Herbs & Plants

Allium nutans

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Botanical Name : Allium nutans
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. nutans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

*Allium tataricum Schult. & Schult.f.
*Allium undulatum Schousb. ex Trev.
*Porrum nutans (L.) Raf.

Common Names: Siberian chives, Blue chives

Habitat : Allium nutans is native to European Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Asiatic Russia (Altay Krai, Krasnoyarsk, Tuva, Western Siberia, Amur Oblast). It grows in wet meadows and other damp locations.
Allium nutans is a BULB growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It has one or two bulbs up to 20 mm in diameter. Scapes are winged and 2-angled, up to 60 cm tall. Leaves are flat, tapering at both ends, up to 15 mm wide at the widest spot, about half as long as the scapes. Umbels are spherical, with many pink to pale purple flowers. It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August.


The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

An easily grown plant for a sunny position in a well-drained soil. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy, pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle easily and plant out in the following spring. Division can be carried out at almost any time of the year but is probably best done in spring. The clumps should be divided at least every 3 or 4 years in order to maintain vigour, the divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions

Edible Uses: Leaves – eaten  raw or cooked. ( A mild, chive-like flavour.)
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.
Other Uses:…..Repellent…..The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards: Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.


Herbs & Plants

Picea jezoensis

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Botanical Name: Picea jezoensis
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Species: P. jezoensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

*Abies jezoensis Siebold & Zucc.
*Abies microsperma Lindl.
*Picea ajanensis Fisch.
*Veitchia japonica Lindl

Common Names: Yezo Spruce, Yeddo Spruce

Habitat : Picea jezoensis is native to northeast Asia, from the mountains of central Japan and the Changbai Mountains on the China-North Korea border, north to eastern Siberia, including the Sikhote-Alin, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin and Kamchatka. It is found in cold but humid temperate rain forests, and nowhere does its range extend more than 400 km from the Pacific Ocean.
Picea jezoensis is an evergreen Tree growing to 35 m (114ft 10in) at a medium rate. The bark is thin and scaly, becoming fissured in old trees. The crown is broad conic. The shoots are pale buff-brown, glabrous (hairless) but with prominent pulvini. The leaves are needle-like, 15-20 mm long, 2 mm broad, flattened in cross-section, dark green above with no stomata, and blue-white to white below with two dense bands of stomata.

The cones are pendulous, slender cylindrical, 4-7 cm long and 2 cm broad when closed, opening to 3 cm broad. They have thin, flexible scales 12-18 mm long. They are green or reddish, maturing pale brown 5–6 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 3 mm long, with a slender, 6-8 mm long pale brown wing.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.


It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Resists wind exposure to some degree. This species is not very successful in Britain. Whilst it is very cold-hardy when dormant, it comes into new growth too early in the spring and this growth is often cut back by late frosts. The few trees that can be found are stunted and poor due to repeated frost damage. The sub-species P. jezoensis hondoensis. (Mayr.)Rehder. is much more successful, it shows remarkably consistent growth in all parts of the country. Though not of the fastest, older trees average 40cm increase a year. Increase in girth is more rapid, 4cm a year is common. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance.

Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Seed.

Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Seed – raw. Too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
Medicinal Uses:


Cancer chemopreventive agents, serratane-type triterpenoids from Picea jezoensis :

Other Uses :
Essential; Resin; Tannin; Wood.

A resin obtained from the trunk of the tree is used medicinally. Tannin is obtained from the bark. An essential oil is obained from the leaves. Wood – soft, light, elastic, flexible. Used for interior finishes, furniture etc. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper. The timber is used for construction, machines, poles, furniture, and wood.

Jezo spruce is important in the Russian Far East and northern Japan, for timber and paper production. Much of what is cut is harvested unsustainably (and often illegally) from pristine natural forests.

It is also occasionally planted as an ornamental tree in large gardens.

The Ainu string instrument called tonkori has a body made from Jezo Spruce.
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.


Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Betula ermanii

Botanical Name: Betula ermanii
B. ermanii

Synonyms : B. incisa. B. shikokiana.

Common Names: Erman’s birch,Gold Birch

Habitat: Betula ermanii is native to N.E. Asia – China, Japan. It is an extremely variable species and can be found in Northeast China, Korea, Japan, and Russian Far East (Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, Kamchatka).It grows on mountains all over Japan.

Betula ermanii is a bushy deciduous medium-sized Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a fast rate. Sometimes it is multi-stemmed, with peeling cream bark on the trunk, papery brown bark on the branches; coarsely toothed, ovate leaves turn yellow in autumn; male catkins open with the leaves.

It is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes wet soils. Shade tolerant. A very polymorphic species, it hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The young growth in spring is subject to damage by late frosts. A colonizer of poor soils and cleared woodlands, it tolerates very poor soils. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least 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, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.

Medicinal Uses:…Vulnerary. The bark is used to bandage wounds.

Other Uses:
The tree colonizes poor soils and cleared woodlands in the wild. This makes it suitable for use as a pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands. It is a quite short-lived species, but grows fairly quickly and creates suitable conditions for more permanent trees to become established. Because its seedlings do not grow well in shady conditions, the birch is eventually out-competed by the other woodland trees.

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.

Herbs & Plants

Commelina communis

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Botanical Name : Commelina communis
Family: Commelinaceae
Subfamily: Commelinoideae
Tribe: Commelineae
Genus: Commelina
Species: C. communis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Commelinales

Common Names :Asiatic dayflower,Chinese name :Yazhicao,in Japan it is called: Tsuyukusa (means dew herb”)

Habitat :
The plant’s native distribution includes much of East Asia and Southeast Asia. Country by country, it is found in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the Russian Far East, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Within China it is found in all provinces except Qinghai, Hainan, Xinjiang, and Tibet. In Japan the plant is found throughout the bulk of the country from Hokkaido south to Ky?sh?. In Russia the Asiatic dayflower is found naturally on Sakhalin as well as in the Far East in areas surrounding the Ussuri River.

The species has been introduced to much of Europe and eastern North America. On the former continent it is now found from Central Europe well into western Russia. Specifically it is known from Italy north to Switzerland, east through the region encompassing the former Yugoslavia, east into the regions around the Black Sea including Romania, the Moldavia Region, and the Ukraine but excluding Crimea, north through the Dnieper Basin into Belarus and Russia, continuing east into the regions surrounding the Don River and the Volga River south to their intersection at the Volga-Don Canal and north to the regions around Lake Ladoga and Lake Ilmen, and farther east to the regions of the Ural River and the Kama River. It is also found in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is present in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada, and in most of the eastern and central American states from Massachusetts and New York in the northeast, west to Minnesota and south through the Great Plains to Texas and east to extreme northern Florida in the United States.

Within its native distribution, the plant is most typical of moist, open places, including shady forest edges and wet areas of crop fields, orchards, ditches, and roadsides. In Taiwan, it can be found from 350 to 2400 m (1000–7500 ft) elevation. In areas where the Asiatic dayflower is an introduced weed it is most common in waste places, but also along the edges of fields, woods, and marshes, and occasionally penetrating into woods

Commelina communis is an herbaceous annual flowering  plant .The flowers emerge from summer through fall and are distinctive with two relatively large blue petals and one very reduced white petal.

The Asiatic dayflower is an annual herb with stems that are typically decumbent, meaning that they are prostrate at the base but become erect towards the tips, but some individuals may be simply erect. The diffusely branched stems tend to root at the basal nodes. The pubescence on the stems is variable, but common patterns include a line of hair continuous with the leaf sheath, or they may be glabrous basally, meaning hairless, and puberulent towards the extremities, that is covered with fine hairs. The leaves are sessile: they lack a leaf stalk, also known as a petiole; or they may be subpetiolate, meaning they have very small petioles.The leaf sheaths are cylindrical, sometimes striped with red, and typically glabrous, but usually have margins that are puberulent or pilose, meaning lined with fine, soft hairs. The leaf blades range from narrowly lanceolate, or lance-shaped, to ovate-elliptic, between egg-shaped and ellipse-shaped. They measure 3–12 cm (1–4½ in) by 1–4 cm (½–1½ in) wide. The blades range from glabrous to puberulent and have scabrescent, or slightly rough, margins.   Their tips are acute, meaning they come to a point quickly, to acuminate, meaning the point develops gradually. The leaf bases are oblique, or uneven.

The flowers are arranged on inflorescences called cincinni (singular: cincinnus), which are also called scorpioid cymes. This is a form of a monochasium where the lateral branches arise alternately. The cincinni are subtended by a spathe, a modified leaf. The solitary spathes usually measure 1.2–3 cm long (½–1¼ in), but some may be up to 3.5 cm (1½ in) in length, while they are 0.8–1.3 cm (¼–½ in) tall, but sometimes up to 1.8 cm (¾ in). The uncurved spathes typically have a cordate, or heart-shaped, whitish base, which contrasts with its dark green veins. Their margins lack hairs, are somewhat scabrous, or rough, and are unfused, meaning they are distinct to the base. Their apices are acute to acuminate while the surfaces are glabrous, puberulent, or hirsute-ciliate, meaning with longer, shaggier hairs. The spathes are borne on peduncles, or stalks, that measure 0.8–3.5 cm (¼–1½ in) and sometimes up to 5 cm (2 in) long

There are often two cincinni present, though the upper, or distal, cincinnus may be vestigial.  The lower, or proximal, cincinnus bears 1 to 4 bisexual flowers and is nearly included in the spathe, while the upper cincinnus has 1 to 2 male flowers and is about 8 mm (0.3 in) long. The individual flowers are subtended by bracteoles that fall off early in development. The pedicels supporting single flowers, and later the fruits, are erect initially but curve when in fruit. They measure about 3–4 mm (0.11–0.16 in) The 3 concave, membranous sepals are inconspicuous, but persist after the fruit develops; the lateral pair are fused basally, measure only 4.5–5 mm (0.18–0.2 in) long by 3–3.7 mm (0.11–0.15 in) wide, and are elliptic and glabrous. The lower sepal is lanceolate and about 4.5 mm (0.18 in) long by about 2.2 mm (0.09 in) wide.   The 2 upper petals are blue to indigo in colour, while the much smaller lower petal is white. The upper two petals measure 9–10 mm (0.35–0.39 in) long by 8–10 mm (0.31–0.39 in) wide, while the lower petal is 5–6 mm (0.2–0.24 in) long by about 6 mm (0.24 in) wide.  The 2 upper petals are composed of a claw about 3 mm (0.11 in) long and a broadly ovate limb with an acute apex and a cuneate-cordate base.

There are three anticous fertile stamens, meaning they are on the lower part of the flower, and three posticous infertile stamens, meaning they are on the upper part of the flower. These infertile stamens are termed staminodes. The fertile stamens are dimorphic: the lateral pair have maroon to indigo anthers that measure about 2 mm (0.8 in) long and are elliptic with a base that is sagittate or arrowhead-shaped. Their filaments are about 10–12 mm (0.39–0.47 in) long. The central fertile stamen has a yellow, elliptic anther with a maroon connective and a base that is hastate or spearhead-shaped, but with the lobes at right angles. The anther measures about 2.5 mm (0.1 in) long while its filament is about 5–6 mm (0.2–0.24 in) long.  The three staminodes are all alike with yellow, cruciform, or cross-shaped, antherodes that are about 2 mm (0.08 in) long on filaments about 3 mm (0.12 in) long. Sometimes the antherodes will have a central maroon spot.  Each antherode has two abortive lateral pollen sacks. The ovary is ellipsoid, about 2 mm (0.08 in) long and has a style that is about 1.3 cm (0.51 in) long.

The fruit is a dehiscent, ellipsoid capsule with two locules each containing two seeds. The capsule is glabrous, brown, measures 4.5–8 mm (0.18–0.31 in) long, and dehisces into two valves. The seeds are brown or brownish yellow in colour and deltoid, or roughly triangular in outline. They are dorsiventral, meaning they have distinct upper and lower surfaces, with the ventral, or lower, surface being planar and the dorsal, or upper, surface being convex. Seeds range in length from 2.5–4.2 mm (0.1–0.16 in), but seeds as short as 2 cm (0.08 in) can occur, while they are 2.2–3 mm (0.09–0.12 in) across. The surfaces are rugose pitted-reticulate and are densely covered with smaller farinose granules with sparse larger farinose granules

Prefers a light well-drained loam with added leafmold     . Requires a sheltered position. This species is commonly cultivated as a vegetable in China. The plant can be invasive, the stems sprawling along the ground and rooting as they go.

Propagation :
Seed – sow March in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 4 – 5 weeks at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring. Make sure that each portion has at least one growing bud. Cuttings during the growing season. Very eas

Edible Uses:
In China and India the plant is also used as a vegetable.

Mediconal Uses:
In China it is used as a medicinal herb with febrifugal, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic effects. Additionally, it is also used for treating sore throats and tonsillitis. Recent pharmacological investigations have revealed that the Asiatic dayflower contains at least five active compounds. One of these, p-hydroxycinnamic acid, shows antibacterial activity, while another, D-mannitol, has an antitussive effect.

The leaves are used as a throat gargle to relieve sore throats and tonsilitis. A decoction of the dried plant is used to treat bleeding, diarrhea, fever etc.  Extracts of the plant show antibacterial activity.  An extract of Commelina communis  after decoction in water has been traditionally used for the treatment of diabetes in Korea.

Other Uses:
In China and India the plant is used as fodder crop

In Japan there is a sizeable dye industry devoted to the plant. The purported variety Commelina communis var. hortensis, which is apparently a cultivated form of another putative variety, namely Commelina communis var. ludens, is grown for its larger petals which yield a blue juice used in manufacturing a paper called boshigami or aigami  which is the famous product of the Yamada village in the Shiga prefecture.  The paper is usually resoaked, allowing the pigment to be reabsorbed in water for use as a dye. The dye, also referred to as aigami, but also as aobanagami  or tsuyukusairo , is composed primarily of malonyl awobanin and was used extensively as a colorant in 18th and 19th century woodblock prints in Japan, especially during the early Ukiyo-e era. The colorant is known to have been used by several famous Ukiyo-e artists such as Torii Kiyonaga. However, aigami fades to a greenish yellow in a matter of months when exposed to sunlight. As a result, the color was eventually replaced by imported Prussian blue , a much more stable colour with its first commercial appearance in 1829 in the work of Keisai Eisen. The plant is also grown for its dye in northern China. Additional uses of the colourant include making preparatory designs on cloth before dyeing with other pigments.

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

Angelica anomala

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Botanical Name : Angelica anomala
Family:Apiaceae (alt. Umbelliferae)
Subfamily: Apioideae
Tribes: Selineae
Genus: Angelica
Species: Angelica anomala

Synonyms: Angelica amurensis Schischkin; Angelica anomala Avé-Lallemant subsp. sachalinensis (Maximovicz) H. Ohba; Angelica anomala Avé-Lallemant subsp. sachalinensis (Maximovicz) H. Ohba var. glabra (Koidzumi) H. Ohba; Angelica cincta H. Boissieu; Angelica czernaevia (Kitagawa) M. Hiroe; Angelica jaluana Nakai; Angelica kawakamii Koidzumi; Angelica montana Brotero var. angustifolia Ledebour; Angelica pubescens Maximovicz forma glabra (Koidzumi) Murata; Angelica purpuraefolia T. H. Chung; Angelica refracta F. Schmidt var. glaucophylla Koidzumi; Angelica rupestris Koidzumi; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. glabra (Koidzumi) T. Yamazaki; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. kawakamii (Koidzumi) T. Yamazaki; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. pubescens T. Yamazaki; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. sachalinensis forma pubescens (T. Yamazaki) T.Yamazaki; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. sachalinensis forma saninensis T. Yamazaki; Angelica sylvestris L. var. angustigolia Turczaninow

Common Name : Bai Zhi, (Japanese common name) ezo-no-yoroi-gusa  [meaning: Ezo armor weed (Ezo = an old name of Hokkaido)])

Habitat: (Japan) Hokkaido, Honshu (north of Central region) (Other nations) Russia (Far East), Korea, China.  Mountane field.Damp habitats in C. and N. Japan. In grasses or forests, at forest edges or by streams in northern China.


Angelica anomala is a Perennial flowering plant growing  100-200cm tall. Leaves 30-50cm long, 30-50cm wide. It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Click to see the pictures
Cultivation :
We have very little information on this species and do not know how hardy it will be in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a deep moist fertile soil in dappled shade or full sun. Plants are reliably perennial if they are prevented from setting seed[200]. There is some confusion over the correct author of the Latin name for this species. We have used Lallem. as is found in  and , but and  cite Pallas as the author.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe.

Medicinal Uses:

The root is analgesic, antibacterial, antidote, carminative, depuritive, diaphoretic, poultice and is also used to treat women’s complaints. The drug (an extract of the root?) lowers arterial pressure, increases diuresis and stimulates contraction of the smooth muscles, especially the uterus, but without causing abortion. The plant is used in the treatment of colds and headaches, coryza, leucorrhoea, boils and abscesses. Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory effect on the respiratory centre, central nervous system and vasculomotor centre. It increases the rate of respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases the pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and induces vomiting. In large doses it can cause convulsions and generalized paralysis.

Known Hazards :  One report says that caution is advised in the use of this plant but it gives no reason. All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis

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.