Herbs & Plants

Alisma plantago-aquatica

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Botanical Name :Alisma plantago-aquatica
Genus: Alisma
Species:A. plantago-aquatica
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonyms: Alisma parviflorum – Pursh.,Alisma subcordatum – Raf.,Alisma triviale – Pursh.

Common Name :Mad-dog weed

Habitat :Alisma plantago-aquatica is native to northern temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, Asia and America. It grows in ditches, damp ground and shallow pond margins in water up to 15cm deep

Alisma plantago-aquatica is a perennial hairless plant growing to 0.9m by 0.45m. It grows in shallow water, consists of a fibrous root, several basal long stemmed leaves 15–30 cm long, and a triangular stem up to 1 m tall.

It has branched inflorescence bearing numerous small flowers, 1 cm across, with three round or slightly jagged, white or pale purple, petals. The flowers open in the afternoon. There are 3 blunt green sepals, and 6 stamens per flower. The carpels often exist as a flat single whorle. It flowers from June until August.


The word alisma is said to be a word of Celtic origin meaning “water”, a reference to the habitat in which it grows. Early botanists named it after the Plantago because of the similarity of their leaves

It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

Similar species  :Narrow leaved water plantain Alisma lanceolatum differs only in that the leaf tips are acuminate and shape is narrow lanceolate.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in a sunny position in boggy ground or shallow water up to 25cm deep. Plants often self-sow aggressively when in a suitable position. The subspecies A. plantago-maritima orientale. Sam. is the form used medicinally in China. The subspecies A. plantago-maritima parviflorum (Syn A. parviflorum, A. subcordatum) is the form used medicinally in America. Plants are very attractive to slugs.

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Place the pot in about 3cm of water to keep the soil wet. Pot up the seedlings when large enough to handle and keep in the cold frame for the first winter, planting out in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Fairly easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root.

Root – cooked. Rich in starch. Caution is advised, the root is acrid if it is not dried or well cooked before use[2, 183]. Leaves and petioles – must be thoroughly cooked. They require long boiling and have a salty flavour.

Chemical constituents:   Alismatis—rhizomes of Alisma orientale (syn. Alisma plantago-aquatica var. orientale) as a traditional Chinese medicine—include alisol A 24-acetate and alisol B 23-acetate. The content of these two compounds are significantly different in Rhizoma Alismatis of different areas.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Anticholesterolemic; Astringent; Contraceptive; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Hypoglycaemic; Hypotensive; Rubefacient.

The leaves are antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, diaphoretic, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive. They are used in the treatment of cystitis, dysentery, renal calculus, gravel etc. The fresh leaf is rubefacient. It is used in the treatment of leprosy and is also applied locally to bruises and swellings. Dried stem bases eaten, or grated and taken with water in treating digestive disorders such as heartburn, cramps and stomach flu. The powdered seed is an astringent, used in cases of bleeding. The seed is also said to promote sterility. The root contains an essential oil and has a wide range of medicinal uses. It is antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, diuretic and hypotensive. It is said to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels whilst it also has an antibacterial action on Staphylococcus, Pneumococci and Mycobacterium. The root is used in the treatment of oliguria, oedema, nephritis, acute diarrhoea, cholesterolaemia and fatty liver. It has been thought of as a cure for rabies, though this has not been substantiated. The whole plant is believed to promote conception. The root is harvested before the plant comes into flower and is dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is obtained from the fresh root.

According to Flora of the U.S.S.R. (1934, translated 1968), “A powder prepared from dried roots is used in popular medicine as a cure for rabies and crushed leaves are used against mammary congestion; fresh leaves are employed in homeopathy. Since this species is often confounded or identified with others of the genus, the reported data may also refer to [Alisma orientale or Alisma lanceolatum].” Indeed, Alisma plantago-aquatica is also known as mad-dog weed, as if it could be used to cure rabies. Do not confuse this with Scutellaria lateriflora (mad-dog skullcap), which is also sometimes called mad-dog weed.

Alisma orientale was initially—and is occasionally still—treated as a variety of this species (Alisma plantago-aquatica var. orientale). The rhizomes of A. orientale have been used as a traditional Chinese medicine, ze xie. Several scientific studies indicate that ze xie does have medicinal properties such as anti-allergic effects. However, like many other medicines, it could also have serious side effects or even toxic effects

Known Hazards:The fresh leaves and roots are toxic but the toxic principal is destroyed by heat or by drying .

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


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Herbs & Plants

Brasenia schreberi

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Botanical Name : Brasenia schreberi
Family: Cabombaceae
Genus: Brasenia
Species: B. schreberi
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Nymphaeales
Synonyms:Brasenia nymphoides, Brasenia peltata

Common Name:Water-shield (also watershield or water shield).

Habitat : Brasenia schreberi is widely distributed in warm temperate and tropical regions of the world.It grows throughout most of the United States and southern Canada. Also occurs in Central America, Cuba, Africa, East Asia and Australia. It is found in Shallow ponds, lakes, and slow-moving streams. It grows in water 0.5-3 m deep.


Brasenia schreberi is an aquatic perennial plant with floating, peltate leaves and rhizomatous stems. It is identified by its bright green leaves, small purple flowers that bloom from June through September, and a thick mucilage that covers all of the underwater organs, including the underside of the leaves, stems, and developing buds.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES……..(1).…..(2)..…...(3)..….(4)..

Leaf: Oval leaves (4-12 cm long and 3-8 cm wide) float on the water surface. The leaves have purple undersides with long, centrally-attached leaf-stalks up to 2 m long. A slimy gelatinous substance usually covers the stalks and underside of young leaves and stems.
Stem: Arise from submersed, branching, reddish creeping rhizomes.

Flower: The 5-20 cm long flower stalks each bear a single purplish flower with 3 sepals and 3 (4) similar-looking petals. Each flower measures up to 2.5 cm across and is elevated slightly above the water surface. Blooms May to September.

Fruit: Each flower produces 4-18 separate narrowly egg-shaped, leathery fruits between 6-8 mm long. Each fruit usually contains 2 seeds. They ripen underwater and decay to release seeds.

Root: Slender, branched, creeping rhizomes

This plant  exhibits wind pollination. The flowers have a two-day blooming period. On the first day, the functionally female, or pistillate flower, extends above the surface of the water and exposes the receptive stigmas. The flower then recedes below the water surface and on the following day emerges as a functionally male, or staminate flower. It is elevated higher than on the previous day and the anther-bearing filaments are extended beyond the female carpels. The anthers dehisce, releasing the pollen, and the flower is then withdrawn below the water where the fruit develops. Brasenia spreads rapidly once it is established and is very difficult to control.

Edible Uses:
The rhizomes and leaves have been used for food and medicinal purposes by Native Americans. The Japanese use the young leaves and stems in salads. Provides habitat for fish and aquatic insects; seeds and vegetation are eaten by waterfowl.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are crushed and applied to abscesses and boils, and are also used in the treatment of phthisis and dysentery. A decoction of the seed is antidotal. It is also used in the treatment of dysentery and to relieve thirst.  The plant is used in the treatment of cancer.  The fresh leaves were used like lichen, in pulmonary complaints and dysentery; when dry the gelatinous matter almost disappears, yet they impart mucilage to the water.

Other Uses: Brasenia schreberi is cultivated as a vegetable in China and Japan (where it is known as junsai) and the mucilage it produces has been found to have anti-algal and anti-bacterial properties that may be useful as a natural weed control.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Iris Pseudacorus

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Botanical Name :  Iris Pseudacorus
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Section: Limniris
Species: I. pseudacorus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Iris Aquatica. Iris lutia. Yellow Flag. Yellow Iris. Fleur de Luce. Dragon Flower. Myrtle Flower. Fliggers. Flaggon. Segg. Sheggs. Daggers. Jacob’s Sword. Gladyne. Meklin. Levers. Livers. Shalder.

Common Names:Yellow iris , Yellow flag,  Paleyellow iris

Habitat :
Iris psudacoru  is native to  Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to N. Africa the Caucasus and W. Asia.   It grows on damp marshy areas, swampy woods and in shallow water or wet ground on the edges of rivers and ditches. Often found in shady places.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1-1.5 m (or a rare 2 m) tall, with erect leaves up to 90 cm long and 3 cm broad. The flowers are bright yellow, 7-10 cm across, with the typical iris form. The fruit is a dry capsule 4-7 cm long, containing numerous pale brown seeds.

Iris pseudacorus grows best in very wet conditions, and is often common in wetlands, where it tolerates submersion, low pH, and anoxic soils. The plant spreads quickly, by both rhizome and water-dispersed seed. It fills a similar niche to that of Typha and often grows with it, though usually in less deep water. While it is primarily an aquatic plant, the rhizomes can survive prolonged dry conditions. Yellow iris has been used as a form of water treatment since it has the ability to take up heavy metals through its roots.

Large iris stands in western Scotland form a very important feeding and breeding habitat for the endangered Corn Crake.

I. pseudacorus is one of two Iris species native to Britain, the other being Stinking Iris (Iris foetidissima).

Cultivation :
. Prefers a humus rich soil. Succeeds in water up to 15cm deep. Requires a moist soil, especially in early summer. Prefers a position in semi-shade. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. A delicately scented essential oil is obtained from the dried roots. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification improves germination time and rates. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March or October. Early autumn is best. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses: …..Coffee……The seed is said to make an excellent coffee substitute as long as it is well roasted. Caution is advised, it might be poisonous.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
The Yellow Flag rhizome was formerly much employed as a medicine, acting as a very powerful cathartic, but from its extremely acrid nature is now seldom used. An infusion of it has been found to be effective in checking diarrhoea, and it is reputed of value in dysmenorrhoea and leucorrhoea.

It was formerly held in the highest esteem, the juice of the root being considered a cure for obstinate coughs, ‘evil spleens,’ convulsions, dropsies and serpents’ bites, and as Gerard also says, ‘doth mightilie and vehementlie draw forth choler.’ Gerard recommended it as a cosmetic, saying:
‘The root, boiled soft, with a few drops of rosewater upon it, laid plaisterwise upon the face of man or woman, doth in two daies at the most take away the blacknesse and blewnesse of any stroke or bruise,’
though he adds as a warning that if the skin
‘be very tender and delicate, it shall be needful that ye lay a piece of silke, sindall or a piece of fine lawne betweene the plaister and the skinne for otherwise in such tender bodies it often causeth heat and inflammation.’

Yellow flag was once credited with healing properties it did not actually have it was used as a diuretic, purgative and emetic. It has also been recommended for making a cooling astringent lotion for external application, and is reputedly effective when applied to wounds. A tea prepared from the rhizome (underground stem) was once used as a remedy for certain gynecological complaints, but is no longer recommended. A lotion made from the juice of the fresh rhizome is sometimes recommended by herbalists for wounds. Pharmacologists report that there is some evidence that yellow flag shows anti-inflammatory activity. A slice of the root held against an aching tooth is said to bring immediate relief. It was at one time widely used as a powerful cathartic but is seldom used nowadays because of its extremely acrid nature. When dried the root loses its acridity and then only acts as an astringent. A tincture of the rhizome is used in homeopathy.

He recommends:
‘an oil made of the roots and flowers of the Iris, made in the same way as oil of roses and lilies. It is used to rub in the sinews and joints to strengthen them, and is good for cramp.’
Parkinson, of all the varieties, most esteems ‘for his excellent beautie and raretie the great Turkie Flower de luce.’

‘And for a sweet powder to lay among linnen and garments and to make sweet waters to wash hand-gloves or other things to perfume them’ the roots of the sweetsmelling Flag.
The acrid juice snuffed up the nostrils excites violent sneezing, and on the authority of Dr. Thornton, ‘in this way it has cured complaints of the head of long standing in a marvellous way.’ The root powdered was also used as snuff.
The old authorities praised it as a cure for toothache, a slice of the rhizome rubbed against the aching tooth or held in the mouth between the teeth, being supposed to cause the pain to disappear at once.

The root was also an ingredient in an antidote to poison. Withering (Arrangement of Plants) mentions it as having cured swine bitten by a mad dog.

Culpepper (1652) says that the distilled water of the whole herb is a sovereign remedy for weak eyes, either applied on a wet bandage, or dropped into the eye, and that an ointment made of the flowers is very good for ulcers or swellings.

Other Uses: …....Dye; Essential; Ink; Tannin……..A beautiful yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A good black dye is obtained from the root if it is mixed with iron sulphate. It is brown otherwise. The root is a source of tannin and has been used in making ink. A delicately scented essential oil, obtained from the roots, has been used to adulterate the oil of Acorus calamus

The flowers afford a beautiful yellow dye, and the root, with sulphate of iron, a good black dye.

The acrid properties are entirely dissipated by drying, after which it acts only as an astringent, so powerful from the amount of tannin contained, that it has been used in the place of Galls in the making of ink.

Landscape Uses    :Container, Specimen

Known Hazards:
Iris psudacorus is poisonous. Even when dry it causes gastroenteritis in cattle (Sutherland 1990). This plant is listed as an injurious weed in Nevada. Care should be taken when pulling or digging yellow iris because resinous substances in the leaves and rhizomes can cause skin irritation (Cooper and Johnson 1984). Mechanical removal in sensitive areas, such as shallow stream beds, can be expected to cause extensive disturbance to the substrate and permit the establishment of other unwanted plants. Cutting followed by herbicide (glyphosate) treatment with a dripless wick may be the best method for controlling plants in sensitive sites, such as the Frio River.

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.


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Herbs & Plants


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Botanical Name : Gaylussacia baccata
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaylussacia
Species: G. baccata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Gaylussacia baccata (Wangenh.) K. Koch
DEBA7 Decachaena baccata (Wangenh.) Small

Common Name:Huckleberry

Habitat :Gaylussacia baccata is  found throughout a wide area of northeastern North America

Black huckleberry is a low-growing, freely branched, deciduous shrub. It is rigid and erect, generally growing to 3 feet (1 m) tall. Shrubs are often found in clumps due to dense clonal spread . Site conditions can affect the growth form. Black huckleberry shrubs grown in the shade are typically taller and more open, while those in open conditions are often shorter and more compact.


New branches are minutely hairy, and older wood often has peeling bark . Leaves are simple, alternate, and measure 0.9 to 2.2 inches (2-5.5 cm) long by 0.4 to 1 inch (1-2.5 cm) wide. The firm, shiny, hairless leaves have resinous dots .

Flowers are small, cylindrical to bell shaped, and arranged in one-sided racemes . Black huckleberry produces berry like drupe fruits that are generally 0.25 inch (0.63 cm) in diameter. Ten seeds approximately 2 mm long are produced per drupe . In a review, an average of 22,100 clean seeds weighed an ounce and 780 weighed a gram . One hundred “plump” seeds collected from Maryland weighed 136 mg .

Belowground description: Black huckleberry is shallowly rooted below slender scaly rhizomes. It lacks a taproot.  In the New Jersey pine barrens, complete underground structures of 5 black huckleberry shrubs were exposed by careful hand digging. The researcher found that rhizomes were predominantly in the A0 and A1 soil horizons. In soils without these layers, rhizomes are normally concentrated in the top 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm) of mineral soil. Long rhizomes, while typically confined to the upper soil horizons, may reach as deep as 8 inches (20 cm). Black huckleberry roots and rhizomes often reach the water table in lowland areas but rarely reach the water table in upland sites. Rhizome diameters were generally 0.25 to 0.75 inch (0.6-2 cm) but on occasion were as large as 2 inches (5 cm). Short roots were present along all rhizomes. Longer roots, sometimes as long as 2 feet (0.6 m), arose at rhizome forks or stem bases

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the leaves, or the bark, has been used in the treatment of dysentery. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of Bright’s disease.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Alpinia galanga

Botanical Name :Alpinia galanga
Family: Zingiberaceae
Subfamily: Alpinioideae
Tribe: Alpinieae
Genus: Alpinia
Species: A. galanga
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Common Name : Greater galangal (or simply Thai galangal). The galangals are also called blue ginger or Thai ginger,Galanga Root, Greater Galanga, Siamese Ginger, Siamese Galanga, Java Galangal, El Galangal, El Adkham,hang Dou Kou, Laos, Galgant, Naukyo, Lenkuas, Galanga Maior, Grosser Galgant, Da Liang Jiang, Gran

Habitat :Cultivated in Southeast Asia, India, China and Australia

It is a perennial herb, between one and two metres in height, depending on variety. The leaves are 25-35 cm long, rather narrow blades. The flowers are borne at the top of the plant and are small, white and streaked with deep-red veining. The rhizome resembles ginger in shape but it is much smaller. Some varieties have a dark reddish-brown skin and the interior is nearly white. The rhizomes are tough and difficult to break. It prefers rich, moist soil in a protected, shady position and is drought and frost tender. Frost will damage the leaves but will rarely kill the clump. In a permaculture system it is a useful understorey plant.


Alpinia galanga.The plant grows from rhizomes in clumps of stiff stalks up to two meters in height with abundant long leaves which bears red fruit. It is native to South Asia and Indonesia. It is cultivated in Malaysia, Laos, and Thailand. A. galanga is the galangal used most often in cookery. The robust rhizome has a sharp, sweet taste and smells like a blend of black pepper and pine needles. The red fruit is  used in traditional Chinese medicine and has a flavor similar to cardamom. ...CLICK & SEE

Known as Chittarattai in Tamil, this form of ginger is used with another root called Athi-Mathuram (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) as folk cure to cold and sore throat.

Edible Uses: 
The rhizome is a common ingredient in Thai soups and curries, where is used fresh in chunks or thin slices, mashed and mixed into curry paste, or dried and powdered. Indonesian rendang is usually spiced with galangal.

Medicinal Uses:

The rhizome has been shown to have antimalarial activity in mice.

Under the names Chewing John, Little John to Chew, and Court Case Root it is used in African-American folk medicine and hoodoo folk magic.

Alpinia galanga rhizome contains the flavonol galangin

Alpinia Galanga rhizome is used against rheumatism, bronchial catarrh, bad breath and ulcers whooping colds in children, throat infections, to control incontinence and fever. Alpinia species show promise as anti-fungals, hypotensives, enhancers of sperm count and motility. Anti-tumor and anti-dementia effects have been observed in rodents.

Alpinia Galanga is a stimulating aromatic and has been successfully employed to aid the digestive process, preventing fermentation and removing flatus. It is useful in case of dyspepsia, preventing vomiting or sickness of the stomach and facilitating digestion. It may be used in all cases in which a stimulating aromatic is indicated. It tones up the tissues and is sometimes prescribed in fever. Homoeopaths use it as a stimulant. It has some reputation as a remedy for perineal relaxation with hemorrhoids and for a lax and pendulous abdomen. It is used as a snuff to treat cold and flu symptoms. Galangal Root has also been used as a digestive aid, especially in combating dyspepsia and flatulence. It is also seen as a remedy for seasickness and motion sickness. It is used against nausea, flatulence, dyspepsia, rheumatism, catarrh and enteritis. It also possesses tonic and antibacterial qualities and is used for these properties in veterinary and homeopathic medicine. This herb has a constricting or binding effect, for example: one that checks hemorrhages or secretions by coagulation of proteins on a soft surface. It also restores, nourishes, and supports the entire body; it exerts a gently strengthening effect on the body.

An aromatic stimulant.  Has been used as a snuff in catarrh and nervous headache.  It is used for nonulcer dyspepsia with flatulence and inflammations of the gastrointestinal tract and upper respiratory trace.  In traditional medicine it is also used as a tonic for low sexual drive and as an adjuvant for diabetes and hypertension.  Somewhat similar to ginger

In Manipuri, it is known as Kanghu. The rhizome is an abortifacient. It has carminative, anti-tuberculosis and stimulant property. Ground rhizome is also used in the treatment of skin infections like eczema, ringworm, etc.

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.


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