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Herbs & Plants

Thapsia garganica

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Botanical Name : Thapsia garganica
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Thapsia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonym: Drias, Thapsia decussata.

Common Name : Drias Plant ,Deadly carrots

Habitat :Thapsia garganica is native to EuropeMediterranean. It grows in rocky places, fields and sunny slopes.
Description:
Thapsia garganica is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing 50 to 200 cm high. The inflorescences are large, regularly distributed umbels. The seeds have four wings, and are the main characteristic of the genus, which is distributed in the Mediterranean, on the Iberian peninsula, and North Africa. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species, it probably requires a well drained light fertile soil in a sunny position. One report says that it is not hardy in Britain requiring greenhouse or half-hardy treatment. We have grown it in the past in Cornwall, it survived 3 winters in a cold greenhouse with us before succumbing to slugs.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. 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. Root cuttings.

Medicinal Uses:

Diuretic; Purgative.

The root is diuretic, emetic and purgative. A resin is extracted with alcohol from the bark of the root. The plant has been considered specific in treating pain, though caution is advised since it is poisonous to some mammals. The plant is also strongly rubefacient, producing blisters and intense itching.

Other Uses:…Resin……Yields a resin that is used in plasters. No further details are given.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thapsia_(plant)
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Thapsia+garganica

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Herbs & Plants

Masterwort

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Botanical Name: Imperatoria ostruthium
Family:
Apiaceae
Genus:
Peucedanum
Species:
P. ostruthium
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Apiales

Common Name: Masterwort

Habitat :Masterwort is native to the mountains of Central and Southern Europe, including the Carpathians, Alps, northern Apennines, Massif Central and isolated occurrences in the Iberian Peninsula. It has, however, been widely introduced and cultivated and its native range is therefore not entirely clear.It grows in woodland, damp fields, river banks and mountain meadows.
Description:
Masterwort is a smooth, perennial plant, the stout, furrowed stem growing 2 to 3 feet high. The dark-green leaves, which somewhat resemble those of Angelica, are on very long foot-stalks and are divided into `three leaflets, each of which is often again sub-divided into three. The umbels of flowers are large and many-rayed, the corollas white; the fruit has very broad wings…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position. Dislikes shade. This report contradicts the report that this plant grows wild in woodlands. Masterwort was at one time cultivated as a pot herb and for medicinal purposes, though it has now fallen into virtual disuse. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden.

Propagation:
Seed – It is suggested to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – cooked. Used as a potherb or as a flavouring. The aromatic roots can be used as a flavouring. They are said to taste hotter than pepper. A particularly popular drink is made from the fermented roots.

Part Used in medicine: The Root.

Chemical constituents:
The plant is a source of coumarins, including oxypeucedanin, ostruthol, imperatorin, osthole, isoimperatorin and ostruthin.

Medicinal Uses:
Stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative; of use in asthma, dyspepsia, menstrual complaints.
Masterwort is little used in modern herbalism, but it may well be a herb that bears further investigation. It was held in high regard in the Middle Ages where it was especially valued for its ability to resolve all flatulence in the body and stimulate the flow of urine and menstruation. It was also used in treating rheumatic conditions, shortness of breath, kidney and bladder stones, water retention and wounds. The root is antispasmodic, aromatic, bitter, strongly carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant and stomachic. It is of use in the treatment of asthma, dyspepsia and menstrual complaints, an infusion helps to relieve migraine. The root is gathered in the spring or autumn and dried for later use. An essential oil from the plant has a euphoric and odontalgic effect. Used externally, it relieves skin irritation. When used externally, the plant or the extracted essential oil can cause an allergic reaction to sunlight. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. No details of its applications are given.
Known Hazards: Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. It is also said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Imperatoria+ostruthium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/master22.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peucedanum_ostruthium

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Herbs & Plants

Antirrhinum

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Botanical Name :Antirrhinum
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Antirrhinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
Order: Lamiales

Common Names :snapdragons or dragon flowers

Habitat :Antirrhinum  resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed. They are   native to rocky areas of Europe, the United States, and North Africa

Description:
Snapdragons are often considered as cold-season annual plants and do best in full or partial sun, in well drained soil (although they do require regular watering. They are classified commercially as a range of heights: dwarf (6-8 inches), medium (15-30 inches) and tall (30-48 inches).

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Snapdragon is a typical example of incomplete dominance by the red allele with the anthocyanin pigment. Any cross between red-flowered and white-flowered snapdragons, give an intermediate and heterozygous phenotype with pink flowers, that carries both the dominant and recessive alleles.

Antirrhinum used to be treated within the family Scrophulariaceae, but studies of DNA sequences have led to its inclusion in a vastly enlarged family Plantaginaceae. The taxonomy of this genus is unresolved at present. At one extreme, the USDA Plants Database recognises only the Old World species of sect. Antirrhinum in the genus, listing only A. majus (the garden snapdragon, the only species in the section naturalised in North America).[3] At the other, Thompson (1988) places 36 species in the genus; many modern botanists accept this circumscription. New species also continue to be discovered (see e.g. Romo et al., 1995).

Recent research in the molecular systematics of this group, and related species, by Oyama and Baum (2004), has confirmed that the genus as described by Thompson is monophyletic, provided that one species (A. cyathiferum) is removed to a separate genus, and two others (previously listed as Mohavea confertiflora and M. breviflora) are included. The species list at the right follows these conclusions. It is widely agreed that this broad group should be subdivided into three or four subgroups, but the level at which this should be done, and exactly which species should be grouped together, remain unclear. Some authors continue to follow Thompson in using a large genus Antirrhinum, which is then divided into several sections; others treat Thompson’s genus as a tribe or subtribe, and divide it into several genera.

If the broad circumscription is accepted, its sections are as follows:

*Section Antirrhinum: about 20 Old World species of perennial plants, the type Antirrhinum majus, mostly native to the western Mediterranean region with a focus on the Iberian Peninsula.

*Section Orontium: two to six species, also Mediterranean. The species in this section, including the type Lesser Snapdragon A. orontium, are often treated in the genus Misopates.

*Section Saerorhinum: about 16 New World species, mostly annual plants and mostly native to California, though species are found from Oregon to Baja California Sur and as far east as Utah. Like other authors, Thompson placed A. cyathiferum in this section, but Oyama and Baum, following earlier authors, suggest that it should be reclassified in genus Pseudorontium, while Mohavea confertiflora and M. breviflora should be included. Some authors classify the species in this section into the genera Sairocarpus, Howelliella and Neogaerrhinum.

The Garden Snapdragon is an important garden plant; cultivars of this species have showy white, crimson, or yellow bilabiate flowers. It is also important as a model organism in botanical research, and its genome has been studied in detail.

While Antirrhinum majus is the plant that is usually meant of the word “snapdragon” if used on its own, many other species in the genus, and in the family Scrophulariaceae more widely, have common names that include the word “snapdragon”.

Several species of Antirrhinum are self-incompatible, meaning that a plant cannot be fertilised by its own pollen. Self-incompatibility in the genus has been studied since the early 1900s. Self-incompatibility in Antirrhinum species is controlled gametophytically and shares many important features with self-incompatibility systems in Rosaceae and Solanaceae.

Medicinal Action and Uses:  The plant has bitter and stimulant properties, and the leaves of this and several allied species have been employed on the Continent in cataplasms to tumours and ulcers.Preparations made from leaves and flowers are used to reduce fever and inflammation. In a poultice, it be applied to the body surface to treat burns, infections and hemorrhoids.

It was valued in olden times like the Toadflax as a preservative against witchcraft.

The numerous seeds yield a fixed oil by expression, said to be little inferior to olive oil, for the sake of which it has been cultivated in Russia.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antirrhinum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/snapdr58.html

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Herbs & Plants

Ceratonia siliqua

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Botanical Name :Ceratonia siliqua
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Ceratonia
Species: C. siliqua
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names:  carob tree, St John’s-bread, Locust Bean

Habitat  :Ceratonia siliqua is native to the Mediterranean region including Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the larger Mediterranean islands; to the Levant and Middle-East of Western Asia into Iran; and to the Canary Islands and Macaronesia. It grows in the  rocky places near the sea shore.

Description:
The Ceratonia siliqua tree grows up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall. The crown is broad and semi-spherical, supported by a thick trunk with brown rough bark and sturdy branches. Leaves are 10 to 20 centimetres (3.9 to 7.9 in) long, alternate, pinnate, and may or may not have a terminal leaflet. It is frost-tolerant.

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Most carob trees are dioecious. The trees blossom in autumn. The flowers are small and numerous, spirally arranged along the inflorescence axis in catkin-like racemes borne on spurs from old wood and even on the trunk (cauliflory); they are pollinated by both wind and insects. Male flowers produce a characteristic odour, resembling semen.

The fruit is a pod that can be elongated, compressed, straight or curved, and thickened at the sutures. The pods take a full year to develop and ripen. The ripe pods eventually fall to the ground and are eaten by various mammals, thereby dispersing the seed.

The seeds of Ceratonia siliqua contains leucodelphinidin, a colourless chemical compound

Cultivation:
Ceratonia siliqua is widely cultivated in the horticultural nursery industry as an ornamental plant for planting in Mediterranean climate and other temperate regions around the world, as its popularity in California and Hawaii shows. The plant develops a sculpted trunk and ornamental tree form when ‘limbed up’ as it matures, otherwise it is used as a dense and large screening hedge. When not grown for legume harvests the plant is very drought tolerant and part of ‘xeriscape’ landscape design for gardens, parks, and public municipal and commercial landscapes.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing. If the seed has not swollen then give it another soaking in warm water until it does swell up. Sow in a greenhouse in April[200]. Germination should take place within 2 months. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Edible Uses:
Carob consumed by humans is the dried (and sometimes roasted) pod, and not the ‘nuts’ or seeds. Carob is mildly sweet and is used in powdered, chip, or syrup form as an ingredient in cakes and cookies, and as a substitute for chocolate.

Chocolate contains theobromine, which is poisonous to some mammals, but carob does not, and is used to make chocolate-flavored treats for dogs.

The seeds, also known as locust beans, are used as animal feed, and are the source of locust bean gum — a food thickening agent. Crushed pods may be used to make a beverage; compote, liqueur, and syrup are made from carob in Turkey, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Sicily. Several studies suggest that carob may aid in treating diarrhea in infants.[13] In Libya, carob syrup (there called rub) is used as a complement to Asida. The so-called carob syrup made in Peru is actually from the fruit of the Prosopis nigra tree.

Carob is rich in sugars – Sucrose = 531g ± 93 g/kg dry weight for cultivated varieties and 437 ± 77 g/kg in wild type varieties. Fructose and glucose levels do not differ between cultivated and wild type carob

Carob is a healthy substitute for  chocolate that is lower in calories. Roasted carob is naturally sweeter, (or not as bitter), as unsweetened chocolate, so it can be made palatable with less added sugar in recipes. Carob has a number of advantages over chocolate: it is hypoallergenic, and hypoglycemic. 55 The true trick to enjoying carob is to not expect it to taste exactly like chocolate,(and be forever disappointed), but to learn to appreciate carob for its own unique taste.

Traditional uses:
Carob was eaten in Ancient Egypt. Carob juice drinks are traditionally drunk during the Islamic month of Ramadan. It was also a common sweetener and was used in the hieroglyph for “sweet” (nedjem). Dried carob fruit is traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat. Also it is believed to be an aphrodisiac.

In Cyprus, carob syrup is known as Cyprus’s black gold, and is widely exported.

In Malta, a syrup (?ulepp tal-?arrub) is made out of carob pods. This is a traditional medicine for coughs and sore throat. A traditional sweet, eaten during Lent and Good Friday, is also made from carob pods in Malta. However, carob pods were mainly used as animal fodder in the Maltese Islands, apart from times of famine or war when they formed part of the diet of many Maltese.

In the Iberian Peninsula, carob pods were used mainly as animal fodder, especially to feed donkeys.

Carob pods were an important source of sugar before sugarcane and sugar beets became widely available.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Aggressive surface roots possible. Requires a very sunny position in any well-drained moderately fertile soil[200]. Does well in calcareous, gravelly or rocky soils. Tolerates salt laden air. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.2 to 8.6. The tree is very drought resistant, thriving even under arid conditions, the roots penetrating deep into the soil to find moisture. This species is not very hardy in Britain but it succeeds outdoors in favoured areas of S. Cornwall[1], tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c when in a suitable position. 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. The carob is frequently cultivated in warm temperate zones for its edible seed and seed pods. Mature trees in a suitable environment can yield up to 400 kilos of seedpods annually. There are named varieties with thicker pods. Seeds are unlikely to be produced in Britain since the tree is so near (if not beyond) the limits of its cultivation. The seed is very uniform in size and weight, it was the original ‘carat’ weight of jewellers. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Special Features:Edible, Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing. If the seed has not swollen then give it another soaking in warm water until it does swell up. Sow in a greenhouse in April[200]. Germination should take place within 2 months. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Medicinal  Uses::
Parts Used: Seed Pod
Constituents:  arginine, benzoic-acid , gallic-acid , glucose , pectin ,starch, sucrose ,tannin,tocopherol,tyrosine

Antidiarrhoeal;  Antiemetic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Emollient;  Purgative.

The pulp in the seedpods of carob is very nutritious and, due to its high sugar content, sweet-tasting and mildly laxative. However, the pulp in the pods is also astringent and, used in a decoction, will treat diarrhoea and gently help to cleanse and also relieve irritation within the gut. Whilst these appear to be contradictory effects, carob is an example of how the body responds to herbal medicines in different ways, according to how the herb is prepared and according to the specific medical problem. The seedpods are also used in the treatment of coughs. A flour made from the ripe seedpods is demulcent and emollient. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea.   The seed husks are astringent and purgative. The bark is strongly astringent. A decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea.

Other Uses:  A flour made from the seedpods is used in the cosmetic industry to make face-packs. Tannin is obtained from the bark. Wood – hard, lustrous. Highly valued by turners, it is also used for marquetry and walking stick.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratonia_siliqua
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ceratonia+siliqua
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail462.php

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