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Herbs & Plants

Lavender cotton

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Botanical Name : Santolina chamaecyparissus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe:     Anthemideae
Genus:     Santolina
Species: S. chamaecyparissus

Synonym:  Santolina.

Common Names:Cotton lavender, lavender cotton (also sometimes called French Lavender, like L. Stoechas)

Habitat :Lavender cotton is  native to the western and central Mediterranean.

Description:
It is a small evergreen shrub growing to 50 cm (20 in) tall and 2 to 3 ft. wide. Densely covered in narrow, aromatic, grey-green leaves, in summer it produces masses of yellow, button-like composite flowerheads, held on slender stems above the foliage. The disc florets are tubular, and there are no ray florets.The blooming time is July to August. Zone: 6 to 9

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This plant was once also esteemed for its stimulant properties, and the twigs have been used for placing amongst linen, etc., to keep away moths. All the species of Santolina have a strong resemblance to one another, except S. fragrantissima, which differs in having the flowerheads in flat inflorescences termed corymbs, the flowers all being at the same level, instead of singly at the apex of the twigs.
Cultivation:
This plant is valued in cultivation as groundcover, or as an edging plant for a hot, sunny, well-drained spot, though it may be short-lived. It dislikes winter wetness.

Numerous cultivars have been produced, of which ‘Nana’, a dwarf form growing to 25 cm (10 in), has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Meri.

Medicinal Uses:
The Arabs are said to use the juice of this plant for bathing the eyes. Culpepper tells us that Lavender Cotton ‘resists poison, putrefaction and heals the biting of venomous beasts.’ It is now chiefly used as an edging to borders, spreading like a silvery carpet close to the ground.

Other Uses:
Cotton lavender has many potential uses. Most commonly, the flowers and leaves are made into a decoction used to expel intestinal parasites. An oil used in perfumery can also be extracted from the plant. Branches may be hung up in wardrobes to repel insects, and leaves are also suitable for use in pot pourri and in herbal tobacco substitutes. In cosmetics it is used as a tonic.

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/Santolina_chamaecyparissus
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lavcot14.html
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=e527

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Herbs & Plants

Coolwort

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Botanical Name : Tiarella Cordifolia
Family: Saxifragaceae
Genus: Tiarella
Species: T. cordifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms: Foam Flower. Mitrewort

Common Names : Coolwort,foam flower, heartleaved foamflower, Allegheny foamflower, false miterwort, coolwort

(Tiarella meaning a little tiara, is a diminutive of the Greek word tiara meaning turban. The genus name refers to the unequal seedpods. Cordifolia, heart-shaped refers to the shape of the leaves.)

Habitat: Coolwort is native to North America from Canada to Virginia. (click to see)

Description:

Coolwort is a species of herbaceous perennial flowering plant having a scaly horizontal rhizome and seasonal runners. The leaves are 5–10 cm (2–4 in)long, basal, long stalked, hairy, with 3-7 shallow lobes, and heart-shaped at the base. They are dark green usually mottled with brown, rough-hairy above and downy beneath. They have long flowering stems that can grow as tall as 30 cm (12 in). The flowers are white, small and feathery and form a long terminal cluster on a leafless stalk. The inflorescences are 15–30 cm (6–12 in) tall, with the flowers borne in close, erect racemes. The flowers have 5 petals (entire) and 10 stamens (long and slender), giving the flower cluster a fuzzy appearance. The two unequal seed capsules split along their inside seams, releasing several pitted seeds.

This tiarella spreads well by rhizomes, unlike other cultivated tiarellas, but lacks the invasive tendencies of many more-commonly employed groundcovers.

The flowers are visited by small bees, syrphus flies, and butterflies that may affect pollination.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

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The plant  forms a neat little edging with tiny white spiraea-like flowers, buds tinged pink, grows  in a light rich soil . It has simple leaves spotted and veined deep red; basal leaves turn a rich red orange. Needs dividing every second year. Seeds are few, sub-globose. Taste slightly stringent, odourless.

Medicinal Uses:
This plant is listed in herbology as a tonic and a diuretic. It has been used for kidney problems, liver problems, and congestion of the lungs.It  valuable in gravel and other diseases of the bladder, and as a tonic in indigestion and dyspepsia, corrects acidity and aids the liver.

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/c/coolwo97.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiarella_cordifolia

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Herbs & Plants

Cup plant

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Botanical Name: Silphium perfoliatum
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe:     Heliantheae
Genus:     Silphium
Species: S. perfoliatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Asterales

Synonyms:Indian Cup Plant. Ragged Cup.

Common Name :  Cup plant, Carpenter’s weed, cup rosinweed, compass plant,pilot wee, squareweed, Indian cup

Habitat:Cup Plant is native to eastern and central North America. It grows in sandy moist bottom lands, floodplains, near stream beds, in or adjacent to open woodland. Currently, it can be found in the following states: USA (AL, AR, CT, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV), CAN (ON, QC)...click to see

Description:
Cup Plant is an erect herbaceous perennial plant with triangular toothed leaves, and daisy-like yellow composite flower heads in summer.The chief features of the genus are the monaecious radiate heads, the ray florets strap-shaped and pistil bearing, the disc florets tubular and sterile, and the broad flat achenes, surrounded by a wing notched at the summit and usually terminating in two short awn-like teeth which represent the pappus. Its distinctive character is rhizome, cylindrical, crooked, rough, small roots, and transversed section shows large resin cells. Taste, persistent, acrid. The most interesting of the species is the Compass plant, so named from its tendency to point to the North. This plant is also known by the names of Pilot plant, Polar plant, Rosin and Turpentine weed, and like the Cup plant of another species, Silphium Loeve, with tuberous roots, which are a native food in the Columbia valley, is cultivated in English gardens. The Cup plant derives its name from the cup-like appearance of the winged stalks of its opposite leaves which are united.

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The typical height of this plant ranges from 1–2.5 m (3–8 ft). The stem is stout, smooth, slightly hairy (glabrous) strongly 4-angled (square), like mint plants.The leaves are opposite, toothed and ovate. The petioles are widely winged and fused around the stem, forming a cup. The stem terminates in a single flower bud. All other species of Silphium present in Michigan do not have fused leaf bases.

Cultivation:
During the 1750s, the species was introduced to the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, and has been prized as an ornamental plant since. It was named in 1759 by Carl Linnaeus. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Edible Uses: During the spring, the tender young leaves were cultivated as an acceptable food source by cooking or a salad.

Medicinal Uses:
Chemical Constituents:Cup plant contains amino acids, carbohydrates (inulinin rhizomes), L-ascorbic acid, terpenes with essential oils, triterpene saponins, carotenoids, phenolic acid, tannins, and flavonoids.

The people of the Chippewas tribe used the root extract for back and chest pains, to prevent excessive menstruation, and to treat lung hemorrhage.The powdered form of Silphium perfoliatum L. has diaphoretic and tonic properties. It can help alleviate the symptoms of fevers, dry cough, asthma, spleen illness, heart and liver disease. The extract from the leaves of the plant has shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels in blood. Studies show that the presence of phenolic acids is responsible for the species’ antiseptic activity to stimulate generation of IgG and IgM antibodies. In addition, it stimulates bile production of the gall bladder.  Roots are used in an oral preparation to increase sweating, to reduce fever, to induce abortion and as an expectorant in the treatment of pulmonary diseases.

Other Uses:
Cup plant is considered to have a high feed value for meat and milk producing farm animals because of its longevity and high protein levels.

The plant produces a resin that has an odor similar to turpentine. The plant contains a gum and resin; the root has been used medicinally. The resin has been made into chewing gum to prevent nausea and vomiting. Native Americans would cut off the top of the plant stalk and collect the resinous sap that was emitted from the plant. The resin was used for a chewing gum to freshen breath. The Winnebagos Tribe believed that a potion made from the rhizome would provide supernatural powers. The people belonging to the tribe would drink this potion before hunting.

The long blossoming season and abundance of flowers provides a rich source for bees and the cultivation of honey.

This species can be targeted by a fungus called Sclerotinia during the summer. During cool temperatures in autumn, the fungus Botrytis will cause the flower buds to wilt and turn black before blooming. Eggs of the Gall wasp are deposited within the stems of this plant. Consequently, the developing larvae feed within the stems. Goldfinches feed on the seeds of Silphium perfoliatum and drink the water collected by the “cups” on the stems. The fact that this species is able to form dense colonies, it provides a good shelter for birds. Herbivores such as cattle and sheep will eat the leaves the plant especially those of young plants.

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/c/cuppl129.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silphium_perfoliat

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Herbs & Plants

Auricula

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Botanical Name :Primula auricula
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula
Species: P. auricula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names: Auricula, mountain cowslip or bear’s ear (from the shape of its leaves)

Habitat : Primulaceae, that grows on basic rocks in the mountain ranges of central Europe, including the western Alps, Jura mountains, the Vosges, the Black Forest and the Tatra Mountains.

Description:
It is an evergreen perennial growing to 20 cm (8 in) tall by 25 cm (10 in) wide. The leaves are obovate and stalkless, with a cartilaginous edge, all growing in a basal rosette, and sometimes covered in a mealy white bloom. The yellow flowers grow in clusters on 5–20 cm (2–8 in) long stalks.

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The specific epithet auricula means “ear-shaped”, and refers to the shape of the leaves.

Cultivation:
This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Medicinal uses:
The leaves are used as a remedy for coughs. Used in the treatment of headaches

Other Uses:
When growing in the right conditions this species and its cultivars make a good ground cover. They are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.

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/Primula_auricula
http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Primula_auricula

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Herbs & Plants

Gaultheria procumbens

Botanical Name :Gaultheria procumbens
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaultheria
Species: G. procumbens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:Eastern teaberry, Checkerberry, BHoxberry, or American wintergreen, Teaberry, Mountain Tea, Spice Berry, Checker-berry, Partridge-berry.

Other Names:
American mountain tea, boxberry, Canada tea, canterberry, checkerberry, chickenberry, chinks, creeping wintergreen, deerberry, drunkards, gingerberry, ground berry, ground tea, grouseberry, hillberry, mountain tea, one-berry, partridge berry, procalm, red pollom, spice berry, squaw vine, star berry, teaberry, spiceberry, spicy wintergreen, spring wintergreen, teaberry, wax cluster, youngsters,

While this plant is also known as partridge berry, that name more often refers to the ground cover Mitchella repens.

Habitat : Gaultheria procumbens is native to northeastern North America from Newfoundland west to southeastern Manitoba, and south to Alabama. It is a member of the Ericaceae (heath family).It grows in Sterile woods (poor acid soils) and clearings. Especially found beneath evergreen trees

Description:
Gaultheria procumbens is a small low-growing shrub, typically reaching 10–15 centimeters (3.9–5.9 in) tall. The leaves are evergreen, elliptic to ovate, 2–5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, with a distinct oil of wintergreen scent. The flowers are bell-shaped, 5 mm long, white, borne solitary or in short racemes. The berry-like fruit is actually a dry capsule surrounded by fleshy calyx, 6–9 mm diameter.
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It is a calcifuge, favoring acidic soil, in pine or hardwood forests, although it generally produces fruit only in sunnier areas. It often grows as part of the heath complex in an oak-heath forest.

G. procumbens spreads by means of long rhizomes, which are within the top 20–30 mm of soil. Because of the shallow nature of the rhizomes, it does not survive most forest fires, but a brief or mild fire may leave rhizomes intact, from which the plant can regrow even if the above-ground shrub was consumed.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit

Edible Uses:Fruit are eaten raw or cooked. Pleasant but insipid. The fruit is not at all insipid, it has a very strong spicy taste of germolene, just like being in a hospital waiting room. Best after a frost, the fruit hangs onto the plant until spring if it is not eaten by birds etc. The fruits can also be used in pies, or made into jams etc. The fruit is up to 15mm in diameter. Young leaves – raw. A pleasant wayside nibble if used when very young. Dry and powdery according to our taste buds. A very agreeable tea is made from the fresh leaves. A stronger tea can be made by first fermenting the bright red leaves. ‘Oil of wintergreen’ can be distilled from this plant. It is used to flavour beer, sweets, chewing gum etc

For the leaves to yield significant amounts of their essential oil, they need to be fermented for at least 3 days.

Teaberry is also an ice cream flavor in regions where the plant grows. It also inspired the name of Clark’s Teaberry chewing gum.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil. Succeeds in dry soils once it is well established and tolerates considerable drought. Grows well under the thin shade of deciduous shrubs or evergreens. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -35°c. Plants can become invasive when growing in good conditions. Some named forms have been developed for their ornamental value, ‘Dart’s Red Giant’ has specially large berries. All parts of the plant are aromatic, the bruised leaves having the scent of wintergreen. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 – 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 – 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 – 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring. A good percentage usually take. Division can be carried out at almost any time of the year, but works best in the spring just before new growth begins. 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.

Constituents:
Constituents:  methyl salicylate, ketone, alcohol

Gaultheria procumbensis one of the richest sources of salicylic acid compared to other plants 1 including Salix spp. (willow), Betula spp. (birch), many poplars, and Viburnum prunifolium (black haw).

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Aromatic; Astringent; Carminative; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Stimulant; Tonic.

Checkerberry leaves were widely used by the native North American Indians in the treatment of aches and pains and to help breathing whilst hunting or carrying heavy loads. An essential oil (known as ‘oil of wintergreen’) obtained from the leaves contains methyl salicylate, which is closely related to aspirin and is an effective anti-inflammatory. This species was at one time a major source of methyl salicylate, though this is now mainly synthesized. The leaves, and the oil, are analgesic, anti-inflammatory, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant and tonic. An infusion of the leaves is used to relieve flatulence and colic. The plant, especially in the form of the essential oil, is most useful when applied externally in the treatment of acute cases of rheumatism, sciatica, myalgia, sprains, neuralgia and catarrh. The oil is sometimes used in the treatment of cellulitis, a bacterial infection that causes the skin to become inflamed. Some caution is advised, especially if the oil is used internally, since essential oil is toxic in excess, causing liver and kidney damage. It should not be prescribed for patients who are hypersensitive to salicylates (aspirin). The leaves can be gathered at any time from spring to early autumn, they are dried for use in infusions or distilled to produce the oil

The plant has been used by various tribes of Native Americans for medicinal purposes.

Other Uses:
Essential; Ground cover.

An essential oil is obtained from the leaves by steam distillation. In order to obtain the oil, the leaves need to be steeped for 12 – 24 hours in water. The essential oil is used as a food flavouring, medicinally (the original source of Wintergreen oil used as a liniment for aching muscles) and in perfumery and toothpastes. In large doses it can be toxic. A good ground-cover plant for shady positions though it requires weeding for the first year or so. Forming a dense tuft-like carpet, it roots as it spreads and should be spaced about 45cm apart each way.

Scented Plants:     Plant: CrushedAll parts of the plant are aromatic, the bruised leaves having the scent of wintergreen.

Known Hazards : The pure distilled essential oil is toxic in large doses

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/Gaultheria_procumbens
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Gaultheria+procumbens
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail148.php

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