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Prunus mahaleb

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Botanical Name : Prunus mahaleb
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. mahaleb
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names :Prunus mahaleb, aka mahaleb cherry, aka St Lucie cherry

Habitat :Prunus mahaleb  is native in the Mediterranean region, Iran and parts of central Asia. It is adjudged to be native in northwestern Europe or at  least it is naturalized there.The tree occurs in thickets and open woodland on dry slopes; in central Europe at altitudes up to 1,700 m, and in highlands at  1,200-2,000 m in southern Europe. It has become naturalised in some temperate areas, including Europe north of its native range (north to Great Britain and  Sweden), and locally in Australia and the United States.

Description:
Prunus mahaleb is a deciduous tree or large shrub, growing to 2–10 m (rarely up to 12 m) tall with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter.The tree’s bark is  grey-brown, with conspicuous lenticels on young stems, and shallowly fissured on old trunks. The leaves are 1.5-5 cm long, 1-4 cm. wide, alternate, clustered at the end of alternately arranged twigs, ovate to cordate, pointed, have serrate edges, longitudinal venation and are glabrous and green. The petiole is  5-20 mm, and may or may not have two glands. The flowers are fragrant, pure white, small, 8-20 mm diameter, with an 8-15 mm pedicel; they are arranged 3-10  together on a 3-4 cm long raceme. The flower pollination is mainly by bees. The fruit is a small thin-fleshed cherry-like drupe 8–10 mm in diameter, green at  first, turning red then dark purple to black when mature, with a very bitter flavour; flowering is in mid spring with the fruit ripening in mid to late  summer……....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES.

Cultivation:  
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing best in a poor soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:       
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
The fruit might be edible. The fruits of all members of this genus are more or less edible, may not be always of very good quality. However, if the fruit is bitter it should not be eaten in any quantity due to the presence of toxic compounds. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seeds are eaten  raw or cooked. The dried seed kernels are used as a flavouring in breads, sweet pastries, confectionery etc. They impart an intriguing flavour. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The seed is tonic. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Known Hazards:      Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_mahaleb
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+mahaleb

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Herbs & Plants

Prunus insititia

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Botanical Name : Prunus insititia – L.
Family  Rosaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus
Section: Prunus
Species: P. domestica
Subspecies: P. domestica subsp. insititia

Synonyms:     Bully-bloom (for the flowers). Bullies, Bolas, Bullions and Wild Damson (for the fruit).
(French) Sibarelles.

Common Name :  Damson or damson plum,Prunus domestica subsp

Habitat:  Common in England in thickets, woods and hedges, though more rare in Scotland and probably not wild north of the Forth and Clyde. Common in South-East Europe and in Northern and Central Asia.

Description:
Prunus insititia is a tall shrub, sometimes developing into a small tree about 15 feet high. Resembles the Blackthorn or Sloe (Prunus spinosa), but is less thorny and has straight, not crooked branches, covered by brown, not black bark, only a few of the old ones terminating in spines, the younger ones downy. It has also larger leaves than the Blackthorn, downy underneath, alternate, finely-toothed, on short, downy foot-stalks, and flowers, white like those of the Blackthorn, but larger, with broader petals, borne in less crowded clusters and not on the naked branches, but expanding just after the leaves have begun to unfold.

Click to see……..>…….(01)…...(1)..…….(2)……..…(3).……....(4).………..(5)

The globular, fleshy fruit, marked with a faint suture, has generally a black skin, covered with a thin bluish bloom, and is similar to the Sloe, but larger, often an inch across, and drooping from its weight, not erect as the Sloe. Occasionally yellow varieties are found.

Propagation:       
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:      
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. More acid than a plum but it is very acceptable raw when fully ripe, especially after being touched by frost. The fruit is about 3cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Constituents:  The volatile oil expressed from the seeds contains benzaldehyde and hydrocyanic acid. These substances are also present in the young leaves and flowers.

Medicinal Uses:
Febrifuge;  Purgative;  Styptic.

The bark of the root and branches is febrifuge and considerably styptic. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a mild purgative for children. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses  
Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Shelterbelt.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Trees are fairly wind resistant and can be grown as a shelterbelt hedge.

Cultivation:   
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties. It has been derived in cultivation from the bullace, differing in having a sweeter fruit. Damsons can be grown successfully against a north facing wall. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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=Prunus+insititia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bullac86.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damson

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Prunus africana

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Botanical Name :Prunus africanum
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Section: Laurocerasus
Species: P. africana
Order: Rosales

Syn. : P. africana

Common Names:  Pygeum, Iron wood, (Red) Stinkwood, African Plum, African Prune, African Cherry, and Bitter Almond. In other languages where it grows it is known as; in Amharic tikur inchet, in Chagga Mkonde-konde, in Kikuyu muiri, in Ganda entasesa or ngwabuzito, in Xhosa uMkakase, in Zulu inyazangoma-elimnyama or Umdumezulu, and in Afrikaans Rooi-Stinkhout.

Habitat :Prunus africanum is native to the montane regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Islands of Madagascar, Sao Tome, Fernando Po and Grande Comore at about 900–3400 m. of altitude. The mature tree is 10–25 m. high, open-branched and often pendulous in forest, shorter and with a round crown of 10–20 m. diameter in grassland. It requires a moist climate, 900–3400 mm annual rainfall, and is moderately frost-tolerant.

Description:
Prunus africanum  is an evergreen tree, growing up to 150 feet in height.The bark is black to brown, corrugated or fissured and scaly, fissuring in a characteristic rectangular pattern. The leaves are alternate, simple, long (8–20 cm.), elliptic, bluntly or acutely pointed, glabrous and dark green above, pale green below, with mildly serrate margins. A central vein is depressed on top, prominent on the bottom. The 2-cm petiole is pink or red. The flowers are androgynous, 10-20 stamens, insect-pollinated, 3–8 cm., greenish white or buff, and are distributed in 70-mm axillary racemes. The plant flowers October through May. The fruit is red to brown, 7–13 mm., wider than long, two-lobed with a seed in each lobe. It grows in bunches ripening September through November, several months after pollination.

click to see the pictures…..>……(01)....….(1)..……(2)..…...(3)….

Chemical Constituents:
The primary active components in pygeum bark are fat-soluble compounds, which include terpenes, sterols (including beta-sitosterol), and ferulic acid esters. Pygeum extracts are commonly standardized to 13% sterol concentration for consistent potency.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditionally used for fevers, malaria, wound dressing, arrow poison, stomach pain, purgative, kidney disease, appetite stimulant
An extract, pygeum, an herbal remedy prepared from the bark of Prunus africana, is used as an alternative medicine in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) though clinical trials have not yet been conducted. It has shown positive results in in vitro studies and mouse models of prostate cancer.

The collection of mature bark for this purpose and for other medical uses has resulted in the species becoming endangered. Prunus africana continues to be taken from the wild. Plantecam Medicam deserves credit for attempting sustainable bark harvesting by removing opposing quarters of trunk bark rather than girdling the trees. However, quotas have been awarded by the Forestry Department without adequate forest inventories due to some harvesters, spurred on by the high price per kilogram of bark, removing too much of the bark in an unsustainable manner. In the 1990s it was estimated that 35,000 debarked trees were being processed annually. The growing demand for the bark has led to the cultivation of the tree for its medicinal uses.

The terpenes in pygeum have an anti-swelling effect. Terpenes are present in many plants that produce fragrant essential oils. Prostaglandins are inflammatory hormones that tend to accumulate in the prostates of men with BPH. Research indicates that the phytosterols in pygeum interfere with the formation of these prostaglandins, helping to reduce inflammation and swelling of the prostate. When taken correctly, pygeum is considered one of the safest herbs used for male health, and often is combined with saw palmetto for maximum results.

Other Uses:
The timber is a hardwood employed in the manufacture of axe and hoe handles, utensils, wagons, floors, chopping blocks, carving, bridge decks and furniture. The wood is tough, heavy, straight-grained and pink, with a pungent bitter-almond smell when first cut, turning mahogony and odorless later

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail296.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_africana
http://www.swansonvitamins.com/health-library/encyclopedia/herbs/pygeum.html

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Prunus serotina

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Botanical Name :Prunus serotina
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Padus
Species: P. serotina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name : Black cherry, Wild black cherry, Rum cherry, or Mountain black cherry, Black Cherry, Chokecherry

Habitat : Prunus serotina is native to eastern North America: from eastern Canada through southern Quebec and Ontario.

Description:
Prunus serotina  is a species in the subgenus Padus and is a deciduous tree growing to 15–30 metres (49–98 ft)Template:Convert/track/adj/ tall with a trunk diameter of up to 70–120 centimetres (28–47 in)Template:Convert/track/adj/, occasionally more, with flowers in racemes. The leaves are simple, 6–14 centimetres (2.4–5.5 in)Template:Convert/track/adj/ long, with a serrated margin. The flowers are small (10–15 millimetres (0.39–0.59 in)Template:Convert/track/adj/ diameter), with five white petals and about 20 stamens, and are fragrant; there are around 40 flowers on each raceme. The species epithet, serotina, means “late,”[4] and refers to the tree flowering later in the season than many other cherry species. The fruit is a drupe, 1 centimetre (0.39 in)Template:Convert/track/adj/ in diameter, green to red at first, ripening to black; it is usually astringent and bitter when eaten fresh, but also somewhat sweet. The fruit is readily eaten by birds

click to see the pictures…..>…(01).(1).…...(2)….….(3).…….(4)...(5).....(6)
A mature black cherry can easily be identified in a forest by its very broken, dark grey to black bark, which has the appearance of very thick, burnt cornflakes (an easy way to remember this is Burnt Cornflakes = Black Cherry). However, for about the first decade or so of its life, the bark resembles that of a birch, and is thin and striped. It can also quickly be identified by its long, shiny leaves resembling those of a sourwood, and by an almond-like odor when a young twig is scratched and held close to the nose

Edible Uses:
The fruit of Prunus serotina is suitable for making jam and cherry pies, and has some use in flavoring liqueurs; they are also a popular flavoring for sodas and ice creams. The black cherry is commonly used instead of sweet cherries (Prunus avium) to achieve a sharper taste. It is also used in cakes which include dark chocolate, such as a Black Forest gateau and as garnishes for cocktails.

Biochemistry:
Like apricots, the seeds of black cherries contain compounds that can be converted into cyanide, such as amygdalin. These compounds release hydrogen cyanide when the seed is ground or minced, which releases enzymes that break down the compounds. These enzymes include amygdalin beta-glucosidase, prunasin beta-glucosidase and mandelonitrile lyase. In contrast, although the flesh of cherries also contain these compounds, they do not contain the enzymes needed to produce cyanide, so the flesh is safe to eat.

The foliage, particularly when wilted, contains cyanogenic glycosides, which convert to hydrogen cyanide if eaten by animals. Farmers are recommended to remove any trees that fall in a field containing livestock, because the wilted leaves could poison the animals. Removal is not always practical, though, because they often grow in very large numbers on farms, taking advantage of the light brought about by mowing and grazing. Entire fencerows can be lined with this poisonous tree, making it difficult to monitor all the branches falling into the grazing area. Black cherry is a leading cause of livestock illness, and grazing animals’ access to it should be limited.

Constituents:  acetylcholine, hcn, kaempferol, p-coumaric acid, prunasin, quercetin, scopoletin, tannins

Medicinal Uses:
Used in
* Bronchitis * Colds * Congestion * Cough * Sleep/Insomnia

Properties: * Anodyne * Anti-inflammatory * Antiscrofulous * Astringent * Expectorant * Sedative

Prunus serotina is a very effective herbal cough remedy. The main use of the bark is to still irritated, nagging coughs. Wild black cherry is used in many commercial cough products such as Smith Brothers, Lunden’s and Vicks for the flavor as well as the decongestant and sedative properties.

Figuring in official pharmacopoeias and much used in the Anglo-American tradition, black cherry bark effectively counters chronic dry and irritable cough.  Due to its powerful sedative action on the cough reflex, Wild Cherry bark also finds its use in the treatment of bronchitis and whooping cough.  It can be used with other herbs in the control of asthma.  It must be remembered, however, that the inhibition of a cough does not equate with the healing of a chest infection, which will still need to be treated.  It may also be used as a bitter where digestion is sluggish.  It is an outstanding remedy for weakness of the stomach with irritation, such as ulcers, gastritis, colitis, diarrhea and dysentery.  It is helpful combined in digestive tonics with such herbs as licorice, ginseng, cyperus, anise and tangerine peel.  These herbs are macerated for two weeks to six months in rice wine.  They are then strained and the resulting tincture is taken in teaspoonful doses before meals.  The cold infusion of the bark may be helpful as a wash in cases of inflammation of the eyes.  The astringent bark also eases indigestion and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, especially when these conditions are of nervous origin.  The medicinal properties of this plant are destroyed by boiling, so the plant should only be allowed to steep in warm water.  The root bark and the aromatic inner bark have expectorant and mild sedative properties and a tea made from either of them has been used to ease pain in the early stages of labor. The tea is also used in the treatment of fevers, colds, sore throats, diarrhea etc. A decoction of the inner bark has been used in the treatment of laryngitis.  The root bark has been used as a wash on old sores and ulcers.  The fruit has been used in the treatment of dysentery.

Other Uses:
The wood of P. serotina is also used for cooking and smoking foods, where it imparts a unique flavor.

P. serotina timber is valuable; perhaps the premier cabinetry timber of the U.S., traded as “cherry”. It is known for its strong red color and high price. Its density when dried is around 580 kg/m3 (980 lb/cu yd)Template:Convert/track/abbr/onTemplate:Convert/track/adj/.

P. serotina trees are sometimes planted ornamentally.

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:
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Prunus_serotina?o=3986&qsrc=999
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail256.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Prunus spinosa

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Botanical Name : Prunus spinosa
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus
Section: Prunus
Species: P. spinosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names :Blackthorn or Sloe

Habitat : Prunus spinosa is  native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to the Mediterranean, Siberia and Iran,  western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. It is also locally naturalised in New Zealand and eastern North America.

It grows in Hedgerows and woods, usually in sunny positions, on all soils except acid peats

The expression “sloe-eyed” for a person with dark eyes comes from the fruit, and is first attested in A. J. Wilson’s 1867 novel Vashti

Description:
Prunus spinosa is a deciduous large shrub or small tree growing to 5 m tall, with blackish bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches. The leaves are oval, 2–4.5 cm long and 1.2–2 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are 1.5 cm diameter, with five creamy-white petals; they are produced shortly before the leaves in early spring, and are hermaphroditic and insect-pollinated. The fruit, called a “sloe”, is a drupe 10–12 millimetres (0.39–0.47 in) in diameter, black with a purple-blue waxy bloom, ripening in autumn, and harvested — traditionally, at least in the UK, in October or November after the first frosts. Sloes are thin-fleshed, with a very strongly astringent flavour when fresh.

click to see the pictures..>…...…(01)......(1).………(2)..…….…(3)..……..(4).……………..
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from March to April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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 soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Prunus spinosa is frequently confused with the related P. cerasifera (cherry plum), particularly in early spring when the latter starts flowering somewhat earlier than P. spinosa. They can be distinguished by flower colour, creamy white in P. spinosa, pure white in P. cerasifera. They can also be distinguished in winter by the more shrubby habit with stiffer, wider-angled branches of P. spinosa; in summer by the relatively narrower leaves of P. spinosa, more than twice as long as broad; and in autumn by the colour of the fruit skin — purplish-black in P. spinosa and yellow or red in P. cerasifera.

Prunus spinosa has a tetraploid (2n=4x=32) set of chromosomes

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil. Succeeds in all soils except very acid peats. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Thrives on chalk according to another report. Plants are very resistant to maritime exposure. An important food plant for the caterpillars of several species of butterfly, especially the larvae of the brown and black hairstreak butterflies. A good bee plant. Plants are shallow-rooted and of a suckering habit, they can form dense impenetrable thickets which are ideal for nesting birds, especially nightingales. Flowers are often damaged by late frosts. Plants regenerate quickly after cutting or after fast moving forest fires, producing suckers from below ground level. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers during the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

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

Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Exceedingly astringent, it is normally cooked but once the fruit has been frosted it loses some of its astringency and some people find they can enjoy it raw. The fruit is more usually used in jellies, syrups, conserves etc and as a flavouring for sloe gin and other liqueurs. Some fruits that we ate in December were fairly pleasant raw[K]. In France the unripe fruit is pickled like an olive. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The dried fruits can be added to herbal teas. The flowers are edible and can be crystallised or sugared.

Medicinal Uses:

Aperient; Astringent; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Laxative; Stomachic.

The flowers, bark, leaves and fruits are aperient, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative and stomachic. An infusion of the flowers is used in the treatment of diarrhoea (especially for children), bladder and kidney disorders, stomach weakness et. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

The syrup from sloes is an astringent medicine and used to stem nose-bleeding.  It is massaged into the gums causing firmness and so preventing the teeth from becoming loose.  And rubbed onto the teeth, it can remove tartar and improve their whiteness, giving them a sparkle.  An infusion of the leave in warm water and used as a mouthwash has much the same effect.  A tea from the flowers serves as a purgative.  It is also recommended for stomach complaints and to stimulate the urinary and intestinal processes.  It is also used to clean the skin and remove blemishes.  The stone-free fruit is used to make jam to aid the functions of the stomach and stop diarrhea.  The crushed fruit (with stones) is used as a base for vaginal rinses and to arrest brewing.  A decoction from the bark is used to reduce fever.   Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses:
Cosmetic; Dye; Hedge; Ink; Pioneer; Tannin; Wood.

The bark is a good source of tannin. It is used to make an ink. The juice of unripe fruits is used as a laundry mark, it is almost indelible. The pulped ripe fruit is used cosmetically in making astringent face-masks. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. The bark, boiled in an alkali, produces a yellow dye. The sloe is very resistant to maritime exposure and also suckers freely. It can be used as a hedge in exposed maritime positions. The hedge is stock-proof if it is well maintained, though it is rather bare in the winter and, unless the hedge is rather wide, it is not a very good shelter at this time. Because of its suckering habit, the plant is a natural pioneer species, invading cultivated fields and creating conditions conducive to the regeneration of woodland. Wood – very hard. Used for turnery, the teeth of rakes etc. Suitable branches are used for making walking sticks and are highly valued for this purpose because of their twisted and interesting shapes.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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?Prunus+spinosa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_spinosa
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Prunus_spinosa_heavy_with_sloes.jpg
http://www.floralimages.co.uk/page.php?taxon=prunus_spinosa,8
http://www.types-of-flowers.org/blackthorn.html

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