Tag Archives: Laxative

Atriplex hortensis

Botanical Name :Atriplex hortensis
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Genus: Atriplex
Species: A. hortensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Mountain Spinach. Garden Orache

Common Names: Garden Orache, Red Orach, Mountain Spinach, French Spinach, or simply “orache” or arrach

Habitat : Atriplex hortensis is native  to Europe. An occasional garden escape in Britain. It grows on arable land, waste and disturbed ground, shingle etc.

Atriplex hortensis is a hardy, annual plant, with an erect, branching stem, varying in height from two to six feet, according to the variety and soil. The leaves are variously shaped, but somewhat oblong, comparatively thin in texture, and slightly acidic to the taste. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind. The flowers are small and obscure, greenish or reddish, corresponding in a degree with the color of the foliage of the plant; the seeds are small, black, and surrounded with a thin, pale-yellow membrane. They retain their vitality for three years…..CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES
Orach is a very easily grown plant, doing equally well in a wide variety of well-drained soils, though rich, moisture-retentive soils give the quick growth that is necessary for the production of tender leaves[33, 37, 200, 269]. Plants require a position in full sun and are tolerant of saline and very alkaline soils. They thrive in any temperate climate, and are drought resistant. Orach is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 30 to 140cm, an average annual temperature in the range of 6 to 24°C, and a pH of 5.0 to 8.2. Orach was formerly cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. It can be grown as a warm weather substitute for spinach. Some forms of this species have bronze or deep red leaves and are occasionally grown as ornamental plants, their leaves taste the same as the green-leafed forms. Plants are fast-growing and usually self-sow quite freely if the surrounding soil is disturbed by hoeing etc. They tolerate hot weather well, but soon go to seed so successive sowings at 4 weekly intervals are required during the growing season if a continuous supply of leaves is required. Leaves can be harvested 40 – 60 days after sowing the seed. This species is a poor companion plant for potatoes, inhibiting their growth when growing close to them.
Seed – sow March to August in situ, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually good and rapid.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. Used like spinach, they have a bland flavour and are traditionally mixed with sorrel leaves in order to modify the acidity of the latter. Another report says that the flavour is stronger than spinach. Seed – cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used in soups etc or be mixed with flour when making bread. The seed is said to be a good source of vitamin A. The seed is also said to contain some saponins. See the notes above on toxicity. The seed is small and fiddly to harvest and us

Medicinal Uses:
Antirheumatic;  Diuretic;  EmeticPurgative.

The leaves are diuretic, emetic and purgative. They are also said to be a stimulant to the metabolism and an infusion is used as a spring tonic and a remedy for tiredness and nervous exhaustion. They have been suggested as a folk remedy for treating plethora and lung ailments. The leaves are said to be efficacious when used externally in the treatment of gout. The seeds, mixed with wine, are said to cure yellow jaundice. They also excite vomiting. The fruits are purgative and emetic. Liniments and emollients prepared from the whole plant, like the juice of the plant, are said to be folk remedies for indurations and tumours, especially of the throat. Heated with vinegar, honey and salt and applied, the Orache was considered efficacious to cure an attack of gout.

Considered diuretic, emetic, and emollient, orache has been suggested as a folk remedy for plethora and lung ailments. Seeds mixed with wine are said to cure yellow jaundice. They also excite vomiting. Heated with vinegar, honey and salt, orache is used for gout. Fruits are purgative and emetic. Liniments and emollients prepared from the whole plant, like the juice of the plant, are said to be folk remedies for indurations and tumors, especially of the throat. Used as a spring tonic and stimulant and in infusions to treat tiredness or exhaustion. A. patula’s seeds are gathered when just ripe and a pound (450 g) of them, bruised, is placed in three quarts (3.4 1) of moderate strength spirit. The whole is left to stand for six weeks, affording a light and not unpleasant tincture. A tablespoonful of the tincture, taken in a cup of water-gruel, has the same effect as a dose of Ipecacuanha, except that its operation is milder and it does not bind the bowels afterwards. After taking the dose, the patient should go to bed. A gentle sweat will follow, carrying off whatever offending matter the motions have dislodged, thus preventing long disease. As some stomachs are harder to move than others, a second tablespoonful may be taken if the first does not perform its office. Native Americans used poultices of the roots, stems and flowers for relieve of insect stings. Europeans used them to treat gout, jaundice and sore throats.

Other Uses:
Biomass;  Dye.

A blue dye is obtained from the seed. The plant is a potential source of biomass. Yields of 14 tonnes per hectare have been achieved in the vicinity of Landskrona and Lund, Sweden. Higher yields might be expected farther south. If the leaf-protein were extracted, this should leave more than 13 tonnes biomass as by-product, for potential conversion to liquid or gaseous fuels.

Known Hazards: No member of this genus contains any toxins, all have more or less edible leaves. However, if grown with artificial fertilizers, they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves. The seed contains saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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



Convolvulus arvensis

Botanical Name :Convolvulus arvensis
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Convolvulus
Species: C. arvensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Synonyms : Cornbind. Ropebind. Withywind. Bearwind. Jack-run’-in’-the-Country. Devil’s Garters. Hedge Bells.

Common Names: Field bindweed

Habitat :Convolvulus arvensis is native to Europe and Asia.

Convolvulus arvensis is a climbing or creeping herbaceous perennial plant growing to 0.5–2 m high. The leaves are spirally arranged, linear to arrowhead-shaped, 2–5 cm long and alternate, with a 1–3 cm petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 1-2.5 cm diameter, white or pale pink, with five slightly darker pink radial stripes. Flowering occurs in the mid-summer, when white to pale pink, funnel-shaped flowers develop. Flowers are approximately 0.75-1 in. (1.9-2.5 cm) across and are subtended by small bracts. Fruit are light brown, rounded and 1/8 in. (0.3 cm) wide. Each fruit contains 2 seeds that are eaten by birds and can remain viable in the soil for decades.

There are two varieties:

1. Convolvulus arvensis var. arvensis. Leaves broader.
2. Convolvulus arvensis var. linearifolius. Leaves narrower

Although  Convolvulus arvensis  produces attractive flowers, it is often unwelcome in gardens as a nuisance weed due to its rapid growth and choking of cultivated plants. It was most likely introduced into North America as a contaminant in crop seed as early as 1739, as an invasive species. Plants typically inhabit roadsides, grasslands and also along streams. Its dense mats invade agricultural fields and reduce crop yields; it is estimated that crop losses due to this plant in the United States exceeded US$377 million in the year 1998 alone.

Prefers a lighter basic soil of low to medium fertility. Bindweed is a very deep-rooting plant with a vigorous root system that extends to a considerable distance and is very hard to eradicate from the soil. Even a small piece of the root will grow into a new plant if it is left in the ground. Once established this plant soon becomes a pernicious weed. It is a climbing plant that supports itself by twining around any support it can find and can soon swamp and strangle other plants. The flowers close at night and also during rainy weather. Although visited by numerous insects, the flowers seldom set fertile seed. On sunny days the flowers diffuse a scent of heliotrope. The plant harbours tobacco mosaic virus of the Solanaceae and so should not be grown near potatoes, tomatoes and other members of that family.

Seed – best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe, it germinates in the autumn[164]. This species can become a real pest in the garden so it is unwise to encourage it.

Edible Uses:  
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The plant has been used as a flavouring in a liqueur called ‘Noyeau’. No details are given as to which part of the plant is used.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used:  Root, root resin

Cholagogue;  Diuretic;  Laxative;  Purgative;  Stings;  Women’s complaints.

The root, and also a resin made from the root, is cholagogue, diuretic, laxative and strongly purgative. The dried root contains 4.9% resin. The juice of the root is used in the treatment of fevers. A tea made from the flowers is laxative and is also used in the treatment of fevers and wounds. A cold tea made from the leaves is laxative and is also used as a wash for spider bites or taken internally to reduce excessive menstrual flow.

Other Uses:  
Dye;  String.

The stem is used as a twine for tying up plants etc. It is fairly flexible and strong but not long-lasting. A green dye is obtained from the whole plant.

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.


Rheum rhaponticum

Botanical Name :  Rheum rhaponticum
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rheum
Species: R. rhaponticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Garden Rhubarb. Bastard Rhubarb. Sweet Round-leaved Dock.

Common Names :False rhubarb, Rhapontic rhubarb or Rhapontic

Habitat :  Rheum rhaponticum is native to Europe to E. Asia – Siberia.It grows on wet mountain rocks in Europe.

Rheum rhaponticum is a perennial plant growing to 1.2 m (4ft).It has blunt, smooth leaves; large, thick roots, running deep into the ground, reddishbrown outside and yellow within, and stems 2 to 3 feet high, jointed and purplish. The flowers are white. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Prefers a deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. Shade tolerant, but plants prefer a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Hardy to at least -20°c. This species is probably a parent of the cultivated rhubarb, R. x cultorum. Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.

Seed – best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in the spring. Division in early spring or autumn. Divide up the rootstock with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that there is at least one growth bud on each division. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaf stem  is eaten raw or cooked. An acid flavour, they are used as a fruit substitute in tarts etc. The young flower pouch, harvested before the flowers open, is said to form a dish of great delicacy.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The roots of English Rhubarb are generally taken from plants from four years old and upwards. They are dug up in October, washed thoroughly and the fibres taken away. The bark of English Rhubarb is not usually removed.

Rhubarb has a long and proven history of herbal usage, its main effect being a positive and balancing effect upon the whole digestive system. It is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine. The main species used is R. palmatum. Though the chemistry varies slightly, this species is used interchangeably. Another report says that this species contains only small quantities of the medicinally active compounds and so it is only used as a mild laxative. The root is anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic. Small doses act as an astringent tonic to the digestive system, whilst larger doses act as a mild laxative. The root is taken internally in the treatment of chronic constipation, diarrhoea, liver and gall bladder complaints, haemorrhoids, menstrual problems and skin eruptions due to an accumulation of toxins. This remedy is not prescribed for pregnant or lactating women, nor for patients with intestinal obstruction. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of burns. The roots are harvested in October from plants that are at least six years old, they are then dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the dried root. This is used especially in the treatment of diarrhoea in teething children.

Other Uses:
Plants are used as ground cover.

 Known Hazards : The leaves contain high concentrations of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals (especially calcium) in the body, leading to nutritional deficiency. Cooking the plant will reduce the concentration of oxalic acid. Another report says that the leaves have the same concentration of oxalic acid in the stems as they do in the leaves and it is not the oxalic acid that makes them poisonous. It says that any toxic properties of the leaves is more likely to be due to the presence of glycosides.  People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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.


Purging Flax

Botanical Name :Linum catharticum
Family: Linaceae
Genus:     Linum
Species: L. catharticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Malpighiales

Synonyms: Purging Flax. Dwarf Flax. Fairy Flax. Mill Mountain.

Common Name:Mountain Flax

Habitat :Purging Flax is native to  Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain the Caucasus and Iran. It grows in grassland, dunes and moors, most commonly on calcareous grassland.

Purging Flax is an annual plant, with a small, thready root, which sends up several slender, smooth, straight stems, which rise to a height of 6 to 8 inches, and are sometimes branched towards the upper part. The leaves are small, linear-oblong and obtuse, the lower ones opposite, and the upper alternate. The flowers, 1/3 to 1/4 of an inch in diameter, are white. The plant at first glance much resembles chickweed, being glaucous and glabrous. It is in flower from Jun to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, self.The plant is self-fertile. click  & see
click to see the pictures
Prefers a light well-drained moderately fertile humus-rich soil in a sunny sheltered position[.

Seed – sow early spring in situ.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used:The whole herb is used mediinally, both fresh and dried, collected in July, when in flower, in the wild state.

Constituents:  A green, bitter resin and a neutral, colourless, crystalline principle of a persistently bitter taste, called Linin, to which the herb owes its activity.

Anthelmintic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Homeopathy;  Purgative.

Purging Flax was often used in the past as a gentle laxative, and also for the treatment of muscular rheumatism, liver complaints, jaundice and catarrhal problems, though it is seldom used in modern herbalism. The whole herb is anthelmintic, diuretic, emetic and purgative. It is harvested in the summer as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use. When used as a purgative it is generally taken with a carminative such as peppermint. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, piles and amenorrhoea.

Known Hazards :    Poisonous in large doses

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.


Common Buckthorn

Botanical Name :Rhamnus cathartica
Family: Rhamnaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Genus: Rhamnus
Subgenus: Rhamnus
Species: R. cathartica

Common Names:Buckthorn, common buckthorn or purging buckthorn

Habitat :Common Buckthorn is native to Europe, northwest Africa, and western Asia, from the central British Isles south to Morocco, and east to Kyrgyzstan. It was introduced to North America as an ornamental shrub in the early 19th century or perhaps before.

Rhamnus cathartica is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing up to 10 m tall, with grey-brown bark and spiny branches. The leaves are elliptic to oval, 2.5–9 cm long and 1.2–3.5 cm broad; they are green, turning yellow in autumn, and are arranged somewhat variably in opposite to subopposite pairs or alternately. The flowers are yellowish-green, with four petals; they are dioecious and insect pollinated. The fruit is a globose black drupe 6–10 mm diameter containing two to four seeds; it is mildly poisonous for people, but readily eaten by birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.

The species was originally named by Linnaeus as Rhamnus catharticus, but this spelling was corrected to cathartica as the genus name Rhamnus is of feminine gender

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The main stem is erect, the bark smooth, of a blackish-brown colour, on the twigs ash-coloured. The smaller branches ge.nerally terminate in a stout thorn or spine, hence the ordinary name of Buckthorn, and the older names by which the shrub has been known: Highwaythorn and Waythorn. Gerard calls it Ram or Hart’s Thorn. The leaves grow in small bunches on footstalks, mostly opposite towards the base of the young shoots, though more generally alternate towards the apex. They are eggshaped and toothed on the edges, the younger ones with a kind of soft down. In the axils of the more closely arranged leaves, developed from the wood of the preceding year, are dense branches of small greenish-yellow flowers, about one-fifth inch across, which are followed by globular berries about the size of a pea, black and shining when ripe, and each containing four hard, dark-brown seeds.

Goats, sheep and horses browse on this shrub, but cows refuse it. Its blossoms are very grateful to bees.

Similar species:-  Glossy buckthorn:
click & see :
The related invasive glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) has untoothed leaves and flowers with five petals rather than four. It lacks a thorn at the tip of its branches and its terminal buds are notcovered by scales. It has 8 or9 leaf veins rather than the 3to 5 of common buckthorn.

Cultivation:  Buckthorn is seldom cultivated, the berries being collected from thewild shrubs, but it can be easily raised from seed in autumn, soon after the berries are ripe, usually about September, but if left too late the berries soften and will not bear carriage well. The shrub may also be propagated like any other hardy deciduous tree or shrub by cuttings or layers: if the young shoots be laid in autumn, they will have struck roots by the following autumn, when they may be separated and either planted in a nursery for a year or two, or at once planted in permanent quarters. Buckthorn is not so suitable for hedges as the hawthorn.
click to see

Constituents:  Buckthorn berry juice contains Rhamnocathartin (which is yellowand uncrystallizable), Rhamnin, a peculiar tannic acid, sugar and gum. The fresh juice is coloured red by acids and yellow by alkalies, and has a bitter taste and nauseous odour. Its specific gravity should be between 1.035 and 1.070, but it is seldom sold pure. The ripe berries yield on expression 40 to 50 percent of juice of a green colour, which on keeping turns, however, gradually to a reddish or purplish brown colour, on account of the acidification of the saccharine and mucilaginous matter.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Laxative and cathartic.
Buckthorn was well known to the AngloSaxons and is mentioned as Hartsthorn or Waythorn in their medical writings and glossaries dating before the Norman Conquest. The Welsh physicians of the thirteenth century prescribed the juice of the fruit of Buckthorn boiled with honey as an aperient drink.

The medicinal use of the berries was familiar to all the writers on botany and materia medica of the sixteenth century, though Dodoens in his Herbal wrote: ‘They be not meat to be administered but to the young and lusty people of the country which do set more store of their money than their lives.’

Until late in the nineteenth century, syrup of Buckthorn ranked, however, among favourite rustic remedies as a purgative for children, prepared by boiling the juice with pimento and ginger and adding sugar, but its action was so severe that, as time went on, the medicine was discarded. It first appeared in the London Pharmacopceia of 1650, where, to disguise the bitter taste of the raw juice, it was aromatized by means of aniseed, cinnamon, mastic and nutmeg. It was still official in the British Pharmacopoeia of 1867, but is no longer so, being regarded as a medicine more fit for animals than human beings, and it is now employed almost exclusively in veterinary practice, being commonly prescribed for dogs, with equal parts of castor oil as an occasional purgative.

The flesh of birds eating the berries is stated to be purgative.

There used to be a superstition that the Crown of Thorns was made of Buckthorn.

The seeds and leaves are considered toxic to humans and animals, causing stomach cramps and laxative effects thought to serve a function in seed dispersal. The chemical compounds responsible for this laxative effect are anthraquinone and emodin.

In 1994 there was implication of R. cathartica in the outbreak of an idiopathic neurological disease in horses, though no causative agent was officially identified. In trials where rodents were fed the leaves and stems of R. cathartica, glycogen metabolism became abnormal and glycogen deposits formed in the cytoplasm of liver cells. Abnormalities in glycogen metabolism lead to diabetes in humans.

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


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