Tag Archives: Middle Ages

Cubeb

Botanical Name :Piper cubeba
Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Piper
Species: P. cubeba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Synonym: Tailed Pepper.

Common Names :Cubeb (Piper cubeba), or tailed pepper, or shital chini / kabab chini in Hindi sometimes it is called Java pepper

Part Used: The dried, full-grown, unripe fruit.

Habitat:  Java, Penang, and other parts of East Indies.

Description:
Cubeb  is a climbing perennial plant, with dioecious flowers in spikes. The fruit is a globose, pedicelled drupe. It is extensively grown in the coffee plantations, well shaded and supported by the coffee trees. Odour aromatic and characteristic- taste strongly aromatic and pungent and somewhat bitter. Commercial Cubebs are often adulterated with other fruits containing a volatile oil, but with very different properties. There is no evidence that the plant was known to the ancients, though it was probably brought into Europe by the Arabians, who doubtless employed the fruit as pepper.

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The fruits are gathered before they are ripe, and carefully dried. Commercial cubebs consist of the dried berries, similar in appearance to black pepper, but with stalks attached – the “tails” in “tailed pepper”. The dried pericarp is wrinkled, and its color ranges from grayish-brown to black. The seed is hard, white and oily. The odor of cubebs is described as agreeable and aromatic and the taste as pungent, acrid, slightly bitter and persistent. It has been described as tasting like allspice, or like a cross between allspice and black pepper.

Edible Uses:
In Europe, cubeb was one of the valuable spices during the Middle Ages. It was ground as a seasoning for meat or used in sauces. A medieval recipe includes cubeb in making sauce sarcenes, which consists of almond milk and several spices. As an aromatic confectionery, cubeb was often candied and eaten whole.[18] Ocet Kubebowy, a vinegar infused with cubeb, cumin and garlic, was used for meat marinades in Poland during the 14th century. Cubeb can still be used to enhance the flavor of savory soups.

Cubeb reached Africa by way of the Arabs. In Moroccan cuisine, cubeb is used in savory dishes and in pastries like markouts, little diamonds of semolina with honey and dates. It also appears occasionally in the list of ingredients for the famed spice mixture Ras el hanout. In Indonesian cuisine, especially in Indonesian gulés (curries), cubeb is frequently used.

Chemical Constituents:
The dried cubeb berries contain essential oil consisting monoterpenes (sabinene 50%, ?-thujene, and carene) and sesquiterpenes (caryophyllene, copaene, ?- and ?-cubebene, ?-cadinene, germacrene), the oxides 1,4- and 1,8-cineole and the alcohol cubebol.

About 15% of a volatile oil is obtained by distilling cubebs with water. Cubebene, the liquid portion, has the formula C15H24. It is a pale green or blue-yellow viscous liquid with a warm woody, slightly camphoraceous odor. After rectification with water, or on keeping, this deposits rhombic crystals of camphor of cubebs.

Cubebin (C10H10O3) is a crystalline substance existing in cubebs, discovered by Eugène Soubeiran and Capitaine in 1839. It may be prepared from cubebene, or from the pulp left after the distillation of the oil. The drug, along with gum, fatty oils, and malates of magnesium and calcium, contains also about 1% of cubebic acid, and about 6% of a resin. The dose of the fruit is 30 to 60 grains, and the British Pharmacopoeia contains a tincture with a dose of 4 to 1 dram.

Medicinal Uses:
Stimulant, carminative, much used as a remedy for gonorrhoea, after the first active inflammatory symptoms have subsided; also used in leucorrhoea, cystitis, urethritis, abscesses of the prostate gland, piles and chronic bronchitis.

In India, Sanskrit texts included cubeb in various remedies. Charaka and Sushruta prescribed a cubeb paste as a mouthwash, and the use of dried cubebs internally for oral and dental diseases, loss of voice, halitosis, fevers, and cough. Unani physicians use a paste of the cubeb berries externally on male and female genitals to intensify sexual pleasure during coitus. Due to this attributed property, cubeb was called “Habb-ul-Uruus”.

In traditional Chinese medicine cubeb is used for its alleged warming property. In Tibetan medicine, cubeb (ka ko la in Tibetan) is one of bzang po drug, six fine herbs beneficial to specific organs in the body, with cubeb assigned to the spleen.

Arab physicians of the Middle Ages were usually versed in alchemy, and cubeb was used, under the name kababa, when preparing the water of al butm. The Book of One Thousand and One Nights mentions cubeb as a main ingredient in making an aphrodisiac remedy for infertility:

“ He took two ounces of Chinese cubebs, one ounce of fat extract of Ionian hemp, one ounce of fresh cloves, one ounce of red cinnamon from Sarandib, ten drachms of white Malabar cardamoms, five of Indian ginger, five of white pepper, five of pimento from the isles, one ounce of the berries of Indian star-anise, and half an ounce of mountain thyme. Then he mixed cunningly, after having pounded and sieved them; he added pure honey until the whole became a thick paste; then he mingled five grains of musk and an ounce of pounded fish roe with the rest. Finally he added a little concentrated rose-water and put all in the bowl. ”

The mixture, called “seed-thickener”, is given to Shams-al-Din, a wealthy merchant who had no child, with the instruction that he must eat the paste two hours before having intercourse with his wife. According to the story, the merchant did get the child he desired after following these instructions. Other Arab authors wrote that cubeb rendered the breath fragrant, cured affections of the bladder, and that eating it “enhances the delight of coitus”.

In 1654, Nicholas Culpeper wrote in the London Dispensatorie that cubebs were “hot and dry in the third degree… (snip) they cleanse the head of flegm and strengthen the brain, they heat the stomach and provoke lust”. A later edition in 1826 informed the reader that “the Arabs call them Quabebe, and Quabebe Chine: they grow plentifully in Java, they stir up venery. (snip) …and are very profitable for cold griefs of the womb”.

The modern use of cubeb in England as a drug dates from 1815. There were various preparations, including oleum cubebae (oil of cubeb), tinctures, fluid extracts, oleo-resin compounds, and vapors, which were used for throat complaints. A small percentage of cubeb was commonly included in lozenges designed to alleviate bronchitis, in which the antiseptic and expectoral properties of the drug are useful. The most important therapeutic application of this drug, however, was in treating gonorrhea, where its antiseptic action was of much value. William Wyatt Squire wrote in 1908 that cubebs “act specifically on the genito-urinary mucous membrane. (They are) given in all stages of gonorrhea”. As compared with copaiba in this connection cubeb has the advantages of being less disagreeable to take and somewhat less likely to disturb the digestive apparatus in prolonged administration.

The volatile oil, oleum cubebae, was the form in which cubeb is most commonly used as a drug, the dose being 5 to 20 minims, which may be suspended in mucilage or given after meals in a wafer. The drug exhibited the typical actions of a volatile oil, but exerted some of these to an exceptional degree. As such, it was liable to cause a cutaneous erythema in the course of its excretion by the skin, had a marked diuretic action, and was a fairly efficient disinfectant of the urinary passages. Its administration caused the appearance in the urine of a salt of cubebic acid which was precipitated by heat or nitric acid, and was therefore liable to be mistaken for albumin, when these two most common tests for the occurrence of albuminuria were applied.

The National Botanic Pharmacopoeia printed in 1921 tells that cubeb was an excellent remedy for flour albus or whites.

Other Uses:
Cubeb was frequently used in the form of cigarettes for asthma, chronic pharyngitis and hay fever. Edgar Rice Burroughs, being fond of smoking cubeb cigarettes, humorously stated that if he had not smoked so many cubebs, there might never have been Tarzan. “Marshall’s Prepared Cubeb Cigarettes” was a popular brand, with enough sales to still be made during World War II. Occasionally, marijuana users claimed that smoking marijuana is no more harmful than smoking cubeb.   In the musical The Music Man, set in rural Iowa in 1912, the character Harold Hill alarms parents by telling this that their sons are trying out cubeb cigarettes at the notorious pool hall in the song “Trouble”.

Cubeb oil was included in the list of ingredients found in cigarettes, published by the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Bombay Sapphire gin is flavored with botanicals including cubeb and grains of paradise. The brand was launched in 1987, but its maker claims that it is based on a secret recipe dating to 1761. Pertsovka, a dark brown Russian pepper vodka with a burning taste, is prepared from infusion of cubeb and capsicum peppers

Cubeb is sometimes used to adulterate the essential oil of Patchouli, which requires caution for Patchouli users. In turn, cubeb is adulterated by Piper baccatum (also known as the “climbing pepper of Java”) and Piper caninum.

Cubeb berries are used in love-drawing magic spells by practitioners of hoodoo, an African-American form of folk magic.

In 2000, Shiseido, a well-known Japanese cosmetics company, patented a line of anti-aging products containing formulas made from several herbs, including cubeb.

In 2001, the Swiss company Firmenich patented cubebol, a compound found in cubeb oil, as a cooling and refreshing agent.  The patent describes application of cubebol as a refreshing agent in various products, ranging from chewing gum to sorbets, drinks, toothpaste, and gelatin-based confectioneries.

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/Cubeb
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cubeb121.html

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Melampyrum pratense

Botanical Name : Melampyrum pratense
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Melampyrum
Species: M. pratense
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Horse Floure. Triticum vaccinium.

Common Name :Cow-Wheat or common cow-wheat

Local Names:
dansk: Almindelig Kohvede · Deutsch: Wiesen-Wachtelweizen · eesti: Palu-härghein · suomi: Kangasmaitikka · français: Mélampyre des prés · hornjoserbsce: L?sny sparik · lietuvi?: Pievinis k?polis · Nederlands: Hengel · norsk bokmål: Stormarimjelle · polski: Pszeniec zwyczajny · sámegiella: Gieddesáhpal · svenska: Ängskovall ·

The name of Cow-wheat is said to be derived from an extraordinary notion prevalent in some country districts among the peasantry of the Middle Ages, that the small seeds were capable of being converted into wheat, a supposition probably originating in the sudden appearance of the plants among corn, on land that had been recently cleared of wood.

Another reason for the meaning of Melampyrum is given in Lindley’s Treasury of Botany, i.e. it refers to an ancient belief that the seeds, when mixed with grains of wheat and ground into flour tended to make the bread black.

The seeds, which bear some little resemblance to wheat, are generally eaten by swine, though they will not touch the herb. Cows and sheep are extremely fond of the plant, and Dr. Prior explains the name of the plant on the score that though its seed resembles wheat, it is only fit for cows. In old Herbals, we find it named ‘Horse Floure’ and also Triticum vaccinium. The generic name is derived from the Greek melas (black) and pyros (wheat), because the seeds made bread black when mixed with them.

Habitat :Melampyrum pratense is found throughout the UK and Ireland. It is also found throughout many countries in northern and central Europe including Slovenia.I grow in Woods, moorlands, pastureland and meados

Description:
Melampyrum pratense is an annual, with slender, branched stems, about a foot high, bearing stalkless, narrow, tapering, smooth leaves in distant pairs, each pair at right angles to those that are next to it, and long-tubed, pale yellow flowers which are placed in the axils of the upper leaves in pairs, all turning one way.Height c 20-50 cm.  Flower c 12-18 mm long. The corolla is four times as long as the calyx, and the lower lip longer than the upper standing sharply out instead of hanging downwards as in most labiate flowers. The colour is somewhat between the delicate pale yellow of the primrose and the rich bright yellow of the buttercup. The plant is in flower from June to September.
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Medicinal Uses:
M. pratense herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea or externally as pillow filling for treatment of rheumatism and blood vessels calcification.

Other Uses:   Cow-wheat is said to afford fodder for cattle, though not cultivated in this country for that purpose. Linnaeus states that when cows are fed in fields where the Meadow Cow-wheat is abundant, the butter yielded by their milk is peculiarly rich and of a brilliant yellow colour, but in England the plant grows more frequently in the undergrowth of woods and thickets than in meadows, abounding in nearly all copses and woods throughout Great Britain.
The seed of the plant has an elaiosome, which is attractive to wood ants (Formica spp.). The ants disperse the seeds of the plant when they take them back to their nests to feed their young. The plant is an Ancient Woodland indicator, as the ants rarely carry the seeds more than a few yards, seldom crossing a field to go to a new woodland.

M. pratense is a food plant of the caterpillars of the Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia), a butterfly.

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/Melampyrum_pratense
http://www.first-nature.com/flowers/melampyrum_pratense.php
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Melampyrum_pratense
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cowwh113.html

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Tanacetum balsamita

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

Synonyms: Alecost. Balsamita major. (L.)Desf. Chrysanthemum balsamita.
Balsam Herb. Costmarie. Mace. Balsamita.
(French) Herbe Sainte-Marie.

Common Names:Costmary, alecost, balsam herb, bible leaf, or mint geranium.

Habitat : Costmary is a native of the Orient, but has now become naturalized in many parts of southern Europe and was formerly to be found in almost every garden in this country, having been introduced into England in the sixteenth century – Lyte, writing in 1578, said it was then ‘very common in all gardens.’ Gerard, twenty years later, says ‘it groweth everywhere in gardens,’ and Parkinson mentions it among other sweet herbs in his garden, but it has now so completely gone out of favour as to have become a rarity, though it may still occasionally be found in old gardens, especially in Lincolnshire, where it is known as ‘Mace.’

The plant seems to have originated in the Mediterranean. It is unclear whether the plant called “balsamita” described by Columella in 70 AD is the same. According to Heinrich Marzell, it was first mentioned in 812 in a plant catalogue. Costmary was widely grown since the medieval times in herb gardens until the late 19th and early centuries for medical purposes. Nowadays it has mostly disappeared in Europe, but is still widely used in southwest Asia. It was used in medieval times as a place marker in bibles.

It is an introduced weed of roadsides in eastern N. America.

Description:
The costmary is a perennial herb with oval serrated leaves and can grow up to 2 meters high. In distinction to the feathery leaves of its near relative, the Tansy, the somewhat long and broad leaves of Costmary are entire, their margins only finely toothed. The stems rise 2 to 3 feet from the creeping roots and bear in August, at their summit, heads of insignificant yellowish flowers in loose clusters, which do not set seed in this country.

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Cultivation:
The plant will thrive in almost every soil or situation, but will do best on dry land.

Propagation is effected by division of the roots in early spring, or in autumn, planting 2 feet apart, in a dry, warm situation. As the roots creep freely, the plants will probably spread over the intervening spaces in a couple of years and need dividing and transplanting every second or third year.

Grown in the shade, Costmary goes strongly to leaf, but will not flower.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

Leaves – raw or used as a flavouring in soups, beer etc. They can be chopped and added sparingly to salads. They have a very pleasant aroma, but can be overpowering in the food if you are not careful. The leaves were at one time widely used in brewing beer, before being superseded by hops (Humulus lupulus). The whole leaves can be laid in cake trays to flavour the cake whilst it is baking. The flower petals are used for conserves. A delicious tea is made from the dried leaves

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Leaves.

Alecost is seldom used in herbal medicine, though it does have a beneficial effect upon the digestive system. Early writers suggested the leaves to relieve headaches and gout pain, to increase menstruation, and as a diuretic.  It was also used for conditions of   excessive coldness. Costmary is slightly astringent and antiseptic on wounds and burns and was also used with other herbs in ointments for dry, itch skin and skin parasites.  Infuse the leaf as a tonic tea for colds, catarrh, upset stomachs and cramps, and to ease childbirth.  Add to a salve for burns and stings.  It was at one time employed medicinally in this country, having somewhat astringent and antiseptic properties, and had a place in our Pharmacopceia until 1788, chiefly as an aperient, its use in dysentery being especially indicated.  An ointment made by boiling the herb in olive oil with Adder’s Tongue and thickening the strained liquid with wax and resin and turpentine was considered to be very valuable for application to sores and ulcers. The leaves are antiseptic, astringent, digestive and laxative. They have been used internally as an aperient in the treatment of dysentery, and as a remedy for liver and gall bladder complaints. Externally, they have been used as a salve to treat burns and insect stings. They are considered to be virtually obsolete in modern herbalism.
Other Uses:Insecticide; Pot-pourri; Strewing……….The plant was traditionally used for its insecticidal properties. The dried leaves retain their fragrance well and so are used in pot-pourri, they are also used as a strewing herb

The plant is known from ancient herbals and was widely grown in Elizabethan knot gardens.

 

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/c/costm107.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanacetum_balsamita

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tanacetum+balsamita

Petasites hybridus

Botanical Name : Petasites hybridus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Senecioneae
Genus: Petasites
Species: P. hybridus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

 SynonymsP. officinalis, P. ovatus and P. vulgaris.

Common Names:Butterbur , Langwort, Umbrella Plan , Bog rhubarb, Devil’s hat and Pestilence wort.

Habitat : Petasites hybridus is  native to Europe and northern Asia.

Description:
Petasites hybridus is a herbaceous perennial plant in the family Asteraceae,  The flowers are produced in the early spring, before the leaves appear; they are pale pink, with several inflorescences clustered on a 5–20 cm stem. The leaves are large, on stout 80–120 cm tall stems, round, with a diameter of 40–70 cm.

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It is hardy to zone 4. It is in leaf 12-Apr .The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.

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

Cultivation:           
Succeeds in ordinary garden so, but prefers a deep fertile humus-rich soil that is permanently moist but not stagnant, succeeding in shade, semi-shade or full sun. Requires a moist shady position. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. A very invasive plant, too rampant for anything other than the wild garden. Its roots are very difficult to eradicate. It is best to only grow the male form in the garden to prevent unwanted seedlings popping up all over the place. The growth is so dense and vigorous, with large leaves that can be 75cm or more across, that virtually no other plant is able to grow amongst this species. Plants are a useful early nectar source for bees. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:    
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe or in early spring. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division succeeds at almost any time of the year. Very easy, 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.

Constituents:  pyrrolizidine type alkaloids, mainly senecionine and integerrimine; flavonoids, including quercetin, astragalan and isoquercitrin; petasin, neopetasin; tannins; mucilage; volatile oil; sesquiterpene

Mediucinal Uses:
Properties: * Astringent * Cardiac tonic Cordial * Depurative * Diaphoretic/sudorific * Diuretic

It is used in  Asthma, Cardiovascular , Colds , Headache/Migraine

Butterbur root has been used traditionally since the Middle Ages, and in North America during colonial times as a heart stimulant, acting both as a cardiac tonic and also as a diuretic, to treat fevers, wheezing and colds. 1 Modern research supports the use of butterbur in treating the symptoms of seasonal rhinitis (allergies), and asthma.  Clinical trials done with a proprietary butterbur extract, Petadolex , proved an effective therapy in the prevention of migraines.

Its many uses in folk medicine include applications as a diuretic and muscle relaxant, and to treat coughs, fever, wounds, stammering, headaches, asthma and stress. Not all of these uses are supported by scientific research.

Preliminary trials have shown a preparation of Butterbur root to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. A commercial extract Petasol butenoate complex  has proved helpful for allergic rhinitis An evidence-based 2005 systematic review including written and statistical analysis of scientific literature, expert opinion, folkloric precedent, history, pharmacology, kinetics/dynamics, interactions, adverse effects, toxicology, and dosing is available from the Natural Standard Research Collaboration.

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail235.ph
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petasites_vulgaris
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Petasites+hybridus

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Wild Cabbage(Brassica oleracea)

Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms : Brassica sylvestris.

Common Names: Wild Cabbage, Broccoli, Tronchuda cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Kohlrabi, Sprouting broccoli

Habitat : Brassica oleracea is native to Coastal regions of the Mediterranean and W. Europe north to France and Britain. Its high tolerance of salt and lime and its intolerance of competition from other plants typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs.

Description:
Biennial/Perennial growing to 1.2m.Wild  forming a stout rosette of large leaves in the first year, the leaves being fleshier and thicker than those of other species of Brassica, adaptations to store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment. In its second year, the stored nutrients are used to produce a flower spike 1 to 2 metres (3–7 ft) tall bearing numerous yellow flowers.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

They have smooth margins and look like the outer or basal, non-heading leaves of cabbage. The lower leaves tend to sag down and the upper ones are more erect and cup-shaped. Kale leaves are not as thick as collards and in many cultivars they are fringed or wavy-edged. Kale plants, and their leaves, are smaller than those of collards. There are many cultivars of kale and collards. Some were selected more for ornamental use than food.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Slightly bitter raw, they can be cooked in one or more changes of water. We find that the slight bitterness actually enhances the flavour, and this is one of our favourite cooked leaves. The plant can usually be harvested all year round, though there will be little to pick in very cold winters.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Anthelmintic; Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Laxative; Stomachic.

The leaves are cardiotonic and stomachic. They have been used in the treatment of gout and rheumatism. The leaves can be used as a poultice to cleanse infected wounds – the mid-rib is removed and the leaf ironed then placed on the affected area whilst still hot. The poultice should not be left on too long or it an cause blisters. The seeds are anthelmintic, diuretic, laxative and stomachic.

Cabbages best known medicinal use is as a poultice,  the leaves of the wild or cultivated plant are blanched, crushed, or chopped, and applied to swellings, tumors and painful joints. Wild cabbage leaves eaten raw or cooked aid digestion and the breakdown of toxins in the liver, so the Romans   eating it to ease a hangover was quite sensible.  The leaves can be used as a poultice to cleanse infected wounds – the mid-rib is removed and the leaf ironed then placed on the affected area whilst still hot. The seeds are anthelmintic, diuretic, laxative and stomachic.  Cabbage is also detoxifying and helpful in the long term treatment of arthritis.  The high vitamin C content of cabbage has made it useful in the prevention of scurvy.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in full sun in any reasonable soil, though it prefers a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil. It does well in heavy clay soils. It is often found wild by the coast and tolerates considerable maritime exposure. The true wild cabbage is a short-lived perennial, though we have seen specimens 5 years old or more[K]. This species has long been cultivated for its edible leaves, stems etc and a wide diversity of forms have been developed, including cabbages, cauliflowers, broccolis and Brussels sprouts. Most of these forms are biennial in cultivation, though there are also some perennial forms. These different forms are detailed below and have each been given their own entry in the database. We have chosen the most up to date classification we can find, as treated in ‘World Economic Plants’. B. oleracea alboglabra. Chinese kales are fast-growing plants with tender edible leaves. Although perennials, they are usually grown as annuals and are eaten as a summer and autumn crop whilst still young. B. oleracea botrytis. Cauliflowers are grown mainly for their edible swollen inflorescence. Different cultivars can be used to provide crops all year round. B. oleracea botrytis aparagoides. A short-lived perennial form of cauliflower producing a small cauliflower head in the spring followed by a number of broccoli-like flowering shoots. B. oleracea capitata. These are the cultivated cabbages, grown for their edible leaves that usually form a compact head. Reasonably winter hardy, different cultivars can be used to provide edible plants all year round. B. oleracea costata. Couve tronchuda is a tall-growing form of cabbage. It is less hardy than most other forms of this genus. B. oleracea gemmifera. Brussels sprouts form large edible axillary buds 5cm or more long. They are mainly used as late autumn to spring crops. B. oleracea gongylodes. Kohl rabi produces an edible swollen stem 8cm or more in diameter. It is reasonably cold hardy and provides crops from mid summer to the winter. B. oleracea italica. The calabreses and sprouting broccolis, grown mainly for their edible flowering shoots. Calabrese is the less hardy and is used mainly as an autumn and early winter crop. The sprouting broccolis are very winter hardy and are grown outdoors through the winter to provide a spring to early summer crop. B. oleracea medullosa. Marrowstem kales have edible leaves and stems. B. oleracea palmifolia. The Jersey kale produces a very tall stem which has been used as a walking stick. B. oleracea ramosa. The thousand-headed and perennial kales are very cold hardy. Their flavour is stronger than most of the other cultivated forms and they are mainly used as a winter crop. This form is very close to the wild species and has the most potential for developing perennial cultivars. B. oleracea subauda. The savoy cabbages form large heads like the cultivated cabbages (B. oleracea capitata). They have a stronger flavour, crinkly leaves and are generally more cold-hardy so can provide a winter crop in areas with quite severe winters. B. oleracea sabellica. The curly kales have attractively curled leaves. These are quite cold-tolerant plants and are mainly used to provide edible leaves in winter and spring. B. oleracea viridis. Collards are a cold-hardy non-heading form of cabbage, used mainly to provide green leaves in the spring.

Propagation
Seed – sow April in situ. Seedlings transplant very well and so, if you sow the seed too thickly, it is a simple matter to move some of the plants to give them more space. Cuttings root very easily at almost any time in the growing season[K]. Use shoots about 8cm long of the current year’s growth and place them in individual pots in the cuttings frame.

Cultivars
‘Tree Collards’
This is a perennial form of cabbage that is said to live for 20 years or more. The leaves are a very dark green and look somewhat like the leaves of savoy cabbages, though the plant does not form a heart. The flavour is very good and the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The plant can be harvested all year round. The shoot tips are removed when about 15 – 20cm long, making sure that there is plenty of stem left. The plant then forms new sideshoots along the stem and these can also be harvested in their turn.

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/database/plants.php?Brassica+oleracea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassica_oleracea
http://www.floridata.com/ref/b/bras_ole_kale.cfm

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

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