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Herbs & Plants

Ceanothus cuneatus

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Botanical Name : Ceanothus cuneatus
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ceanothus
Species: C. cuneatus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Buckbrush, Sedgeleaf buckbrush, Monterey ceanothus

Habitat : Ceanothus cuneatus is native to South-western N. America – Oregon to California and Mexico. It grows on the dry slopes below 1800 metres in California.While this shrub has a wide distribution in its range, certain varieties of the species are limited to small areas. The Monterey ceanothus (var. rigida), for example, is found only between the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area and San Luis Obispo County.

Description:
Ceanothus cuneatus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) at a fast rate.It is a spreading bush, rounded to sprawling, reaching up to three meters in height. The evergreen leaves are stiff and somewhat tough and may be slightly toothed along the edges. The bush flowers abundantly in short, thick-stalked racemes bearing rounded bunches of tiny flowers, each about half a centimeter wide.
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.

CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

The flowers are white, sometimes tinted strongly with blue or lavender. The fruit is round capsule with horns. It is about half a centimeter wide and contains three shiny dark seeds which are dispersed when the capsule explodes and propels them some distance. Harvester ants have been known to cache the seeds, which can lie dormant for a long time since fire is required for germination. This plant may be variable in appearance because it hybridizes easily with similar species.
Cultivation:
Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade. Prefers a light soil with a low lime content. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk. Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small. Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil. Plants flower on the previous year’s growth, if any pruning is necessary it is best carried out immediately after flowering. Constant pruning to keep a plant small can shorten its life. A fast-growing plant, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 – 3 months stratification at 1°c. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 2 months at 20°c. One report says that the seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 – 120°c for 4 – 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it. The seed exhibits considerable longevity, when stored for 15 years in an air-tight dry container at 1 – 5°c it has shown little deterioration in viability. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node,  July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, 7 – 12 cm with a heel, October in a cold frame. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break. Good percentage.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Seed. No more details are given. The leaves and flowers make an excellent tea when steeped in boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Medicinal Uses:

Astringent; Digestive; Hepatic; Pectoral; Tonic.

Astringent, digestive, pectoral, tonic. A liver tonic.

Other Uses:
Dye; Soap.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers. A red dye is obtained from the root. The stems have been used as rods in basket making. All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins.

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/Ceanothus_cuneatus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ceanothus+cuneatus

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Herbs & Plants

Garrya fremonti

Botanical Name: Garrya fremonti
Family: Garryaceae
Genus: Garrya
Species: G. fremontii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Garryales

Synonyms: Skunk Bush. Californian Feverbush.

Common Names: Bearbrush, and Frémont’s silktassel.

Habitat:  Garrya fremonti is native to the West coast of the United States, from Washington to California. It can be found in a number of habitats, from mountain forest to woodlands and chaparral canyons and slopes.
Description:
Garrya fremonti is a dioecious plant with male and female plants producing long, hanging clusters of yellowish to pinkish flowers.It reaches a maximum height of three to four meters. The leaves are oval-shaped, 2 to 12 centimeters long and about half as wide, and smooth green, rarely with hairs on the undersides.The fruit is a spherical berry, starting green and turning pink and then purple. The fruit is eaten by birds and mammals, who disperse the seeds. The plant can also sprout from its root crown. Like many other chaparral species, it is quick to recover from wildfire……….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny position succeeding in most well-drained fertile soils. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Succeeds in light shade, the plants are also tolerant of quite deep shade. Does not require a rich soil or abundant moisture, if the soil is too fertile the flowering will be delayed. Resistant to urban pollution and maritime exposure but are subject to wind scorch from cold drying winds in colder areas. Hardy to about -15°c, it is best on a sunny wall in most parts of the country but does very well as a free standing shrub in Devon and Cornwall. In cold winters and springs the previous year’s leaves may fall before the new leaves are produced. The plant strongly resents root disturbance and should be placed in its permanent position as soon as possible. The plant flowers on wood produced the previous summer. All pruning should be carried out in spring before new growth starts but after flowering has ended. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Very slow, the seed can take 2 or more years to germinate. 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 10cm with a heel, August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood 10 – 12 cm with a heel, December/January in a frame

Part Used in medicines: Leaves

Medicinal Uses: The leaves are intensely bitter, and are largely used in California as an antiperiodic and tonic. A new alkaloid has been found in it called garryine. It is best administered as a fluid extract.

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/Garrya_fremontii
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/feverb09.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Garrya+fremontii

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Herbs & Plants

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

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Botanical Name : Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Arctostaphylos
Species: A. uva-ursi
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:kinnikinnick and pinemat manzanita,Uva Ursi , Bearberry

Habitat : The distribution of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is circumpolar, and it is widespread in northern latitudes, but confined to high altitudes further south:

*in Europe, from Iceland and North Cape, Norway south to southern Spain (Sierra Nevada); central Italy (Apennines) and northern Greece (Pindus mountains);

*in Asia from arctic Siberia south to Turkey, the Caucasus and the Himalaya;

*in North America from arctic Alaska, Canada and Greenland south to California, north coast, central High Sierra Nevada (above Convict Lake, Mono County, California), Central Coast, California, San Francisco Bay Area, to New Mexico in the Rocky Mountains; and the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast United States.

In some areas the plant is endangered or has been extirpated from its native range. In other areas it is abundant.

Description:
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a small procumbent woody groundcover shrub 5–30 cm high. The leaves are evergreen, remaining green for 1–3 years before falling. The fruit is a red berry.
click to see the pictures.>...(01).…....(1).…....(2).…...(3)…...(4)....
The leaves are shiny, small, and feel thick and stiff. They are alternately arranged on the stems. Undersides of leaves are lighter green than on the tops. New stems can be red if the plant is in full sun, but are green in shadier areas. Older stems are brown. In spring, they have white or pink flowers

Cultivation ::
There are several cultivars that are propagated for use as ornamental plants. It is an attractive evergreen plant in gardens, and it is also useful for controlling erosion.

Constituents:  arbutin, hydroquinone

Medicinal Uses:

Properties: * Antibacterial * Astringent *

It is used in Bladder Infection (UTI)

Bearberry has historically been used for medicinal purposes. It contains the glycoside arbutin, which has antimicrobial properties and acts as a mild diuretic. It has been used for urinary tract complaints, including cystitis and urolithiasis. An infusion may be made by soaking the leaves in ethanol and then diluting with water.

Other Uses:
Smoking:
Bearberry is the main component in many traditional North American Native smoking mixes, known collectively as “kinnikinnick” (Algonquin for a mixture). Bearberry is used especially amongst western First Nations, often including other herbs and sometimes tobacco. Some historical reports indicate a “narcotic” or stimulant effect, but since it is almost always smoked with other herbs, including tobacco, it is not clear what psychotropic effects may be due to it alone. For a full discussion of Amerindian smoking mixtures see kinnikinnick.

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/Arctostaphylos_uva-ursi
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail208.php

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Herbs & Plants

Satureja douglasii

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Botanical Name : Satureja douglasii
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Clinopodium
Species: C. douglasii
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Micromeria douglasii – (Benth.)Benth.,Satureja douglasii – (Benth.)Briq.,Thymus chamissonis – Benth.,Thymus douglasii – Benth.

Common Names :Yerba buena (The plant’s most common name, the same in English and Spanish, is an alternate form of the Spanish hierba buena (meaning “good herb”). The name was bestowed by pioneer Catholic priests of Alta California as they settled an area where the plant is native. It was so abundant there that its name was also applied to the settler’s town adjacent to Mission San Francisco de Asís. In 1846, the town of Yerba Buena was seized by the United States during the Mexican-American War, and its name was changed in 1847 to San Francisco, after a nearby mission. Three years later, the name was applied to a nearby rocky island; today millions of commuters drive through the tunnel on Yerba Buena Island that connects the spans of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge)

Habitat : Satureja douglasii is  native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America.It grows in Coniferous woods.
Yerba Buena is found in woods near coast and coast ranges from Los Angeles to British Columbia. Prefers shade and moisture.

Description:
Satureja douglasii  is a creeping flat low growing   perennial herb that can spread to 3′ but is easily held to 1′. A good ground cover without being aggressive, easy to keep small. The stems grow across the ground not with rhizomes.   Yerba Buena usually grows in shade as an understory plant, usually associated with trees like oaks (Quercus), bays (Umbellularia californica) and madrones (Arbutus menziesii).
CLICK & THE PICTURES

It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist

Cultivation:
Prefers an open position in a well-drained soil. Succeeds in poor soils. Plants grow best and live longer when grown in an open sunny position and a dry sandy soil. A prostate plant, the stems forming roots at the leaf axils wherever they come into contact with the soil. The bruised leaves release a most refreshing lemony scent resembling verbena.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Basal cuttings in early summer. 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. Division of the rooted prostrate stems in the spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Uses: Tea.

The dried leaves, steeped in boiling water, make a palatable mint-flavoured tea. The dried leafy spines are used according to other reports

Medicinal Uses
Anthelmintic; Aphrodisiac; Blood purifier; Digestive; Febrifuge; Kidney; Sedative; Tonic.

The whole plant is aphrodisiac, blood purifier, mildly digestive, febrifuge, sedative and tonic. An infusion can be used in the treatment of insomnia, colic, upset stomachs, kidney problems, colds and fevers. A decoction of the plant has been used to get rid of pinworms. The decoction has also been used as an aphrodisiac. A poultice of the warm leaves have been applied to the jaw, or the plant held in the mouth, as a treatment for toothache.

Other Uses
Essential.

The leaves have been placed in clothing as a perfume

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/Yerba_buena
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/satureja-douglasii
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Micromeria+chamissonis
http://www.baynatives.com/plants/Satureja-douglasii/

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Herbs & Plants

Geranium robertianum

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Botanical Name :Geranium robertianum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Geraniales
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Geranium
Species: G. robertianum

Common Name :Herb Robert ,Herb Robert, Red Robin, Death come quickly, or (in North America) Robert Geranium

Habitat:Geranium robertianum is found throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa where it grows on a variety of soils, rocks, tree trunks, and decaying organic matter such as logs (Falinska and Pironznikow 1983). It is a component of   virtually all forest types there. In the Pacific Northwest it is primarily found west of the Cascade crest although it extends along the Columbia River in Klickitat County. In some western counties it is widespread, although  still expanding fast into new territory. In other areas it appears in only a few to no populations.

Geranium robertianum can grow at altitudes of up to 1,500 metres (4,921 ft).

English: Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum). P...
English: Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum). Photo by sannse, Tapeley Park, Instow, North Devon, 14 May 2004.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Description:
Geranium robertianum is both a winter and spring annual. The light green leaves are deeply dissected. In late fall the foliage turns red. The stems fork and are brittle at the joints. They are pubescent and under high light conditions are red and up to 25 cm long. The roots are shallow. The pink flowers are perfect with five petals that are 7-10 mm. The receptacle is elongated into a structure called a “torus”. The fruit is a capsule. The seeds are brown and about two mm long. Herb Robert propagates by seed. A distinguishing characteristic of the species is the pungent odor of the crushed leaves and another common name for this plant is stinky Bob.

You may click to see the picture....

In Great Britain is commonly found in hedgerows. It has been introduced into other temperate parts of the world, probably through its use as a ornamental plant, such as in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. In the state of Washington, it is known as Stinky Bob and classified as a noxious weed.(WSNWCB 2005, p. 8)(WSNWCB 2007)

 

Constituents:
The active ingredients are tannins, bitters, and essential oils.

Medininal Uses:
In the past Herb Robert was used mostly in veterinary medicine, especially fore the treatment of blood in the urine and infectious diseases.  An application for melancholy and sadness was recommended.  It stimulated the metabolism. It is now occasionally employed in much the same way as American cranesbill as an astringent and wound healer.  More investigation is needed as according to one authority it is also effective against stomach ulcers and inflammation of the uterus, and it has potential as a treatment for cancer.  To treat chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal trace, try administering Herb Robert in the form of a medicinal wine.  A simple one is made by filling a large jar half and half with freshly plucked, chopped Herb Robert and a good red wine.  Let the mixture stand for two weeks before straining it into a corked bottle.  Sip by snifter before meals.  For external applications, the freshly pressed juice of Herb Robert is best.  You can either apply the juice directly to the area being treated or use it In compresses.  Herb Robert is available as “Herba Geranii Robertiani and the homeopathic mother tincture “Geranium robertianum is prepared from the fresh flowering plant.

In traditional herbalism, Herb Robert is used as a remedy for toothache and nosebleeds. An infusion made from the whole plant, minus the root, has been used for its diuretic and tonic effect and as a remedy for dysentery. It is also used on wounds for healing and to prevent scarring, having both an antiseptic and a styptic effect.

Other Uses:
Freshly picked leaves have an odor resembling burning tires when crushed, and if they are rubbed on the body the smell is said to repel mosquitoes.

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.nwcb.wa.gov/weed_info/Written_findings/Geranium_robertianum.html
http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/herb-robert.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geranium_robertianum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

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