Herbs & Plants

Erythraea chilensis

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Botanical  Name :Erythraea chilensis
Family:         Gentianaceae

Synonyms:Centaurium [chilensis],Erythraea stricta
Common names: Canchalagua (Webster),

 Indian name:   “MAQUI”

Habitat :Erythraea chilensis is  native to Chile (Patagonia area in southern Chile, South America)

Erythraea  chilensis is a Small herbaceous plant with branched stems. It grows  as  an evergreen bush that reaches a height of about 4 meters. The   berry is just 4 mm in diameter. It has a dry flavor and contains four seeds., which is also known as Maqui ( Aristotelia chilensis ).

Fls. yellow or pink. Widely used in Chile as a mild tonic.

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Medicinal Uses:
Acts as a stimulant, tonic, bitter. Useful in dyspepsia, indigestion.  An infusion may be made of 1 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water.

In southern Chile, a wild fruit grows which boosts the immune system, contains anti-inflammatory properties, is effective to control blood sugar and has higher levels of antioxidants than any other berry fruit.

Traditional uses:
Maqui’s therapeutic qualities have been known for centuries to the Mapuches, indigenous people who have traditionally lived in the southern part of Chile. Besides eating the fruit, they also consumed fresh and fermented Maqui juice. They used it to treat stomach ailments, sore throats or wounds, and also as an analgesic and fever reducer, and as a natural colorant. Mapuches also used dry leaves infusions or directly powdered dry leaves to treat wounds. Fresh leaves infusions were used to alleviate feverish conditions, diarrhea, dysentery, indigestion, to alleviate sore throat symptoms, tonsil inflammation, and mouth ulcers. The juice of fresh leaves was also drank or used as ointment topically.
The research team at Pharmacology and Morphophysiology Institute, of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of Universidad Austral de Chile, one of the partners of Maqui New Life developing MAQUISELECT®/DELPHINOL®, is conducting ongoing research that started three years ago. Their findings have proven the exceptional properties of Maqui, revealing their chemical origin and identifying other properties which were not known to the Mapuches. MAQUISELECT®/DELPHINOL® extract is obtained from the wild Maqui fruit, gathered in southern Chile. It has a standardized content of anthocyanins (35% NLT) and an astonishing level of delphinidins (25% NLT), the highest among all food ingredients which are currently available.

Note :

Other Species–
Erythraea acaulis, a native of Southern Algeria, has roots that yield a yellow dye.

Sabatia angularis, or American Centaury, is a simple bitter used as a tonic and antiperiodic, in doses of 1 drachm of fluid extract or decoction of the whole plant. It has been found to contain a small proportion of Erythrocentaurin. The root of S. Elliottii is used in a similar manner in the south-eastern United States, and the whole plant of S. campestris in the south-western. S. Elliottii is known as the Quinine Flower, its properties resembling quinine.

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

Ajuga chamaepitys

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Botanical Name :Ajuga chamaepitys
Family: Lamiaceae
Species: A. chamaepitys
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

 Common Names:  Ground Pine, Yellow bugle

Habitat: Ajuga chamaepitys is native to CentraL and souther Europe, including Britain, to N. Africa and E. Asia. It grows in very local in sandy and chalky arable fields and in open habitats in chalky grassland in southeastern England.

Description: A. chamaepitys is a small herbaceous perennial that reaches 10–40 cm in height. The leaves have an opposite arrangement. It’s flowering season is generally in late spring. Ground pine is a plant whose richness has been severely reduced by changes to downland farming. At first sight, A. chamaepitys looks like a tiny pine tree with a reddish purple four-cornered hairy stem. The leaves can get up to 4 cm long, and the leaves are divided into three linear lobes which, when crushed, has a smell similar to pine needles. Ground pine sheds its shiny black seeds close to the parent plant and the seeds can remain alive in the soil for up to 50 years. click to see…………..(01)………...(1).……..(2)...

Both in foliage and blossom it is very unlike its near relative, the Common Bugle, forming a bushy, herbaceous plant, 3 to 6 inches high, the four-cornered stem, hairy and viscid, generally purplish red, being much branched and densely leafy. Except the lowermost leaves, which are lanceshaped and almost undivided, each leaf is divided almost to its base into three very long, narrow segments, and the leaves being so closely packed together, the general appearance is not altogether unlike the long, needle-like foliage of the pine, hence the plant has received a second name- Ground Pine. The flowers are placed singly in the axils of leaf-like bracts and have bright yellow corollas, the lower lip spotted with red. They are in bloom during May and June. The whole plant is very hairy, with stiff hairs, which consist of a few long joints. It has a highly aromatic and turpentiny odour and taste.

Thrives in a poor dry soil in full sun. Prefers a humus-rich moisture-retentive soil. Plants are usually annual, but are sometimes short-lived perennials. The whole plant smells of pine trees when crushed.

Seed – sow spring in situ. Germination can be erratic

Medicinal Uses: A. chamaepitys has stimulant, diuretic and emmenagogue action and is considered by herbalists to form a good remedy for gout and rheumatism and also to be useful in female disorders. Ground pine is a plant well known to Tudor herbalists who exploited the resins contained within the leaves. The herb was formerly regarded almost as a specific in gouty and rheumatic affections. The plant leaves were dried and reduced to powder. It formed an ingredient of the once famous gout remedy, Portland Powder. It was composed of the leaves of A. Chamaepitys, which has a slightly turpentine-like smell and a rough taste, with properties described as being similar to diluted alcohol.

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

Aralia racemosa

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Botanical Name :Aralia racemosa
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species: A. racemosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common names: American spikenard, Life-of-man, Petty morel

Habitat : Aralia racemosa   is native to   Eastern N. America – Quebec to Georgia, west to Kansas and Minnesota.  It grows in rich woodlands and thickets.

Descriptio:  The much-branched stem grows from 3 to 6 feet high. Very large leaves, consisting of thin oval heart-shaped, double saw-toothed leaflets. Small greenish flowers in many clusters – blooming later than Aralia medicaulis (for which it is often substituted), July to August. Has roundish red-brown berries going dark purple. Root-stock thick and large, spicy and aromatic. Fracture of cortex short, of the wood also short and fibrous. Odour aromatic, taste mucilaginous, pungent and slightly acrid. Transverse section of root shows thick bark, several zones containing oil. The plant grows freely in the author’s garden.

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An easily grown plant, succeeding in sun or part shade in any fertile soil. Prefers a good deep loam and a semi-shady position. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are hardier when grown in poorer soils. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. Grows well by water.
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 – 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
Young shoot tips – cooked. Used as a potherb or as a flavouring in soups. Root – cooked. Large and spicy, it is used in soups. Pleasantly aromatic, imparting a liquorice-like flavour. A substitute for sarsaparilla (Smilax spp.), it is also used in making ‘root beer’. Fruit – raw or cooked. Pleasant and wholesome to eat. They can be made into a jelly. The fruit is about 4mm in diameter.

Constituent: Volatile oil, resin, tannin, etc.

Medicinal Action and Use: Stimulant, diaphoretic, alterative for syphilitic, cutaneous and rheumatic cases, and used in same manner and dosage as genuine Sarsaparilla. Much used also for pulmonary affections, and enters into the compound syrup of Spikenard. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion of 1/2 OZ. to a pint of water in wineglassful doses.

American spikenard is a sweet pungent tonic herb that is often used in modern herbalism where it acts as an alterative. It had a wide range of traditional uses amongst the North American Indians and was at one time widely used as a substitute for the tropical medicinal herb sarsaparilla.  The root is alterative, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and stimulant. The herb encourages sweating, is stimulating and detoxifying and so is used internally in the treatment of pulmonary diseases, asthma, rheumatism etc. Externally it is used as a poultice in treating rheumatism and skin problems such as eczema. The root is collected in late summer and the autumn and dried for later use. A drink made from the pulverised roots is used as a cough treatment. A poultice made from the roots and/or the fruit is applied to sores, burns, itchy skin, ulcers, swellings 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.


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Herbs & Plants

Atriplex patula

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Botanical Name :Atriplex patula
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Genus: Atriplex
Species: A. patula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonym: Spreading Orache.

Common Names:Spear Saltbush; Common Orache; Spear Orach; Spreading Orach

Habitat :
Atriplex patula is native to  most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia. It grows on waste and arable land near the coast, it is usually found on clays and heavy ground.

Atriplex patula is a ruderal, circumboreal species of annual herbaceous plants in the genus Atriplex naturalized in many temperate regions.
The leaves are triangular in outline, rather narrow, the lower ones in opposite pairs. The very small, green flowers are in dense clusters.
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The whole plant is more or less covered with a powdery meal, often tinged red. It is distinguished from the Goosefoot genus Chenopodium, by the solitary seeds being enclosed between two triangular leaf-like valves.

‘These are to be gathered when just ripe for if suffered to stand longer, they lose part of their virtue. A pound of these bruised, and put into three quarts of spirit, of moderate strength, after standing six weeks, afford a light and not unpleasant tincture; a tablespoonful of which, taken in a cup of water-gruel, has the same effect as a dose of ipecacuanha, only that its operation is milder and does not bind the bowels afterwards…. It cures headaches, wandering pains, and the first attacks of rheumatism.

Succeeds in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil. Prefers a rich soil. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils.

Seed – sow April/May in situ. Germination is usually rapid.

Edible uses:
Young leaves – raw or cooked as a spinach substitute. A fairly bland flavour, a few leaves of stronger-flavoured plants can be added to enhance the taste[7]. Seed – ground and mixed with cornmeal or used to thicken soups etc. Small and very fiddly to harvest and use

Medicinal uses:
The seeds, harvested when just ripe, are said to be as efficacious as ipecacuanha as a laxative.

Known Hazards: Most reports say that no member of this genus contains any toxins and that all have more or less edible leaves. However, one report says that if very large quantities are eaten they can cause photosensitivity. If plants are grown with artificial fertilizers they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves.

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

Artemisia keiskeana


Botanical Name:Artemisia keiskeana
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Genus: Artemisia
Tribe: Anthemideae

Other Names :An Lu,Wormwood Keyzke

Habitat : Prevalent in E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea and eastern Russia the Far East (south of the Amur Region, Maritime Territory).  Growing on slopes of hills, forests, occasionally on the slopes, on the ledges of the rocks.

Artemisia keiskeana is a perennial herbaceous plant 20-50 cm rhizome robust, branched, with creeping stems.  Part of the stems is creeping, rooting tip, the rest-ascending, leafy, erect, pubescent, up almost naked.  Leaves are simple, oval in outline, green top, bottom, light green, the lower petiolate, upper sessile, base cuneate, with three – seven broadly sharp blades or in the upper sessile leaves with three short, sharp teeth.  Baskets on long stalks almost spherical, in short racemes; achene plano-convex, ovoid, dark brown, smooth.  It is in flower from Aug to November, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

click to see the pictures

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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 dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

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 many parts of this country. This species is closely related to A. dracunculus. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a warm sunny dry position. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse, making sure that the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the young shoots when about10 – 15cm long, pot up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse or cold frame and plant them out when well rooted. Very easy.

Edible Uses: Leaves are edible.Young leaves and shoot tips – cooked. The leaves contain about 5.6% protein, 1.2% fat, 9.5% carbohydrate, 2.6% ash.

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Leaves (Fresh weight)
•0 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 5.6g; Fat: 1.2g; Carbohydrate: 9.5g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 2.6g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Medicinal Uses:
The seeds have a reputation for correcting sexual impotence in men and amenorrhea in women.  An infusion of the seeds also is used for post-partum pain.

Decoction of seeds in the traditional Tibetan medicine used for impotence, amenorrhea, postpartum pain, with bruises,

prophylactically in abscess. Experiments have revealed cholagogue properties of the plant.

Other  Uses:The stalks are used for thatching.

Known Hazards:Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.

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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