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Delphinium Consolida

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Botanical Name : Delphinium Consolida
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus:     Delphinium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Ranunculales

Synonyms: Lark’s Heel. Lark’s Toe. Lark’s Claw. Knight’s Spur.

Common Name: Larkspur (The common name “larkspur” is shared between perennial Delphinium species and annual species of the genus.)

 

Habitat: Delphinium Consolida is  native throughout the Northern Hemisphere and also on the high mountains of tropical Africa .

Description:

Delphinium Consolida is an annual flowering plant, with upright, round stems a foot high or more, pubescent and divided into alternate, dividing branches. The leaves are alternate, the lower ones with petioles 1/2 inch long, the upper ones sessile, or nearly so. The plant closely resembles some of the species commonly cultivated in gardens.

The leaves are deeply lobed with three to seven toothed, pointed lobes in a palmate shape. The main flowering stem is erect, and varies greatly in size between the species, from 10 centimetres in some alpine species, up to 2 m tall in the larger meadowland species.

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The flowers are in short racemes, pink, purple or blue, followed by glabrous follicles containing black, flattened seeds with acute edges and pitted surfaces. The seeds are poisonous, have an acrid and bitter taste, but are inodorous.

The seeds are small and often shiny black. The plants flower from late spring to late summer, and are pollinated by butterflies and bumble bees. Despite the toxicity, Delphinium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the dot moth and small angle shades.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Seed.
As in Stavesacre, the part used medicinally is the seed, a tincture of which in like manner acts as a parasiticide and insecticide, being used to destroy lice and nits in the hair. (During the Great War, when the men in the trenches took the trouble to use it, the results were said to be quite successful. – EDITOR.)

The tincture, given in 10-drop doses, gradually increased, is also employed in spasmodic asthma and dropsy.

The expressed juice of the leaves is considered good as an application to bleeding piles, and a conserve made of the flowers was formerly held to be an excellent medicine for children when subject to violent purging.

The juice of the flowers and an infusion of the whole plant was also prescribed against colic.

The expressed juice of the petals with the addition of a little alum makes a good blue ink.

The name Delphinium, from Delphin (a dolphin), was given to this genus because the buds were held to resemble a dolphin. Shakespeare mentions the plant under the name of Lark’s Heel.

The name Consolida refers to the plant’s power of consolidating wounds.

Known Hazards:
All parts of these plants are considered toxic to humans, causing severe digestive discomfort if ingested, and skin irritation.

Larkspur, especially tall larkspur, is a significant cause of cattle poisoning on rangelands in the western United States. Larkspur is more common in high-elevation areas, and many ranchers delay moving cattle onto such ranges until late summer when the toxicity of the plants is reduced. Death is through cardiotoxic and neuromuscular blocking effects, and can occur within a few hours of ingestion.

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/l/larksp09.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphinium

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Delphinium staphisagria

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Botanical Name : Delphinium staphisagria
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus:     Delphinium
Species: D. staphisagria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Ranunculales

Synonym: Lousewort.

Common Names: Lice-Bane or Stavesacre.

Habitat:Delphinium staphisagria grows throughout the Mediterranean.(Asia Minor and Europe.)

Description:
Delphinium staphisagria   is  a stoutly-stemmed, hairy biennial plant with hairy stem and large (up to 6″) hairy palmate leaves, composed of five to seven oblong lobes, which have frequently one or two acute indentures on their sides. The flowers are mauve-blue to blue, short-spurred, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) across, occurring in racemes. The plant grows to a height of 4–5 feet.The dark-colored, wrinkled seeds of D. staphisagria are characteristically quite large (~5×6 mm), and it is likely that the species name, which translates to “wild raisin”  is based on their appearance. This name-derivation seems to have been arrived at independently by a modern horticulturalist, David Bassett, who also gives a detailed account of his experiences in growing this species. All parts of this plant are highly toxic and should not be ingested in any quantity.

click to see the pictures

Cultivation:
The seeds of this species should be sown in April, where the plants are intended to remain and require no special treatment, growing in almost any soil or situation, but the plants are most luxuriant when given a deep, yellow loam, well enriched with rotted manure and fairly moist. They should be thinned to a distance of 2 feet apart.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used:  The dried, ripe seeds. Shake the seeds out of the pods on trays and spread them out to dry in the sun. Then pack away in airtight boxes or tins. The dried, ripe seeds are brown when fresh, changing to a dull, earthy colour on keeping. In shape they are irregularly quadrangular, one side being curved and larger than the others, and the surface of the seed is wrinkled and pitted. They average about 6 mm. (nearly 1/4 inch) long and rather less in width, ten weighing about 6 grains. The seed coat is nearly tasteless, but the endosperm is oily and has a bitter and acrid taste. The seeds have no marked collour.

Chemical Constituents: The chief constituents of Stavesacre seeds are from 20 to 25 per cent of alkaloidal matter, which consists chiefly of the bitter, acrid, crystalline, alkaloid Delphinine, an irritant poison, and a second crystalline alkaloid named Delphisine, and the amorphous alkaloid Delphinoidine. Less important are staphisagroine, of which traces only are present, and staphisagrine, which appears to be a mixture of the first three elements.

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Traditional Uses:
As noted above, preparations made from D. staphisagria (apparently principally from the seeds) were used as a pediculicide throughout the last two millennia. Maud Grieve, in her famous Herbal, written in 1931, refers to stavesacre as being a “vermifuge” and “vermin-destroying”, as well as to its parasiticidal properties. She also mentions that it is “violently emetic and cathartic”.

Vermifuge and vermin-destroying. Stavesacre seeds are extremely poisonous and are only used as a parasiticide to kill pediculi, chiefly in the form of the official ointment, the expressed oil, the powdered seeds, or an acid aqueous extract containing the alkaloids.

These seeds are so violently emetic and cathartic that they are rarely given internally, though the powdered seeds have been given as a purge for dropsy, in very small quantities at first and increased till the effect is produced. The dose at first should not exceed 2 or 3 grains, given in powder or decoction, but the administration of the drug must always be accompanied by great caution, as staphisagrine paralyses the motor nerves like curare.

The seeds are used as an external application to some cutaneous eruptions, the decoction, applied with a linen rag, being effectual in curing the itch. It is made by boiling the seeds in water.

Delphinine has also been employed similarly to aconite, both internally and externally, for neuralgia. It resembles aconite in causing slowness of pulse and respiration, paralysis of the spinal cord and death from asphyxia. By depressing the action of the spinal cord it arrests the convulsions caused by strychnine.

Homeopathy:
Introduced into homeopathy by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, Leipzig, 1817. Hahnemann’s fellow provers were: Cubitz, Franz, Gross, Gutmann, Hartmann, Haymel, Herrman, Kumer, Langhammer, Staph, Teuthorn.

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/Delphinium_staphisagria
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/stavas90.html

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Delphinium ajacis

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Botanical Name : Delphinium ajacis
Family :Ranunculaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Consolida
Species: C. ajacis

Synonyms : Consolida ambigua, Consolida ajacis, Delphinium ambiguum, Doubtful knight’s spur

Common Name :Rocket Larkspur

Habitat : Delphinium ajacis  is  native to Eurasia. It is widespread in other areas, including much of North America, where it was an introduced species.

Description:
Delphinium ajacis is an occasional garden annual flowering plant  grows about 1 meter but gets little recline with age.
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Leaves are alternate, petiolate below to sessile above, with 3-5 deeply divided lobes, typically pubescent. Ultimate divisions linear to linear-oblong, entire (ciliate-margined), to 2.5mm broad. Petioles to 9cm below.

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Flowers are Sepals deep blue-purple,(sometimes whitish to pinkish or mottled in cultivation), the most showy portion of the flower, spurred. Spur to -2cm long, dense pubescent. Petals 4, united, covering other floral organs(stamens and carpel), spurred. Stamens many, included. Filaments white, sparse pubescent, 5-6mm long, expanded at base. Anthers yellow, 1.1mm long. Ovary dense pubescent, 3-4mm long, conic.Flowering  time is July – August.

Fruit is a follicle to 2cm long, one per flower, variously pubescent. (All other native members of the genus have 3 follicles per flower).

Medicinal Uses:
Larkspur formerly had a reputation for its ability to consolidate and heal wounds, while the juice from the leaves is considered to be a remedy for piles and an infusion of the flowers and leaves has been used as a remedy for colicky children. However, the whole plant is very poisonous and it should not be used internally without the guidance of an expert.  Externally, it can be used as a parasiticide. A tincture of the seed is applied externally to kill lice in the hair.

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.missouriplants.com/Bluealt/Delphinium_ajacis_page.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/delphinium+ajacis
http://www.wildflowerinformation.org/Wildflower.asp?ID=86

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolida_ajacis

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Cyclopia genistoides

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Botanical Name : Cyclopia genistoides
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Podalyrieae
Genus: Cyclopia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Name :Bush Tea,Honeybush tea, Heuningbos,kustee, coastal tea

Habitat :Cyclopia species (Family: Fabaceae), better known as honeybush, are endemic to the fynbos biome of the Western and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. It is adapted to the climate and soil in these areas and grow in nematode free, well drained, sandy to sandy loam soils with low pH, low phosphorus, generally occurring in sites with a relatively mild micro-climate.  In mountainous areas the populations are found on the cooler, wetter southern slopes.  Where there is a regular presence of mist, the populations are found on all slopes.

Description:
Cyclopia genistoides is a small, typical fynbos shrub, easy to miss when not in flower. A much-branched woody shrub with golden yellow stems, it grows to about one metre. The short needle-like leaves are arranged in threes along the branches, a typical feature of Cyclopia. When flowering in spring the same shrub can take your breath away with a bold display of bright yellow flowers.
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Money beetles are attracted to the sweet smelling flowers at the tip of the branches. They are responsible for most of the pollination. The brown seeds are formed in small pods that turn brown. The pods dry and split open within a few weeks as the seed ripens.

Propagation & Cultivation:
Cyclopia genistoides can be propagated by seed or cuttings. The best time to sow seed is from summer to autumn. To select viable seeds throw the seed into a jug of water and remove any seeds that float to the surface. Before sowing the seeds need to be treated. First, the hard seed coat which protects the small seeds, needs to be damage to enable the uptake of moisture for germination. In nature this hard seed coat would slowly be damaged in the soil by micro-organisms and other factors. In the nursery the scarifying of the dry seed can be done with sulfuric acid. Proceed with caution to avoid the chemical coming into contact with one’s skin.. If only a small amount of seed is needed, an easier way to damage the seed coat is to lightly sand the seeds with sandpaper.

The seeds of cyclopias and many other fynbos plants are adapted to germinate after fire. Experiments have shown that it is the smoke of the fire which stimulates the germination of the seed. To get this same effect the seed can be treated with smoke extract, which is produced and sold at Kirstenbosch.The seed must be sown on a medium with good drainage and a low pH of 3.5 to 5. Germination usually takes place within two weeks. To prevent damping off, a fungicide should be used.

The young seedlings are potted up as soon as they are big enough to handle and grown on in the nursery before planting out. Many plants of the legume family, which include cyclopias, are often difficult to root from cuttings, but Cyclopia genistoides is an exception. Tip cuttings can be made using Seradix 2 as a rooting hormone.

Honeybush needs to be planted in full sun and well-drained soil. The plants are sensitive to severe frost. The plants grow fairly fast but start to look untidy after a few years if not regularly pruned or burned, which is what usually happens in nature. After fire old honeybush plants shoot out vigorously from the surviving roots,which act as a storage organ.

Medicinal Uses:
Often dried and drunk as tea in South Africa.  Also of great value to sufferers from kidney and liver disorders.  To make the tea the stems and leaves are chopped into small pieces, wet and then left in heaps where they ferment spontaneously, They may be heated in an oven to about 60C – 70 C to enhance the process. After sufficient fermentation, the tea is spread out in the sun to dry. After sifting, it is ready for use. Honeybush tea, with its own distinct sweet taste and aroma, is made like ordinary tea, except that simmering enhances the flavor. Drinking honeybush tea is said to promote good health, stimulate the appetite, and the milk flow of lactating mothers.

Honeybush tea is a herbal infusion and many health properties are associated with the regular consumption of the tea. It has very low tannin content and contains no caffeine. It is therefore especially valuable for children and patients with digestive and heart problems where stimulants and tannins should be avoided.

Research on Honeybush tea has only started recently in the 90’s and already great progress was made on testing and researching the medicinal values of this tea. De Nysschen et al found 1995 three major phenolic compounds in honeybush tealeaves: a xanthone c-glycoside, mangiferin and O-glycosides of hesperitin and isosakuranetin, two flavanones.

Honeybush tea is normally consumed with milk and sugar, but to appreciate the delicate sweet taste and flavor, no milk or sugar should be added. Descriptions of the flavor vary from that of hot apricot jam, floral, honey-like and dried fruit mix with the overall impression of sweetness. The tea has the added advantage that the cold infusion can also be used as iced tea and that it blends well with fruit juices. Honeybush tea is prepared by boiling about 4-6 g of the dried material (approximately 2-3 tablespoonfuls) per liter for 20 minutes.

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.arc.agric.za/home.asp?pid=4053
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/cyclopiagenistoides.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclopia_(genus)

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