Herbs & Plants

Gentiana pannonica

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Botanical Name: Gentiana pannonica
FamilY: Gentianaceae
Tribes: Gentianeae
Subtribes: Gentianinae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: Gentiana pannonica

*Coilantha pannonica G.Don
*Gentiana semifida Hoffmanns. ex Rchb.

Common Name : Hungarian Gentian

Habitat : Gentiana pannonica is native to central Europe. It grows on meadows and pastures, screes and grassy bottoms of alpine corries, amongst dwarf pine and in forests. It is found on both limestone and acid rocks.

The centre of its distribution is in the Eastern Alps in Austria, Germany and Slovenia; it also occurs sporadically in the southern and central Alps (Italy and Switzerland) at elevations over 1,000 metres. In Germany it is found in two small, distinct areas: on the southern border with Austria in the Alps, and a smaller area on the eastern border with the Czech Republic (Bundesamt für Naturschutz 2012). In Italy it is known from one locality, and in Slovenia it is found in several localities. Outside the Alps, it is scattered in the Bohemian Forest in the border region of the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria (though most localities are situated in the Czech part of the mountains), and is rare in the Giant Mountains and the Jesen?ky Mountains (Hofhanzlová and K?enová 2007, Ekrtová and Košnar 2012). The latter two occurrences are sometimes considered to be remnants of former cultivations and thus introduced, but it may indeed be native to the Giant Mountains (Ekrtová and Košnar 2012).

Gentiana pannonica is a perennial plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

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 not particular about soil type, so long as it is deep enough to accommodate the plant’s roots. Although sometimes found wild on alkaline soils, it prefers a neutral to slightly acid soil in cultivation. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain. This species is closely related to G. punctata and G. purpurea. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance. The flowers have the scent of the old tea rose.

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. Division of older plants in March. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring

Edible Uses : The root is sometimes used in the manufacture of gentian bitters

Medicinal Uses:
This species is one of several that are the source of the medicinal gentian root, the following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. 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, 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 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.

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.

Herbs & Plants

Senecio sylvaticus

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Botanical Name: Senecio sylvaticus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Senecioneae
Genus: Senecio
Species: S. sylvaticus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name: Woodland ragwort, Heath groundsel, or Mountain groundsel

Habitat : Senecio sylvaticus is native to Eurasia, and it can be found in other places, including western and eastern sections of North America. It grows in open vegetation on non-calcareous sandy or gravelly soils, dry heaths and commons.

Senecio sylvaticus is an annual herb producing a single erect stem up to 80 centimeters tall from a taproot. It is coated in short, curly hairs. The toothed, deeply lobed leaves are up to 12 centimeters long and borne on petioles. They are evenly distributed along the stem. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife. The inflorescence is a wide, spreading array of many flower heads, each lined with green- or black-tipped phyllaries. The heads contain yellow disc florets and most have very tiny yellow ray florets as well. The plant has an unpleasant odour....CLICK  &  SEE THE PICTURES

Propagation:     Seed – sow spring in situ.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiscorbutic; Detergent.

The plant is detergent and antiscorbutic.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous to many mammals, including humans. The toxin affects the liver and has a cumulative affect[9, 65]. Some mammals, such as rabbits, do not seem to be harmed by the plant, and will often seek it out[4]. Various birds also eat the leaves and seeds.

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.

Herbs & Plants

Gentiana campestris

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

Synonyms: Bitterroot. Felwort.
Common name : Field Gentian

Habitat: Gentiana campestris is widespread in Northern and Central Europe and its distribution range includes the European Alps and the Jura. The plant is present in Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Estonia and Russia. It grows in moderately moist to rather dry substrates and neutral or acid soils of alpine meadows, lawns, pastures, forest clearings and roadsides, at an altitude of 1,000–2,300 metres (3,300–7,500 ft) above sea leve

Gentianella campestris is a plant of small size, reaching on average 3–30 centimetres (1.2–11.8 in) in height. It has erect stems, simple or branched at the base and the leaves are opposite, ovate-lanceolate and unstalked. The flowers are 15–30 millimetres (0.59–1.18 in) in size. Their color is usually bluish-purple, but may be white, pink or lilac, with petals and sepals fused (gamopetalous and gamosepalous). There are four petals, ciliate at the base. There are also four sepals, which differ in size (two are wide and two narrow). The flowering period extends from June to October. The fruit is a capsule

Part Used: Root.

Edible Uses:
Alcoholic Drink:
Fresh Gentian root is used in Germany and Switzerland in the production of an alcoholic beverage.

The roots are cut, macerated with water, fermented and distilled. The resulting liquid gives it a characteristic odour and taste.

Medicinal Uses:
One of the medicinal uses was that it was used as an antidote to poison.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Erysimum Cheirantholdes

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Botanical Name: Erysimum Cheirantholdes
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Erysimum
Species: E. cheiranthoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Wormseed. Treacle Wormseed.

Common Names: Wormseed Mustard, Treacle-mustard or Wormseed wallflower

Habitat : Erysimum Cheirantholdes is native to most of central and northern Europe and northern and central Asia. It is widely naturalised outside of its native range, including in western and southern Europe, and North America.

Erysimum Cheirantholdes is a herbaceous annual plant similar in appearance to many other mustards, growing an erect stem 15–100 cm (rarely 150 cm) tall. The leaves are lanceolate to elliptic, 2–11 cm long and 0.5–1 cm broad, with an entire to coarsely toothed margin.It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The flowers are bright yellow, 5–12 mm diameter, produced in an erect inflorescence. The fruit is a slender cylindrical capsule 1–3 cm (rarely 5 cm) long, containing several small, dark brown seeds…….CLICK  &  SEE THE  PICTURES

Cultivation: Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position. Dislikes acid soils. Tolerates poor soils.

Propagation : Seed – sow in situ in the spring. Germination should take place within 3 weeks.
Part Used: Seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Skin; Vermifuge.

A drink made from the crushed seed is used as a vermifuge. It is intensely bitter but has been used on children and expels the worms both by vomit and by excretion. A decoction of the root has been applied to skin eruptions.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Peucedanum officinale


Botanical Name : Peucedanum officinale
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Peucedanum
Species: P. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Sow Fennel. Sulphurwort. Chucklusa. Hoar Strange. Hoar Strong. Brimstonewort. Milk Parsley. Marsh Parsley. Marsh Smallage.
(French) Persil des Marais.
(German) Sumpfsilge.

Common Names: Hog’s Fennel, Sulphurweed, Hoar Strange, Hoar Strong

Habitat:Peucedanum officinale or the Hog’s Fennel is a a native of Great Britain.It is found mainly in Central Europe and Southern Europe. It grows on rough grassland, clayey banks and cliffs near the sea.
Peucedanum officinale is a herbaceous perennial plant with stems up to 2 m in height, solid, striate, sometimes weakly angled, sparsely blotched wine red, surrounded by fibrous remains of petioles at the base and springing from a stout rootstock. The umbels of greenish-yellow flowers contrast pleasingly with the bushy, radiating mass of dark green, long-petioled leaves, which bear linear, sessile lobes, attenuate at both ends and having narrow, cartilaginous margins (i.e., individual lobes resembling blades of grass)
Flowers bloom from July to September. Its leaves are cut into long narrow segments, hence perhaps its popular name of Hog’s Fennel....CLICK & SEE HE PICTURES

The thick root has a strong odour of sulphur – hence one of the other popular names of the plant, Sulphurwort, and when wounded in the spring, yields a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green juice, which dries into a gummy resin and retains the strong scent of the root.

This plant is now naturalized in North America, where in addition to the name of Sulphurwort, it is called Chucklusa.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden.

Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses:The gum.
Part Used in medicines : The whole Herb.

Constituents: The active constituent of the root is Peucedanin, a very active crystalline principle, stated to be diuretic and emmenagogue.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antispasmodic; Aperient; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Pectoral.

The plant is anodyne, antispasmodic, aperient, diaphoretic, diuretic and pectoral. An infusion is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchial catarrh etc[9]. The root is mainly used, it is harvested in the spring or autumn and dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. It is used in the treatment of bronchial catarrh, coughs, intermittent fevers and to stimulate menstrual flow.

The long stout taproot – ‘black without and white within’ and sometimes ‘as big as a man’s thigh’, as Gerard has it – yields,when incised in Spring, a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green latex, which dries into a gummy oleoresin and retains the strong, sulphurous scent of the root. This harvesting technique,and the product so obtained, very much recall those of two other medicinal umbellifers: Ferula assa-foetida and Dorema ammoniacum. A decoction of the root of P. officinale is diuretic, sudorific, antiscorbutic and controls menstruation. Gummi Peucedani, the oleoresin derived from the drying of the root latex, has properties similar to those of Gum Ammoniac (the oleoresin derived from Dorema ammoniacum). Peucedanum officinale has also been used in veterinary medicine

The juice used with vinegar and rose-water, or with a little Euphorbium put to the nose benefits those that are troubled with the lethargy, frenzy or giddiness of the head, the falling sickness, long and inveterate headache, the palsy, sciatica and the cramp, and generally all the diseases of the sinews, used with oil and vinegar. The juice dissolved in wine and put into an egg is good for a cough or shortness of breath, and for those that are troubled with wind. It also purgeth gently and softens hardness of the spleen…. A little of the juice dissolved in wine and dropped into the ears or into a hollow tooth easeth the pains thereof. The root is less effectual to all the aforesaid disorders, yet the powder of the root cleanseth foul ulcers, and taketh out splinters of broken bones or other things in the flesh and healeth them perfectly; it is of admirable virtue in all green wounds and prevents gangrene.’

Russian herbalists have used the powdered herbs as a remedy for epilepsy. An infusion is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchial catarrh, intermittent fever and to stimulate menstrual discharge .

The juice, say Dioscorides and Galen, used with vinegar and Rose-water put to the nose, helps those that are troubled with lethargy, frenzy, giddiness of the head, the falling-sickness, long and headache, palsy, sciatica and the cramp. The juice dissolved in wine, or put into an egg, is good for a cough, or shortness of breath and for those that are troubled with wind in the body. It purges the belly gently, expels the hardness of the spleen, gives ease to women that have sore travail in childbirth and eases the pains of the reins and bladder, and also the womb
Other Uses: The root is wounded in the spring and then yields a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green juice which dries into a gummy resin and retains the strong sulphur-like smell of the plant. The gum of Ferula communis is used as an incense and also has medicinal value.

Known Hazards: Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. It is also said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine.

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.