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Herbs & Plants

Rumex acetus

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Botanical Name: Rumex acetus
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex
Species: R. acetosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Acetosa hastulata Raf. Acetosa hastifolia Schur. Acetosa angustata Raf.

Common Names: Sorrel , Common sorrel , Garden sorrel

Other Names: Spinach dock and Narrow-leaved dock

Habitat : Rumex acetosa occurs in grassland habitats throughout Europe from the northern Mediterranean coast to the north of Scandinavia and in parts of Central Asia. It occurs as an introduced species in parts of North America.It grows in meadows, by streams and in open places in woodland. Often found as a weed of acid soils

Description:
Sorrel is a slender herbaceous perennial plant about 60 centimetres (24 in) high by 0.3 m (1ft in), with roots that run deep into the ground, as well as juicy stems and edible, arrow-shaped (sagittate) leaves. The leaves, when consumed raw, taste like a sour green apple candy. The lower leaves are 7 to 15 centimetres (2.8 to 5.9 in) in length with long petioles and a membranous ocrea formed of fused, sheathing stipules. The upper ones are sessile, and frequently become crimson. It has whorled spikes of reddish-green flowers, which bloom in early summer, becoming purplish. The species is dioecious, with stamens and pistils on different plants.

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It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Jun to August. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The leaves are eaten by the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) including the blood-vein moth.
Cultivation:
A very easily grown and tolerant plant, it succeeds in most soils, preferring a moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position. Shade tolerant. Established plants are tolerant of considerable neglect, surviving even in dense weed growth. Sorrel has been used since ancient times as a food and medicinal plant. It is still occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. The plant stops producing leaves when it flowers in the summer, regrowing after the seed has set. Plants also usually die down in the winter. Cutting down the flowering stem will encourage the growth of fresh young leaves. ‘Blonde de Lyon’ has large, only slightly acid leaves and is much less likely to flower than the type. This means that the leaves of this cultivar are often available all through the summer and are often also produced throughout the winter, especially if the winter is mild. A food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly, it is a good plant to grow in the spring meadow. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Leaves can be harvested within 8 weeks from sowing. Division in spring. Division is very simple at almost any time of the year, though the plants establish more rapidly in the spring. Use a sharp spade or knife to divide the rootstock, ensuring that there is at least one growth bud on each section of root. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Seed.
Edible Uses: Curdling agent.

Leaves – raw or cooked. They make a thirst-quenching on their own, or can be added to salads, used as a potherb or pureed and used in soups. A delicious lemon-like flavour, liked by most people who try them, they can be rather overpowering in quantity and are more generally used as a flavouring in mixed salads. The leaves can also be dried for later use. The leaves can be available all through the winter, especially in mild weather or if a little protection is given to the plants. The leaves should be used sparingly in the diet, see the notes on toxicity above. Flowers – cooked as a vegetable or used as a garnish. Root – cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and made into noodles. Seed – raw or cooked. Ground into a powder and mixed with other flours to make bread. The seed is easy to harvest, but is rather small and fiddly to use. The juice of the leaves can be used as a curdling agent for milks.

Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Antiscorbutic; Astringent; Depurative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Homeopathy; Laxative; Refrigerant; Stomachic.

The fresh or dried leaves are astringent, diuretic, laxative and refrigerant. They are used to make a cooling drink in the treatment of fevers and are especially useful in the treatment of scurvy. The leaf juice, mixed with fumitory, has been used as a cure for itchy skin and ringworm. An infusion of the root is astringent, diuretic and haemostatic. It has been used in the treatment of jaundice, gravel and kidney stones. Both the roots and the seeds have been used to stem haemorrhages. A paste of the root is applied to set dislocated bones. The plant is depurative and stomachic. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of spasms and skin ailments.

Other Uses:
Cleanser; Dye; Polish.

Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots, they do not need a mordant. A grey-blue dye is obtained from the leaves and stems. An infusion of the stems is used as a polish for bamboo and wicker furniture and also for silver. The juice of the plant removes stains from linen and also ink stains (but not ball-point ink) from white material. It is sometimes sold as ‘essential salt of lemon

Known Hazards : Rumex acetus plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorrel
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/docks-15.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+acetosa

 

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Herbs & Plants

Rheum rhaponticum

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Botanical Name :  Rheum rhaponticum
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rheum
Species: R. rhaponticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Garden Rhubarb. Bastard Rhubarb. Sweet Round-leaved Dock.

Common Names :False rhubarb, Rhapontic rhubarb or Rhapontic

Habitat :  Rheum rhaponticum is native to Europe to E. Asia – Siberia.It grows on wet mountain rocks in Europe.

Description:
Rheum rhaponticum is a perennial plant growing to 1.2 m (4ft).It has blunt, smooth leaves; large, thick roots, running deep into the ground, reddishbrown outside and yellow within, and stems 2 to 3 feet high, jointed and purplish. The flowers are white. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.
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Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:  
Prefers a deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. Shade tolerant, but plants prefer a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Hardy to at least -20°c. This species is probably a parent of the cultivated rhubarb, R. x cultorum. Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.

Propagation: 
Seed – best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in the spring. Division in early spring or autumn. Divide up the rootstock with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that there is at least one growth bud on each division. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaf stem  is eaten raw or cooked. An acid flavour, they are used as a fruit substitute in tarts etc. The young flower pouch, harvested before the flowers open, is said to form a dish of great delicacy.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The roots of English Rhubarb are generally taken from plants from four years old and upwards. They are dug up in October, washed thoroughly and the fibres taken away. The bark of English Rhubarb is not usually removed.

Rhubarb has a long and proven history of herbal usage, its main effect being a positive and balancing effect upon the whole digestive system. It is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine. The main species used is R. palmatum. Though the chemistry varies slightly, this species is used interchangeably. Another report says that this species contains only small quantities of the medicinally active compounds and so it is only used as a mild laxative. The root is anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic. Small doses act as an astringent tonic to the digestive system, whilst larger doses act as a mild laxative. The root is taken internally in the treatment of chronic constipation, diarrhoea, liver and gall bladder complaints, haemorrhoids, menstrual problems and skin eruptions due to an accumulation of toxins. This remedy is not prescribed for pregnant or lactating women, nor for patients with intestinal obstruction. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of burns. The roots are harvested in October from plants that are at least six years old, they are then dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the dried root. This is used especially in the treatment of diarrhoea in teething children.

Other Uses:
Plants are used as ground cover.

 Known Hazards : The leaves contain high concentrations of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals (especially calcium) in the body, leading to nutritional deficiency. Cooking the plant will reduce the concentration of oxalic acid. Another report says that the leaves have the same concentration of oxalic acid in the stems as they do in the leaves and it is not the oxalic acid that makes them poisonous. It says that any toxic properties of the leaves is more likely to be due to the presence of glycosides.  People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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/Rheum_rhaponticum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rheum+rhaponticum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/rhubar14.html

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Rheum palmatum

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Botanical Name :Rheum palmatum
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rheum
Species: R. palmatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names:Turkish rhubarb, Turkey rhubarb, Chinese rhubarb, Indian rhubarb, Russian rhubarb or rhubarb root

Habitat :Rheum palmatum  is native in the regions of western China, northern Tibet, and the Mongolian Plateau,  Chinese Rhubarb was used immensely in other parts of the world, such as Europe, for hundreds of years before its source of plant identity was actually discovered in the 18th century. As a consequence of these findings, today Chinese rhubarb is also found flourishing in the West and in the wild. It is extensively cultivated, no doubt for its great medicinal advantages and uses. Like all flowering plants, it is grown from the protective coat of a seed in the spring, or by “root division” in the seasons of Spring or Autumn, where the temperature is not yet too hot or too cold. A rather spacious environment where it can receive an abundance of sunlight for the production of sugars, as well as its development in “well-drained soil,” proves to be most efficient for the augmentation of this species. Since it is the roots and rhizome which serve as this plant’ source of medicinal usage, special care is taken in their preparation. When 6–10 years old, the rhizomes of these plants are removed from the ground in the Autumn when both its stems and leaves changed to yellow wild. Furthermore, the removal of the lateral rootlets and the crown are removed, leaving only the root. Any debris around the root is cleaned off, the coarse exterior bark removed, and the root cut and divided into cube-like pieces to increase its surface area, thereby decreasing the time needed for drying.

Description:
The species ““R. tanguticum”” and ““R. officinale,”” also under the categorical term of the Chinese drug ““da-huang,”” are closely related to ““Rheum palmatum””. Today, these three species are regarded as superior in performance to other species-existing rhubarbs.Though “”Rheum palmatum”” is commonly misinterpreted to be one in the same with the familiar “”R. rhubarbarum”” garden rhubarb we eat, there are several facets falsifying this assumption. Size is the most evident of the facets used to differentiate these two closely related species. While most garden species only grow to a mere few feet in height, Chinese rhubarb can produce as high as a “six to ten foot jointed stalk,” with loosely branched clusters of flowers along the tips that mature red in color from their often yellow or white blooms.

click to see the pictures…>…..(01).…(1).….(2)..…...(3)...(4)…..…(5).....
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

Its leaves are rather “large, jagged and hand – shaped,” growing in width of at least two to three feet. It is important to recognize that only those species of “”rheum”” with lobed leaves are accredited for their medicinal use Subsequently, garden rhubarb, “”R. rhubarbarum,”” as well as any other variety of species with either “wavy” or “undulating leaves” are not founded for any medicinal purpose. Additionally, one can decipher Chinese rhubarb by its rather thick, deep roots whereas the perennial garden plant is composed predominantly of “fleshy rhizomes and buds .

Cultivation:
Prefers a deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. Hardy to at least -15°c. A very ornamental plant, there is at least one named variety. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The sub-species R. palmatum tanguticum is cultivated as a medicinal plant in China, it was at one time a popular purgative in Europe. Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Turkish rhubarb is a good companion plant for columbine (Aquilegia spp).

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame[200]. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in the spring. Division in early spring or autumn. Divide up the rootstock with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that there is at least one growth bud on each division. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:  Leaf stem are eaten raw or cooked . The stem is superior in flavour to the common rhubarb and quite tender. An acid flavour, it is sometimes used as a cooked fruit substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
Anticholesterolemic; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Antitumor; Aperient; Astringent; Cholagogue; Demulcent; Diuretic; Homeopathy; Laxative; Purgative; Stomachic; Tonic.
click to see:The cut-up and dry root of Chinese rhubarb
Chinese rhubarb, called Da Huang in China, has a long and proven history of herbal usage, its main effect being a positive and balancing effect upon the whole digestive system. It is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine[238]. It has a safe and gentle action, safe even for children to use. The plant is also part of a North American formula called essiac which is a popular treatment for cancer. Its effectiveness has never been reliably proven or disproven since controlled studies have not been carried out. The other herbs included in the formula are Arctium lappa, Ulmus rubra and Rumex acetosella. The root is anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic. The roots contain anthraquinones, which have a purgative effect, and also tannins and bitters, which have an opposite astringent effect. When taken in small doses, it acts as an astringent tonic to the digestive system, whilst larger doses act as a mild laxative. The root is taken internally in the treatment of chronic constipation, diarrhoea, liver and gall bladder complaints, haemorrhoids, menstrual problems and skin eruptions due to an accumulation of toxins. This remedy is not prescribed for pregnant or lactating women, nor for patients with intestinal obstruction. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of burns. The roots are harvested in October from plants that are at least six years old, they are then dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the dried root. This is used especially in the treatment of diarrhoea in teething children.

For centuries the rhizome of the Turkey rhubarb was highly regarded by the Chinese for its medicinal properties.  Modern research has justified its reputation.  It contains anthraquinones, which have a purgative effect, and tannins and bitters which have the opposite effect.  If taken in small quantities the tonic, aperient effect predominates and it is therefore useful in cases of appetite loss and acute diarrhea.  Used to treat constipation, dysentery, hemorrhoids, portal congestion, pin/thread worms, skin eruptions from faulty elimination, blood in the stool and duodenal ulcers.  It has a truly cleansing action upon the gut, removing debris, and then astringing with antiseptic properties as well. It is used externally to promote healing, counteract blood clots and promote menstruation.  Stronger doses are laxative after 8-10 hours and are used to treat chronic constipation.  Rhubarb is included in some proprietary preparations and is also a component of herbal tea mixtures and digestive powders.  In 1987 a research team investigated extracts of 178 Chinese herbs for antibacterial activity against one of the major microorganisms in human intestinal flora.  Only Rhubarb was found to have significant activity.  The herb can be applied to burns, boils, and carbuncles.  It is a useful mouthwash for canker sores.

Other Uses:
Fungicide; Ground cover; Insecticide.
An insect spr
ay is made from the leaves. This spray is also said to help prevent clubroot of brassicas. The cultivar ‘Atrosanguineum’ can be used as a ground cover plant in a sunny position. Other forms can also be used, they are best planted about 1.8 metres apart each way.

Known Hazards:  The leaves are poisonous. This report probably refers to high levels of oxalic acid found in the leaves. Perfectly safe in moderate quantities, oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals (especially calcium) in the body, leading to nutritional deficiency. Cooking the plant will reduce its content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

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/Rheum_palmatum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Rheum+palmatum
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail386.php

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