Tag Archives: June

Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

Botanical Name:Myrrhis odorata
Family:    Apiaceae
Genus:    Myrrhis
Species: M. odorata
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Apiales

Common Names: Cicely or Sweet Cicely,Myrhh

Habitat :Cicely is native to mountains of southern and central Europe, introduced and naturalized elsewhere in cultivated areas. I grows on woodland margins, roadside verges, river banks and grassland.

Description:
Cicely is an herbaceous perennial plant  growing to 2 m [6 ft 6 in] tall, depending on circumstances. The leaves are 2-4-pinnate, finely divided, feathery, up to 50 cm long, with whitish patches near the rachis. The plant is softly hairy and smells strongly of aniseed when crushed. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles.The plant is self-fertile. The flowers are white, about 2–4 mm across, produced in large umbels. The fruits are slender, 15–25 mm long and 3–4 mm broad.
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Cultivation: 
Prefers a moist rich soil in a shady position. Thrives in all soils in sun or shade. This species is hardy to about -15°c according to one report whilst another says that it is hardy to at least -20°c. Plants often self-sow freely. Sweet cicely used to be quite widely cultivated as a food plant but is now only occasionally grown in the herb garden. This is a shame since it is an extremely useful and tasty plant to grow and can provide food all year round. A good bee plant.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe since stored seed is difficult to germinate. The seed can be sown in an outdoor seedbed or, if supplies are limited, it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. Thin the seedlings in the outdoor bed as necessary (eat the thinnings) and transplant the young plants into their final positions in the following spring. Prick out the pot-grown seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in spring. Division in spring or autumn. Remove the tapering tap root and cut the remaining root into sections with at least one eye per section and replant in their permanent position.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. Excellent raw, the leaves have a delicious sweet aniseed flavour and are liked by the majority of people who try them. They are also used as a flavouring for vegetables, and are an important ingredient of the herb mix ‘bouquet garni’. They can be cooked with tart fruits in order to reduce their acidity. The plant produces fresh leaves from late winter to early the following winter. The leaves can also be dried for later use. It is best to prevent the plant from flowering if the leaves are required for culinary use, because they lose their flavour when the plant is in flower. Root – raw or cooked. A similar flavour to the leaves. So long as it is not too old, the root can be boiled and mixed with other vegetables or added to salads. Seed – raw or cooked. An aniseed flavour, it is usually used as a flavouring but can also be eaten raw whilst it is still green and before the fibrous coat has formed. It makes an excellent mouth freshener. A tea is made from the leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Cicely  has a history of use as a medicinal.The whole plant, including the seed, is aromatic, carminative, expectorant and stomachic. It is useful in the treatment of coughs and flatulence, and also as a gentle stimulant for the stomach. The root is antiseptic and a decoction has been used to treat snake and dog bites. An ointment made from the roots has been used to ease gout and soothe wounds.

Other Uses:
The leaves and the seed make good polishes for wood. You just rub them over the wood and then rub the wood with a clean cloth to remove any greenness. It is particularly good on oak panels, giving a lovely glossy finish and an aromatic smell.

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=Myrrhis+odorata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicely

Pimpinella major

Botanical Name : Pimpinella major
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Pimpinella
Species: P. major
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms :Pimpinella magna

Common Names:Greater pimpernel,Saxifrage, Greater Burnet,greater burnet-saxifrage or hollowstem burnet saxifrage

Habitat : Pimpinella major is native to Europe. It grows along the edges of woods, in marshy meadows, and in other wet places.

Description:

Pimpinella major is a herbaceous perennial plant.It reaches on average 30–100 cm (10–40 in) in height. The stem is hollow, deeply grooved, mostly glabrous,the stem bears alternate, odd-pinnate leaves on long petioles dilated at the base. It is generally branched and leafy.The leaflets are ovate and coarsely toothed, the terminal leaflet more or less 3-lobed.
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The leaves are dark green, slightly glossy, ovate or oblong, short-stalked, feathery, more or less deeply cut, and usually pointed. Basal leaves have a petiole 20–60 cm (8–20 in) long.The inflorescence has a diameter of 50–60 mm (2.0–2.4 in). The flowers, usually hermaphrodite, range from white to glowing rose or soft-pink and are gathered in umbels with 11 to 16 stalks.The small, purple or bluish flowers grow in compound umbels from June to September. The fruits are ovoid, 2–3 mm (0.08–0.1 in) long.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction is good for a gargle of sore throat, colds, bronchitis, and inflammation of the larynx. Used as a remedy for scarlet fever, measles, and German measles. Digestive problems and flatulence responds nicely; the fresh root is used to relieve diarrhea. The tincture can be taken for heartburn.

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/Pimpinella_major
http://medicinalherbinfo.org/herbs/Pimpernel.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/saxgre28.html

Morus nigra

Botanical Name : Morus nigra
Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Moreae
Genus: Morus
Species: M. nigra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names :Mulberry, Common mulberry, Black mulberry,

Habitat : Morus nigra is native to southwestern Asia, where it has been cultivated for so long that its precise natural range is unknown. It is known for its large number of chromosomes, as it has 154 pairs (308 individuals).

Black (Morus nigra) mulberries are thought to have originated in the mountainous areas of Mesopotamia and Persia and are now widespread throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Syria, and Turkey, where the tree and the fruit are known by the Persian-derived names toot (mulberry) of shahtoot (??? ???) (king’s or “superior” mulberry), or, in Arabic, shajarat tukki. Jams and sherbets are often made from the fruit in this region.

Description:
Morus nigra is a deciduous tree growing (at a slow rate) to 12 m (39 ft) tall by 15 m (49 ft) broad. The leaves are 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long by 6–10 cm (2–4 in) broad – up to 23 cm (9 in) long on vigorous shoots, downy on the underside, the upper surface rough with very short, stiff hairs.
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It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant)The plant is self-fertile

The edible fruit is dark purple, almost black, when ripe, 2–3 centimetres (0.8–1.2 in) long, a compound cluster of several small drupes; it is richly flavoured, similar to the red mulberry (Morus rubra) but unlike the more insipid fruit of the white mulberry (Morus alba).

Cultivation:    
Prefers a warm moist but well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered sunny position. Prefers a light soil. Plants are very tolerant of atmospheric pollution[4]. Trees are hardy as far north as southern Sweden. A slow growing but very ornamental tree, the mulberry is sometimes cultivated in gardens for its delicious edible fruit. The tree is not grown on a commercial scale because the fruit is too soft and easily damaged to allow it to be transported to market, and is therefore best eaten straight from the tree. There are some named varieties. The mulberry takes many years to settle down and produce good crops of fruit, about 15 years being the norm. Trees fruit well in southern and south-western Britain but they require the protection of a wall further north if the fruit is to ripen. This is a good tree for growing grapes into. It means that the grapes are difficult to pick, but they always seem to be healthier and free from fungal diseases. Plants are late coming into leaf and also lose their leaves at the first autumn frosts though the tree in leaf casts quite a dense shade. Mulberries have brittle roots and so need to be handled with care when planting them out. Any pruning should only be carried out in the winter when the plant is fully dormant because mulberries bleed badly when cut. Ideally prune only badly placed branches and dead wood. Once considered to be a very long-lived tree, doubts are now being cast on this assumption, it is probably fairly short-lived. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:  
The seed germinates best if given 2 – 3 months cold stratification. Sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if possible, otherwise in February in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in the first spring, though it sometimes takes another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Plant out in spring. A good percentage take, though they sometimes fail to thrive. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 25 – 30cm with a heel of 2 year old wood, autumn or early spring in a cold frame or a shady bed outside. Bury the cuttings to threequarters of their depth. It is said that cuttings of older wood up to 2.5 metres long can be readily made to strike. The cuttings are taken in February and planted 30cm deep in a shady sheltered position outdoors. The stem is wrapped in moss to prevent water loss by transpiration, with only the top few buds not being covered. Layering in autumn

Edible Uses:                                           
Edible Parts: Fruit. – raw, cooked or used in preserves. A delicious slightly acid flavour, it makes an excellent dessert fruit and can be eaten in quantity. The fruit is juicy and refreshing, though it must be used as soon as it is ripe (from mid-August to September) otherwise it will start to rot. The fruit falls from the tree as soon as it is fully ripe. It is best, therefore, to grow the tree in short grass to cushion the fall of the fruit but to still make it possible to find and harvest. The fruit can also be dried and ground into a powder. The fruit is up to 25mm in diameter.

RECIPES:
Mulberry Wine
On each gallon of ripe Mulberries, pour 1 gallon of boiling water and let them stand for 2 days. Then squeeze all through a hair sieve or bag. Wash out the tub or jar and return the liquor to it, put in the sugar at the rate of 3 lb. to each gallon of the liquor; stir up until quite dissolved, then put the liquor into a cask. Let the cask be raised a little on one side until fermentation ceases, then bung down. If the liquor be clear, it may be bottled in 4 months’ time. Into each bottle put 1 clove and a small lump of sugar and the bottles should be kept in a moderate temperature. The wine may be used in a year from time of bottling.
Mulberries are sometimes used in Devonshire for mixing with cider during fermentation, giving a pleasant taste and deep red colour. In Greece, also, the fruit is subjected to fermentation, thereby furnishing an inebriating beverage.

Scott relates in Ivanhoe that the Saxons made a favourite drink, Morat, from the juice of Mulberries with honey, but it is doubtful whether the Morum of the Anglo-Saxon ‘Vocabularies’ was not the Blackberry, so that the ‘Morat’ of the Saxons may have been Blackberry Wine.

Mulberry Jam:
Unless very ripe Mulberries are used, the jam will have an acid taste. Put 1 lb. of Mulberries in a jar and stand it in a pan of water on the fire till the juice is extracted. Strain them and put the juice into a preserving pan with 3 lb. of sugar. Boil it and remove the scum and put in 3 lb. of very ripe Mulberries and let them stand in the syrup until thoroughly warm, then set the pan back on the fire and boil them very gently for a short time, stirring all the time and taking care not to break the fruit. Then take the pan off and let them stand in the syrup all night. Put the pan on the fire again in the morning and boil again gently till stiff.

Medicinal Uses:
The mulberry has a long history of medicinal use in Chinese medicine, almost all parts of the plant are used in one way or another. The white mulberry (M. alba) is normally used, but this species has the same properties. Recent research has shown improvements in elephantiasis when treated with leaf extract injections and in tetanus following oral doses of the sap mixed with sugar. Analgesic, emollient, sedative. The leaves are antibacterial, astringent, diaphoretic, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic and ophthalmic. They are taken internally in the treatment of colds, influenza, eye infections and nosebleeds. The leaves are collected after the first frosts of autumn and can be used fresh but are generally dried. The stems are antirheumatic, diuretic, hypotensive and pectoral. A tincture of the bark is used to relieve toothache. The branches are harvested in late spring or early summer and are dried for later use. The fruit has a tonic effect on kidney energy. It is used in the treatment of urinary incontinence, tinnitus, premature greying of the hair and constipation in the elderly. Its main use in herbal medicine is as a colouring and flavouring in other medicines. The root bark is antitussive, diuretic, expectorant and hypotensive. It is used internally in the treatment of asthma, coughs, bronchitis, oedema, hypertension and diabetes. The roots are harvested in the winter and dried for later use. The bark is anthelmintic and purgative, it is used to expel tape worms. Extracts of the plant have antibacterial and fungicidal activity. A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of diabetes.

Other Uses  :
Dye;  Fibre;  Wood.

A fibre used in weaving is obtained from the bark. A red-violet to dark purple dye is obtained from the fruit. A yellow-green dye is obtained from the leaves. Wood – used in joinery.

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.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Morus+nigra
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mulcom62.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morus_nigra

Rubia tinctorum

Botanical Name :Rubia tinctorum
Family: Rubiaceae
Tribe:     Rubieae
Genus:     Rubia
Species: R. tinctorum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Gentianales

Synonyms: Krapp. Dyer’s Madder. Robbia.
(French) Garance.   Galium rubia. Rubia acaliculata. Rubia iberica. Rubia sativa.

Common Names :Madder or Common madder

Habitat:  Rubia tinctorum  is native to Southern Europe, including southern Britain, and Mediterranean countries. It grows on neglected ground, hedgerows and among rubble.

Description:
Rubia tinctorum is an evergreen Perennial plant growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.The evergreen leaves are approximately 5–10 cm long and 2–3 cm broad, produced in whorls of 4–7 starlike around the central stem. It climbs with tiny hooks at the leaves and stems. The flowers are small (3–5 mm across), with five pale yellow petals, in dense racemes, and appear from June to August, followed by small (4–6 mm diameter) red to black berries. The roots can be over a metre long, up to 12 mm thick and the source of red dyes known as rose madder and Turkey red. It prefers loamy soils (sand and clay soil) with a constant level of moisture. Madder is used as food plants for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Hummingbird Hawk Moth.

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It is hardy to zone 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

Cultivation:   
Prefers a light sandy soil in full sun. Plants grown in fertile well-limed soils produce more pigment in the root. This plant was at one time widely cultivated for the red dye obtained from its roots, this dye is now manufactured chemically. However, it is still cultivated in Europe as a medicinal dye plant. The plant produces many side roots that can travel just under the surface of the soil for some distance before sending up new shoots. This species is closely related to R. peregrina.

Propagation:    
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for the first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in spring or at any time in the growing season if the divisions are kept well watered until established. 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

Medicinal Uses:

Parts : used :root
Constituents:The root contains rubian, rubiadin, ruberythric acid, purpurin, tannin, sugar and especially alizarin. Pseudopurpurin yields the orange dye and xanthopurpurin the yellow. The astringent taste, slight odour and red colour, are imparted to water or alcohol.

The most interesting of the colouring substances is the alizarin, and this is now termed dihydroscyanthraquinone. This occurs as orange-red crystals, almost insoluble in water, but readily soluble in alcohol, ether, the fixed oils and alkaline solutions. The alcoholic and aqueous solutions are rose-coloured, the ethereal, golden-yellow; the alkaline, violet and blue when concentrated, but violet red when sufficiently diluted. A beautiful rose-coloured lake is produced by precipitating a mixture of the solutions of alizarin and alum.

Alizarin was recognized by Graebe and Liebermann, in 1868, as a derivative of anthracene – a hydrocarbon contained in coal-tar, and in the same year they elaborated a method for preparing it commercially from anthracene. Upon this arose rapidly a great chemical industry, and the cultivation of Madder has, of course, decreased correspondingly until it may be said that the coaltar products have entirely displaced the natural ones.

The root is aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diuretic and emmenagogue. It is taken internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder stones. The root is seldom used in herbal medicine but is said to be effective in the treatment of amenorrhoea, dropsy and jaundice. The roots are harvested in the autumn from plants that are at least 3 years old. They are peeled and then dried. When taken internally the root imparts a red colour to the milk, urine and bones, especially the bones of young animals, and it is used in osteopathic investigations.

When taken into the stomach it imparts a red colour to the milk and urine, and to the bones of animals without sensibly affecting any other tissue. The effect is observed most quickly in the bones of young animals and in those nearest to the heart. Under the impression that it might effect some change in the nervous system, it has been prescribed in rachitis (rickets), but without noticeable favourable results. Dosage, 1/2 drachm three or four times daily.

 
Other Uses:
A very good quality red dye is obtained from the roots. Some reports say that 2 year old roots are used in the spring and autumn whilst others say that 3 year old roots are used. The roots can be dried for later use. The dye can also be extracted from the leaves. It has been used since ancient times as a vegetable red dye for leather, wool, cotton and silk. For dye production, the roots are harvested in the first year. The outer brown layer gives the common variety of the dye, the lower yellow layer the refined variety. The dye is fixed to the cloth with help of a mordant, most commonly alum. Madder can be fermented for dyeing as well (Fleurs de garance). In France, the remains were used to produce a spirit as well. This dye is also used medicinally. The leaves and stem are prickly, the whorls of leaves having spines along the midrib on the underside. This feature enables them to be used for polishing metalwork

Known Hazards: Potential to cause cancers, particularly liver and kidney. From the information currently available it is not recommended as a herbal medicine .

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubia+tinctorum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubia_tinctorum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/madder02.html

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Polygonum erectum

Botanical Name :Polygonum erectum
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus:     Polygonum
Species: P. erectum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Caryophyllales

Synonym:  Erect Knotgrass.

Common Name:  Erect Knotweed

Habitat:Polygonum erectum is  native Americans as part of the group of crops known as the Eastern Agricultural Complex.(British America, and Western and Middle States.)

Description:
Polygonum erectum is a perennial plant.It grows 10 to 50-(75) cm tall with many to few, non wiry branches.Leaves are smooth, broadly obvate, rather obtuse- 1 to 2 inches long – and about half as broad – either sessile or petiolate. The leaves have distinct veins and entire edges or have jagged cut edges. The pedicels are shorter or equal the length of the calyx and typically longer than the ocreae. Flowers bloom June to September in bunches at axils of the leaves.The closed flowers have a calyx that is typically 3 mm long, green in color and 5-lobed. Flowers in clusters of 1 to 5 in cymes that are produced in the axils of most leaves. The calyx segments are unequal with the outer lobes longer and not keeled and the inner ones narrowly keeled. The tepals are greenish, with yellowish tinting or sometimes with whitish tints. The seeds are produced in fruits called achenes that can be of two different types; one type is dark brown in color with a shiny surface and is broadly ovoid in shape, typically 2.5 mm long. The other achene type is dull brown in color, exsert and ovoid in shape, and 3–3.5 mm long. Late season fruiting is uncommon and if produced the achenes are 4 to 5 mm long .

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Medicinal Uses:
Polygonum erectum is highly astringent as an infusion or decoction; useful in diarrhcea as an injection and in children’s summer complaints; also as a good gargle and a valuable remedy for inflammatory diseases of the tissues.

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/Polygonum_erectum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/k/knorus09.html

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