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Herbs & Plants

Sanicula marilandica

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Botanical Name : Sanicula marilandica
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Sanicula
Species: S. marilandica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Names:Maryland black snakeroot,Sanicle Sanicle. Black Snakeroot.

Habitat : Sanicula marilandica grows  in  North-eastern and Central N. America – Newfoundland to Alberta, Georgia and Colorado. Grows in rich woods, meadows and shores.

Description:
Sanicula marilandica is a perennial flowering plant.Its leaves with deeply incised lobes radiating out from the same point. Every leaf has no set number of leaflets, but commonly will have 5–7. The plant is not tall but the fruiting stalk will rise up to 2 feet, bearing green diminutive flowers in spring. In fall the fruiting stalk carries dehiscent fruit that splits, bearing small spines.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade.   Strongly dislikes poor thin soils. Prefers a loamy or calcareous soil.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information for this species but the following notes are for the related S. europaea. Stratification improves the germination rate. If possible sow the seed in the autumn, sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. It is best to sow the seed in situ in a woodland soil under trees If seed is in short supply it is probably wise to sow it in pots of woodland soil in a shady place in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position 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 spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Considered a “cure all” by John Kloss “Although no mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of at least two other members of the genus contain saponins . Although toxic, saponins are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also destroyed by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fishbecause it possesses powerful cleansing and healing virtues, both internally and externally.”  It heals, stops bleeding, diminishes tumors.  The properties when administered seem to seek the ailment most in distress.  A tea made from the thick root has been used to treat menstrual irregularities, pain, kidney ailments, rheumatism and fevers. A decoction of the root has been used to cause vomiting in order to counteract a poison. It makes a useful gargle for treating sore mouths and throats. The powdered root has also been popularly used to treat intermittent fever and chorea (St. Vitus’ Dance). The root is also poulticed and applied to snakebites. Pharmacological studies reveal that black snakeroot contains some tannin, which causes an astringent action that may account for the use of snakeroot preparations as gargles for sore throat.  The action on the system resembles valerian

Known Hazards:
Although no mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of at least two other members of the genus contain saponins[179]. Although toxic, saponins are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also destroyed by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanicula_marilandica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

 

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Herbs & Plants

Aconitum Uncinatum

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Botanical Name: Aconitum uncinatum
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus : Aconitum

Common Name : southern blue monkshood/Wild Monkshood

Habitat: Eastern N. AmericaPennsylvania to Indiana and south to Alabama and Georgia.   It grows on low woods and damp slopes. Wet areas along streams and in springs, also less mesic locations in woods and clearings at elevations of 200 – 2000 metres.

Description: Perennial growing to 1m.
. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES.
Flower/fruit: 1-inch deep purple or purplish blue flowers clustered at the end of stems; five sepals; upper sepal forms a rounded hood, concealing part of two clawlike petals.

Flowering Season: Summer into fall.

Foliage: Up to 6-inch coarsely toothed leaves with three to five lobes; similar to buttercup; slender, weak branching stem

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil

Cultivation:
Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. Grows well in open woodlands. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legume.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Alterative; Anaesthetic; Antiarthritic; Deobstruent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Sedative; Stimulant.

The dried root is alterative, anaesthetic, antiarthritic, deobstruent, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative, stimulant. It is harvested as soon as the plant dies down in the autumn. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A tincture is used as an external anaesthetic.


Known Hazards:
The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people.  Roots and seeds contain poisonous alkaloides


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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aconitum+uncinatum
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACUN&photoID=acun_1v.jpg
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACUN

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Herbs & Plants

American False-Hellebore (Veratrum viride Ait)

 

Veratrum veride
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Veratrum viride Ait
Family: Melanthiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Genus: Veratrum
Species: V. viride
Other common names.—True veratrum, green veratrum American veratrum green hellebore, swamp hellebore, big hellebore, false hellebore, bear corn, bugbane, bugwort, devil’s-bite, earth gall, Indian poke, itchweed, tickleweed, duck-retter.
Indian Poke, Indian Hellebore, False Hellebore, Green False Hellebore)
Part used.—The rootstock, dug in autumn when the leaves have died down.

Habitat and range.—American false-hellebore is native in rich wet woods, swamps and wet meadows, its range extending from Canada, Alaska, and Minnesota south to Georgia and Tennessee.

In eastern North America, var. viride occurs from southwestern Labrador and southern Quebec south to northern Georgia. In the west, var. eschscholzianum occurs from Alaska and Northwest Territory south through Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon to northern California.

It is found in wet soils in meadows, sunny streambanks, and open forests, from sea level in the north of the range, up to 1,600 m in the southeast and 2,500 m in the southwest

Description.—The large bright-green leaves of this plant make their way through the ground early in spring, followed later in the season by a stout, erect leafy stem, sometimes growing as tall as 6 feet. It is round and solid, pale green, closely surrounded by the sheathing bases of the leaves and unbranched except in the flowering head. The large leaves, the lower ones of which are from 6 to 12 inches in length and 3 to 6 inches in width, are hairy and pleated like a fan. The numerous greenish-yellow flowers are produced from May to July in rather open clusters. The plant is very poisonous……...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is extremely toxic, and is considered a pest plant by farmers with livestock. The species has acquired a large number of common names within its native range, including American False Hellebore, American White Hellebore, Bear Corn, Big Hellebore, Corn Lily, Devils Bite, Duck Retten, Indian Hellebore, Itch-weed, Itchweed, Poor Annie, Blue Hellebore, and Tickleweed.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant reaching 0.7–2 m tall, with a solid green stem. The leaves are spirally arranged, 10–35 cm long and 5–20 cm broad, elliptic to broad lanceolate ending in a short point, heavily ribbed and hairy on the underside. The flowers are numerous, produced in a large branched inflorescence 30–70 cm tall; each flower is 5–12 mm long, with six green to yellow-green tepals. The fruit is a capsule 1.5–3 cm long, which splits into three sections at maturity to release the numerous flat 8–10 mm diameter seeds. The plant reproduces through rhizome growth as well as seeds.

There are two varieties:
Veratrum viride var. viride. Eastern North America. Side branches of inflorescence erect or spreading.
Veratrum viride var. eschscholzianum (Roemer & Schultes) Breitung. Western North America. Side branches of inflorescence drooping.

The related western North American Veratrum californicum (White False Hellebore, Corn Lily) can be distinguished from sympatric var. eschscholzianum by its whiter flowers, with erect side branches of the inflorescence

Medicinal uses:
The plant is highly toxic, causing nausea and vomiting. If the poison is not evacuated, cold sweat and vertigo appears. Respiration slows, cardiac rhythm and blood pressure falls, eventually leading to death.

It is used externally by several Native American nations. Although is rarely ever used in modern herbalism due to its concentration of various alkaloids, it has been used in the past against high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat; a standardized extract of V. viride alkaloids known as alkavervir was used in the 1950s and 1960s as an antihypertensive.  The root contains even higher concentrations than the aerial parts.

Any use of this plant, especially internal use, should be carried out with great care and preferably only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.  A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of venereal disease. The roots have been grated then chewed and the juice swallowed as a treatment for colds. A poultice of the mashed raw root has been used as a treatment for rheumatism, boils, sores, cuts, swellings and burns. The dried and ground up root has been used as a dressing on bruises and sores. A poultice of the chewed root has been applied to rattlesnake bites to draw out the poison. The powdered root has been rubbed on the face to allay the pain of toothache.  A decoction of the root has been taken orally by both men and women as a contraceptive. A dose of one teaspoon of this decoction three times a day for three weeks is said to ensure permanent sterility in women.

The plant was used by some tribes to elect a new leader. All the candidates would eat the root, and the last to start vomiting would become the new leader.

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.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/herbhunters/falsehellebore.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veratrum_viride

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

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Herbs & Plants

Black Birch (Betula lenta)

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Betula lenta
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name: Betula lenta
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula
Subgenus:Betulenta
Species:B. lenta
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Fagales


Popular Name(s):Cherry birch, mahogany birch, mountain mahogany, spice birch, and sweet birch. Mountain Mahogany,

Parts Used: Inner bark, twigs & leaves
Flowers: April – May

Habitat: Black Birch is native to eastern North America. Forests or open woods, especially moist, north facing, protected slopes; in deep, rich, well-drained soils. Southern Quebec, southwest Maine to northern Georgia, Alabama; north to eastern Ohio.It is a species of birch native to eastern North America, from southern Maine west to southernmost Ontario and southern Michigan, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.

Description: Black Birch is a deciduous tree growing up to a height of 20 m. Its twigs, when scraped, have a strong scent of oil of wintergreen. The leaves are pointed, alternate, ovate, 5-10 cm in length and 4-8 cm in breadth. The male trees bear flowers about 3 inches long. Female catkins produce flowers about 1 inch long. It fruits are composed of numerous tiny winged seeds which are packed between the catkin bracts.

Medium-size tree with rounded crown and smooth, dark red to almost black bark. Broken twigs have wintergreen fragrance. Buds alternate, both side and end buds present, about 3/10 of an inch long, light brown, broadest near base and tapering to a point. Fruits are erect brown cones 1 to 1-1/2 inches long, containing many tiny, winged seeds. Fruits mature in late summer and early
fall. Cones persist into winter. Leaves oval, toothed, and up to 6 inches long.

The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 3-6 cm long, the male catkins pendulous, the female catkins erect. The fruit, maturing in fall, is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts.

click to see …>….(1)...(2)....(3)..…...(4).……….(5)....

Black Birch was used commercially in the past for production of oil of wintergreen before modern industrial synthesis; the tree’s name reflects this scent of the shoots.

The sap flows about a month later than maple sap, and much faster. The trees can be tapped in a similar fashion, but must be gathered about three times more often. Birch sap can be boiled the same as maple sap, but its syrup is stronger (like molasses).

The Sweet Birch‘s leaves serve as food for some lepidopteran caterpillars. See List of Lepidoptera which feed on Birches.

History: The black birch was widely used by American Indians, in bark tea for fevers, stomachaches, lung ailments; twig tea for fever. Essential oil (methyl salicylate) distilled from bark was used for rheumatism, gout, scrofulas, bladder infection, and neuralgia.

Harvest: Twigs, red inner bark, and bark of larger roots year round, but best in late winter and spring. Sap in early spring, 3 to 4 weeks later than Sugar Maple.Harvest during Spring (sap & inner bark); All Year (twigs).

Constituents: Essential oil (methyl salicylate).
Nutrients: Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and E. Calcium, chlorine, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and silicon.

Note: It has been recorded that during the civil war, the edible bark of Black Birch probably saved the lives of hundreds of confederate soldiers.

Edible Uses: Tea, flour.
Medicinal Properties & Uses: Black Birch has anthelmintic, astringent and diuretic properties.It is Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Astringent, Diuretic, Diaphoretic, Stimulant. A tea made from the inner bark is used as a mouthwash and in diarrhoea, rheumatism, gout and boils. It purifies the blood also.
Used in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and cholera. The natural properties are cleansing to the blood and it is used specifically for rheumatism, dropsy, gout, stones in the kidneys and bladder, and to expel worms.
To alleviate pain or sore muscles, the oil has been applied as a counterirritant. The essential oil was formerly produced in Appalachia. But now, methyl salicylate is produced synthetically, using menthol as the precursor.
The oil of Birch is applied to the skin for eczema and cutaneous diseases; the tea is effective when gargled for canker and mouth sores.
The cambium (the layer directly under the bark) is eaten in the spring, cut into strips like vermicelli. The bark, in the form of an infusion is used as a general stimulant and to promote sweating. As a decoction or syrup, it is used as a tonic for dysentery and is said to be useful in genito-urinary irritation. The flavor of wintergreen and birch bark, in the form of a tea, was popular with Native Americans and European settlers. The juice of the leaves once made a gargle for mouth sores. Throughout the centuries, the sap has been used in making medicinal wine and were made into a diuretic tea. Also an ingredient in skin lotions.

Preparation And Dosages:
Bark – Strong decoction, (1 to 2 ounces, up to 4 times a day).
Leaves – Standard infusion as bath or wash as needed.

Tincture: Inner bark – (1:2, in 60% alcohol), 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon.

Black Birch Tea:Steep twigs or fresh or dried inner bark in water, or preferably, birch sap. (Do not boil. Boiling removes volatile wintergreen essence.) Sweeten to taste.

Black Birch is also a wild food.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_lenta
http://www.indianspringherbs.com/BlackBirch_M.htm
http://www.herbsguide.net/black-birch.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Birch
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

 

 

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Herbs & Plants

Adam & Eve (Aplectrum hyemale)-Orchid

Botanical Name: Aplectrum hyemale
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
Subtribe: Corallorhizinae
Genus: Aplectrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Cymbidium hyemale (Muhl.)

Other Names: Adam & Eve Root, Puttyroot.

Habitat:
Habitat :
Aplectrum hyemale is native to the eastern United States and Canada, from Oklahoma east to the Carolinas and north to Minnesota, Ontario, Quebec and Massachusetts It grows in deep shade in the leaf litter of the forest floor. Woods and swamps. Moist, deciduous, upland to swampy forests from sea level to 1200 metres.

Parts Used: Root.

Description:  Aplectrum hyemale is a perennial  orchid plant, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).  This orchid is somewhat rare, since it prefers rich woodland slopes that have been undisturbed by timber activities or munching cattle.
Flower: Loose cluster of 8 to 20 greenish purple (sometimes yellow or white with purple tinge) flowers with two lips on 1 to 1-1/2 foot slender, leafless stalk; lower lip is white with purple spots, small lobe on each side and wavy in front. Leaf: Single oval basal leaf with white veins appears in fall and disappears after flowering; 4 to 6 inches long….click & see
It sends up a pretty, upright, ribbed leaf in the fall, and this remains through the winter, dying just as the plant is about to flower. The name “Adam & Eve” comes from the fact that the old root (Adam) gives rise to the new….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is hardy to zone 5. It is in leaf from October to May, in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. We rate it 1 out of 5 for usefulness...click & see

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

root (Eve), and then continues to hang around. The name “Puttyroot” comes from the fact that Native Americans used the glutinous matter derived from crushing the bulb of the plant to mend broken pottery and to fasten objects together.

Cultivation :
Needs to be grown in the shade and humus-rich soil of a woodland garden.

Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.

Plants have proved to be amenable to cultivation.

Propagation:

Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.

Division of the tubers as the flowers fade. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers.

Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally

Medicinal Properties: Analgesic; Pectoral; Poultice.

Uses: American Indians poulticed roots on boils. Root tea formerly used for bronchial troubles.

Analgesic; Pectoral; Poultice.

The roots are macerated to a paste and applied to boils or used to treat head pains,

A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of bronchial troubles.

The roots were given to children by some tribes of native North American Indians in order to endow the children with the gift of eloquence and to make them fat.

Other Uses
Adhesive.
A glue can be obtained from the tubers. The roots are bruised with a small addition of water, this gives a strong cement that is used for repairing broken pots, glass etc.
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.indianspringherbs.com/Adam_And_Eve.htm
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Aplectrum+hyemale

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