Herbs & Plants

Mollis’ Peon

Botanical Name:Paeonia officinalis
Common Name:  ‘Mollis’ Peony,  Common Peony.

Habitat: Native to S Europe: S France/ Switzerland/ N Italy/ Hungary/ Albania.

A Low to Mid-height perennial, hardy to Zone Z4 or colder. Low Maintenance in a proper site. Of Upright habit, forming colonies primarily by forming a slowly expanding Clump from rhizomes. Slow-growing and of very long lifespan. Height: to 14-24in.  Light required: sun to light shade. Soil: normal garden soil is indicated. Soft foliage with numerous narrowly elliptic leaflets. Large flowers are borne singly for a week shortly before the garden peonies bloom. Range of flower colour(s) includes: possibly white, shades of pink, sometimes red, but ours are more of a crimson. Seed pods turning brown when ripe, not particularily showy compared to other species. Some uses are: Borders, Rock Gardens.
Paeonia officinalis...plantPaeonia officinalis...flower

Medicinal Uses:
A plant named after Paeon, physician to the Greek gods, by Theophrastus (372-c. 287 B.C.) For centuries, it has had a large place in classical antiquity as well as in ancient and modern Chinese medicine. In the time of Hippocrates, it was used to treat epilepsy. Dioscorides (40-90 A.D.) wrote that the root of the plant provokes menstruation and that it could be used to expel the placenta following childbirth. The root of herbaceous peonies has been used in Chinese medicine for 1500 years for menstrual disorders and to relieve the symptoms of menopause. Currently in Chinese medicine, the skin of the roots of a white variety of tree peony is used as a sedative for its “yin” properties.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Columbine(Aquilegia canadensis)

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Close-up of flowers
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Botanical Name:Aquilegia canadensis
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Aquilegia
Species: A. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Common Name: Canadian or Canada columbine, Eastern red columbine, Wild columbine
Habitat: Rocky woods.  Avaible  from Ontario as far south as Georga.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 90cm in height (35inches).
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. . Each leaf is deeply lobed or divided.
Flowers: The flowers have 5 Regular Parts and are up to 5cm long (2 inches) and are up to 5cm wide (2 inches). They are red, orange and yellow. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into early summer. The flower hangs and the lower part is yellowish. The shape of the flower is very distinct.
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Grows easily in full sun to part shade. Tolerates a wide range of soils except heavy, poorly drained ones. Will grow in rocky, dry soil in shaded areas and on slopes.

Keep soils uniformly moist after bloom to prevent the foliage from dying back. If foliage deteriorates, cut plants to the ground. Fresh new foliage will emerge and look good all season.

Collect dried seed pods and sow them where you want more plants or simply let the plants self-sow.
Cultivation: The plant is easily propagated from seed and blooms the second year. It is relatively long lived in the garden. It grows well in shade, and in sun with proper moisture. The plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. The cultivar ‘Little Lanterns’ is half the height of the species.

Historical Lore: Young Native American men mixed the seeds with their smoking tobacco to give it a more pleasant aroma and this may have been considered a love charm. It was considered to possess a persuasive power and was so used in council meetings.

Constituents:The root contains aquilegunine, berberine, magnoflorine and other alkaloids.

Medical Properities: —As stated before the medical properties of the plant have never been investigated. They are no doubt analogous to the Aquilegia vulgaris of Europe, which has been used in cutaneous diseases and in jaundice. It is said to be a “diuretic, emmenagogue sudorific, antiscorbutic and aperitive. The seeds are acrid and are taken in vinous infusions for jaundice.”

Medical Uses: Preparations of this plant are used as an astringent, analgesic, and a diuretic. American Indians used crushed seeds to relieve headaches.

The root tea or chewed root and sometimes the leaves, has been used as a diuretic and to treat diarrhea and other stomach troubles.

Warning: The plant could be toxic if taken in large amounts especially to children.(as Aquilegia canadensis contains a cyanogenic glycoside, which releases poisonous hydrogen cyanide when the plant is damaged.)

Similar Species: European Columbine (A. vulgaris) which has shorter spurs on the flowers which may be blue, violet, white or pink has become naturalized in some areas.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Belamcanda Chinensis

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Botanical Name:Belamcanda chinensis (L.) DC.
syn. Belamcanda punctata Moench, Gemmingia chinensis (L.) Kuntze, Iris chinensis Curtis, Ixia chinensis L., Morea chinensis, Pardanthus chinensis (L.) Ker Gawl.)
Common Name:Blackberry lily, Leopard flower, Leopard lily
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Belamcanda
Species: B. chinensis

Parts Used: Rhizomes
Habitat: Native to eastern Russia, China and Japan.


The leopard lily is a flowering perennial of Chinese origin and is locally used in Chinese villages for its medicinal values. Iris-like herb; leaves in fans on branching stems; flowers 6-parted, yellow to orange-red, spotted with maroon or purple; fruit a black berry.

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The plant grows 60-90 cm tall in full sun and is often found blanketing hill sides, the flowers can range form red to yellow to orange or mixed and bloom in summer to early autumn (fall).

Regardless of its correct botanical name, this plant is very similar in appearance to an iris plant, with flat, sword-like leaves arranged in a fan on a small tuberous rhizome. The foliage grows to 18” tall and the plants produce many offsets. The flowers, however, are very different in appearance from typical iris flowers. They are borne on 2-3 foot tall slender stems in loose, branched spikes. The tall flower stems sometimes flop or are blown over in strong winds, so they may benefit from staking. The flowers are 2” wide with 6 flaring petals of equal size. Flower color in the species ranges from yellow to orange, with darker (often crimson) speckles on the petals. Individual blooms are short-lived – generally lasting only a day – but the plants produce a succession of flowers over a period of several weeks in summer.

The flowers are followed by pear-shaped seed capsules that fade from green to tan. These eventually open to reveal the round, shiny black seeds arranged in clusters resembling large blackberries that give rise to the common name. The seeds remain on the stalks for several months. When left standing, the seed heads offer good winter interest, especially when viewed against a backdrop of snow. The seed heads are also a unique addition to dried flower arrangements.

Grow blackberry lily in full sun or light shade. It prefers well-drained, moderately fertile loamy soil, but does just fine in sandy or clay soils. It will be shorter when grown in poor, dry soil, and taller if the soil is rich and moist. Deadhead to prolong blooming (and prevent self-seeding). Even in colder climates it does not need winter protection.

The flowers and the seed heads are interesting, but not particularly showy so this species is best planted in a location where they can be appreciated up close. Before the plants begin flowering they are not especially eye-catching, so you may wish to mix it with other plants that can attract attention until the blackberry lily begins flowering. It is suitable for perennial borders, in containers, and for naturalizing in an informal area.

This perennial plant is easily grown from seed, and will flower the first season if started early enough. Sow the seed ¼” deep in warm soil (indoors in pots 6-8 weeks before planting outside or in the garden after the danger of frost has passed). Keep the seedbed evenly moist and germination should occur in 1-2 weeks. Seedlings are easily transplanted. This species can also be propagated by division in spring or early autumn.

Bitter and acrid.
Aperient and resolvent.
Expectorant, deobstruant, carminative.

Medicinal Uses
*Rhizomes used as expectorant.
*Used for purifying the blood, for liver nad pulmonary complaints.
*In traditional Chinese medicine, used for throat conditions, cough, wheezing, bronchitis and mumps.

• New flavone and isoflavone glycoside from Belmacanda chinensis
• Antiproliferative / Anticancer: Phenolic constituents of rhizomes of the Thai medicinal plant with proliferative activity for two breast cancer lines – Three new compounds were identified– belalloside A, belalloside B and belamphenone along with other compounds resveratrol, iriflophenone, irisflorentine, tectoridin, among the 13 others. Results showed to isolates to have proliferation stimulatory activity against human breast cancer cell lines..
• Antifungal: A study on the antifungal activity of Belamcanda chinensis isolated a compound identical to tectorigenin (5,7-dihydroxy-3-(4-hydroxy phenyl)-6-methoxy-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one). This compound showed marked antifungal activity against dermatophytes of the genera Trichophyton.

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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.


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Herbs & Plants

Good King Henry

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Botanical Name: Chenopodium Bonus Henricus
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Tribe: Anserineae
Genus: Blitum
Species: B. bonus-henricus
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: English Mercury. Mercury Goosefoot.Poor-man’s asparagus,Lincolnshire Spinach, Allgood. Tola Bona. Smearwort. Fat Hen.
(German) Fette Henne.

Common Names:  Good-King-Henry, Poor-man’s Asparagus, Perennial Goosefoot, Lincolnshire Spinach, Markery, English mercury, or mercury goosefoot
Part Used: Herb.

Part of plant consumed: Leaves and young stems.
Habitat: Good King Henry grows abundantly in waste places near villages, having formerly been cultivated as a garden pot-herb.Lincolnshire Spinach is a species of goosefoot which is native to much of central and southern Europe.

Description:Good King Henry is an annual or perennial plant growing up to 400–800 mm tall. The leaves are 50–100 mm long and broad, triangular to diamond-shaped, with a pair of broad pointed lobes near the base, with a slightly waxy, succulent texture. The flowers are produced in a tall, nearly leafless spike 100–300 mm long; each flower is very small (3–5 mm diameter), green, with five sepals. The seeds are reddish-green, 2–3 mm diameter.

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It is a dark-green, succulent plant, about 2 feet, high, rising from a stout, fleshy, branching root-stock, with large, thickish, arrow-shaped leaves and tiny yellowish-green flowers in numerous close spikes, 1 to 2 inches long, both terminal and arising from the axils of the leaves. The fruit is bladder-like, containing a single seed.

The leaves used to be boiled in broth, but were principally gathered, when young and tender, and cooked as a pot-herb. In Lincolnshire, they are still eaten in place of spinach. Thirty years ago, this Goosefoot was regularly grown as a vegetable in Suffolk, Lincolnshire, and other eastern counties and was preferred to the Garden Spinach, its flavour being somewhat similar, but less pronounced. In common with several other closely allied plants, it was sometimes called ‘Blite’ (from the Greek, bliton, insipid), Evelyn says in his Acetaria, ‘it is well-named being insipid enough.’ Nevertheless, it is a very wholesome vegetable. If grown on rich soil, the young shoots, when as thick as a lead pencil, may be cut when 5 inches in height, peeled and boiled and eaten as Asparagus. They are gently laxative.

Cultivation: Good King Henry is well worth cultivating. Being a perennial, it will continue to produce for a number of years, being best grown on a deep loamy soil. The ground should be rich, well drained, and deeply dug. Plants should be put in about April, 1 foot apart each way, or seeds may be sown in drills at the same distance. During the first year, the plants should be allowed to establish themselves, but after that, both shoots and leaves may be cut or picked, always leaving enough to maintain the plant in health. Manure water is of great assistance in dry weather, or a dressing of 1 OZ. of nitrate of soda, or sulphate of ammonia may be given.

Good King Henry has been grown as a vegetable in cottage gardens for hundreds of years, although this dual-purpose vegetable is now rarely grown and the species is more often considered a weed.

It should be planted in a fertile, sunny spot which is free from perennial weeds. Seeds should be sown in April in drills 1 cm deep and 50 cm apart. The seedlings should then be thinned to 10–20 cm. Good King Henry does not respond well to transplantation.

Typically, very little is produced in the first season. The plants should be regularly weeded and well watered. Harvesting should be moderate, with just a few leaves at a time collected from each plant.

The foliage can be cut in autumn, and a mulch, such as leaf mould or well-rotted compost applied to the plot. Cropping can begin in spring. Some of the new shoots can be cut as they appear (usually from mid spring to early summer) and cooked like asparagus. All cutting should then cease so that shoots are allowed to develop. The succulent triangular leaves are picked a few at a time until the end of August and cooked like spinach.

As with many of the wild plants, it does not always adapt itself to a change of soil when transplanted from its usual habitat and success is more often ensured when grown from seed.

Medicinal Uses:
Detersive and diuretic, the herb ought to have a place in vulnerary decoctions and fomentations. The young shoots, the succeeding leaves and the flowery tops are fit for kitchen purposes. It is good for scurvy and provokes urine. Outwardly it is much used in clysters, and a cataplasm of the leaves helps the pain of the gout.

The plant is also known as Mercury Goosefoot, English Mercury and Marquery (to distinguish it from the French Mercury), because of its excellent remedial qualities in indigestion, hence the proverb: ‘Be thou sick or whole, put Mercury in thy Koole.’

The name ‘Smear-wort’ refers to its use in ointment. Poultices made of the leaves were used to cleanse and heal chronic sores, which, Gerard states, ‘they do scour and mundify.’

The leaf is a source of iron, vitamins and minerals.  A poultice and ointment cleanses and heals skin sores.  Also in the preparation of an ointment for painful joints.  The plant was recommended for indigestion and as a laxative and a diuretic.  Used in a veterinary cough remedy for sheep. Rich in iron as well as vitamin C.

Modern uses: The leaves can be used externally in compresses to soothe aching and painful joints, but it is not considered to be of much value internally. Its main use has always been as a vegetable to be used as an alternative to Spinach.

The roots were given to sheep as a remedy for cough and the seeds have found employment in the manufacture of shagreen.

The plant is said to have been used in Germany for fattening poultry and was called there Fette Henne, of which one of its popular names, Fat Hen, is the translation.

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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