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Herbs & Plants

Juniper haircap moss

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Botanical Name : Polytrichium Juniperum
Family: Polytrichaceae
Genus: Polytrichum
Species: P. juniperinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class: Polytrichopsida
Subclass: Polytrichidae
Order: Polytrichales

Synonyms: Bear’s Bed. Robin’s Eye. Ground Moss. Golden Maidenhair. Female Fern Herb. Rockbrake Herb.

Common Names :Juniper haircap moss,Robin’s Rye, Ground Moss.

Habitat: Juniper haircap moss grow across a wide gradient of habitats but it is most commonly found on dry, acidic, exposed habitats. It is frequent in areas that previously experienced disturbances such as fire and logging. Other areas they occupy are mineral soil, humus and rocks, stumps, banks, trailsides and dry open woods. Although Juniper haircap moss is not usually found in moist or wet environments, it has been found growing on moist woods and other moist sites such as streambanks.

Description:
Juniper haircap moss  is an evergreen and perennial plany. The stems are reddish with grey-green leaves that have a distinctive red-brown tip. This characteristic allows them to be separated from the bristly haircap, a plant that the juniper haircap moss have a close resemblance to; the difference is that the bristly haircap have a green tip. The leaves of juniper haircap moss are lanceolate and upright spreading when dry, and when moist, wide-spreading. Although their growth form can be varied, they generally grow in thin, interwoven mats, and hardly as closely associated individuals. Juniper haircap moss have a well-developed system of tiny tubes for carrying water from the rhizoids to leaves that is uncharacteristic of mosses, resembling the system that has evolved in vascular plants such as ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms. As a result of this developed system, stems have greater potential for height than in typical mosses.

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Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Whole herb.

The herb is believed to be a powerful diuretic by herbalists. Because it increases urinary secretions, it is useful in the treatment of urinary obstructions and dropsy, an old term for today’s edema, which is defined by medicinenet as the swelling of tissue due to accumulation of excess water. The plant is also considered to be excellent for long term use because it does not cause nausea.

A very valuable remedy in dropsy as a powerful diuretic, and used with hydragogue cathartics of decided advantage.

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/m/moshai51.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytrichum_juniperinum
http://chestofbooks.com/health/herbs/O-Phelps-Brown/The-Complete-Herbalist/Bears-Bed-Polytrichium-Juniperum.html

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Herbs & Plants

Juniperus communis

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Botanical Name :Juniperus communis
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus:     Juniperus
Species: J. communis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class:     Pinopsida
Order:     Pinales

Synonyms: Genévrier. Ginepro. Enebro. Gemeiner Wachholder.

Common Name:Juniper Berries

Parts Used: The ripe, carefully dried fruits, leaves.

Habitat:Juniperus communis is native to  Europe. North Africa. North Asia. North America. It grows throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic south in mountains to around 30°N latitude in North America, Europe and Asia.

Description:
Juniperus communis is a shrub or small coniferous evergreen tree, very variable and often a low spreading shrub, but occasionally reaching 10 m tall. It has needle-like leaves in whorls of three; the leaves are green, with a single white stomatal band on the inner surface. It is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, which are wind pollinated.

Leaf: Persistent, linear-lanceolate (sword-like), about 1/3 to 1/2 inch long, and ternate (arranged in whorls of 3); white stomatal bloom above and green below; sessile (no petiole).

Flower: Species is mostly dioecious, rarely monoecious; male cones small, yellow and solitary; female cones small, round and solitary.

Fruit: Cones are small (about 1/4 inch diameter) and round with smooth, leathery scales; green when young and bluish black when mature, but always covered with white bloom, require 3 growing seasons to mature.

Twig: Slender, smooth, and often shiny; triangular between the nodes.

Bark: Mature bark is thin (less than 1/4 inch thick), shreddy, and red- to gray-brown.

Form: Most commonly grow as prostrate, mat-forming shrubs, but sometimes as upright shrubs or small trees.
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The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to purple-black with a blue waxy coating; they are spherical, 4–12 mm diameter, and usually have three (occasionally six) fused scales, each scale with a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the cones, digesting the fleshy scales and passing the hard seeds in their droppings. The male cones are yellow, 2–3 mm long, and fall soon after shedding their pollen in March–April.

Edible Uses:
Its astringent blue-black seed cones, commonly known as “juniper berries“, are too bitter to eat raw and are usually sold dried and used to flavour meats, sauces, and stuffings. They are generally crushed before use to release their flavour. Since juniper berries have a strong taste, they should be used sparingly. They are generally used to enhance meat with a strong flavour, such as game, including game birds, or tongue.

The cones are used to flavour certain beers and gin (the word “gin” derives from an Old French word meaning “juniper”).   In Finland, juniper is used as a key ingredient in making sahti, a traditional Finnish ale. Also the Slovak alcoholic beverage Borovi?ka and Dutch Genever are flavoured with juniper berry or its extract.

Medicinal Uses:
Constituents:  The principal constituent is the volatile oil, with resin, sugar, gum, water, lignin, wax and salines. The oil is most abundant just before the perfect ripeness and darkening of the fruit, when it changes to resin. The quantity varies from 2.34 to 0.31 per cent Juniper Camphor is also present, its melting-point being 1.65 to 1.66 degrees C.

The tar is soluble in Turpentine oil, but not in 95 per cent acetic acid.

Junol is the trade name of a hydroalcoholic extract.

Oil of Juniper is given as a diuretic, stomachic, and carminative in indigestion, flatulence, and diseases of the kidney and bladder. The oil mixed with lard is also used in veterinary practice as an application to exposed wounds and prevents irritation from flies.

Spirit of Juniper has properties resembling Oil of Turpentine: it is employed as a stimulating diuretic in cardiac and hepatic dropsy.

The fruit is readily eaten by most animals, especially sheep, and is said to prevent and cure dropsy in the latter.

The chief use of Juniper is as an adjuvant to diuretics in dropsy depending on heart, liver or kidney disease. It imparts a violet odour to the urine, and large doses may cause irritation to the passages. An infusion of 1 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water may be taken in the course of twenty-four hours.

Juniper berries have long been used as medicine by many cultures. Juniper berries act as a strong urinary tract disinfectant if consumed, and were used by Navajo people as an herbal remedy for diabetes. Western American tribes combined the berries of Juniperus communis with Berberis root bark in a herbal tea. Native Americans also used juniper berries as a  contraceptive.(Dioscorides’ De materia medica also lists juniper berries, when crushed and put on the penis or vagina before intercourse, as a contraceptive.)

Other Uses:
The berries are used for the production of the volatile oil which is a prime ingredient in Geneva or Hollands Gin, upon which its flavour and diuretic properties depend.

Crafts:
It is too small to have any general lumber usage. In Scandinavia, however, juniper wood is used for making containers for storing small quantities of dairy products such as butter and cheese, and also for making wooden butter knives. It was also frequently used for trenails in wooden shipbuilding by shipwrights for its tough properties.

In Estonia juniper wood is valued for its long lasting and pleasant aroma, very decorative natural structure of wood (growth rings) as well as good physical properties of wood due to slow growth rate of juniper and resulting dense and strong wood. Various decorative items (often eating utensils) are common in most Estonian handicraft shops and households.

According to the old tradition, on Easter Monday Kashubian (Northern Poland) boys chase girls whipping their legs gently with juniper twigs. This is to bring good fortune in love to the chased girls.

Adulteration by oil of Turpentine can be recognized by the lowering of the specific gravity.

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/Juniperus_communis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/j/junipe11.html
http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=212

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Juniperus ashei

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Botanical Name : Juniperus ashei
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Juniperus
Species: J. ashei
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synnonyms: Juniperus occidentalis var. conjungens, Juniperus occidentalis var. texana & Juniperus sabinoides.

Common Names : Ashe Juniper, Post Cedar, Mountain Cedar, or Blueberry Juniper

Habitat : Juniperus ashei is   native to northeastern Mexico and the south-central United States north to southern Missouri; the largest areas are in central Texas, where extensive stands occur.

Description:
Juniperus ashei is a drought-tolerant evergreen shrub or small tree.It grows up to 10 m tall, rarely 15 m, and provides erosion control and year-round shade for wildlife and livestock.

click to see the pictures….….....()...

The feathery foliage grows in dense sprays, bright green in color. The leaves are scale-like, 2-5 mm long, and produced on rounded (not flattened) shoots. It is a dioecious species, with separate male and female plants. The seed cones are globose to oblong, 3-6 mm long, and soft, pulpy and berry-like, green at first, maturing purple about 8 months after pollination. They contain 1-2 seeds, which are dispersed when birds eat the cones and pass the seeds in their droppings. The male cones are 3-5 mm long, yellow, turning brown after pollen release in December to February.

Medicinal Uses:
In New Mexico the Native Americans use cedarwood oil for skin rashes.  It is also used for arthritis and rheumatism

Other Uses:
The wood is naturally rot resistant and provides raw material for fence posts. Posts cut from old-growth Ashe junipers have been known to last in the ground for more than 50 years. Over one hundred years ago, most old-growth Ashe junipers were cut and used not only for fence posts, but also for telegraph poles and railroad ties.

Although Ashe juniper is native to central Texas, it is considered a weed by many landowners and developers in that area, especially by ranchers because overgrazing by cattle selectively removes competition when they avoid the bitter-tasting juniper seedlings. This allows for a high rate of juniper establishment and reduces ranch yields. Ashe juniper does not resprout when cut, like its cousin the redberry juniper.

The junipers that establish in overgrazed lands are young and vigorous, dense and multi-trunked, and shallow rooted. This makes it difficult for remaining grasses to compete for water, especially if they are still being grazed and the soils are impoverished. The presence of these dense, shallow-rooted shrubs also means less water reaches the soil, subsurface flows and deep drainage. However, their dense canopies and thick litter do reduce overland flows compared to grazed grasses. Old-growth Ashe junipers are different in that they have true trunks, use less water, are slow growing, less foliated and have very deep roots. Wilcox (Texas A&M University) and Keith Owens (Texas Ag. Ext. researcher at Uvalde) are currently studying how these deeper roots may facilitate the deep drainage of water down trunk stemflows. Dr. Owens reports that for every one inch of rain, about 6 gallons of previously undocumented water is funneled down the trunks

Known Hazards:
The pollen causes a severe allergic reaction for some people in the winter, and people who are allergic to Ashe juniper are also often allergic to the related Juniperus virginiana. Consequently, what begins as an allergy in the winter, may extend into spring since the pollination of J. virginiana follows after that of J. ashei. Ashe juniper is sometimes known in the area as “mountain cedar” (although neither it nor J. virginiana are cedars), and some locals refer to the allergy as cedar fever.

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/Juniperus_ashei
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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