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Herbs & Plants

Cornus sericea

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Botanical Name : Cornus sericea
Family: Cornaceae
Genus:     Cornus
Subgenus: Swida
Species: C. sericea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Cornales

Synonyms: Swamp’s Dogwood. Red Willow. Silky Cornel. Female Dogwood. Blueberry. Kinnikinnik. Rose Willow.
(French) Cornouille.

Common Names:Red Osier Dogwood, Western dogwood, Red willow, Redstem dogwood, Redtwig dogwood, Red-rood, American dogwood, Creek dogwood.

Habitat: Cornus sericea is native throughout northern and western North America from Alaska east to Newfoundland, south to Durango and Nuevo León in the west, and Illinois and Virginia in the east.It grows on Shores and thickets. Along streams, rivers and moist sites, 450 – 2700 metres

Desciption:
In the wild, it commonly grows in areas of damp soil, such as wetlands. It is a medium to tall deciduous shrub, growing 1.5–4 m tall and 3–5 m wide, spreading readily by underground stolons to form dense thickets. The branches and twigs are dark red, although wild plants may lack this coloration in shaded areas. The leaves are opposite, 5–12 cm long and 2.5–6 cm broad, with an ovate to oblong shape and an entire margin; they are dark green above and glaucous below; fall color is commonly bright red to purple. The flowers are small (5–10 mm diameter), dull white, in clusters 3–6 cm diameter. The fruit is a globose white berry 5–9 mm diameter.
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The Latin specific epithet sericea means “silky”, referring to the texture of the leaves.

Cultivation:  
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any soil of good or moderate fertility, ranging from acid to shallow chalk. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil and a position in sun or partial shade. Succeeds in poorly drained soils. Plants are hardy to about -35°c. A rampant suckering shrub. A number of cultivars have been developed for their ornamental value. This species is closely allied to C. alba. The flowers are very attractive to bees. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:  
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in an outdoors seedbed if there is sufficient seed. The seed must be separated from the fruit flesh since this contains germination inhibitors. Stored seed should be cold stratified for 3 – 4 months and sown as early as possible in the year. Scarification may also help as may a period of warm stratification before the cold stratification. Germination, especially of stored seed, can be very slow, taking 18 months or more. Prick out the seedlings of cold-frame sown seeds into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on for their first winter in a greenhouse, planting out in the spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe side shoots, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, taken with a heel if possible, autumn in a cold frame. High percentage. Layering of new growth in June/July. Takes 9 months

Edible Uses          
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil;  Oil;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Oil;  Oil.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Juicy. Bitter and unpalatable according to some reports, it was mixed with other fruits such as juneberries (Amelanchier spp) and then dried for winter use by native North Americans. The fruit can cause nausea. The fruit is up to 9mm in diameter. Seed. No more details are given, but the seeds are quite small and woody, looking rather less than edible. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Root-bark and bark.

Constituents: The active properties are similar to those found in Peruvian Bark, except that there is more gum mucilage and extractive matter and less resin quinine and tannin.

It is tonic astringent and slightly stimulant, used in periodical and typhoid fever. Taken internally it increases the strength and frequency of the pulse, elevating the temperature of the body. It should be used in the dried state, the fresh bark being likely to upset the stomach.

The powdered bark has been used as toothpowder, to preserve the gums and make the teeth white; the flowers have been used in place of chamomile.

Other Uses:
Cornus sericea is a popular ornamental shrub that is often planted for the red coloring of its twigs in the dormant season. The cultivar ‘Flaviramea’, with lime green stems, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Like most dogwood species native to North America, C. sericea can be parasitized by the dogwood sawfly, possibly leaving much of the plant devoid of leaves. A variety of pesticides are effective; however, hand-picking the larvae is also an option.

C. sericea is frequently used for waterway bank erosion protection and restoration in the United States and Canada. Its root system provides excellent soil retention, it is hardy and provides an attractive shrub even when bare in winter, and its ability to be reproduced by cuttings makes it a low cost solution for large scale plantings.

Some Plateau Indian tribes ate the berries to treat colds and to slow bleeding.

Known as cansasa in Lakota, the inner bark was also used by the Lakota and other Native Americans as “traditional tobacco”, either by itself or in a mixture with other plant materials. Among the Algonquian peoples such as the Ojibwe, the smoking mixtures, known as kinnikinnick, blended the inner bark with tobacco, while more western tribes added it to the bearberry leaf to improve the taste.

The Ojibwe used red osier dogwood bark as a dye by taking the inner bark, mixing it with other plants or minerals.

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/o/osierr14.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cornus+sericea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornus_sericea

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Herbs & Plants

Lophophora williamsii

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Botanical Name : Lophophora williamsii
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Genus:     Lophophora
Species: L. williamsii
Tribe: Cacteae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Caryophyllales

Synonym(s): Echinocactus williamsii, Lophophora lewinii, Lophophora echinata, Lophophora lutea, Lophophora fricii, Lophophora jourdaniana

Common Name(s): Peyote, Cactus Pudding, Devil’s Root, Diabolic Root, Dry Whiskey, Dumpling Cactus, Indian Dope, Mescal, Mescal Button, Turnip Cactus, Whiskey Cactus, White Mule

Habitat :Lophophora williamsii is native to southwestern Texas and Mexico. It is found primarily in the Chihuahuan desert and in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi among scrub, especially where there is limestone. Texas – United States : San Luis Potosi – Mexico (North America)

Description:
The various species of the genus Lophophora grow low to the ground and they often form groups with numerous, crowded shoots. The blue-green, yellow-green or sometimes reddish green shoots are mostly flattened spheres with sunken shoot tips. They can reach heights of from 2 to 7 centimeters (0.79 to 2.76 in) and diameters of 4 to 12 centimeters (1.6 to 4.7 in). There are often significant, vertical ribs consisting of low and rounded or hump-like bumps. From the cusp areoles arises a tuft of soft, yellowish or whitish woolly hairs. Spines are absent. Flowers are pink or white to slightly yellowish, sometimes reddish. They open during the day, are from 1 to 2.4 centimeters long, and reach a diameter from 1 to 2.2 centimeters.
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The cactus produces flowers sporadically; these are followed by small edible pink fruit. The club-shaped to elongated, fleshy fruits are bare and more or less rosy colored. At maturity, they are brownish-white and dry. The fruits do not burst open on their own and they are between 1.5 and 2 centimeters long. They contain black, pear-shaped seeds that are 1 to 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide. The seeds require hot and humid conditions to germinate. Peyote contains a large spectrum of phenethylamine alkaloids. The principal one is mescaline. The mescaline content of Lophophora williamsii is about 0.4% fresh[7] (undried) and 3-6% dried. Peyote is extremely slow growing. Cultivated specimens grow considerably faster, sometimes taking less than three years to go from seedling to mature flowering adult. More rapid growth can be achieved by grafting peyote onto mature San Pedro root stock

The top of the cactus that grows above ground, also referred to as the crown, consists of disc-shaped buttons that are cut above the roots and sometimes dried. When done properly, the top of the root will form a callus and the root will not rot. When poor harvesting techniques are used, however, the entire plant dies. Currently in South Texas, peyote grows naturally but has been over-harvested, to the point that the state has listed it as an endangered species. The buttons are generally chewed, or boiled in water to produce a psychoactive tea. Peyote is extremely bitter and most people are nauseated before they feel the onset of the psychoactive effects.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The tops, consisting of blunt leaves round a tuft of short, pale yellow hairs.

Constituents: Four alkaloids have been separated: Anhalonine, Mescaline, Anhalonidine, and Lophophorine, and two other bases, pellotine and anhalamine.

Pellotine is said to be found only in the Williamsii variety, but this is always present in the commercial drug.

Cardiac, tonic, narcotic, emetic. The value of the drug in practice is uncertain, but it is stated to be useful in neurasthenia, hysteria, and asthma, and has been recommended in gout, neuralgia and rheumatism.

Four to five buttons, or 215 to 230 grains of the drug will produce a strange cerebral excitement with visual disturbance, the visions being at first of varied beauty and later of gruesome shapes and monsters. The physical effects include dilatation of the pupil, muscular relaxation, loss of time sense, partial anaesthesia, wakefulness, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The mental symptoms in some ways resemble those of Indian Hemp.

Pellotine, in doses of 1/3 to 1 grain, has been used in hypodermic injection in cases of insanity, producing sleep without undesirable reactions. Care is needed, as collapse is said to have been observed after a dose of, 7/10 of a grain. The uses of the various alkaloids are in the experimental stage.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mescal33.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peyote
http://cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Lophophora&species=williamsii

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Herbs & Plants

Acacia greggii

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Botanical Name : Acacia greggii
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. greggii
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names: Catclaw Acacia, Catclaw Mesquite, Gregg’s Catclaw, Devil’s Claw, Paradise Flower, Wait-a-minute Tree, and Wait-a-bit Tree,  cat’s claw acacia, tear blanket, devils claw, paradise flower, long-flowered catclaw, Texas mimosa, uña de gato.

Habitat: Acacia greggii is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, from the extreme south of Utah (where, at 37°10′ N it is the northernmost naturally occurring Acacia species anywhere in the world) south through southern Nevada, southeast California, Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas to Baja California, Sinaloa and Nuevo León in Mexico.

Description:
Acacia greggii is a large shrub or small tree growing to 10 m (33 ft) tall with a trunk up to 20–30 cm (7.9–12 in) diameter. The grey-green leaves are deciduous, and bipinnate, divided into 1-3 pairs of pinnae, each pinna 2–3 cm (0.79–1.2 in) long with 10-18 leaflets that are 3–6 mm (0.12–0.24 in). Pinnae are most frequently in two pairs, with the proximal pair perpendicular to the petiolule and the distal pair forming a V at the tip. The flowers are produced in dense cylindrical spikes, each flower with five yellow 3 mm (0.12 in) petals and numerous yellow 6 mm (0.24 in) stamens. The fruit is a flat, twisted legume (pod) 6–15 cm (2.4–5.9 in) long, containing several hard, dark brown seeds. The seed pod is constricted between seeds (a loment), and seed dispersal occurs both through dehiscence and breaks at these constrictions.
You may click to see the pictures of Acacia greggii>..…(1).……..…(2)

Propagation:
Catsclaw acacia reproduces sexually by producing an abundance of seeds. Vegetative regeneration (sprouting) occurs following damage to the above-ground portion of the plant. Catclaw acacia flowers are pollinated by insects and begin to produce seed between 4 to six years of age. It has shown varying success when transplanted. Seedlings can be nursery grown in tall containers to accommodate the deep root systems. In California, seed collected in the field exhibited good germination without any special treatment in fall or spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The pod is powdered and applied moistened as a poultice for muscle pain, bruises or sprains.  It also is used for the same purposes as Mesquite.  Gather the pods when still green and dry the leaves and branches over a paper as the leaves often fall off while hanging. The longer distal roots, chopped into small segments while moist. The gum is gathered the same way as mesquite gum and the flowers are dried. The green leaves, stems, and pods are powdered for tea (standard infusion) or for topical application; the roots are best used as a cold standard infusion, warmed for drinking and gargling.

Pods are used for conjunctivitis in the same manner as mesquite pods and the gum, although catsclaw is harder to harvest it is used in the same way as mesquite gum. The powdered pods and leaves make an excellent infused tea (2-4 ounces of the standard infusion every three hours) for diarrhea and dysentery, as well as a strongly astringent hemostatic and antimicrobial wash. The straight powder will stop superficial bleeding and can also be dusted into moist, chafed body folds and dusted on infants for diaper rash. The flowers and leaves as a simple tea are good anti-inflammatory for the stomach and esophagus in nausea, vomiting, and hangovers. It is distinctly sedative. The root is thick and mucilaginous as a tea and is good for sore throat and mouth inflammations as well as dry raspy coughing.

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/Acacia_greggii
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://medplant.nmsu.edu/acacia2.html

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