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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Viola adunca

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Botanical Name : Viola adunca
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola
Species: V. adunca
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms : Lophion aduncum. Viola bellidifolia. Viola clarkiae. Viola cordulata. Viola desertorum.
Common Names: Hookedspur violet, Early blue violet, Sand violet, and Western dog violet, Kirk’s violet, Hooked Spur violet

Habitat: Viola adunca is native to Eastern and Western N. America – Alaska to California, also Ontario to Quebec and New Brunswick. It grows on damp banks and edges of meadows in most forest communities, 1500 – 2400 metres from Alaska to N. California.
Description:
Viola adunca is a perennial plant growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in). This is a hairy, compact plant growing from a small rhizome system. The leaves are spade- or heart-shaped, sometimes with broadly wavy margins. They are generally 1 to 4 centimeters long. The single-flowered inflorescence grows at the end of a long, very thin peduncle. The nodding flower is a violet with five purple petals, the lower three with white bases and purple veining. The two side petals are white-bearded near the throat. The upper two petals may have hooked spurs at their tips.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

It is in flower from Apr to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, cleistogamous.The plant is self-fertile.

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

Cultivation:
Prefers a cool moist well-drained humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade and protection from scorching winds. Tolerates sandstone and limestone soils but becomes chlorotic if the pH is too high. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5[200]. All members of this genus have more or less edible leaves and flower buds, though those species with yellow flowers can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities. There is at least one named form selected for its ornamental value. ‘Alba’ has white flowers. Flowers formed late in the season are cleistogamous (lacking petals, the flowers do not open but are self-pollinated).

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
Edible Uses: Young leaves and flower buds – raw or cooked. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra. A tea can be made from the dried leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
Early blue violet was used medicinally mostly by the Blackfoot and Bella Coola Indians. An infusion of the leaves and roots has been used to treat stomach problems and asthma in children, and also as a wash and poultice on sore and swollen joints. The roots and leaves have been chewed by women during childbirth. A poultice of the chewed leaves was applied to sore eyes. A poultice of the crushed flowers was applied to the side or chest in the treatment of pain.

Other Uses : A blue dye can be obtained from the flower.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viola_adunca
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Viola+adunca

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Herbs & Plants

Hardhack

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Botanical Name : Spiraea tomentosa
Family: Rosaceae
Genus:     Spiraea
Species: S. tomentosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Rosales

Synonyms: Steeple Bush. White Cap. White Leaf. Silver Leaf.

Common Name: Steeplebush or hardhack

Habitat:Hardhack is native to Canada. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia to the mountains of Georgia westward. It  grows to up to four feet high, and prefers moist to wet soil and full sun.

Description:
Hardhack is a deciduous Shrub, it grows to up to four feet high, with leaves ovate, lanceolate, serrate, greenish-white and downy.. It blooms in summer.  The rose-coloured flowers are in panicles underneath.Individual Hardhack flowers are about 1/16 of an inch wide and are arranged in narrow, pyramid-shaped clusters that can be up to eight inches long.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Butterflies and other nectar-feeding insects find the flowers highly attractive. The flowers are followed by small, dry, brown fruit. It has a dense white-woolly tomentum which covers its stem and the underside of its leaves. It is noted for its astringent properties, which cause it to be used medicinally.
click & see the pictures

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Leaves, root, flowers.
Constituents: The root is said to contain gallic and tannic acid, and, when freshly dug, some volatile oils.

The flowers give feebly the medicinal action of salicylic acid (aspirin) and are used in decoction for their diuretic and tonic effect. An infusion of the flowers is used as an astringent. An infusion of the leaves can be used in the treatment of dysentery. An infusion of the flowers and the leaves has been used to counteract the sickness of pregnancy and also to facilitate childbirth. The roots are astringent and have been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. An infusion of the leaves is also used.

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/h/hardha02.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Spiraea+tomentosa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiraea_tomentosa

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Herbs & Plants

Thuja occidentalis

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Botanical Name : Thuja occidentalis
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus:     Thuja
Species: T. occidentalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class:     Pinopsida
Order:     Pinales

Synonyms:  Tree of Life. Arbor Vitae. American Arbor Vitae. Cedrus Lycea. Western Arbor Vitae. False White Cedar. Hackmatack. Thuia du Canada. Lebensbaum.

Common names: white cedar, northern white cedar, yellow cedar,Atlantic white cedar,
eastern white cedar, swamp cedar,false white cedar, arborvitae, American arborvitae,eastern arborvitae

The name Arborvitae is particularly used in the horti,cultural trade in the United States. It is Latin for “tree of life” – due to the supposed medicinal properties of the sap, bark and twigs. Despite its common names, it does not belong to the cedar genus, nor is it related to the Australian white cedar, Melia azedarach.

Habitat :Thuja occidentalis is native to Manitoba east throughout the Great Lakes region and into Québec, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Isolated populations exist to the south in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West VirginiaThuja occidentalis is native to Manitoba east throughout the Great Lakes region and into Québec, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Isolated populations exist to the south in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginiaetres (0.12–0.20 in) long. The cones are slender, yellow-green ripening brown, 10–15 millimetres (0.39–0.59 in) long and 4–5 millimetres (0.16–0.20 in) broad, with 6-8 overlapping scales. The branches may take root if the tree falls.

Description:
Thuja occidentalis  has fan-like branches and scaly leaves. Unlike the closely related species Thuja plicata, it is only a small tree, growing to a height of 10–20 metres (33–66 ft) tall with a 0.4 metres (1.3 ft) trunk diameter, exceptionally to 30 metres (98 ft) tall and 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) diameter, the tree is often stunted or prostrate. The bark is red-brown, furrowed and peels in narrow, longitudinal strips. The foliage forms in flat sprays with scale-like leaves 3–5 millimetres (0.12–0.20 in) long. The cones are slender, yellow-green ripening brown, 10–15 millimetres (0.39–0.59 in) long and 4–5 millimetres (0.16–0.20 in) broad, with 6-8 overlapping scales. The branches may take root if the tree falls.
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Part Used:  The recently-dried, leafy young twigs

Constituents:  The bitter principle, Pinipicrin, and the tannic acid, said to beidentical with Pinitannic acid, occur also in Pinus sylvestris. Thuja also contains volatile oil, sugar, gelatinous matter, wax, resin, and Thujin. The last is a citron-yellow, crystallizable colouring principle, soluble in alcohol. It has an astringent taste, is inflammable, and can be split up into glucose, Thujigenin and Thujetin (probably identical with Quercitin).

The leaves and twigs are said to yield also a camphor-like essential oil, sp. gr. 0.925, boiling point 190-206 degrees C., easily soluble in alcohol and containing pinene, fenchone, thujone, and perhaps carvone.

Medicinal Uses:     A yellow-green volatile oil can be distilled from the leaves and used as a vermifuge.
Aromatic, astringent, diuretic. The twigs may produce abortion, like those of savin, by reflex action on the uterus from severe gastrointestinal irritation. Both fenchone and thujone stimulate the heart muscle. The decoction has been used in intermittent fevers, rheumatism, dropsy, coughs, scurvy, and as an emmenagogue. The leaves, made into an ointment with fat, are a helpful local application in rheumatism. An injection of the tincture into venereal warts is said to cause them to disappear. For violent pains the Canadians have used the cones, powdered, with four-fifths of Polypody, made into a poultice with lukewarm water or milk and applied to the body, with a cloth over the skin to prevent scorching.

In the 19th century, Thuja was in common use as an externally applied tincture or ointment for the treatment of warts, ringworm and thrush. “An injection of the tincture into venereal warts is said to cause them to disappear.

Other Uses:
White Cedar is a tree with important uses in traditional Ojibwe culture. Honoured with the name Nookomis Giizhik (“Grandmother Cedar”), the tree is the subject of sacred legends and is considered a gift to humanity for its myriad uses, among them crafts, construction and medicine. It is one of the four plants of the Ojibwe medicine wheel, associated with the south. The foliage of Thuja occidentalis is rich in Vitamin C and is believed to be the annedda which cured the scurvy of Jacques Cartier and his party in the winter of 1535–1536. Due to the presence of the neurotoxic compound thujone, internal use can be harmful if used for prolonged periods or while pregnant.

Northern white cedar is commercially used for rustic fencing and posts, lumber, poles, shingles and in the construction of log cabins, White cedar is the preferred wood for the structural elements, such as ribs and planking, of birchbark canoes and the planking of wooden canoes.

The essential oil within the plant has been used for cleansers, disinfectants, hair preparations, insecticides, liniment, room sprays, and soft soaps. There are some reports that the Ojibwa made a soup from the inner bark of the soft twigs. Others have used the twigs to make teas to relieve constipation and headache.

T. occidentalis is widely used as an ornamental tree, particularly for screens and hedges, in gardens, parks and cemeteries. click to see   Over 300 cultivars exist, showing great variation in colour, shape and size, with some of the more common ones being: ‘Degroot’s Spire’, ‘Ellwangeriana’, ‘Hetz Wintergreen’, ‘Lutea’, ‘Rheingold’, ‘Smaragd’ (a.k.a. ‘Emerald Green’), ‘Techny’, and ‘Wareana’. It was introduced into Europe as early as 1540.

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/Thuja_occidentalis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cedyel41.html

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Herbs & Plants

Cryptotaenia canadensis

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Botanical Name : Cryptotaenia canadensis
Family: Apiaceae
Genus:Cryptotaenia
Species: Cryptotaenia canadensis (L.) DC.
Kingdom :Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division: Magnoliophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order:Apiales

Synonyms: Deringa canadensis – (L.)Kuntze.

Common Names: Honewort

Habitat :Cryptotaenia canadensis is native to Eastern N. America – Western New Brunswick to Manitoba and south to Alabama. Arkansas and Texas. Grows in rich woods and thickets. Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Description:
Cryptotaenia canadensis is a herbaceous perennial plant  growing to 1m by 0.6m.
It is hardy to zone 5. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

Flowers are in irregular flat clusters (umbels) 2 to 3 inches across, made up of 3 to 8 groups (umbellets) of 3 to 10 flowers each. Individual flowers are about 1/8 inch across with 5 white petals that are usually curled up, and 5 stamens with creamy yellow tips. The flower stalks in an umbellet are varying lengths and there is no bract at the base of an umbellet. A plant may have a few clusters at the top of the plant, and at the end of branching stems in the upper part of the plant.

You may click to see different pictures of Cryptotaenia canadensis 

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Leaves are compound in groups of 3. Leaflets near the base of the plant are largest, to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide on long stems that are sheathed where they join the main stem. Leaves and their stems become smaller as they ascend the plant, with those near the flowers having little or no leaf stem. Leaflets are double toothed, with small teeth on the edges of larger teeth, have pointed tips, and taper abruptly at the base. The larger leaflets are often cleft or lobed in 2 or 3 parts. The main stem is light green and hairless.

Fruit is a 2-sectioned ribbed seed, about ¼ inch long, pointed at the tip. It ripens from green to dark brown.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a rich moist soil, preferring to grow in dappled shade. Closely related to C. japonica, a species that is cultivated as a vegetable in Japan. This species is being cultivated in America to supply the Japanese market with a chervil-like herb. Slugs are extremely fond of this plant, especially when the new growth emerges in spring.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a greenhouse. Germination is usually rapid, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. The ideal temperature for sowing is about 25°c, though seed does germinate at higher and lower temperatures. Seed can also be sown in early autumn. Division in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Stem.

Young leaves, stems and flowers – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb or added to salads. A flavour that is somewhat like celery, if you use your imagination. Root – cooked. The seeds are used as a flavouring for cakes, breads and biscuits.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional herbalists in New England use an infusion as a diuretic and urinary tract tonic, to strengthen and cleanse the kidneys and to relieve frequent urination.  In the Orient it is held in especially high esteem to treat menstrual and puerperal diseases of women.  Honewort root has been prescribed for Chinese women who wish to conceive.

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Cryptotaenia+canadensis
http://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/canadian-honewort
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CRCA9

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Herbs & Plants

Medeola virginiana

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Botanical Name : Medeola virginiana
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Medeola
Species: M. virginiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Common Names :Medeola virginiana or Indian Cucumber-root

Habitat : Medeola virginiana is native to  Eastern N. AmericaNova Scotia to Ontario, Minnesota, Florida and Tennessee. It grows in rich woods, margins of swamps and bogs .

Description:
Medeola virginiana is a perennial plant, growing to 0.25m.It occurs with either a single tier or two tiers of leaves. The upper tier consists of from three to five whorled leaves on the stem above a lower tier of five to nine (also whorled). Only the two-tiered plants produce flowers which are green-to-yellow and appear from May to June. When two-tiered, it grows up to 30 inches high. The waxy leaves are typically 2.5 inches long and about an inch wide, but can be as long as five inches. The leaves have an entire margin. It typically produces three dark blue to purple, inedible berries above the top tier of leaves in September.
CLICK & SEE

It is hardy to zone 3.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers light shade and plenty of leaf mould in a slightly acid soil. Prefers a rich sandy soil. The rootstock has a pleasant refreshing smell of cucumber.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame in a well-drained soil-less medium. Fully remove the fleshy seed covering because this contains germination inhibitors. The seed should germinate in the spring. Spring sown seed can be slow to germinate and may take 12 months or more. The seed should be sown thinly so that the seedlings can be grown on undisturbed in the pot for their first year. If necessary apply a liquid feed at intervals through the growing season to ensure that the plants grow on well. Prick the roots out into individual pots in the autumn and grow them on in a shady part of the greenhouse for at least the next growing season, planting them out into their permanent positions when they are dormant. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Root.

Root – raw or cooked. Crisp and tender with the aroma and taste of cucumbers. A sweet flavour. The root is up to 8cm long.

Medicinal Uses:

Antispasmodic; Diuretic; Hydrogogue.
The root is diuretic and hydrogogue. It is used in the treatment of dropsy. An infusion of the crushed dried berries and leaves has been used to treat babies with convulsions.

Other Uses:
Scented Plants
Root: Fresh
The rootstock has a pleasant refreshing smell of cucumber.This plant produces a crisp, edible tuber that smells and tastes like garden cucumber. It is listed as an endangered plant in Florida and in Illinois.

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/Medeola_virginiana
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Medeola+virginiana

http://www.nps.gov/plants/pubs/chesapeake/plant/2000.htm

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