Tag Archives: Polygala

Polygala Senega

Botanical Name : Polygala Senega
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fabales
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus:     Polygala
Species: P. senega

Synonyms:  Snake Root. Senegae Radix. Seneca. Seneka. Polygala Virginiana. Plantula Marilandica. Senega officinalis. Milkwort. Mountain Flax. Rattlesnake Root.

Common Names : Seneca snakeroot, senega snakeroot, senegaroot, rattlesnake root, and mountain flax

Habitat:Polygala Senega is native to North America.The plant grows on prairies and in woods and wet shoreline and riverbank habitat. It grows in thin, rocky, usually calcareous soils. It also occurs in disturbed habitat, such as roadsides.

Description:
Polygala Senega is a perennial herb with multiple stems up to 50 centimeters tall. The stems are usually unbranched, but some old plants can have branching stems. A mature plant can have up to 70 stems growing from a hard, woody rootstock that spreads horizontally. The lance-shaped leaves are alternately arranged. The lower leaves are reduced and scale-like. The inflorescence is a spike of rounded white or greenish flowers. The fruit is a capsule containing two hairy black seeds. The root is twisted and conical, with a scent somewhat like wintergreen and a very pungent taste. There are two root morphs; a northern morph growing in Canada and toward Minnesota has larger roots up to 15 centimeters long by 1.2 wide which are dark brown and sometimes purplish toward the top, and a southern morph found in the southeastern United States that has smaller, yellow-brown roots.
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Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Dried Root.

Constituents: The root contains polygalic acid, virgineic acid, pectic and tannic acids, yellow, bitter, colouring matter, cerin fixed oil, gum, albumen, woody fibre, salts, alumina, silica, magnesia and iron. The powder is yellowish-grey to light yellowishbrown.

The active root (pharmaceutically referred to as Senegae Radix) constituents are triterpinoid saponins (notably senegin). Also recorded are phenolic acids, polygalitol (a sorbitol derivative), methyl salicylate, and sterols.

Oil of Senega is bitter, rancid, and disagreeable, with the consistency of syrup and an acid reaction. It is not Seneca oil.

This plant had many uses among Native Americans. The Cherokee used it as an expectorant and a diuretic, and for inflammation, croup, and common cold. The Chippewa used preparations of the root to treat convulsions and bleeding wounds. The Cree chewed the root for sore throat and toothache. According to Canadian botanist Frère Marie-Victorin, the Seneca may have been inspired to use the tortuous root to treat snakebite by its resemblance to the tail of a rattlesnake.

The root was exported to Europe in the 1700s and was sold widely by pharmacists into the 1800s. It was marketed as a treatment for pneumonia. It is still in use as an herbal remedy. It is ground and made into patent medicines, mainly remedies for respiratory complaints. It is added to cough syrups, teas, lozenges, and gargles. It is toxic in large amounts, and overdose causes such symptoms as diarrhea and “violent vomiting”. The powdered root can be sternutatory (sneeze-inducing).

The root product is called Senegae Radix, Radix Senegae, or simply senega. Active compounds include saponins such as senegin, as well as phenolic acids, sorbitol derivatives, methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen), and sterols. The expectorant property comes from the irritation of mucous membranes by the
saponins, which causes an increase in respiratory secretions and a decrease in their viscosity, giving a productive cough.

Other Uses: It grows in gaeden as an ornamental plant.

Known Hazards:  The root is a severe and serious irritant when too much is consumed. It can cause nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and violent vomiting.

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/Polygala_senega
http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/science-and-innovation/science-publications-and-resources/resources/canadian-medicinal-crops/medicinal-crops/polygala-senega-l-seneca-snakeroot/?id=1301436228908
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/senega41.html

Yuan Zhi

Botanical Name : Polygala tenuifolia
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus: Polygala
Species: P. tenuifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names : Chinese Senega, Yuan Zhi,polygala, Chinese senega root,Thinleaf Milkwort Root,Polygala root,thin-leaf milkwort root

Other Names:Chinese Senega, Flax, Klapperschlangen, Milkwort, Mountain Polygala, Polygalae radix, Rattlesnake Root, Senaga Snakeroot, Seneca, Seneca Snakeroot, Senega, Senega Snakeroot, Seneka, Snake Root. Polygala glomerata; Polygala japonica; Polygala reinii; Polygala senega, synonym Polygala senega latifolia; Polygala tenuifolia.

Habitat : Polygala tenuifolia is native to  E. Asia – Korea, Mongolia, Manchuria. Grows in the  Hillsides, roadsides and meadows. Dry meadows and stony slopes.

Description:
Polygala tenuifolia is a perennial herb,  growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).  It is hardy to zone 6. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

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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.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moderately fertile moisture-retentive well-drained soil, succeeding in full sun if the soil remains moist throughout the growing season, otherwise it is best in semi-shade. Dislikes shade according to another report. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c.

Propagation  :
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division. Cuttings of young shoots in a frame in late spring.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.

Young leaves – cooked. Root – cooked. The core is removed and the root is boiled in several changes of water.

Medicinal Uses :
Cardiotonic;  ExpectorantHaemolytic;  Kidney;  Sedative;  Tonic.

Yuan Zhi is used primarily as an expectorant. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called yuan zhi .

Yuan Zhi contains triterpenoid saponins, these promote the clearing of phlegm from the bronchial tubes. The plant is used mainly as an expectorant and stimulant to treat bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and whooping cough. The root is antibacterial, cardiotonic, cerebrotonic, expectorant, haemolytic, hypotensive, sedative and tonic. It acts mainly as a tonic for the heart and kidney energies. It is taken internally in the treatment of coughs with profuse phlegm, bronchitis, insomnia, palpitations, poor memory, anxiety, depression and nervous tension. Externally it is used to treat boils and carbuncles. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The leaves are used as a tonic for the kidneys.

Medical study:
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the extract of dried roots of Polygala tenuifolia in healthy adults produced memory-enhancing effects. A similar trial with elderly humans also found significant cognitive improvement.

A number of in vitro experiments have examined the use of the herb in Alzheimer’s disease, memory disorder, depression, amnesia, cognitive defects, neurotoxicity, degenerative disease,and dementia among others. Results have been encouraging

Known Hazards : Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus is said to be poisonous in large quantities.

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/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygala+tenuifolia
http://www.plantsystematics.org/imgs/mmy8/r/Polygalaceae_Polygala_tenuifolia_25750.html
http://www.mdidea.com/products/new/new09801.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygala_tenuifolia

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Polygala paucifolia

 

Botanical Name : Polygala paucifolia
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus: Polygala
Species: P. paucifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names:Gaywings or Fringed polygala,Milkwort, Fringed

Habitat : Native to USA.Grows in  moderate moisture to moist; forests

Description;
Polygala paucifolia is an  erect, perennial herb growing to 3″-6″ tall, evergreen forb; stems usually solitary; colony-forming rhizomes from small tubers.  Flower are  rose-purple to white, 5-parted, 1/2″-3/4″ wide, about as wide as long, 5 petal-like sepals with the 3 inner ones small and the 2 outer ones very large and wing-like; inflorescence of 1-4 long-stalked flowers in a very short, terminal cluster (raceme); blooms May-June. Leaf is lower scale-like, 3-6 oval to elliptical ones near the top.

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Medicinal Uses:
Its primary purpose is antiseptic, to heal broken skin and infected sores  The milky exudation was also thought to quicken the removal of deposits from the bowels and kidneys. Fringed milkwort possesses similar properties to Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris), and may be employed as a substitute. The root of has a pleasant, spicy flavor, very similar to that of gaultheria. In doses of from 3 to 10 grains, bitter polygala is an excellent bitter tonic; from 10 to 30 grains act upon the bowels, and cause slight diaphoresis. An infusion has been found beneficial as a tonic in debility of the digestive organs. It may be used in all cases where a bitter tonic is indicated

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://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=POLPAU
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygala_paucifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Polygala amara


Botanical Name : Polygala amara
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus: Polygala
Species: Polygala amara
Order: Fabales
Common Name :Bitter Milkwort

Synonyms: P. amarella Crantz. P. austriaca. P. uliginosa.

Habitat :Europe, including Britain, south and east from Norway.  Grassland and damp mountain pastures, especially on chalk and limestone.

Description:
Polygala amara perennial herb  growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES..
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. and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moderately fertile moisture-retentive well-drained soil, succeeding in full sun if the soil remains moist throughout the growing season, otherwise it is best in semi-shade. Dislikes shade according to another report.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division. Cuttings of young shoots in a frame in late spring

Medicinal Uses:
Bitter;  DiaphoreticDiureticEmollientExpectorantGalactogogue.

The herb is bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, mildly expectorant, galactogogue. An infusion is used to treat stomach upsets, bladder and kidney disorders etc. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and dried for later use

The plant is used primarily as a discharging agent, the effect being attributed to the saponines as well as the galtherin and its aglycon.  Due to its bitter constituents it is used as an appetite stimulant and a stomachic.  The Greek name Polygala means “plenty of milk” and explains its use as a galactogogue. This effect is said to be caused by the saponines.  The flowering stems, sometimes with the roots, are used medicinally.  When dry they have a distinctive bitter taste (the specific epithet amara means bitter).  It is used in the form of a decoction or powder to treat coughs, bronchitis and other infections of the upper respiratory tract, and digestive disorders.  It is also included in proprietary expectorant medicines. In folk medicine it is still recommended for nursing mothers but it has not been established whether the plant really is a galactagogue.  An infusion is used to treat stomach upsets, bladder and kidney disorders etc.

Known Hazards:Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus is said to be poisonous in large quantities.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Polygala_amara
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygala%20amara