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Herbs & Plants

Teucrium scorodonia

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Botanical Name :Teucrium scorodonia
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Teucrium
Species: T. scorodonia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Wood Sage. Large-leaved Germander. Hind Heal. Ambroise. Garlic Sage.

Common Name: wood sage or woodland germander

Habitat: Teucrium scorodonia is  native of Europe and Morocco, found in woody and hilly situations among bushes and under hedges, where the soil is dry and stony. It is frequent in such places in most parts of Great Britain.

Description;
Teucrium scorodonia is a perennial and creeping herb. It reaches on average 30–60 centimetres (12–24 in) of height. It is a hairy shrub with erect and branched stems. The leaves are petiolate, irregularly toothed, triangular-ovate to oblong shaped, lightly wrinkled. The inflorescence is composed by one-sided (all flowers “look” at the same side) pale green or yellowish flowers bearing four stamens with reddish or violet filaments. These flowers grow in the axils of the upper leaves and are hermaphrodite, tomentose and bilabiate but lack an upper lip, as all Teucrium ones. The flowering period extends from June through August. These plants are mainly pollinated by Hymenoptera species.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The whole plant is softly hairy or pubescent. The small labiate flowers are in onesided spike-like clusters, the corollas greenish-yellow in colour, with four stamens, which have yellow anthers, and very noticeable purple and hairy filaments. The terminal flowering spike is about as long again as those that spring laterally below it from the axils of the uppermost pair of leaves.

Cultivation: Teucrium scorodonia is generally collected in the wild state, but will thrive in any moderately good soil, and in almost any situation.

It may be increased by seeds, by cuttings, inserted in sandy soil, under a glass, in spring and summer; or by division of roots in the autumn.

Edible Uses: Condiment……..The plant resembles hops in taste and flavour. An infusion of the leaves and flowers is used as a hop substitute for flavouring beer in some areas. It is said to clear the beer more quickly than hops, but imparts too much colour to the brew

Parts Uses:The whole herb, collected in July.

Constituents: A volatile oil, some tannin and a bitter principle.
Medicinal Uses:
Alterative; Appetizer; Astringent; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Skin; Tonic; Vulnerary.

The herb is alterative, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, tonic and vulnerary. It is harvested in July and can be dried for later use. The herb is often used in domestic herbal practice in the treatment of skin afflictions, diseases of the blood, fevers, colds etc. It is an appetizer of the first order and is equal to gentian root as a tonic.
Teucrium scorodonia or wood sage may be used for all infections of the upper respiratory tract, especially for colds and influenza. It may be used as a diaphoretic in all fevers. It can prove beneficial in some cases of rheumatism. There is a marked stimulation of gastric juices, thereby aiding digestion and relieving flatulent indigestion. It’s equal to gentian root as a bitter tonic. Externally wood sage will speed the healing of wounds, boils and abscesses.

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/g/gersag10.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teucrium_scorodonia

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Teucrium+scorodonia

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Ajuga reptans

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Botanical Name :Ajuga reptans
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Ajugoideae
Genus: Ajuga
Species: A. reptans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

SynonymsCarpenter’s Herb. Sicklewort. Middle Comfrey.

Common Names: Bugle, blue bugle, bugleherb, bugleweed, carpetweed, carpet bungleweed, common bugle

Habitat: Ajuga reptans  is native to most of Europe, including Britain, to S.W. Asia and N. Africa. It grows in  damp grassy fields and damp woods.

Description:
Ajuga reptans is an evergreen  perennial, to be found in flower from the end of April to the beginning of July and well marked by its solitary, tapering flower-stalks, 6 to 9 inches high, and its creeping scions or runners. These are long shoots, sometimes a couple of feet or more long, sent out from the rootstock. At intervals upon them are pairs of leaves, and at the same point rootlets are given off below, which enter the earth. As winter approaches, the runners die, but at every point where the leaf-pairs and the rootlets were formed, there is a dormant plant waiting to develop fully in the spring, a Bugle plant thus being the centre of quite a colony of new young plants, quite independently of setting its seeds, which as a matter of fact do not always ripen, the plant propagating itself more largely by its creeping scions.

c lick to see :

The erect flower-stalk sent up from the root-stock is square, pale green, often purplish above, with the leaves opposite in pairs, the lower leaves on stalks, the upper leaves stalkless, oblong and obtuse in form, toothed or almost entire at the margin, having manycelled hairs on both surfaces, the margins also fringed with hairs. The runners are altogether smooth, but the stems are smooth only on two sides and downy on the other two.

 

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The flowers are of a purplish blue, crowded into a spike formed of about six or more rings of whorls, generally six flowers in a whorl. The upper leaves or bracts interspersed between the whorls are also tinged with the same colour, so that ordinarily the whole of the upper portion of the plant has a bluish appearance. A white variety is sometimes found, the upper leaves then being of the normal green colour.

The flowers are adapted by their lipped formation for cross-fertilization by bees, a little honey being found at the base of the long tube of the corolla. The upper lip is very short and the lower three-cleft. The stamens project. The flowers have practically no scent. After fertilization, small blackish seeds are formed, but many of the ovules do not mature.

The rather singular names of this plant – both popular and botanical – are not very easy to account for. It has been suggested that ‘Bugle’ is derived from bugulus, a thin, glass pipe used in embroidery, the long, thin tube of the corolla being thought to resemble this bead bugle. It is more likely to be a corruption of the Latin name Ajuga, the generic name which Linnaeus was the first to apply to this plant from a belief that this or some closely-allied species was the one referred to by Pliny and other writers by a very similar name, a name probably corrupted from Abija, in turn derived from the Latin word abigo, to drive away, because the plant was thought to drive away various forms of disease. In former days it was held to possess great curative powers. Prior, writing in the seventeenth century, tells us: ‘It is put in drinkes for woundes and that is the cause why some doe commonly say that he that hath Bugle and Sanicle will scarce vouchsafe the chirugeon a bugle.’ The early writers speak of the plant as the Abija, Ajuga, Abuga and Bugula, and the common English name, Bugle, is clearly a corruption of one or other of these forms.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Erosion control, Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen, Woodland garden. Prefers a humus-rich, moisture retentive soil and partial shade. Does well in marshy soil and in the spring meadow. Grows well in dry shade and is fairly drought tolerant once established, though it shows distress in severe drought. Plants do not always ripen their seeds in Britain, they spread freely by runners, however, and soon form an extensive patch in suitable conditions. A number of forms have been selected for their ornamental value, several of them are variegated and these are used especially as ground cover plants for dry shade. A purple-leafed form, ‘Atropurpurea’ does well in full sun so long as the soil is not dry. A good bee and butterfly plant. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 10°c, though it can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division of runners at almost any time of year. Very easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:  Leaves….…Young shoots – raw

Part Used Medicinally:  The whole herb, gathered in May and early June, when the leaves are at their best, and dried.

Medicinal Uses:
Bitter, astringent and aromatic.

Ajuga reptans herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea for treatment of disorders related with the respiratory tract.

In herbal treatment, an infusion of this plant is still considered very useful in arresting haemorrhages and is employed in coughs and spitting of blood in incipient consumption and also in some biliary disorders, a wineglassful of the infusion – made from 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water – being given frequently.

In its action, it rather resembles digitalis, lowering the pulse and lessening its frequency, it allays irritation and cough, and equalizes the circulation and has been termed ‘one of the mildest and best narcotics in the world.’ It has also been considered good for the bad effects of excessive drinking.

Green (Universal Herbal, 1832) gives as his opinion that ‘the leaves may be advantageously used in fluxes and disorders of that kind as they do not, like many other plants of the same value, produce costiveness, but rather operate as gentle laxatives.’
He states that a decoction of the herb has been employed for quinsy on the Continent, where the herb has been more employed as a remedy than in this country.

The roots have by some authorities been considered more astringent than the rest of the plant.

Ajuga reptans has a long history of use as a wound herb and, although little used today, it is still considered very useful in arresting hemorrhages and is also used in the treatment of coughs and spitting of blood in incipient consumption.  It has mild analgesic properties and it is still used occasionally as a wound healer.  It is used to treat bleeding from cuts and other wounds.  The leaves are simmered to make an infusion. It is also mildly laxative and traditionally has been thought to help cleanse the liver.  In the past it was recommended for coughs, ulcers, rheumatism, and to prevent hallucinations after excessive alcohol consumption.   Externally used for bruises and tumors.  It is thought to possess heart tonic properties. The plant is usually applied externally. It is also commonly used fresh in ointments and medicated oils.

Other Uses:     A good ground-cover for a position in semi-shade, forming a carpet and rooting as it spreads. Fairly fast growing but it does not always smother out weeds and can become bare at the centre if not growing in good conditions.

Known Hazards:   The plant is said to be a narctic hallucinogen that is known to have caused fatalities.

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/b/buglec82.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajuga_reptans

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ajuga+reptans

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Comfrey

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Botanical Name : Symphytum officinale
Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Symphytum
Species: S. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: (unplaced)

Common Name :common comfrey, Quaker comfrey  and cultivated comfrey  and Other common names include boneset, knitbone, consound, and slippery-root.

Habitat :Symphytum officinale  is native to Europe and it is known elsewhere, including North America, as an introduced species and sometimes a weed.

Description:
Symphytum officinale is a perennial hardy plant and it  can grow to  1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a fast rate.It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
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Cultivation:  
Tolerates most soils and situations but prefers a moist soil and some shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Best grown in an open sunny site in a deep rich soil if it is being grown for compost material. Plants can be invasive, often spreading freely by means of self-sown seed. The root system is very deep and difficult to eradicate, even small fragments of root left in the soil can produce new plants.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed you can try an outdoor sowing in situ in the spring. Division succeeds at almost any time of the year. Simply use a spade to chop off the top 7cm of root just below the soil level. The original root will regrow and you will have a number of root tops, each of which will make a new plant. These can either be potted up or planted out straight into their permanent positions

Edible Uses:
Young leaves – cooked or raw. The leaf is hairy and the texture is mucilaginous. It may be full of minerals but it is not pleasant eating for most tastes. It can be chopped up finely and added to salads, in this way the hairiness is not so obvious. Young shoots can be used as an asparagus substitute. The blanched stalks are used. Older leaves can be dried and used as a tea. The peeled roots are cut up and added to soups. A tea is made from the dried leaves and roots. The roasted roots are used with dandelion and chicory roots for making coffee

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne;  Antidiarrhoeal;  Antirheumatic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Haemostatic;  Homeopathy;  Refrigerant;  Vulnerary.

Comfrey is a commonly used herbal medicine with a long and proven history in the treatment of various complaints. The root and the leaves are used, the root being more active, and they can be taken internally or used externally as a poultice. Comfrey is especially useful in the external treatment of cuts, bruises, sprains, sores, eczema, varicose veins, broken bones etc, internally it is used in the treatment of a wide range of pulmonary complaints, internal bleeding etc. The plant contains a substance called ‘allantoin’, a cell proliferant that speeds up the healing process. This substance is now synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry and used in healing creams. The root and leaves are anodyne, astringent (mild), demulcent, emollient, expectorant, haemostatic, refrigerant, vulnerary. Some caution is advised, however, especially in the internal use of the herb. External applications and internally taken teas or tinctures of the leaves are considered to be completely safe, but internal applications of tablets or capsules are felt to have too many drawbacks for safe usage . See also the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are harvested in early summer before the plant flowers, the roots are harvested in the autumn. Both are dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested before the plant flowers. This has a very limited range of application, but is of great benefit in the treatment of broken bones and eye injuries. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Symphytum officinale for blunt injuries .

Comfrey leaves and especially the root contain allantoin, a cell proliferant that increases the healing of wounds. It also stops bleeding, is soothing, and is certainly the most popular ingredient in herbal skin sales for wounds, inflammation, rashes, varicose veins, hemorrhoids and just about any skin problem. Taken internally, comfrey repairs the digestive tract lining, helping to heal peptic and duodenal ulcers and colitis. Studies show it inhibits prostaglandins, which cause inflammation of the stomach lining. Comfrey has been used to treat a variety of respiratory diseases and is a specific when these involve coughing of blood. In cases of bleeding of the lungs, stomach or bowels the leaves or root should be made into a strong decoction, or a strong infusion of the leaves and regular hourly or two hourly drinks taken until the bleeding ceases. The root is stronger and more effective than the leaves. In the case of bleeding piles the addition of distilled extract of Witch Hazel to the infusion or decoction will increase the effectiveness. To aid in the cure of mucous colitis mix equal parts of comfrey leaves, agrimony herb, cranesbill herb and marshmallow herb, use one ounce of the mixed herbs, make an infu9sion and take a wineglassful at least three times daily.

The leaves moisten the lungs, help dissolve and expel mucus, soothe the throat, lowers fever, relieves cough and treat asthma. It is applied externally as a poultice and taken internally to promote healing of injured tissues and bones. The root is used to treat chronic lung diseases with dry cough and inflammation, sore throat, pulmonary catarrh, stomach ulcers, and wasting diseases. It is excellent both internally and externally for promoting the healing of sores, bones, muscles and other tissues, and is as powerful as some of the best Oriental tonic herbs. Concurrent internal and external application has the most favorable effect on the healing process.

Other Uses :
Biomass;  Compost;  Gum.

The plant grows very quickly, producing a lot of bulk. It is tolerant of being cut several times a year and can be used to provide ‘instant compost’ for crops such as potatoes. Simply layer the wilted leaves at the bottom of the potato trench or apply them as a mulch in no-dig gardens. A liquid feed can be obtained by soaking the leaves in a small amount of water for a week, excellent for potassium demanding crops such as tomatoes. The leaves are also a very valuable addition to the compost heap.  A gum obtained from the roots was at one time used in the treatment of wool before it was spun

Known Hazards: This plant contains small quantities of a toxic alkaloid which can have a cumulative effect upon the liver. Largest concentrations are found in the roots, leaves contain higher quantities of the alkaloid as they grow older and young leaves contain almost none. Most people would have to consume very large quantities of the plant in order to do any harm, though anyone with liver problems should obviously be more cautious. In general, the health-promoting properties of the plant probably far outweigh any possible disbenefits, especially if only the younger leaves are used. Use topically on unbroken skin. May cause loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting. Do not use with Eucalyptus. Do not combine with herbs containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids (e.g. agrimony, alpine ragwort, help, tansy ragwort)

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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Symphytum+officinale
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphytum_officinale
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail89.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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