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Herbs & Plants

Pedicularis palustris

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Botanical Name : Pedicularis palustris
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Pedicularis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Tribes: Pedicularideae
Species: Pedicularis palustris

Common Names: Lousewort, Marsh, English name: Red Rattle and U.S. name: Red Rattle, Name also: European Purple Lousewort (USA)

Vernacular names:
English: Marsh Lousewort ceština: Všivec bahenní dansk: Eng-Troldurt Deutsch: Sumpf-Läusekraut español: Gallaritos eesti: Soo-kuuskjalg suomi: Luhtakuusio français: Pediculaire des marais, Tartarie rouge hornjoserbsce: Wulka wšowica italiano: Pediculare lietuviu: Pelkine glinde Nederlands: Moeraskartelblad, Moeras-Kartelblad norsk bokmål: Myrklegg polski: Gnidosz blotny slovenšcina: mocvirski ušivec svenska: Kärrspira

Habitat : Marsh lousewort is common in Finland, but rarely abundant. It grows on seashore and flood-influenced meadows, lake shores, riversides, moist meadows, boggy margins, rich swamps.

Description:
Pedicularis palustris grows as biennial herb. Taproot strong, straight. Hemiparasite. It grows to a height of 15–40(–80) cm (6–16(–32) in.). Stem almost glabrous, often brownish red, usually branched, branches often flowering.

Flower: Corolla zygomorphic, red, sometimes yellowish white, 15–22 mm (0.6–0.88 in.) long, fused, bilabiate, with long tube. Upper lip flat-sided, tip sharply convex; lower lip 3-lobed, central lobe smaller than lateral lobes, round. Calyx bowl-shaped, bilabiate, unclearly 5-lobed. Stamens 4. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Inflorescence a long terminal spike, lax in the lower part.

Leaves: Alternate; with basal rosette. Rosette leaves long-stalked, blade triangular, 2 times pinnately lobed. Stem leaves short-stalked, blade ovate–linear, pinnately lobed, lobes toothed or lobed.

Fruit: Quite elliptic, with tapered tip, brown, capsule opening from one side.

Flowering time: June–August.

Its reddish brown, decorative shoots and red flowers stand out from a distance. Only the most powerful insects, such as bumble and honey bees, are able to get at its nectar. Bumble bees land on the corolla’s lower labellum, push their way inside and push the upper labellum forcefully in order to get at the nectar. In doing so the insect reveals its stamens and pollinates the plant while it loads up on nectar.

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Marsh lousewort is a hemiparasite, meaning that it sucks extra nutrition from its neighbour’s roots. The plant’s stem goes woody and stands up all through the winter. Marsh lousewort is divided in Finland into three subspecies, which can be differentiated from each other on the basis of the area they grow in and their flowering time. Ssp. palustris in quite low, abundantly branched, flowers in June, is large-flowered (18–22 mm, 0.72–0.88 in.), and grows in southern and central Finland; ssp. borealis grows in northern and northern parts of central Finland, is branchless, has a slightly smaller flower (approx. 15 mm, 0.6 in.) and it flowers in July; ssp. opsiantha is abundantly branched and quite tall, and its flowers are small (14–17 mm, 0.56–0.68 in.).

Medicinal Uses:
Lousewort is poisonous and a powerful insecticide. Formerly, an infusion of the plant was made to destroy lice and other insect parasites. The plant is now rarely used.
Known Hazards: Lousewort is poisonous.
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/Pedicularis
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Pedicularis_palustris
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/marsh-lousewort
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Solidago canadensis

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Botanical Name: Solidago canadensis
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Solidago
Species: S. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms : Aster canadensis. Doria canadensis. Solidago anthropogena

Common Name: Canadian Goldenrod, Shorthair goldenrod, Harger’s goldenrod, Rough Canada goldenrod, Common Goldenro

Habitat:Solidago canadensis is native to northeastern and north-central North America but established as an invasive plant in in other parts of the continent and in other countries as well.
It grows in dry to damp thickets, roadsides, slopes and clearings, avoiding acid soils.

Description:
Solidago canadensis is a perennial plant growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate. The plant is erect, often forming colonies. Flowers are small yellow heads held above the foliage on a branching inflorescenc It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Seashore, Specimen, Woodland garden. Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture retentive soil in sun or semi-shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A rather greedy plant, it is apt to impoverish the soil. The flowers attract butterflies and moths. The plant also attracts various beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies to the garden, these insects will help to control insect pests in the garden. Special Features: Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on for their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. 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.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Oil; Seed.
Edible Uses: Oil; Tea.

Young leaves and flowering stems – cooked. Seed. Used as a thickener in soups. The seed is very small and is only used as a survival food when all else fails. A tea can be made from the flowers and/or the leaves.
Medicinal Uses :

Antiseptic; Haemostatic; Kidney; Salve; Styptic.

Haemostatic, styptic. The root is applied as a poultice to burns. An infusion of the dried powdered herb can be used as an antiseptic. The blossoms are analgesic, astringent and febrifuge. They have been chewed and the juice slowly swallowed to treat sore throats. A tea made from the flowers is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, body pains, fevers and snakebites. The plant contains quercitin, a compound that is reportedly useful in the treatment of haemorrhagic nephritis. This plant is said to have similar medicinal properties to S. virgaurea. These are:- Goldenrod is a safe and gentle remedy for a number of disorders. In particular, it is a valuable astringent remedy treating wounds and bleeding, whilst it is particularly useful in the treatment of urinary tract disorders, being used both for serious ailments such as nephritis and for more common problems such as cystitis. The plant contains saponins that are antifungal and act specifically against the Candida fungus which is the cause of vaginal and oral thrush. It also contains rutin which is used to treat capillary fragility, and phenolic glycosides which are anti-inflammatory. The leaves and flowering tops are anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, febrifuge and stimulant. A good vulnerary herb, it has also proved of value when used internally in the treatment of urinary infections, chronic catarrh, skin diseases, influenza, whooping cough, bladder and kidney stones etc. Due to its mild action, goldenrod is used to treat gastro-enteritis in children. It makes an excellent mouthwash in the treatment of thrush. The plant is gathered in the summer and dried for later use. The seed is anticoagulant, astringent and carminative. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder disorders, rheumatism and arthritis. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Solidago canadensis for infections of the urinary tract, and kidney and bladder stones .

Other Uses : Mustard, orange and brown dyes can be obtained from the whole plant. The source of ‘Canadian goldenrod’ oil. We have no further details, but it is likely to be an essential oil.
It is often grown as an ornamental in flower gardens.
Known Hazards : Weak potential for sensitization. Irrigation therapy is contraindicated in cases of oedema due to renal or heart disease. Care needed with chronic kidney disease

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=Solidago+canadensis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidago_canadensis

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Blue fenugreek

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Botanical Name: Trigonella caerulea
Family:    Fabaceae
Genus:    Trigonella
Species:T. caerulea
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Fabales

Synonyms: Trigonella melilotus-caerulea, Melilotus caeruleus, Trifolium caeruleum, Grammocarpus caeruleus

Common Names: Blue fenugreek, Sweet Trefoil

Other Names:
English:Blue–white clover, Blue–white trigonella, Sweet trefoil, Curd herb, Blue melilot

French:    Trigonelle bleue, Mélilot bleu, Baumier, Trèfle musque, Trèfle bleu, Lotier odorant, Mélilot d’Allemagne

Georgian: Utskho suneli, Utsxo suneli

German:    Schabziegerklee, Blauer Steinklee, Blauklee, Bisamklee, Brotklee, Hexenkraut, Ziegerkraut, Zigerchrut, Ziegerklee, Käseklee, Blauer Honigklee

Habitat:Blue fenu­greek is found in the Alps, in the moun­tains of East­ern and South East­ern Europe and in the Cau­casus.The plant is naturalized on waste and arable land.

Description:
Blue fenugreek  is an annual herb in the. It is 30-60 cm tall. Its leaves are obovate or lance-shaped, 2-5 cm long, 1-2 cm wide and saw-toothed in upper part. Its flower stalks are compact, globular racemes, longer than the leaves. The sepals are twice as short as the corolla, its teeth are equal to the tube. The corolla is 5.5-6.5 mm long and blue. The pods are erect or slightly curved, compressed, 4-5 mm long with beak 2 mm. The seeds are small and elongated. It blossoms in April-May, the seeds ripen in May-June. It is self-pollinated.
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Cultivation:         
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained loamy soil in full sun. Cultivated in the Mediterranean for its leaves which are used as a flavouring. 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. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Propagation:
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in situ.

Edible Uses:
Young seedlings are eaten with oil and salt. The leaves and young plants are eaten cooked. The dried powdered leaves and flowers are used as a flavouring and colouring for bread etc. They are also used as a condiment in soups and potato dishes. A decoction of the leaves is used as an aromatic tea and as a flavouring for China tea

Blue fenugreek is widely used in Georgian cuisine, where it is known as utskho suneli. It is one of the ingredients of the Georgian spice mix khmeli suneli. Both the seeds, the pods and the leaves are used. The smell and taste are similar to ordinary fenugreek, but milder. In Switzerland it is used for flavouring the traditional schabziger cheese.

Constituents:  According to a some­what older publication, ??keto-acids are respon­sible for the flavour of blue fenu­greek: pyruvic acid, ??keto glutaric acid, ??keto isovalerianic acid and even a-keto isocapronic acid

Medicinal Uses: Not available in the internet
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Trigonella+caerulea
http://gernot-katzers-spice-pages.com/engl/Trig_cae.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigonella_caerulea

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Herbs & Plants

Tanacetum vulgare

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Botanical Name :Tanacetum vulgare
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tanacetum
Species: T. vulgare
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names:Tansy , Bitter Buttons,Common Tansy, Cow Bitter, Mugwort, or Golden Buttons.

Habitat :Tansy is native to Eurasia; it is found in almost all parts of mainland Europe. It is absent from Siberia and some of the Mediterranean islands. The ancient Greeks may have been the first to cultivate it as a medicinal herb. In the sixteenth century it was considered to be “necessary for a garden” in Britain.

Description:
Tansy is a flowering herbaceous plant with finely divided compound leaves and yellow, button-like flowers. It has a stout, somewhat reddish, erect stem, usually smooth, 50–150 cm tall, and branching near the top. The leaves are alternate, 10–15 cm long and are pinnately lobed, divided almost to the center into about seven pairs of segments, or lobes, which are again divided into smaller lobes having saw-toothed edges, giving the leaf a somewhat fernlike appearance. The roundish, flat-topped, button-like, yellow flower heads are produced in terminal clusters from mid-to-late summer. The scent is similar to that of camphor with hints of rosemary. The leaves and flowers are toxic if consumed in large quantities; the volatile oil contains toxic compounds including thujone, which can cause convulsions and liver and brain damage. Some insects, notably the tansy beetle Chrysolina graminis, have resistance to the toxins and subsist almost exclusively on the plant.

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Edible Uses:
Tansy was formerly used as a flavoring for puddings and omelets, but is now almost unknown. The herbalist John Gerard noted that tansy was well known as “pleasant in taste”, and he recommends tansy sweetmeats as “an especial thing against the gout, if every day for a certain space a reasonable quantitie thereof be eaten fasting.” In Yorkshire, tansy and caraway seeds were traditionally used in biscuits served at funerals.

During the Restoration, a “tansy” was a sweet omelette flavoured with tansy juice. In the BBC documentary “The Supersizers go … Restoration”, Allegra McEvedy described the flavour as “fruity, sharpness to it and then there’s a sort of explosion of cool heat a bit like peppermint.” [25] However, the programme’s presenter Sue Perkins experienced tansy toxicity.

According to liquor historian A. J. Baime, in the 19th century Tennessee whiskey magnate Jack Daniel enjoyed drinking his own whiskey with sugar and crushed tansy leaf.

Medicinal Uses:
* Amenorrhea * Insect Repellent * Parasites/worms * Scabies

Properties::  * Abortifacient * Antiparasite * Aromatic * Bitter * Bitter * Carminative * Emmenagogue * Stimulant * Vermifuge

Parts Used: The leaves and tops. The plant is cut off close above the root, when first coming into flower in August.

Constituents:  volatile oil (containing up to 70% thujone), bitter glycosides, sesquiterpene lactones, terpenoids including pyrethrins, tannin, resin, vitamin c, citric acid, oxalic acid

Tansy was once a widely grown herb with a number of traditional medicinal uses, but one that has lost favor over time with the modern herbal community. Older herbals recommend the use of tansy for many purposes including as an anthelmintic, for migraine, neuralgia, rheumatism and gout, meteorism( distended stomach due to trapped gas), and loss of appetite. Mrs. Grieve highly recommends an infusion of tansy be given to children to kill worms among other things.4 This is an excellent example of how we need to filter our readings of the wisdom of our elder teachers with today’s better understanding of plant chemistry. The danger with using tansy is primarily with it’s thujone content, which is responsible for much of tansy’s medicinal actions, but which is toxic in large doses. The amount of thujone contained can vary from plant to plant making safe dosing problematic. According to the German Commission E ” Uncontrolled usage of tansy, depending on the quality of the herb, can result in the absorption of thujone in toxic amounts, even at normal dosages.” 3

Tansy was a popular strewing herb in times past because it’s clean, camphorous scent repelled flies and other pests. It is still a good custom to plant tansy outside the kitchen door and around the garden for the same reasons. Although tansy is useful as a vermifuge, and can be used externally as poultice to treat skin infections, it might be wise to look to less dangerous herbs that can serve the same purposes.

For many years, tansy has been used as a medicinal herb despite its toxicity. 19th-century Irish folklore suggests bathing in a solution of tansy and salt as a cure for joint pain. A bitter tea made with tansy flowers has been used for centuries as an anthelmintic to treat parasitic worm infestations, and tansy cakes were traditionally eaten during Lent because it was believed that eating fish during Lent caused intestinal worms. Various Tanacetum species are used ethnomedically to treat migraine, neuralgia and rheumatism and as anthelmintics. Traditionally, tansy was often used for its emmenagogue effects to bring on menstruation or end an unwanted pregnancy, and pregnant women are advised to not use this herb. Research published in 2011 identified 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid (3,5-DCQA) and axillarin in tansy as antiviral compounds that are active against herpes simplex virus.

Other Uses:
In England, bunches of tansy were traditionally placed at windows to keep out flies. Sprigs were placed in bedding and linen to drive away pests.

Tansy has been widely used in gardens and homes in Melbourne, Australia to keep away ants.

Some traditional dyers use tansy to produce a golden-yellow colour. The yellow flowers are dried for use in floral arrangements.

Tansy is also used as a companion plant, especially with cucurbits like cucumbers and squash, or with roses or various berries. It is thought to repel ants, cucumber beetles, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, and some kinds of flying insects, among others.

Dried tansy is used by some bee-keepers as fuel in a bee smoker.

Known Hazards:
Tansy contains a volatile oil which can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals. If taken internally, toxic metabolites are produced as the oil is broken down in the liver and digestive tract. It is highly toxic to internal parasites, and for centuries tansy tea has been prescribed by herbalists to expel worms. Tansy is an effective insecticide, and is highly toxic to arthropods.  Because it contains thujone, the U.S. FDA limits the use of tansy to alcoholic beverages, and the final product must be thujone-free.

The active components of the volatile oil include 1,8-cineole, trans-thujone, camphor and myrtenol, with the quantities and proportions of each varying seasonally and from plant to plant.

1,8-cineole is a toxin believed to defend the plant leaves against attacks by herbivores. It has many biological activities including allelopathy, anesthetic, antibacterial, carcinogenic, fungicide, herbicide, insectifuge, nematicide, sedative, testosterone hydroxylase inducer, and others.

Thujone is a GABA receptor antagonist that sensitises neurons; it is reputed to be an aphrodisiac, increasing brain activity and causing hallucinations, spasms, convulsions, and even death.

Camphor has various uses, including manufacture of plastics, lacquers and varnishes, explosives and pyrotechnics; as a moth repellent; as a preservative in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics; to relieve itching and pain by creating a cooling effect on the skin; as an injectable antibacterial for root canals in dentistry; as a food flavor enhancer; and as a medical ingredient in chest rubs.

Myrtenol has been used as an insect pheromone in insect trapping, as a beverage preservative, a flavoring and a fragrance

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/Tansy
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail254.php

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Herbs & Plants

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

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Botanical Name: Pelargonium graveolens
Family :Geraniaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Geraniales
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: P. graveolens
Common Names :  Geranium

Synonym
Common names include rose geranium, old fashion rose geranium, and rose-scent geranium. Pelargonium graveolens is also known by taxonomic synonyms “Geranium terebinthinaceum Cav.” and Pelargonium terebinthinaceum (Cav.) Desf.” “Rose geranium” is sometimes used to refer to “Pelargonium incrassatum (Andrews) Sims” or its synonym “Pelargonium roseum – the herbal name- (Andrews) DC.” Commercial vendors often list the source of geranium or rose geranium essential oil as Pelargonium graveolens regardless of its herbal botanical name.


Habitat
:Pelargonium genus, is indigenous to various parts of southern Africa, and in particular South Africa.This specific species has great importance in the perfume industry. It is cultivated on a large scale and its foliage is distilled for its scent. P. graveolens cultivars have a wide variety of smells, including rose, citrus, mint, coconut and nutmeg, as well as various fruits. However, the most commercially important varieties are those that have rose scents.

Description
Pelargonium graveolens is an erect, much-branched shrub, that can reach a height of up to 1,3 m and a spread of 1 m. The hairy stems are herbaceous when young, becoming woody with age. The deeply incised leaves are velvety and soft to the touch due to the presence of numerous glandular hairs. The leaves are strongly rose-scented. The showy white to pinkish flowers are borne in an umbel-like inflorescence and are present from late winter to summer (August – January) peaking in spring (September – October).Mint Scented Rose Geranium is one of the best all around Scented Geraniums. It has great variegation, good size, nice pink flowers and a great fragrance.

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Cultivation :
Pelargonium graveolens grows very well in moist, semi-shaded positions in the garden where it can be used as filler. Its velvety leaves add texture to the planting. This species also makes a good container or hanging basket subject, provided it is kept in a semi shade position. Pelargonium graveolens responds well to feeding with liquid organic fertilizers. Use a suitable systemic insecticide if whiteflies are observed feeding on the plants.

This plant can be propagated by means of stem and tip cuttings, or seed. Cuttings root well when dipped into a suitable rooting hormone and then placed in trays filled with coarse river sand. The trays should be kept in coldframes. Optimum rooting time is autumn (March-May) and spring (September-November). Seed can be sown in spring, summer or autumn.

Uses:
Pelargonium distillates and absolutes, commonly known as “geranium oil,” is sold for aromatherapy and massage therapy applications is sometimes used to supplement or adulterate more expensive rose oils. Other applications include

*Natural insect repellent
*Cake ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Jam and jellies ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Ice creams and Sorbets ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Salad ingredient (flowers)
*Sugar flavouring (leaves)

Medicinal  Uses:
Abrasions/Cuts * Burns/SunBurn * Depression * Diarrhea * Facial and Skin care * Fungus Infections * Insect Repellent * Scabies * Stress *
Properties: Astringent* Cisatrisant* Diuretic* Hemostatic* Sedative* Skin tonic* Vulnerary* Analgesic* Anti-inflammatory* Insect repellents* Stimulant* Antifungal*
Parts Used: Leaves

Pelargoniums were used in South African cultures as a traditional medicine for healing wounds, abscesses, cold sores, sore throats and infections, and continue to have a wide array of uses in the garden, kitchen and medicine cabinet.

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail26.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonium_graveolens
http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/pelarggrav.htm
http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/pelgraveolensmintrose.htm

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