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Mentha longifolia

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Botanical Name : Mentha longifolia
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. longifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:  M. sylvestris. M. incana.

Common Name :Horsemint

Habitat :Mentha longifolia is native to Central and southern Europe, including Britain, Mediterranean region, Siberia. Grows in waste places and damp roadsides.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. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

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There are seven subspecies:

1.Mentha longifolia subsp. longifolia. Europe, northwest Africa.
2.Mentha longifolia subsp. capensis (Thunb.) Briq. Southern Africa.
3.Mentha longifolia subsp. grisella (Briq.) Briq. Southeastern Europe.
4.Mentha longifolia subsp. noeana (Briq.) Briq. Turkey east to Iran.
5.Mentha longifolia subsp. polyadena (Briq.) Briq. Southern Africa.
6.Mentha longifolia subsp. typhoides (Briq.) Harley. Northeast Africa, southwest Asia.
7.Mentha longifolia subsp. wissii (Launert) Codd. Southwestern Africa.

It has been widely confused with tomentose variant plants of Mentha spicata; it can be distinguished from these by the hairs being simple unbranched, in contrast to the branched hairs of M. spicata.

Like almost all mints, Mentha longifolia can be invasive. Care needs to be taken when planting it in non-controlled areas.

It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Cultivation:   
An easily grown plant, it 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 production of essential oils, but the plants also succeed in partial shade. There is some confusion over the name of this plant, it appears in the British flora but according to Flora Europaea it is not found in Britain. Sometimes cultivated for its leaves, there are some named varieties. 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 whole plant has a mint-like aroma. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. 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:    
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Peppermint-scented, they are used as a flavouring in salads, chutneys and cooked foods. A herb tea is made from the leaves. An essential oil obtained from the leaves and flowering tops is used as a food flavouring in sweets etc. A peppermint-like taste.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiasthmatic;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Carminative;  Stimulant.

Horsemint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. The leaves and flowering stems are antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, carminative and stimulant. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

A popular traditional medicine. It is mainly used for respiratory ailments but many other uses have also been recorded. It is mostly the leaves that are used, usually to make a tea that is drunk for coughs, colds, stomach cramps, asthma, flatulence, indigestion and headaches. Externally, wild mint has been used to treat wounds and swollen glands. The infusion of leaves is taken as a cooling medicine. Dried leaves and flowers tops are carminative and stimulant. It is believed to the best remedy for headaches.  In parts of Africa it is used for opthalmatic diseases.  The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use.  It will make a soothing drink for coughs and colds.  The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses. Externally it has been used to treat wounds and swollen glands.
 
Other Uses  :
Essential;  Repellent;  Strewing.

The leaves contain about 0.57% essential oil. It is sometimes used as a substitute for peppermint oil in confectionery. 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:  Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_longifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+longifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Gentians

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Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea
Family: Gentianaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Gentiana L.

Common Name:  Great yellow gentian

Habitat:This is a cosmopolitan genus, occurring in alpine habitats of temperate regions of Asia, Europe and the Americas. Some species also occur in northwest Africa, eastern Australia and New Zealand. They consist of annual, biennial and perennial plants. Some are evergreen, others are not.

The Gentians are an extensive group of plants, numbering about 400 species, distributed throughout all climates, though mostly in temperate regions and high mountains, being rare in the Arctic. In South America and New Zealand, the prevailing colour of the flower is red, in Europe blue (yellow and white being of rarer occurrence).

Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Gentian family (Gentianaceae), tribe Gentianeae and monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae.

The name of the genus is derived from Gentius, an ancient King of Illyria (180-167 B.C.), who, according to Pliny and Dioscorides, discovered the medicinal value of these plants. During the Middle Ages, Gentian was commonly employed as an antidote to poison. Tragus, in 1552, mentions it as a means of diluting wounds.

Descriptions:
Gentians have opposite leaves that are sometimes arranged in a basal rosette, and trumpet-shaped flowers that are usually deep blue or azure, but may vary from white, creamy and yellow to red. Many species also show considerable polymorphism with respect to flower color. Typically, blue-flowered species predominate in the Northern Hemisphere, with red-flowered species dominant in the Andes (where bird pollination is probably more heavily favored by natural selection). White-flowered species are scattered throughout the range of the genus but dominate in New Zealand. All gentian species have terminal tubular flowers and most are pentamerous, i.e. with 5 corolla lobes (petals), and 5 sepals, but 4-7 in some species. The style is rather short or absent. The corolla shows folds (= plicae) between the lobes. The ovary is mostly sessile and has nectary glands.

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Gentians are fully hardy and like full sun or partial shade, and neutral to acid soil that is rich in humus and well drained. They are popular in rock gardens.

Species:-
Gentiana acaulis (‘Stemless Gentian’)
Gentiana affinis (‘Pleated Gentian’)
Gentiana alba (‘Plain Gentian’)
Gentiana algida (‘Whitish Gentian’)
Gentiana alpina (‘Alpine Gentian’)
Gentiana altaica (‘Altai Gentian’)
Gentiana amarella (‘Autumn Dwarf Gentian’)
Gentiana amoena
Gentiana andrewsii (‘Closed bottle Gentian’)
Gentiana angustifolia
Gentiana asclepiadea (‘Willow Gentian’)
Gentiana austromontana (‘Appalachian Gentian’)
Gentiana autumnalis (‘Pinebarren Gentian’)
Gentiana bavarica (‘Bavarian Gentian’)
Gentiana bellidifolia
Gentiana boryi
Gentiana brachyphylla
Gentiana bulleyana
Gentiana burseri
Gentiana cachemirica
Gentiana calycosa (‘Rainier Pleated Gentian‘)
Gentiana catesbaei (‘Elliott’s Gentian’)
Gentiana cephalantha
Gentiana cerina
Gentiana clausa (‘Bottled Gentian’)
Gentiana clusii (‘Trumpet Gentian‘)
Gentiana crassicaulis
Gentiana crinita (‘Fringed Gentian’)
Gentiana cruciata (‘Cross Gentian’)
Gentiana dahurica
Gentiana decora (‘Showy Gentian’)
Gentiana decumbens
Gentiana dendrologii
Gentiana depressa
Gentiana dinarica
Gentiana douglasiana (‘Swamp Gentian’)
Gentiana elwesii
Gentiana farreri
Gentiana fetisowii
Gentiana flavida (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana freyniana
Gentiana frigida
Gentiana froelichii
Gentiana fremontii (‘Moss Gentian’)
Gentiana gelida
Gentiana gilvo-striata
Gentiana glauca (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana gracilipes
Gentiana grombczewskii
Gentiana heterosepala (‘Autumn Gentian’)
Gentiana hexaphylla
Gentiana kesselringii
Gentiana kurroo
Gentiana lawrencii
Gentiana lhassica
Gentiana linearis (‘Narrowleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana loderi
Gentiana lutea (‘Great Yellow Gentian‘)
Gentiana macrophylla (‘Bigleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana makinoi
Gentiana microdonta
Gentiana newberryi (‘Newberry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana nipponica
Gentiana nivalis (‘Snow Gentian’)

Gentiana nubigena
Gentiana nutans (‘Tundra Gentian’)
Gentiana ochroleuca
Gentiana olivieri
Gentiana ornata
Gentiana pannonica (‘Brown Gentian’)
Gentiana paradoxa
Gentiana parryi (‘Parry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana patula
Gentiana pennelliana (‘Wiregrass Gentian’)
Gentiana phyllocalyx
Gentiana platypetala (‘Broadpetal Gentian’)
Gentiana plurisetosa (‘Bristly Gentian’)
Gentiana pneumonanthe (‘Marsh Gentian’)
Gentiana prolata
Gentiana prostrata (‘Pygmy Gentian’)
Gentiana przewalskii
Gentiana pterocalyx
Gentiana puberulenta (‘Downy Gentian’)
Gentiana pumila
Gentiana punctata (‘Spotted Gentian’)
Gentiana purpurea (‘Purple Gentian’)
Gentiana pyrenaica
Gentiana quadrifolia
Gentiana rigescens
Gentiana rostanii
Gentiana rubricaulis (‘Closed Gentian’)
Gentiana saponaria (‘Harvestbells Gentian’)
Gentiana saxosa
Gentiana scabra
Gentiana scarlatina
Gentiana sceptrum (‘King’s scepter Gentian’)
Gentiana septemfida (‘Crested Gentian’)
Gentiana setigera (‘Mendocino Gentian’)
Gentiana setulifolia
Gentiana sikkimensis
Gentiana sikokiana
Gentiana sino-ornata
Gentiana siphonantha
Gentiana speciosa
Gentiana squarrosa
Gentiana stictantha
Gentiana stragulata
Gentiana straminea
Gentiana tenuifolia
Gentiana terglouensis (‘Triglav Gentian’)
Gentiana ternifolia
Gentiana tianshanica (‘Tienshan Gentian’)
Gentiana trichotoma
Gentiana triflora
Gentiana trinervis
Gentiana tubiflora
Gentiana utriculosa (‘Bladder Gentian’)
Gentiana veitchiorum
Gentiana venusta
Gentiana verna (‘Spring Gentian’)
Gentiana villosa (‘Striped Gentian’)
Gentiana waltonii
Gentiana wutaiensis
Gentiana yakushimensis
Gentiana zollingeri

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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 is an easily grown species, succeeding in most good garden soils, though it prefers a light loamy soil and lime-free conditions. It grows well in a pocket of soil amongst paving stones, so long as there is a gritty substrate. Plants dislike growing under the drip from trees. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. It is a rare and protected species in the wild. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

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 in early summer after the plant has flowered. Dig up the entire plant, divide it into 2 – 3 fair-sized clumps with a spade or knife, and replant immediately. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring or early summer. It is best to pot them up in a cold frame until well rooted, and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the whole plant is used externally to lighten freckles. This species is one of several species 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

Click for:-> Gentian species with medicinal properties

Complete Gentian information from Drugs.com
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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentian
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+acaulis

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