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Herbs & Plants

Artemisia lactiflora

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Botanical Name : Artemisia lactiflora
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. lactiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name: White mugwort, Wild mugwort

Habitat :Artemisia lactiflora is native to E. Asia – China. It grows in forest margins, shrublands, canyons, slopes, roadsides, river banks and thickets from low elevations to 3000 metres.

Description:
Artemisia lactiflora is a vigorous clump-forming herbaceous perennial flowering plant, growing  3 to 6 ft., with plumes of creamy-white flower heads appearing in Summer and Autumn above dark green leaves. This is the only artemisia which is cultivated as much for its flowers as for its foliage. Plants grown in poor dry soil are hardier and last longer than those grown in heavy, damp soil.
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It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

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

Cultivation:      
Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly acid loamy soil, preferring a sunny position and a moisture-retentive soil. Plants are tolerant of light shade. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:    
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse, making sure that the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the young shoots when about10 – 15cm long, pot up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse or cold frame and plant them out when well rooted. Very easy.

Medicinal Uses:

Emmenagogue;  Tonic.

White mugwort is a bitter aromatic tonic herb. The leaves and flowering stems are used internally in traditional Chinese medicine to treat menstrual and liver disorders.

 
Known Hazards:   The plant might be poisonous in large doses. Skin contact can cause dermatitis in some people

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/Artemisia_lactiflora
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+lactiflora
http://www.bethchatto.co.uk/plant%20portraits%20a/artemisia%20lactiflora.html

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Herbs & Plants

Wallflower

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

Synonyms: Cheiranthus cheiri

Common Names: Aegean wallflower in English. It is also known as giroflée and revenelle in French, goldlack in German, alhelí in Spanish and violacciocca in Italian.

Habitat : The plant is native to Europe but it is common and widespread on other continents where it is an introduced species.

Description:
This is a biennial or perennial herb with one or more highly branching stems reaching heights of 15 to 80 centimeters. The leaves are generally narrow and pointed and may be up to 20 centimeters long. The top of the stem is occupied by a club-shaped inflorescence of flowers. 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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Cultivation: This is a popular ornamental plant. A miniature yellow double leafed wallflower Erysimum cheiri 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.

Medicinal Uses:
Wallflower 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.

Traditionally used as a purgative, for liver disorders and as an emmenagogue.  The flowers and stems 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 seeds are used in the treatment of dry bronchitis, fevers and injuries to the eyes.

Known Hazards:This plant is said to poisonous if used excess.

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/Erysimum_cheiri
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/e/erysimum-cheiri=wallflower.php

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Health Alert

Gardeners Warned Legionnaire’s Risk from Compost

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The Royal Horticultural Society recognises Legionnaire’s as a risk Gardeners are being warned about the risk of Legionnaire’s disease from compost, after a pensioner developed the disease after handling some.

The 67-year-old ended up in intensive care after being infected through a cut to his hand which he got while using a trowel, the Lancet reported

He has now fully recovered from the rare form of the disease.

But doctors said precautions could be taken and medics should be aware, so it can be quickly diagnosed.

The man, described as previously fit and healthy and a “keen gardener”, was struck down by a serious fever in March.

Doctors saw him in the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, central Scotland, after eight days of trembling, confusion, lethargy and shortness of breath, but initially failed to diagnose the problem.

Risk
It was not until he had an invasive procedure where the lung is washed out to obtain a sample that Legionnaire’s was identified.

He tested positive for Legionella longbeachae, a rare form which cannot be detected through normal tests.

Legionnaire’s disease is normally caused by the bug Legionella pneumophili, which lives naturally in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, and can also be found in man-made structures containing water such as air conditioning systems.
Legionella longbeachae is a less common and is mostly found in soil and potting compost.

In the UK, just nine cases have been reported since 1984.

However, it is much more common in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, where it accounts for about 30% of all cases of Legionnaire’s disease and has been linked to gardening.

Dr Simon Patten, who treated the patient at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, said: “I think doctors and gardeners need to be aware of this. The risk may be low, but precautions can be taken.”

The Royal Horticultural Society acknowledged Legionnaire’s was a risk, but called for a “common-sense approach”.

It recommends wearing gloves, not opening composts bags with your head right over them and folding the top of the bags over when they are not in use.

It said gardeners may also want to consider wearing dust masks when turning composts heaps.

Source :BBC NEWS

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