermifuge.

Various extracts and perfumes were formerly made from the leaves and bark. A decoction was recommended by some writers as an application to promote the growth of the hair. The leaves and sawdust boiled in Iye were used to dye hair an auburn colour.

Dried and powdered, the leaves are still given to horses for the purpose of improving their coats. The powder is regarded by carters as highly poisonous, to be given with great care. In Devonshire, farriers still employ the old-fashioned remedy of powdered Box leaves for bot-worm in horses.

In former days, Box was the active ingredient in a once-famous remedy for the bite of a mad dog. The leaves were formerly used in place of quinine, and as a fever reducer

The timber, though small, is valuable on account of its hardness and heaviness, being the hardest and heaviest of all European woods. It is of a delicate yellow colour, dense in structure with a fine uniform grain, which gives it unique value for the wood-engraver, the most important use to which it is put being for printing blocks and engraving plates. An edge of this wood stands better than tin or lead, rivalling brass in its wearing power. A large amount is used in the manufacture of measuring rules, various mathematical instruments, flutes and other musical instruments and the wooden parts of tools, for which a perfectly rigid and non-expansive material is required, as well as for toilet boxes, pillrounders and similar articles.

‘The root is likewise yellow and harder than the timber, but of greater beauty and more fit for dagger haftes, boxes and suchlike. Turners and cuttlers do call this wood Dudgeon, wherewith they make Dudgeonhafted daggers.’

In France, Boxwood has been used as a substitute for hops and the branches and leaves of Box have been recommended as by far the best manure for the vine, as it is said no plant by its decomposition affords a greater quantity of vegetable manure.

Other Uses:
Slow growth of box renders the wood (“boxwood”) very hard (possibly the hardest in Europe) and heavy, and free of grain produced by growth rings, making it ideal for cabinet-making, the crafting of clarinets, engraving, marquetry, woodturning, tool handles, mallet heads and as a substitute for ivory. The noted English engraver Thomas Bewick pioneered the use of boxwood blocks for engraving.

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


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Herbs & Plants

Hedge Woundwort

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Botanical Name : Stachys sylvatica
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Stachys
Species: S. sylvatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names :Hedge Woundwort, Hedge nettle

Habitat :Hedge Woundwort is native to Europe, including Britain, south and east from Norway to Portugal, the Caucasus and the Himalayas. Grows in  Woodland, hedgebanks and shady waste places, usually on rich soils

Hedge Woundwort is a perennial grassland herb growing to 80 cm tall. In temperate zones of the northern hemisphere it blossoms in July and August.Flowers in whorls of about 6 at the base of leaf-like bracts, or the lowest one or two whorls at the base of leaves proper.(Flower c 12-16 mm long.  Leaf-blades c 4-9 cm long.)  No gradual change from leaves to bracts as you go up stem, but a clear discontinuity.  Fruit has 4 nutlets as in all Labiatae  The flowers are purple. The leaves, when crushed or bruised, give off an unpleasant smell.
Flower claret-coloured with whitish markings, upper lip hood-shaped and lower lip divided into 3 obvious lobes, the middle one much the largest.  Middle lobe not notched.  Calyx with 5 near-equal teeth.  Leaves from midway up stem have blades less than twice as long as wide, the leaf stalk more than a third as long as the blade.

It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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 can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Grows well along woodland edges. The whole plant gives off a most unpleasant smell when bruised. A good bee plant.

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:

Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Styptic; Tonic.

The whole herb is styptic. It is applied externally to wounds etc. The plant is also said to be diuretic, emmenagogue and tonic.
The whole herb is styptic. It is applied externally to wounds etc. From Culpeper: this herb ‘stamped with vinegar and applied in manner of a pultis, taketh away wens and hard swellings, and inflammation of the kernels under the eares and jawes,’ and also that the distilled water of the flowers ‘is used to make the heart merry, to make a good colour in the face, and to make the vitall spirits more fresh and lively.’

Other Uses:
Dye; Fibre.

A tough fibre is obtained from the stem. It has commercial possibilities. A yellow dye is obtained from the plant.

Scented Plants
Plant: Crushed
The whole plant gives off a most unpleasant smell when bruised.

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


Herbs & Plants

Trifolium dubium

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Botanical Name : Trifolium dubium
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Trifolium
Species: T. dubium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms : Trifolium minus – Sm.

Common Names :Lesser Hop Trefoil or Suckling clover,Yellow suckling clover, lesser yellow trefoil, red suckling clover, little or small hop clover.

Habitat:Trifolium dubium is native to Europe, including Britain, from Sweden south and east to Spain and the Caucasus, but can be found in many parts of the world as an introduced species.

Sub-erect to prostrate annual, glabrous to slightly pubescent foliage with slender, wiry stems, 0.3-0.6 m, branched at the base. On the stems there are sometimes downy hairs which turn red with age. Grey-green, narrow leaflets are triangular and broadest at the apex; terminal leaflet stalked; broad-based stipules are sharply pointed. Has short tap root but a mass of fibrous roots in upper soil layers. Inflorescences, borne on axillary stalks, are round racemes each with 12-30 lemon yellow florets which become reversed after flowering.It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. It can fix Nitrogen. It is noted for attracting wildlife. Oval-shaped seeds, yellow to olive in colour, borne singly in seed pods.

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

Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun. Succeeds in poor soils. Grows well in a wild flower lawn. It grows well in an apple orchard, the trees will produce tastier fruit that stores better. It should not be grown with camellias or gooseberries because it harbours a mite that can cause fruit drop in the gooseberries and premature budding in the camellias. The nectar-rich flowers are a good food source for bees and butterflies. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Buttercups growing nearby depress the growth of the nitrogen bacteria by means of a root exudate. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring to early summer in situ.

Medicinal Uses:

The plant is haemostatic. A poultice of the chopped plant has been applied to cuts to stop the bleeding.

Other Uses:
The plant fixes atmospheric nitrogen and is used in seed mixes with grasses for land reclamation sowings.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Anchusa Italica

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Botanical Name :Anchusa Italica
Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Anchusa
Kingdom: Plantae )

Common Names :Italian Bugloss,Large Blue Alkanet,Garden Anchusa

Italian name : Buglossa azzurra
French name: Andryala à feuilles entières
German name: Italienische Ochsenzunge
Spanish name: Carmelita descalza
Portuguese name: Tripa-de-ovelha

Name Derivation:: Anchusa is a Greek word meaning  “face make up paint” since of a particular red die extracted from the roots.  Such a name was already by Aristofanes and Xenofen, (400BC) for the name of the plant (Greek); italica = Italian origine

Habitat : The plant grows as a weed among crops of alfalfa, flax, sesame, wheat, barley, rye, oats, millet, and in pastures and hay. A. italica is distributed throughout the Mediterranean region and in Asia; in the USSR it is found in the southern European part, in the Caucasus, and in Middle Asia.

Anchusa Italica  is  a biennial or perennial plant .. The whole plant is thickly covered with bristles. The root is a taproot. The stem is upright and reaches a height of 40–100 cm. The leaves are ovate-lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate; the lower ones are tegular, gathered in a rosette, and the upper ones are sessile. The inflorescence is paniculate, and the flowers are rather large and of a blue and light blue color. The fruit consists of four trihedral nutlets.

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Medicinal Uses:
The dried powdered herb is used as a poultice to treat inflamations. Care should be taken to use internally  with caution, the plant contains alkaloid cylognossine which can have a paralyzing effect.

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.


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