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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

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.
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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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