Herbs & Plants

Sea Holly

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Botanical Name :  Eryngium campestre /Eryngium maritinum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Eryngium
Species: E. campestre
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Eryngo. Sea Hulver. Sea Holme.

Common Names:Sea Holly,Field eryngo
(French): Panicaut.
(German): Krausdistel

Habitat :Sea Holly grows Mainly in Central and southern Europe, north to Germany and Holland. Rare in the British Isles. It abounds on most of our sandy seashores(Dry grassy areas near the coast) and is very plentiful on the East Coast, also on the sands of Mounts Bay, Cornwall, but is rare in Scotland. CLICK & SEE

Sea Holly  is a hairless, thorny perennial plant. The stems, 6 to 12 inches high, thick and solid, are branched at the summit. The radical leaves are on stalks, 2 to 7 inches long, the blades cut into three broad divisions at the apex, coarsely toothed, the teeth ending in spines and undulated.They  are tough and stiff, whitish-green. The basal leaves are long-stalked, pinnate and spiny. The leafs of this plant are mined by the gall fly which is called Euleia heraclei. The margin of the leaf is thickened and cartilaginous. The lower stem-leaves are shortly stalked, resembling the radical ones, but the upper ones are sessile and half embracing the stem, which terminates in a shortly-stalked head, below which it gives off two or three spreading branches, all from one point, which is surrounded by a whorl of three leaves, spreading like the rays of the sun.
The heads of flowers appear in July and are at first round, afterwards egg-shaped, 3/4 to 1 inch across, the flowers stalkless, whitish-blue, 1/8 inch across. The calyx tube is thickly covered with soft, cartilaginous bristles; the calyx teeth end in a spine.


The plant is intensely glaucous tinged with blue towards the top, especially on the flowerheads and the leaves immediately below them.

Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position. Prefers a light sandy soil but tolerates most soil types including lime and poor gravels. The plant has deep and wide-ranging roots, it can spread freely in the garden and become difficult to eradicate. Plants should be put in their final position whilst small since they resent root disturbance. The plant is often used in dried flower arrangements since it retains its colour for a long time.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in early autumn on the surface of a well-drained compost in a cold frame. The seed can also be sown in spring. It usually germinates in 5 – 90 days at 20°c. 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. Division in early spring or autumn. Take care since the plant resents root disturbance. Root cuttings in autumn or winter.

Edible Uses:
Young shoots are cooked as an asparagus substitute. Root – cooked and Used as a vegetable or candied and used as a sweetmeat. Easily digested

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The root, dug in autumn, from plants at least two years old.

The root is antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, galactofuge and stimulant. It should be harvested in the autumn from plants that are at least 2 years old. The root promotes free expectoration and is very useful in the treatment of debility attendant on coughs of chronic standing in the advanced stages of pulmonary consumption. Drunk freely it is used to treat whooping cough, diseases of the liver and kidneys and skin complaints.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Eryngium yuccifolium

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Botanical Name : Eryngium yuccifolium
Family : Apiaceae – Carrot family
Genus : Eryngium L. – eryngo
Species: Eryngium yuccifolium Michx. – button eryngo
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision:Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division:Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class:Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order : Apiales

Common Names : Rattlesnake master, Button eryngo

Habitat :Rattlesnake master is found generally in wet or dry prairies and open woods in the southeast US, north to Virginia, and throughout the Midwest to Minnesota, Kansas and Texas.

It is a Missouri native plant which occurs in rocky woods, prairies and glades throughout the State and was a common plant of the tallgrass prairie.

Rattlesnake master is a warm-season perennial native forb which grows well on wet or dry mesic prairie soil.  Plants grow 2 to 6 feet tall from a short, thick rootstock.  The bluish green basal leaves are up to 3 feet long and up to 1½ inches wide.  The leaves along the stem are much shorter, but they may be as wide as the basal leaves.  All the leaves are thick and parallel veined and have soft or weak prickles spaced far apart along the edges.  The leaf bases clasp the single, erect stem.  Flower heads are on stout peduncles at the tip of the stem.  Each nearly spherical flower head is from 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter and is made up of many small flowers.  Whitish bracts stick out sharply from the flowers, which gives the flower head a rough, prickly feel and appearance.  The heads have a honey-like odor and are in bloom June to September.  Individual fruits, which mature in the flower head, are less than 1/10 inch long.  The root of rattlesnake master has been used medicinally by American Indians and pioneers.  Eryngium is Greek for “prickly plant” and yuccifolium is Greek for “yucca leaves.”


Medicinal Uses:
The plant was used as an antidote to snakebites. The roots were chewed and applied to the bite. The roots have been used medicinally for liver ailments, to increase urine flow, to induce vomiting, and to treat rattlesnake bite.  Very useful in dropsy, nephritic and calculus affections, also in scrofula and syphilis.  It is valuable as a diaphoretic and expectorant in pulmonary affections and used when Senega is not available.  There is some effect in treating inflammations and malaria.  The pulverized root is very effective in hemorrhoids and prolapsus.  Chewing the root results in increased saliva flow.   A liquid made from roots mashed in cold water was drunk to relieve muscular pains.  The roots have also been used for rheumatism, respiratory ailments, and kidney trouble.  A decoction of the roots has been found useful in cases of exhaustion from sexual depletion, with loss of erectile power, seminal emissions and orchitis. A tincture of the roots is used in the treatment of female reproductive disorders.       Rattlesnake master is reported to have bitter aromatic constituents.  No research seems to have been done on the effectiveness of rattlesnake master in the treatment on rattlesnake bites, but an extract of Eryngium creticum was found to be effective as an antivenum to the sting of the scorpion Leiurus quinuqestristus.  This Eryngium grows in Jordan, where it is used by people in rural areas for scorpion stings.

Other Uses:
Native plant gardens, naturalized areas or prairies. Also can be effective in borders.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Eryngium aquaticum

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Botanical Name:Eryngium aquaticum
Family : Apiaceae – Carrot family
Genus: Eryngium L. – eryngo
Species : Eryngium aquaticum L. – rattlesnakemaster
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision : Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division : Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class : Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass : Rosidae
Order : Apiales

Common Names:Button’s Snakeroot Eryngo,Rattlesnake master,Button snakeroot eryngo, button snakeroot, corn snakeroot, eryngo, feverweed, rattlesnake flag, rattlesnake weed, water eryngo.

Habitat: Fresh to brackish marshes, streams, ponds and bogs, and wet pinelands. Although sometimes occurring on dry land, button-snakeroot usually inhabits swamps and low, wet ground from Connecticut and the pine barrens of New Jersey to Illinois and South Dakota and south to Texas and Florida.

This  plant has grasslike, rigid, parallel-veined leaves 1 to 2 feet in length and about one-half inch in width. The stout furrowed stem reaches a height of from 2 to 6 feet and is generally unbranched except near the top. . The insignificant whitish flowers are borne in dense, stout-stemmed heads from June to September. The stout rootstock is very knotty, with numerous short branches, and produces many thick, rather straight roots.


Medicinal Uses:
Indians used this plant to prevent poisoning, reduce fever, and increase urine flow.  They pounded the root, mixed it with water, and drank the potion as a cure for kidney trouble, neuralgia and arthritis, and as a blood purifier.  They also chewed the stems and leaves as a nosebleed remedy, and used a tea of the plants to cure severe dysentery.  A decoction of the plant was drunk at some Indian ceremonials to induce vomiting.  It is used now mainly in the treatment of disorders of the kidneys and sexual organs. It has been used as an antidote to snake poison.  The pounded roots are used as a diuretic. An infusion of them is used to reduce fevers.  The plant is used as an antidote to snakebites. The roots are chewed and applied to the bite.  A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh or dried root.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Eryngium Foetidum (Long Coriander)

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Botanical Name: Eryngium foetidum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus:     Eryngium
Species: E. foetidum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Apiales

Common Names: Culantro, Long coriander, Mexican coriander, Wild coriander, Recao, Shado beni (English-speaking Caribbean), Spiritweed,, Sawtooth, Saw-leaf herb, or Cilantro cimarron) is a tropical perennial and annual herb in the family Apiaceae.

Habitat :Eryngium Foetidum is native to Mexico and South America, but is cultivated worldwide. In the United States, where it is not well-known, the name culantro sometimes causes confusion with Coriandrum sativum, the leaves of which are known as cilantro, and which culantro is even said to taste like. The two plants are in the same family, Apiaceae.

Today, is has been introduced to large parts of South East Asia (Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia).

The derivation of culantro and racao, two names by which the plant is known in Central America, the former is maybe just a variant of cilantro.

Many names in languages that are spoken outside the natural habitat of long coriander compare it to the common coriander, e.g. Thai pakchi farang “foreign coriander”, Chinese ci yuan sui  pricky coriander, Hindi bhandhania “broad coriander” or Malay ketumbar Jawa “Jawanese coriander  (although I haven’t seen it in Jawa). Note, however, that the Thai name pak chi farang may also mean parsley, which also deserves to be called foreign coriander, the similarities being more visual than olfactory.
The Thai term farang foreign, Western, European has a complex history and derives, in last consequence, from the name of a Germanic people, the Franks! In Medieval Europe, the Franks had occupied a powerful position (see also lovage for the herbal edict of Charlemagne), and a large percentage of the Crusaders were Franks. So it was natural to call the continent Europe just firanja Frank country  in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic forms are ifranji (noun), faranj (adjective) European, where the initial variation (ifra vs. far) results from different strategies to avoid the initial consonant cluster. From Arabic, the word spread eastward, e.g. Urdu frangistan , Sanskrit phiranga and Kannada paramgi Europe”, and Kurdish farangi , Dhivehi faranjee , and Khmer barang foreigner.

English saw leaf herb refers to the serrated leafs, which loosely remind to a saw.
The botanical genus name Eryngium goes back to the Greek name of the related sea holly (Eryngium vulgare), which was called eryngion; the name is probably related to er spring time(cognate to Latin ver). The genus name foetidus is Latin and means stinking, bad smelling, ugly.

Plant Description:
Eryngium comprises over 200 tropical and temperate species (Willis 1960). Most are spiny ornamental herbs with thick roots and fleshy waxy leaves with blue flowers in cymose heads. Eryngium foetidum is a tap-rooted biennial herb with long, evenly branched roots (Fig. 1). The oblanceolate leaves, arranged spirally around the short thick stem, form a basal rosette and are as much as 30 cm long and 4 cm broad. The leaf margin is serrated, each tooth of the margin containing a small yellow spine. The plant produces a well-branched cluster of flower heads in spikes forming the characteristic umbel inflorescence on a long stalk arising from the center of the leaf rosette (Morton 1981; Moran 1988). The calyx is green while the corolla is creamy white in color.

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The appearance of culantro and cilantro are different but the leaf aromas are similar, although culantro is more pungent. Because of this aroma similarity the leaves are used interchangeably in many food preparations and is the major reason for the misnaming of one herb for the other. While relatively new to American cuisine, culantro has long been used in the Far East, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In Asia, culantro is most popular in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore where it is commonly used with or in lieu of cilantro and topped over soups, noodle dishes, and curries. In Latin America, culantro is mostly associated with the cooking style of Puerto Rico, where recipes common to all Latin countries are enhanced with culantro. The most popular and ubiquitous example is salsa, a spicy sauce prepared from tomatoes, garlic, onion, lemon juice, with liberal amounts of chiles. These constituents are fried and simmered together, mixed to a smooth paste and spiced with fresh herbs including culantro. Salsa is usually consumed with tortilla chips as an appetizer. Equally popular is sofrito or recaito, the name given to the mixture of seasonings containing culantro and widely used in rice, stews, and soups (Wilson 1991). There are reportedly as many variations of the recipe as there are cooks in Puerto Rico but basically sofrito consists of garlic, onion, green pepper, small mild peppers, and both cilantro and culantro leaves. Ingredients are blended and can then be refrigerated for months. Sofrito is itself the major ingredient in a host of other recipes including eggplant pasta sauce, cilantro garlic butter, cilantro pesto, pineapple salsa, and gazpacho with herb yogurt.

Culantro is reported to be rich in calcium, iron, carotene, and riboflavin. Fresh leaves are 86-88% moisture, 3.3% protein, 0.6% fat, 6.5% carbohydrate, 1.7% ash, 0.06% phosphorus, and 0.02% iron. Leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A (10,460 I.U./100 g), B2 (60 mg %), B1 (0.8 mg %), and C (150-200 mg %) (Bautista et al. 1988). On a dry weight basis, leaves consist of 0.1   0.95% volatile oil, 27.7% crude fiber, 1.23% calcium, and 25 ppm boron.

Sensory quality
Aroma strong, very similar to fresh coriander leaves; taste similar, but even stronger.

Main constituents
The essential oil from the leaves of long coriander is rich in aliphatic aldehydes, most of which are α,β unsaturated. The impact compound is E-2-dodecenal (60%), furthermore 2,3,6-trimethylbenzaldehyde (10%), dodecanal (7%) and E-2-tridecenal (5%) have been identified. Aliphatic aldehydes appear also in other spices with coriander-like scent (e.g., Vietnamese coriander).

Yet another essential oil can be obtained from the root; in the root oil, unsaturated alicyclic or aromatic aldehydes dominate (2,3,6-trimethylbenzaldehyde 40%, 2-formyl-1,1,5-trimethyl cyclohexa-2,5-dien-4-ol 10%, 2-formyl-1,1,5-trimethyl cyclohexa-2,4-dien-6-ol 20%, 2,3,4-trimethylbenzaldehyde ).

In the essential oil from the seeds, sesquiterpenoids (carotol 20%, β-farnesene 10%), phenylpropanoids (anethole) and monoterpenes (α-pinene) were found, but no aldehydes.

The plant is used in traditional medicines for fevers and chills, vomiting, diarrhea, and in Jamaica for colds and convulsions in children (Honeychurch 1980). The leaves and roots are boiled and the water drunk for pneumonia, flu, diabetes, constipation, and malaria fever. The root can be eaten raw for scorpion stings and in India the root is reportedly used to alleviate stomach pains. The leaves themselves can be eaten in the form of a chutney as an appetite stimulant (Mahabir 1991).

Medicinally, the leaves and roots are used in tea to stimulate appetite, improve digestion, combat colic, soothe stomach pains, eliminate gases and as an aphrodisiac.

In Carib medicine as a cure-all, and, specifically for epilepsy, high blood pressure, and fevers, fits, and chills in children.  In Suriname’s traditional medicine fitweed (culantro) is used against fevers and flu.  It is used as a tea for diarrhea, flu, fevers, vomiting, diabetes and constipation. In India the root is used to alleviate stomache.

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.

Although used widely throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Far East, culantro is still mistaken for and erroneously called cilantro. The herb is rapidly becoming an important import item into the US mainly due to the increasing ethnic immigrant populations who utilize it in their many varied dishes from around the world. It is closely related botanically to cilantro but has a distinctly different appearance and a much more potent volatile leaf oil. Recent research to prevent bolting and early flowering will increase its leaf yields and consequently its demand. Successes in prolonging its postharvest life and storage under refrigeration will undoubtedly increase its export potential and ultimately its popularity among the commonly used culinary herbs.