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Herbs & Plants

Sedum acre

Botanical Name :Sedum acre
Family: Crassulaceae
Genus:Sedum
Species:S. acre
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Saxifragales

Synonyms: Biting Stonecrop. Wallpepper. Golden Moss. Wall Ginger. Bird Bread. Prick Madam. Gold Chain. Creeping Tom. Mousetail. Jack-of-the-Buttery.
(French) Pain d’oiseau.
Common Names:  Goldmoss stonecrop, Mossy stonecrop, Goldmoss sedum, Biting stonecrop, and wallpepper

Habitat :Sedum acre is native to Europe, but also naturalised in North America and New Zealand.It is a low-growing plant that cannot compete with more vigorous, fast-growing species. It is specially adapted for growing on thin dry soils and can be found on shingle, beaches, drystone walls, dry banks, seashore rocks, roadside verges, wasteland and in sandy meadows near the sea.

Description:     Sedum acre is a tufted perennial herb that forms mat-like stands some 5 to 12 cm (2 to 5 in) tall. Much of the year the stems are short, semi prostrate and densely clad in leaves. At the flowering time in June and July, the stems lengthen and are erect, somewhat limp and often pinkish-brown with the leaves further apart. The leaves are alternate, fleshy and shortly cylindrical with a rounded tip. They are also sometimes tinged with red. The starry flowers form a three to six-flowered cyme. The calyx has five fleshy sepals fused at the base, the corolla consists of five regular bright yellow petals, there are ten stamens, a separate gynoecium and five pistils. The fruit is five united, many-seeded follicles. The leaves contain an acrid fluid that can cause skin rashes...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but prefers a sunny position in a fertile well-drained soil. Established plants are drought tolerant. Grows well on walls. Plants can be very aggressive and invasive, spreading freely at the roots. If clearing the plant from an area it is quite important to try and remove every part of the plant since even a small part of the stem, if left in the ground, can form roots and develop into a new plant. All members of this genus are said to have edible leaves, though those species, such as this one, that have yellow flowers can cause stomach upsets if they are eaten in quantity. Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in spring in well-drained soil in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Do not allow the soil to dry out. It can also be sown in the autumn in a cold frame, some seed germinates immediately whilst others germinate in the spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth is made, it is possible to plant them out during the summer, otherwise keep them in a cold-frame or greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in early summer of the following year. Division is very easy and can be carried out at almost any time in the growing season, though is probably best done in spring or early summer. 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 shad.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Rich in vitamin C, but it has a bitter acrid taste. The main interest in the edible qualities of this plant is as a survival food, since it grows wild in the driest deserts as well as in arctic conditions. Large quantities can cause stomach upsets. It is best to dry the leaves (which can be difficult because they are very fleshy) and then powder them and use them to add a peppery taste to foods. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder to make a spicy seasoning.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent; Foot care; Hypotensive; Laxative; Rubefacient; Vermifuge; Vulnerary.

The herb is astringent, hypotensive, laxative, rubefacient, vermifuge and vulnerary. It is considered to be a useful medicinal plant by some herbalists, though others do not use it because of the violence of its operation when taken internally. One of its best uses is as an effective and harmless corn-remover, it can also be used to bring boils to a head, though this can also cause some local irritation. The bruised fresh plant is applied as a poultice to wounds and minor burns, though some care should be exercised because the plant can cause blisters or skin irritations. The herb is difficult to dry and so is best used when fresh, it can be gathered at any time during the spring and summer. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of piles and anal irritations.

The bruised leaves, fresh or in ointments, are soothing for wounds, abcesses, bruises and minor burns.  Taken internally, the plant, or its expressed juice, has an emeto-cathartic action, and was recommended in scrofulous affections, malarial fevers, and even in epilepsy; however, it is rarely employed at the present day, except, occasionally, as a local application to glandular enlargements, to scrofulous ulcers, and to some chronic cutaneous maladies—the fresh leaves only (bruised) being used—thus applied to warts, corns, or similar growths, it is said to ultimately effect their removal. It is said to relieve “the extreme sensitiveness associated with disorders of the reproductive function” It has been considered useful in intermittent fever and in dropsy. In large doses it is emetic and cathartic, and applied externally will sometimes produce blisters.  Traditionally known as an abortive.  In Scotland, this plant was used in the past as a vermifuge, as a cure for  scurvy and scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymph glands in the neck).  The plant contains an acrid juice, and this has been used in the treatment of cancer, acts as an emetic, and has been used to cure dropsy. An old recipe against dropsy proposes boiling an ounce of the plant in twelve ounces of ale, the resultant infusion to be taken over the period of a day in four doses.  In Poland, as a treatment for a sore throat, it was scalded and applied to the throat.  The juice from the leaves, crushed and applied to cancerous ulcers as a poultice, brought relief and healing if changed frequently.  Rinsing the mouth with a decoction of the herb strengthened the gums and decreased the damage caused by scurvy.  Fried with an equal amount of thyme in unsalted fat, it made a salve for wounds.
Other Uses:
The plant spreads aggressively and can be used for ground cover in a sunny position amongst plants tall enough not to be overrun by it. Many species of the stronger-growing bulbs such as lilies can grow successfully through it.

Known Hazards: The sap can irritate the skin of some people. Other reports suggest that no members of this genus are poisonous. The flowers are yellow which suggests that in quantity the leaves can cause stomach upsets.

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/Sedum_acre
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Sedum+acre
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/stonec91.html

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Herbs & Plants

Stillingia sylvatica

Botanical Name : Stillingia sylvatica
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Hippomaneae
Subtribe: Hippomaninae
Genus: Stillingia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Queen’s Root. Silver Leaf. Also Sapium Sylvaticum Yaw Root. S. linearifolia, S. spinulosa, S. texana

Common Names:  Stillingia, Queens Root, Yaw Root, Queen’s Delight

Habitat:Stillingia sylvatica is native to southern United States of America from Virginia to Florida and westward to Texas. It grows on Sandy prairies, open woods, and open ground.

Description:
Stillingia sylvatica is a perennial herb, with an angled glabrous stem, growing to 4 feet high, with a milky sap. The leaves are sessile, leathery and tapering at the base. Flowers yellow on terminal spike. Fruit a three-grained capsule. The plant was named after Dr. B. Stillingfleet. It flowers from April to July; a milky juice exudes from the plant or root when cut or broken. This should be used when fresh as it deteriorates if kept. As found in commerce, the root is 1 to 4 inches long and 1 inch or more thick, covered with a bark wrinkled longitudinally, greyish brown externally, and reddish-brown or rose-coloured internally, odour peculiar, oleaginous, taste bitter and unpleasant, followed by a persistent pungent acridity in mouth and throat. Fracture fibrous, short, irregular, and shows a pithy soft, yellowish-pink interior porous woody portion. The inner bark and medullary rays with brown resin cells, its best solvent is alcohol.  CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Root.
Constituents: Its resinous acrid constituent is Sylvacrol, an acrid fixed oil, volatile oil, tannin, starch, calcium oxalate. Woody fibre, colouring matter extractive.

The root is antiemetic, astringent. A decoction has been used to treat bird sickness, diarrhoea, vomiting and appetite loss in children and in adults. It has also been used to treat menstruation sickness, yellow eyes and skin weakness. A decoction or tincture of the root has been used to treat the worst forms of venereal disease.

In large doses it is emetic and purgative causing a disagreeable, peculiar, burning sensation in the stomach or alimentary canal with considerable prostration of the system; in smaller doses it is an excellent alterative, and influences the secretory functions; it has almost a specific action in the different forms of primary and secondary syphilis, also in skin diseases, scrofula and hepatic affections, acting with most successful results. The fluid extract combined with oils of anise or caraway, proves very beneficial in chronic bronchitis and laryngitis. Some pieces of fresh root chewed daily have permanently and effectually cured these troubles, it is also useful for leucorrhoea. The oil is too acrid for internal use uncombined with saccharine or mucilaginous substance, for internal use the fluid extract or syrup is sufficiently efficacious. As an external stimulating application in most cases the oil will be found very valuable. For croup 1 drop on the tongue three or four times daily, has been found successful for severe attacks. The dried root is said to be inferior in strength to the fresh one, but some chemists consider it more powerful. It may be given either alone or combined with sarsaparilla and other alteratives. It acts reflexly as a sialagogue and expectorant. It is often given for syphilitic complaints in place of mercury.

Known Hazards :   The latex in the sap can cause blistering on the skin. Large doses of the plant are said to be toxic.

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/Stillingia
http://keys2liberty.wordpress.com/tag/stillingia-sylvatica/
http://www.bing.com/search?q=Stillingia+sylvatica&src=IE-SearchBox&Form=IE8SRC
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Stillingia+sylvatica

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Herbs & Plants

Lysimachia vulgaris

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Botanical Name :Lysimachia vulgaris
Family: Myrsinaceae
Genus:     Lysimachia
Species: L. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Ericales

Synonyms: Yellow Willow Herb. Herb Willow. Willow-wort. Wood Pimpernel.

Common Names : Garden Loosestrife, Yellow Loosestrife or Garden Yellow Loosestrife

Habitat :Lysimachia vulgaris is  native to wetlands, damp meadows and forests of Eurasia.It prefers  moist soil, and  invades fens, wet woods, lake shores, rocky river shores and riparian zones.

Description:
Lysimachia vulgaris is an herbaceous perennial with erect stems up to 3.3 ft. (1 m) in height and long, stolon-like rhizomes that can run 33 ft. (10 m) long.
The leaves of this plant are opposite or whorled. They have small glands that are black or orange in color and soft hairs beneath. They are lanceolate to laceolate-ovate in shape, 2.75-4.75 in. (7-12 cm) in length and 0.6-1.5 in. (1.5-4 cm) in width. The middle and upper leaves have short petioles and are acuminate.The inflorescence is a terminal, leafy panicle that appears June-September. The flowers are have five yellow petals and are 0.5-0.75 in. (1.2-2 cm) across. The lobes of the calyx are red-margined and 0.15-0.2 in. (3.5-5 mm) long. The fruits are dry capsules. The seeds of this plant are most likely water-dispersed. However, the main method of dispersal for this plant is via rhizomes.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The whole herb, collected from wild plants in July and dried. (The taste of the dried herb is astringent and slightly acid, but it has no odour.)

Astringent, expectorant. Loosestrife proves useful inchecking bleeding of the mouth, nose and wounds, restraining profuse haemorrhage of any kind.

It has demulcent and astringent virtues which render it useful in obstinate diarrhoea, and as a gargle it finds use in relaxed throat and quinsy.

For the cure of sore eyes, this herb has been considered equal, if not superior to Eyebright. Culpepper states:
‘This herb has some peculiar virtue of its own, as the distilled water is a remedy for hurts and blows on the eyes, and for blindness, so as the crystalline humours be not perished or hurt. It cleareth the eyes of dust or any other particle and preserveth the sight.’

For wounds, an ointment was used in his days, made of the distilled water of the herb, boiled with butter and sugar. The distilled water was also recommended for cleansing ulcers and reducing their inflammation, and also, applied warm, for removing ‘spots, marks and scabs in the skin.’

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/looyel41.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysimachia_vulgaris
http://wiki.bugwood.org/Lysimachia_vulgaris

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Herbs & Plants

Gnaphalium Obtusifolium

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Botanical NameGnaphalium polycephalum/ Gamochaeta purpurea/Gnaphalium uliginosum /Pseudognaphalium macounii
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe:     Gnaphalieae
Genus:     Gnaphalium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Indian Posy. Sweet-scented Life Everlasting. Old Field Balsam. Gnaphalium Obtusifolium or Blunt-leaved Everlasting. Gnaphalium Connoideum. Fragrant Everlasting. None-so-Pretty. Catsfoot. Silver Leaf.

Common Names : White Balsam

Habitat:White Balsam is native to  Virginia, Pennsylvania and New England. This plant is common in old fields and pastures throughout the United States and Canada.

Description:
Natural Order, Compositae. This belongs to a genus of woolly herbs, which are peculiar for their downy and tomentose appearance. Their flowers are borne in many compact heads, closely arranged in a large terminal corymb, and all tubular. The species here spoken of is an annual, one to two feet high, the whole plant (stem, leaves, and peduncles) gray with a short and silky wool. Stem erect, branched above. Leaves alternate, three inches long by one-fourth of an inch broad, tapering at the base, sessile, margins a little wavy, smoothish above. Flowers tubular, white, in obovate heads; heads in a terminal and close panicled corymb, of a pretty appearance. Whole plant slightly fragrant. July and August.

click & see

click & see the pictures

The leaves and yellow flower-heads are used medicinally, though the whole plant is gathered. Its aroma is rather pleasant, its taste slightly bitter and aromatic, and its properties are extracted by water and alcohol. Several other species of the same genus are used indiscriminately with this one, among which may be named G. decurrens, with yellowish-white flowers and decurrent leaves; G. uliginosum, about five inches high, and with the clusters of flower-heads sitting down below the upper leaves; and G. purpureum, branching from the base, with the leaves green above, and the flowers in a wand-like terminal spike.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Herb, leaves, flowers.
This plant combines relaxing and stimulating properties with a moderate portion of demulcent quality. In cold preparations, its action is mainly expended upon mucous membranes; and as it soothes and strengthens these tissues, it has been pronounced astringent, though it is faintly tonic and not drying. It has been used in sore-mouth, sub-acute coughs, feebleness of the lungs, leucorrhea, catarrh of the bladder, and the latter stages of dysentery. It is really an excellent article in such cases; and though it is too mild to be of use in degenerate conditions, it is useful for its gentle influence. In warm infusion, it promotes mild diaphoresis, and is a popular remedy in recent colds and light fever; and a strong preparation is said to relieve mumps, quinsy, the tenesmus of dysentery, and excessive menstruation. In some respects it acts on the assimilative organs much as avens root does–toning them and abating a tendency to curdy diarrhea. From being at one time over-rated, it has fallen into undeserved neglect. An ounce may be digested in a pint and a half of water till a pint remains, and two fluid ounces of this used once every two hours or oftener. It is sometimes combined with other agents in pulmonary sirups.

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/Gnaphalium
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/cook/GNAPHALIUM_POLYCEPHALUM.htm
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/balwhi08.html

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Herbs & Plants

Antennaria Margaritaceum

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Botanical Name : Antennaria Margaritaceum
Family: Compositae/Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Gnaphalieae
Genus: Anaphalis
Species: A. margaritacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: American Everlasting.Antennaria dioica, Antennaria plantaginifolia,Helichrysum arenarium

Common Names :  Cudweed. Pearly everlasting, Pearl-flowered, life everlasting

Habitat:Antennaria Margaritaceum is native to North America, Kamschatka and in English gardens. Grows wild in Essex, near Bocking, and in Wales. Cultivated in Whin’s Cottage garden by the writer. It grows in dry hills and woods of various parts of the United States

Description:
Antennaria margaritacea is a perennial plant, with a simple, erect stem, corymbosely branched above. The leaves are linear-lanceolate, acute, 3-veined, sessile, and beneath the stem woolly; the corymbs are many-flowered and fastigiate; the scales of the hemispheric involucre are elliptic, obtuse, opaque, pearl-white, the outer ones only tomentose at the base; beads dioecious; the pistillate flowers are very slender; pappus simple, bristly, capillary in the fertile flowers, and in the sterile club-shaped, or barbellate at the summit. The corolla is yellowish (W. G.).The plant is slightly fragrant, ; it is from 1 to 2 feet in height, and bears yellow and white flowers in July. The leaves are the parts used. They contain a bitter principle and an essential oil.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, stalks.
The name Antennaria is from the resemblance of the sterile pappus to the antennae of many insects (W.).Anodyne, astringent, and pectoral. A decoction has proved beneficial in diarrhoea and dysentery, and in pulmonary affections. Externally, it forms an excellent poultice in sprains, bruises, boils, painful swellings, etc., and is said to produce sleep when applied externally to the head, even in cases where a poultice of hops has failed. Rafinesque is authority for the statement that the Indians, for a trifle, would allow rattlesnakes to bite them, to show that they could cure the bite at once with this plant.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lifeve18.html
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/antennaria.html

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