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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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Herbs & Plants

Clintonia borealis

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Botanical Name :Clintonia borealis
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Clintonia
Species: C. borealis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Common Names : Blue-bead lily or Clintonia, also Clinton’s Lily, Corn Lily, Cow Tongue, Yellow Beadlily, Yellow Bluebeadlily, Snakeberry, Dogberry, Straw Lily

Habitat : The plant is native to the boreal forest in eastern North America, but is also found in other coniferous or mixed forests and in cool temperate maple forests. It is not found in open spaces, and only grows in the shade.

Description:
Clintonia borealis is a small (5–10 in) perennial plants, usually found in homogeneous colonies. At full growth, a shoot has 2–4 clasping and curved, slightly succulent leaves with parallel venation. The flowers are arranged in small umbels at the extremity of a long stalk. They have 6 stamens and 3 identical sepals and petals (tepals). In rare cases more than one umbel is found on a shoot or shoots from a clone. The fruits are small dark blue, lurid berries. A white-berried form (f. albicarpa) also exists.

Click to see the pictures

Click to see the picture

Click to see the picture

The plant reproduces via seed or vegetatively by rhizomes. Flowering in May and June and the bloom color is  Yellow , Green , Brown.  It takes over a dozen years for a clone to establish and produce its first flower, 2 years of which are dedicated solely to germination. The rhizome starts to mold after approximatively 15 years, but a colony often covers several hundred m². Few specimens establish new colonies.

Clintonia borealis is extremely slow to spread, but established clones can usually survive many later modifications, as long as sunlight remains limited. Whereas crossed pollination is more efficient in producing seeds, self-pollination will still produce seeds, allowing the plant to propagate.

Like other slow-growing forest plants, such as Trilliums, Blue-bead lily is extremely sensitive to grazing by White-tailed Deer.

Propagation: Usually propagated by dividing underground runners in fall or early spring, but may also be grown from seed planted immediately after ripening. Plant divisions 1 in. deep. Be careful when handling the rhizomes and roots, because they are brittle. Pulp-

Edible Uses:  The young leaves of the plant are edible while still only a few inches tall. The fruit however, is mildly toxic, and is quite unpleasant tasting.

Medicinal Uses:
The rhizome contains diosgenin, a saponin steroid with estrogenic effects.The plant contains diosgenin a chemical from which progesterone is manufactured. It is anti-inflammatory and Native Americans used it to treat injuries of various kinds from bruises to burns and infections. A root tea was used as a tonic and to aid in childbirth. The leaves are cardiac and disinfectant. A poultice has been applied to open wounds, burns, ulcers, scrofulous sores and infections.

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/Clintonia_borealis
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CLBO3
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Eriophyllum confertiflorum

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Botanical Name:Eriophyllum confertiflorum
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Eriophyllum
Species: E. confertiflorum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names: Golden yarrow or Yellow yarrow

Habitat :Eriophyllum confertiflorum is native to California and Baja California, and its range may extend into Arizona. It can be found in a number of plant communities and habitats.

Description;
Eriophyllum confertiflorum  is a perennial  small shrub.The plant grows in large clumps or stands of many erect stems often exceeding half a meter in height. It has greenish to gray-green stems and foliage, the leaves sharply lobed and divided. The top of each stem is occupied by an inflorescence of up to 30 flower heads, each bright golden yellow head with a large center of disc florets and usually a fringe of rounded to oval ray florets. The fruit is an achene with a very short pappus.
click & see the pictures

Its flowers are  bright yellow and bloom  in early summer, does best with full sun, a little summer water, good drainage, excellent with Penstemons. Cold tolerant to 5 deg.F. or less. This one is ‘highly variable’ which means if you do not specify the site, you’ll get a funny looking plant. Munz separated out E.confertiflorum var. laxiflorum a sub-species with narrower stems and leaves. In reality, the northern form of E.confertiflorum is green and 2′, the central Calif. form is gray and 1′, the S. Calif. form is 2′ ft. and gray.

Medicinal Uses;
Delfina Cuero, a Kumeyaay or Southern Diegueno Indian, made the following comments about Eriophyllum confertiflorum in her autobiography:  ” This is used for someone with pimples on their face.  They were told to boil the whole plant and wash face in water to clear away the pimples”.  The woolly fuzz that densely coves the leaves and stems was collected by Native Americans and used as a cure for rheumatism.

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/Eriophyllum_confertiflorum
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/eriophyllum-confertiflorum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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Chimaphila umbellata

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Botanical Name :Chimaphila umbellata
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Chimaphila
Species: C. umbellata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:Umbellate Wintergreen, Pipsissewa, or Prince’s pine,Ground Holly

Habitat :Chimaphila umbellata is native to  N. Europe, N. America, E. Asia. It grows in dry coniferous woods in Europe. Moist woods, particularly coniferous stands, and along mountain streams from the lower hills to about 2,500 metres in Western N. America

Description:
Chimaphila umbellata  is a small perennial  evergreen flowering plant found in dry woodlands, or sandy soils. It grows 10-35 cm tall, and has evergreen shiny, bright green, toothed leaves arranged in opposite pairs or whorls of 3-4 along the stem.It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. Leaves have a shallowly toothed margin, where the teeth have fine hairs at their ends. The flowers are white or pink, produced in a small umbel of 4-8 together.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The leaves are gathered in summer.
Cultivation:
Requires a light moist but well-drained lime-free soil and shade from direct sunligh. This species is difficult to propagate and grow in cultivation, mainly because it has certain mycorrhizal associations in the wild and these are necessary if the plant is to thrive. It is best to use some soil collected from around an established plant when sowing seed or planting out into a new position. The plant has wide-spreading fibrous feeding roots and will often die or fail to increase in size if these are disturbed. The flowers have a sweet but refreshing perfume.
Propagation :
Seed – this is very difficult to germinate, see the notes above in cultivation details. It is best sown in a shady area of the greenhouse on moist sphagnum peat as soon as it is ripe. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division. Rather difficult because the plant is very sensitive to root disturbance. It is best attempted in the spring as the plant comes into growth. Cuttings of softwood, June in a frame. Use some soil from around an established plant.

Edible Uses:
The leaves are nibbled, brewed into a tea or used as a flavouring in root beer. They have a delicious scent and flavour. An extract of the leaves is used to flavour candy and soft drinks. In Mexico the herb is used in the preparation of ‘navaitai’, an alcoholic beverage produced from sprouted maize. A tea can be made from an infusion of the stems and roots.

Medicinal Uses;
Pipsissewa was an important herb among Native Americans, who used it for various problems, including rheumatism.  It induced sweating.  The Pennsylvania Dutch used it as a tonic and diuretic for kidney complaints and rheumatism.  Internally used for urinary infections, prostates, urethritis, kidney stones, arthritis and rheumatism.  It is mainly used in an infusion for urinary tract problems such as cystitis and urethritis.  It has also been prescribed for more serious conditions such as gonorrhea and kidney stones.  By increasing urine flow, it stimulates the removal of waste products from the body and is therefore of benefit in treating rheumatism and gout.  It is also a lymphatic catalyst.  The fresh leaves may be applied externally to rheumatic joints or muscles, as well as to blisters, sores and swellings.  In tests on animals, pipsissewa leaves appear to lower blood sugar levels.  Solvent in diluted alcohol, boiling water.
Known Hazards: Weak skin sensitizing effects. May cause diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Not suitable for long term use. Reduces mineral absorption from gut.

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.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_pipsissewa.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimaphila_umbellata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Chimaphila+umbellata

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Herbs & Plants

Apocynum cannabinum

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Botanical Name :Apocynum cannabinum
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Apocynum
Species: A. cannabinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales

Common Names:Dogbane,Canadian Hemp, Amy Root, Hemp Dogbane, Indian Hemp, Rheumatism Root, or Wild Cotton

Habitat :Apocynum cannabinum is native to California and is also found elsewhere in North America and beyond. It grows in open wooded areas, ditches, and hillsides, and prefers moist places.

Description:
Apocynum cannabinum, a dicot, is a perennial herb. It grows up to 2 meters/6 feet tall. The stems are lack hairs, often have a reddish-brown tint when mature, become woody at the base, and are much-branched in the upper portions of the plant. are reddish and contain a milky latex capable of causing skin blisters.  The flowers are produced in mid summer, with large sepals, and a five-lobed white corolla.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Leaves: Entire margins (meaning the leaf’s edges are smooth, not notched or toothed), ovate or elliptic, 2-5 inches long, 0.5-1.5 inches wide, and arranged oppositely along the stem. Leaves have short petioles (stems) and are sparingly pubescent or lacking hairs beneath. The lower leaves have stems while the upper leaves may not. The leaves turn yellow in the fall, then drop off.

Fruit: Long (5 inches or more), narrow follicles produced in pairs (one from each ovary) that turn reddish-brown when mature and develop into two long pods containing numerous seed with tufts of silky white hairs at their ends.

Identifying Characteristics: Stems and leaves secrete a milky sap when broken. Sprouts emerging from the underground horizontal rootstock may be confused with Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) emerging shoots. But note that they are not related to milkweeds, despite the milky sap and the similar leaf shape and growth habit. The flower shape is quite unlike that of milkweed flowers and the leaves of hemp dogbane are much smaller than those of common milkweed. When mature, these native plants may be distinguished by the branching in the upper portions of the plant that occurs in hemp dogbane, and also the smaller size of hemp dogbane compared to Common milkweed.

Medicinal Uses:
Indian hemp is an unpleasantly bitter stimulant irritant herb that acts on the heart, respiratory and urinary systems, and also on the uterus. It was much employed by various native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a wide variety of complaints including rheumatism, coughs, pox, whooping cough, asthma, internal parasites, diarrhea and also to increase milk flow in lactating mothers. The fresh root is the most active part medicinally. It has been used in the treatment of syphilis and as a tonic. A weak tea made from the dried root has been used for cardiac diseases.  A tea made from the root has been used as a vermifuge.  The milky sap is a folk remedy for venereal warts.  It is favored for the treatment of amenorrhea and leucorrhea.  It is also of value for its diaphoretic and emetic properties.  A half-ounce of crushed root was boiled in a pint of water and one or two ounces of the decoction administered several times a day as a laxative.  The powered root was used to induce vomiting.  The entire plant, steeped in water, was used to treat intestinal worms, fever, dysentery, asthma, pneumonia, inflammation of the intestines, and indigestion.  The plant is considered a heart stimulant.

This plant causes large and liquid stools, accompanied by but little griping; acts with more or less freedom upon the kidneys; and in large doses produces much nausea, and rather copious vomiting. Emesis from its use is followed by rather free perspiration, as is to be expected from any emetic; though this agent also acts considerably upon the surface. The pulse becomes softer and fuller under its use; and it is accused of producing drowsiness and a semi-narcotism.  It has been most used for its effects as a hydrogogue cathartic and diuretic in dropsies; but should be employed only in moderation, and in connection with tonics and diffusive stimulants. It usually increases the menstrual flow, and some have lately attributed decided antiperiodic properties to it, but this is not yet satisfactorily confirmed. An ounce of the root boiled a few minutes in a pint of water, is the better mode of preparing it; and from one to two fluid ounces of this are a laxative dose. An extract is made, of which the dose is from three to six grains.

It is also used in herbal medicine to treat syphilis, rheumatism, intestinal worms, fever, asthma, and dysentery. Although the toxins from the plant can cause nausea and catharsis, it has also been used for slowing the pulse.

Other Uses:
Phytoremediation
Apocynum cannabinum is a phytoremediation plant, a hyperaccumulator used to sequester lead in its biomass.

Fiber
Apocynum cannabinum was used as a source of fiber by Native Americans, to make hunting nets, fishing lines, clothing, and twine.  It is called qéemu  in Nez Perce and  in Sahaptin.

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.primitiveways.com/hemp_dogbane.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=426
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocynum_cannabinum

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