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Herbs & Plants

Erysimum cheiri

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Botanical Name :Erysimum cheiri
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus:     Erysimum
Species: E. cheiri
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Brassicales

Synonyms: Cheiranthus cheiri,Gillyflower. Wallstock-gillofer. Giroflier. Gillyflower. Handflower. Keiri. Beeflower. Baton d’or.

Common Name:   Wallflower, Aegean wallflower

Habitat:Erysimum cheiri is native to all Southern Europe, on old walls, quarries and seacliffs. It grows on Walls, cliffs and rocks, often near the sea in Britain.

Description:
This is an herbaceous perennial plant, often grown as a biennial, with one or more highly branching stems reaching heights of 15–80 cm (6–31 in). The leaves are generally narrow and pointed and may be up to 20 cm (8 in) long. The top of the stem is occupied by a club-shaped inflorescence of strongly scented flowers. It has single flowers, yellowy orange in its wild state, and quickly spreads abundantly from seed, commencing to bloom in early spring, and continuing most of the summer. In olden times this flower was carried in the hand at classic festivals, hence it was called Cherisaunce by virtue of its cordial qualities. Each flower has purplish-green sepals and rounded petals which are two to three centimeters long and in shades of bright yellows to reds and purples. The flowers fall away to leave long fruits which are narrow, hairy siliques several centimeters in length.
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This is a popular ornamental plant, widely cultivated for its abundant, fragrant flowers in spring. Many cultivars have been developed, in shades of yellow, orange, red, maroon, purple, brown, white and cream. It associates well in bedding schemes with other spring flowers such as tulips and forget-me-nots. It is usually grown as a biennial, sown one year to flower the next, and then discarded. This is partly because of its tendency to grow spindly and leggy during its second year, but more importantly its susceptibility to infections such as clubroot.

A miniature yellow double leafed wallflower was rediscovered by Rev. Henry Harpur-Crewe (before 1883) and is now named “Harpur Crewe”. Other bred varieties may vary quite a bit in appearance from the wild plant. One cultivar, ‘Chelsea Jacket‘, is a winner of the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit. Other varieties such as ‘Blood Red Covent Garden’ are easy to grow and often benefit from being sown and left to their own devices, growing on patches of empty land with little effort required to maintain them, providing aesthetically sound blooms which produce heady scents.

Cultivation:
Prefers a position in full sun in a circumneutral soil. Succeeds in ordinary garden soils, tolerating poor and limey soils. Plants are liable to die out if the soil is too rich. Wallflowers are perennial, though they are usually grown as biennials in the flower garden for spring and early summer bedding. There are some named varieties. A very ornamental plant, it is liable to die out after flowering, probably because it exhausts itself by producing so many flowers. Plants require a very well-drained dry soil if they are to survive a second winter. They grow well on dry stone walls  and also on old mortared walls where they usually self-sow. A good butterfly and moth plant. A good companion for apple trees.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in an outdoor seedbed. Germination should take place within 3 weeks. Plant the seedlings into their permanent positions when they are large enough to handle. If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in spring in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Constituents: Oil, a powerful glucoside, of the digitalis group, and cherinine, a crystalline alkaloid.

Medicinal Uses:
Erysimum cheiri was formerly used mainly as a diuretic and emmenagogue but recent research has shown that it is more valuable for its effect on the heart. In small doses it is a cardiotonic, supporting a failing heart in a similar manner to foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). In more than small doses, however, it is toxic and so is seldom used in herbal medicine. The flowers and stems are antirheumatic, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, emmenagogue, nervine, purgative and resolvent. They are used in the treatment of impotence and paralysis. The essential oil is normally used. This should be used with caution because large doses are toxic. The plant contains the chemical compound cheiranthin which has a stronger cardiotonic action than digitalis (obtained from Digitalis species). If taken in large doses this is very poisonous and so this plant should not be used medicinally without expert supervision. The seeds are aphrodisiac, diuretic, expectorant, stomachic and tonic. They are used in the treatment of dry bronchitis, fevers and injuries to the eyes

(In homoeopathic medicine a tincture of the whole plant has been found useful in the effects of cutting the wisdom tooth) The oil has a pleasing perfume if diluted, but in full strength a disagreeable odour. The alkaloid is useful acting on nerve centres and on the muscles.

Other Uses: The flowers contain 0.06% essential oil. It has a pleasing aroma if diluted and is used in perfumery. The seed contains about 20% fixed oil, but no details of any uses are  available.

Known Hazards :    The plant is said to be poisonous if used in large quantities.

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/Erysimum_cheiri
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/wallfl04.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cheiranthus+cheiri

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Tiger lily

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Botanical Name : Lilium tigrinum
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Lilium
Species: lancifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Synonyms:Lilium lancifolium

Common Names:Tiger lily

Habitat :Tiger lily is  native to northern and eastern Asia, including Japan.

Description:
Like other true lilies, the flowers are borne on an erect stem 80–200 centimetres (31–79 in) tall, clothed with the more or less linear leaves 6–10 centimetres (2.4–3.9 in) long and 1–2 centimetres (0.39–0.79 in) broad. It is one of a very small number of species that produce aerial bulblets, known as bulbils, in the leaf axils along the stem. These can be used to propagate the plant. Flowers on the plant last for a short period of time before they wither and are replaced by newer flowers.

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The plant flowers in July and August; the bloom is orange colour and spotted. The upper leaves cordate and oval. It does not ripen seed in this country, but is propagated from the bulbils produced in the axils of the leaves which should yield flowering bulbs in three years from the time of planting.

Edible Uses:
It is cultivated in Asia for its edible bulbs.

Medicinal Uses:
A tincture is made from the fresh plant and has proved of great value in uterine-neuralgia, congestion and irritation, also in the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.

It relieves the bearing down pain accompanying uterine prolapse.

It is an important remedy in ovarian neuralgia. Poisoning by the pollen of the plant has produced vomiting, drowsiness and purging.

In Homeopathic medication Tiger lily has  various uses.

Other Uses:Tiger lily  is also grown as an ornamental plant for its bold flowers, and has become naturalised in parts of North America. The cultivar ‘Splendens’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/liltig25.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilium_tigrinum

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Wild thyme

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Botanical Name :Thymus serpyllum
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Thymus
Species:T. serpyllum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Lamiales

Synonyms: Other of Thyme. Serpyllum.

Common Names : Wild thyme , Creeping thyme, Breckland thyme,

Habitat:
Wild thyme is native to the palearctic zone of Europe and Asia. It is a plant of thin soils and can be found growing on sandy-soiled heaths, rocky outcrops, hills, banks, roadsides and riverside sand banks.

Description:
Wild thyme is a creeping dwarf evergreen shrub with woody stems and a taproot. It forms matlike plants that root from the nodes of the squarish, limp stems. The leaves are in opposite pairs, nearly stalkless, with linear elliptic round-tipped blades and untoothed margins. The plant sends up erect flowering shoots in summer. The usually pink or mauve flowers have a tube-like calyx and an irregular straight-tubed, hairy corolla. The upper petal is notched and the lower one is larger than the two lateral petals and has three flattened lobes which form a lip. Each flower has four projecting stamens and two fused carpels. The fruit is a dry, four-chambered schizocarp….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation: Wild Thyme will grow on any soil, but prefers light, sandy or gravel ground exposed to the sun.

Propagate by seeds, cuttings, or division of roots. Care must be taken to weed. Manure with farmyard manure in autumn or winter and nitrates in spring.

Cut when in full flower, in July and August, and dry in the same manner as Common Thyme.It is much picked in France, chiefly in the fields of the Aisne, for the extraction of its essential oil.

Propagation:         
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Edible  Uses:
Leaves are eaten raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. Thyme retains its flavour well in long slow cooking. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves.

Constituents;
When distilled, 100 kilos (about 225 lb.) of dried material yield 150 grams of essence (about 5 or 6 OZ.). It is a yellow liquid, with a weaker scent than that of oil of Thyme extracted from T. vulgaris, and is called oil of Serpolet. It contains 30 to 70 per cent of phenols: Thymol, Carvacrol, etc. It is made into an artificial oil, together with the oil of Common Thyme. In perfumery, oil of Serpolet is chiefly used for soap.

The flowering tops, macerated for 24 hours or so in salt and water, are made into a perfumed water.

Medicinal Uses:
In medicine, Wild Thyme or Serpolet has the same properties as Common Thyme, but to an inferior degree. It is aromatic, antiseptic, stimulant, antispasmodic, diuretic and emmenagogue.

The infusion is used for chest maladies and for weak digestion, being a good remedy for flatulence, and favourable results have been obtained in convulsive coughs, especially in whooping cough, catarrh and sore throat. The infusion, prepared with 1 OZ. of the dried herb to a pint of boiling water, is usually sweetened with sugar or honey and made demulcent by linseed or acacia. It is given in doses of 1 or more tablespoonfuls several times daily.

The infusion is also useful in cases of drunkenness, and Culpepper recommends it as a certain remedy taken on going to bed for ‘that troublesome complaint the nightmare,’ and says: ‘if you make a vinegar of the herb as vinegar of roses is made and annoint the head with it, it presently stops the pains thereof. It is very good to be given either in phrenzy or lethargy.’

Wild Thyme Tea, either drunk by itself or mixed with other plants such as rosemary, etc., is an excellent remedy for headache and other nervous affections.

Formerly several preparations of this plant were kept in shops, and a distilled spirit and water, which were both very fragrant.

 Other Uses:  Wild thyme is one of the plants on which the large blue butterfly larvae feed and it is also attractive to bees.Creeping and mounding variants of T. serpyllum are used as border plants and ground cover around gardens and stone paths. It may also be used to replace a bluegrass lawn to xeriscape low to moderate foot traffic areas due to its tolerance for low water and poor soils.

Numerous cultivars have been produced, of which ‘Pink Chintz’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.  A miniature creeping form is ‘Elfin’

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/Thymus_serpyllum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/thywil17.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Thymus+serpyllum

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Paeonia officinalis

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Botanical Name : Paeonia officinalis
Family: Paeoniaceae
Genus:    Paeonia
Species: P. officinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Saxifragales

Synonym: Paeonia Corallina.

Common Names : European peony or common peony

Habitat :Paeonia officinalis is  native to Europe.

Description:
Paeonia officinalis is an herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 60–70 cm (24–28 in) tall and wide, with leaves divided into 9 leaflets, and bowl-shaped deep pink or deep red flowers, 10–13 cm (4–5 in) in diameter, in late spring (May in the Northern Hemisphere).
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Cultivated in Europe for five hundred years, P. officinalis was first used for medicinal purposes, then grown as an ornamental. Many selections are now used in horticulture, though the typical species is uncommon. Paeonia officinalis is still found wild in Europe.

The cultivar ‘Rubra Plena’ (deep crimson double flowered) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Cultivation:
Peonies are extremely hardy and will grow in almost any soil or situation, in sun or shade. The best soil, however, is a deep, rich loam, which should be well trenched and manured, previous to planting.

Propagation is by division of roots, which increase very quickly. The best season for transplanting is towards the end of August, or the beginning of September. In dividing the roots, care must be taken to preserve a bud upon the crown of each offset.

Single varieties are generally propagated from seeds, sown in autumn, soon after they are ripe, upon a bed of light soil, covering them with 1/2 inch of soil. Water well in dry weather and keep clear from weeds. Leave the young plants in this bed two years, transplanting in September.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: The root, dried and powdered. It is dug in the autumn, from plants at least two years old. The roots should be cleansed carefully in cold water with a brush and only be allowed to remain in the water as short a time as possible. Then spread out on trays in the sun, or on the floor, or on shelves in a kitchen, or other warm room for ten days or more. When somewhat shrunken, roots may be finished off more quickly in greater heat over a stove or gas fire, or in an open oven, when the fire has just gone out. Dried roots must always be dry to the core and brittle.

Antispasmodic, tonic. Paeony root has beensuccessfully employed in convulsions and spasmodic nervous affections, such as epilepsy, etc.

It was formerly considered very efficacious for lunacy. An old writer tells us: ‘If a man layeth this wort over the lunatic as he lies, soon he upheaveth himself whole.’

The infusion of 1 OZ. of powdered root in a pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses, three or four times daily.

An infusion of the powdered root has been recommended for obstructions of the liver, and for complaints arising from such obstructions.

Homeopathic remidies of Peony :

Other Uses:
This is a compact woodland peony that is best suited to open woodland areas, shade gardens, shaded areas of the border or cottage gardens. It also could be effective as a low herbaceous hedge or edger. Flowers are extremely showy, and foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season either alone or in combination with other flowering/foliage shade perennials such as hostas.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/paeony01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paeonia_officinalis
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=e905

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Malva meschata

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Botanical Name :Malva meschata
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Genus: Malva
Species: M. moschata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names : Musk-mallow

Habitat :Malva meschata is native to Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain north to the British Isles and Poland, and east to southern Russia and Turkey.It has been introduced to and become naturalised in several areas with temperate climates away from its native range, including Scandinavia, New Zealand, and North America.It occurs on dry, but fertile soils at altitudes from sea level up to 1,500 m. Natural hybrids with the closely related Malva alcea are occasionally found.

Description:
Malva meschata is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall, with hairy stems and foliage. The leaves are alternate, 2–8 cm long and 2–8 cm broad, palmately lobed with five to seven lobes; basal leaves on the lower stem are very shallowly lobed, those higher on the stems are deeply divided, with narrow, acuminate lobes. The flowers are produced in clusters in the leaf axils, each flower 3.2–5 cm diameter, with five bright pink petals with a truncated to notched apex; they have a distinctive musky odour. The fruit is a disc-shaped schizocarp 3–6 mm diameter, containing 10–16 seeds, the seeds individually enclosed in a mericarp covered in whitish hairs. It has a chromosome count of 2n=42.The flowers are usually pollinated by bees. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:   
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Hardy to about -25°c. A very ornamental plant. It is very variable in form, especially with regard to the degree of laciniation of the leaves. The crushed leaves have a musk-like smell. Plants are generally quite short-lived though they can self-sow freely when in a suitable position and usually more than maintain themselves. If the plant is pruned back to the main branches as it comes into flower, then it will produce a fresh flush of leaves in late summer for salad use. A good plant for the summer meadow. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Prone to infestation by rust fungus.

Propagation:                                            
Seed – best sown in early spring in a cold frame. The seed germinates quickly and easily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in their permanent positions in the early summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in the middle to late spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Cuttings of side shoots, July/August in a cold frame

Edible Uses:

Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild pleasant flavour. The leaves are mucilaginous and fairly bland, we use them in bulk in summer salads. They make a very good perennial substitute for lettuce in a salad, producing fresh leaves from spring until the middle of summer, or until the autumn from spring germinating plants. Flowers – raw. A very decorative addition to the salad bowl, they have a very mild flavour. Seed – raw. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and fiddly to harvest.

Medicinal Uses:

Antiphlogistic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Laxative;  Poultice;  Salve.

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as part of the diet, or a tea can be made from the leaves, flowers or roots. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior, to the common mallow (M. sylvestris) and the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children.

Other Uses  :
Dye;  Fibre.

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for cordage, textiles and paper making.

It is often grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive scented flowers, produced for a long period through the summer. Several cultivars have been selected for variation on flower colour, including ‘Rosea’ with dark pink flowers. The form ‘Alba’ (white flowered) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Known Hazards :When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are used inorganically), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

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=Malva+moschata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malva_moschata
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mallow07.html

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