Tag Archives: Chamomile

Mentha piperita officinalis

Botanical Name: Mentha piperita officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name : White Peppermint

Habitat : White Peppermint is native to Europe and was first described in 1753 by Linnaeus and thought to be a new species. However, it was later determined to be a hybrid from parents Mentha aquatica (Watermint) and Mentha spicata (Spearmint). It is still sometimes found in the wild near the parent plants. The preferred native habitat is moist soils near streams and natural drainage lines. White Peppermint is fast growing and is one of the main cultivated varieties of Peppermint.

Description:
White Peppermint is an evergreen perennial growing from 30-90 cm high, with a spreading habit. It has green leaves that end in a point and have serrated edges. The leaves are quite large at 4-9cm long and 1.5-4cm wide. The leaves a stems may be slightly fuzzy. The purple flowers are held in whorls and appear in summer. White Peppermint is very similar to Peppermint, however it lacks the red flush sometimes appearing on leaves and the red stems. Overall, the White Peppermint is a lighter shade of green and it has a milder taste than Peppermint.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for the production of essential oils, but the plant also succeeds in partial shade. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Often grown in the herb garden and also commercially for its essential oil. The whole plant has a pleasant aroma of peppermint. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Produces a better quality essential oil if the plant is grown in dry ground. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild peppermint flavour, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavouring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. It may be used added to drinks, salads, desserts and cooked dishes. It is used in toothpaste…..click & see
Medicinal Uses:
White peppermint is a very important and commonly used remedy, being employed by allopathic doctors as well as herbalists. It is also widely used as a domestic remedy. This cultivar is considered to be milder acting than black peppermint (Mentha x piperita vulgaris). A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders (especially flatulence) and various minor ailments. The herb is abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator. An infusion is used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, spastic colon etc. Externally a lotion is applied to the skin to relieve pain and reduce sensitivity. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, they are harvested for drying in August as the flowers start to open. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic and strongly antibacterial, though it is toxic in large doses. When diluted it can be used as an inhalant and chest rub for respiratory infections. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Cooling’.
Menthol, the active constituent in Peppermint, activates cold sensitive receptors on the skin and mucosal tissues creating the cooling sensation

Other Uses:
An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is used in perfumery. It is also an ingredient of oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Peppermint leaves are used as an ingredient of pot-pourri. They were formerly used as a strewing herb The plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards : In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so should not be used by pregnant women.

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/Peppermint
http://www.herbcottage.com.au/mint-white-peppermint.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+x+piperita+officinalis

Matricaria inodora

Botanical Name : Matricaria inodora
Family: Asteraceae (Daisy Family)/Compositae
Class: Angiospermae (Angiosperms)
SubclassDicotyledonae (Dicotyledons)
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Superorder:  Asteridae (Daisy Superorder)
Tribe: Anthemideae
GenusMatricaria (Mayweed)
Species:  inodora (without a smell)

Synonym:Corn Feverfew.

Common Names :
• English: Scentless false mayweed, Barnyard daisy, False chamomile, Bachelor’s button
German: Geruchlose Kamille

Habitat :Matricaria inodora is native to Europe.
(Most are very common in the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and America, as well as in northern and southern Africa, and some are naturalised in Australia. M. occidentalis is native to North America; other species have been introduced there.)

Description:
Matricaria inodora is an annual,growing to a height of about 1 feet.Generally flowers during summer time . It is commonly met with in fields, by the wayside, and on waste patches of ground, and flowers throughout the summer. The name ‘Mayweed’ is misleading, as it will be found in flower right up to the autumn. It is spreading and bunching in its growth, generally about 1 foot in height, but varying a good deal. The leaves, as in all the members of this group, are feather-like in character, springing direct from the main stems without leaf-stalks. The flower-petals are white but the heads are borne singly at the ends of long terminal flower-stems, the centre florets deep yellow on very prominent convex disks and the outer florets having very conspicuous white rays, much larger in proportion to the disk than in most of the allied species. Though compared with several of its allies, it may almost be termed ‘scentless,’ the term is not strictly appropriate as it yields slightly sweet and pleasant, aromatic odour.
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Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Whole herb.

Matricaria inodora has been used in traditional medicine to induce sleep, to treat consumption, and to deter insects.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matricaria_inodora
http://weedscompetition.com/
http://theseedsite.co.uk/profile909.html

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Mayweed

Botanical Name : Anthemis cotula
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe:     Anthemideae
Genus:     Anthemis
Species: A. cotula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Asterales

Synonyms: Maroute. Maruta cotula. Cotula Maruta foetida. Manzanilla loca. Dog Chamomile. Wild Chamomile. Camomille puante. Foetid or Stinking Chamomile or Mayweed. Dog’s Fennel. Maithes. Maithen. Mathor.

Common Names: Mayweed, stinking chamomile, mather, dog- or hog’s-fennel, dog-finkle, dog-daisy, pig-sty-daisy, chigger-weed, maroute, Maruta cotula, Cotula Maruta foetida, Manzanilla loca, wild chamomile, Camomille puante. Foetid Chamomile or Mayweed, maithes, maithen, mathor  mayweed chamomile, camomille des chiens, camomille puante, stinkende Hundskamille, camomila-de-cachorro, macéla-fétida, and manzanilla hedionda.

Habitat;Mayweed is initially native to Europe and North Africa. It has successfully migrated to North America, Southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand  where it can be found growing on waste ground, alongside roads, and in fields. Anthemis cotula is considered a weed due to its propensity for invading cultivated areas.

Description:
Mayweed is an annual glandular plant with a harsh taste and an acrid smell. Its height varies from 12 inches (28 centimeters) to 24 inches (56 centimeters).

click to see the pictures

Leaves:  The leaves of the plant sometimes have very fine and soft hairs on the upper surface, although the plant is mostly hairless. There is no leaf stalk; leaves grow immediately from the stems. The leaves are pinnate in shape, with many extremely thin lobes, and can be around 1 or 2 inches long (2.5 to 5 centimeters).

Flowers:  Each stem is topped by a single flower head which is usually around 1 inch (2.34 centimeters) in diameter. The flower head is encompassed by between 10 and 18 white ray florets, each with a three-toothed shape; the florets tend to curve downwards around the edges and may occasionally have pistils, although these do not produce fruit. Beneath the flower proper, oval bracts of the plant form an involucre, with soft hairs on each; further bracts are bristled and sit at right angles to the flowers.

Fruits: The fruits are achenes (with no pappus). They are wrinkled, ribbed with ten ridges, and have small glandular bumps across the surface.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Flowers, leaves.

Constituents: The flowers have been found to contain volatile oil, oxalic, valeric and tannic acids, salts of magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium, colouring matter, a bitter extractive and fatty matter.

 Uses:
The flowers are preferred for internal use, being slightly less disagreeable than the leaves. In hysteria it is used in Europe as an antispasmodic and emmenagogue. Applied to the skin fresh and bruised it is a safe vesicant. A poultice helpful in piles can be made from the herb boiled until soft, or it can be used as a bath or fomentation.

It is administered to induce sleep in asthma. In sick headache or convalescence after fever the extract may be used.

A strong decoction can cause sweating and vomiting. It is said to be nearly as valuable as opium in dysentery. It has also been used in scrofula, dysmennorrhoea and flatulent gastritis.

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/m/maywee26.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthemis_cotula

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