Herbs & Plants

Rubus chamaemorus

Botanical Name : Rubus chamaemorus
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Species: R. chamaemorus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names : Cloudberry , Cloud Berry, Bakeapple Berry, Ground Mulberry

Bakeapple (in Newfoundland and Labrador), Knotberry and knoutberry (in England), Aqpik or low-bush salmonberry (in Alaska – not to be confused with true salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis), and Averin or Evron (in Scotland).
Habitat : Rubus chamaemorus is native to Northern Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Germany and N. Asia. It grows in cool boggy places, often found amongst bilberries on hills and mountain sides, avoiding shade and calcareous soils.

Rubus chamaemorus is a perennial plant .It grows to 10–25 cm (4-10 inches) high. The leaves alternate between having 5 and 7 soft, handlike lobes on straight, branchless stalks. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September . After pollination, the white (sometimes reddish-tipped) flowers form raspberry-sized aggregate fruits. Encapsulating between 5 and 25 drupelets, each fruit is initially pale red, ripening into an amber color in early autumn.

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 Bees, flies.The plant is not self-fertile.

Unlike most Rubus species, the cloudberry is dioecious, and fruit production by a female plant requires pollination from a male plant.

Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Avoids calcareous soils in the wild and is often found in boggy soils. Considered to be a gourmet fruit, it is occasionally sold in speciality stores. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn

Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit.
Edible Uses: Tea.………Fruit – raw or cooked. Sour but delicious, the fruit can be eaten out of hand or stewed, used in preserves, pies etc. Rich in vitamin C. The sweet fruit tastes like baked apples. Flowers – raw. The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute.

Alcoholic drinks:
In Nordic countries, traditional liqueurs such as Lakkalikööri (Finland) are made of cloudberry, having a strong taste and high sugar content. Cloudberry is used as a spice for making akvavit. In northeastern Quebec, a cloudberry liqueur known as chicoutai (aboriginal name) is made.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the roots has been used as ‘woman’s medicine’. A decoction of the root and lower stem has been used by barren women to try and become pregnant. The root has been used in the treatment of coughs, fevers and consumption.

Other Uses:...Dye.……A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit.

Cultural references:
The cloudberry appears on the Finnish version of the 2 euro coin.  The name of the hill Beinn nan Oighreag in Breadalbane in the Scottish Highlands means “Hill of the Cloudberries” in Scots Gaelic.

The berry is called Bakeapple in Newfoundland. One explanation for the name suggests it is derived from the French term “Baie Qu’Appelle”, meaning “What is this berry called?

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.


Herbs & Plants

Daphne mezereum

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Botanical Name :  Daphne mezereum
Family: Thymelaeaceae
Genus: Daphne
Species: D. mezereum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Synonyms: Mezerei Cortex. Mezerei officinarum. Dwarf Bay. Flowering Spurge. Spurge Olive. Spurge Laurel. Laureole gentille. Camolea. Kellerhals. Wolt schjeluke.

Common Names : Mezereon,February Daphne, Paradise plant.

Habitat: Daphne mezereum is  native to most of Europe and Western Asia, north to northern Scandinavia and Russia. In southern Europe it is confined to medium to higher elevations and in the subalpine vegetation zone, but descends to near sea level in northern Europe. It is naturalized in Canada and the United States. It is generally confined to soils derived from limestone.

Daphne mezereum is a deciduous flowering plant, growing to 1.5 m tall. The leaves are soft, 3-8 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are produced in early spring on the bare stems before the leaves appear. They have a four-lobed pink or light purple (rarely white) perianth 10-15 mm diameter, and are strongly scented. The fruit is a bright red berry 7-12 mm diameter; it is very poisonous for people, though fruit-eating birds like thrushes are immune and eat them, dispersing the seeds in their droppings.


Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used:  The bark of root and stem, berries, roots.

Constituents: The acridity of the bark is chiefly due to mezeen, a greenish-brown, sternutatory, amorphous resin. Mezereic acid, into which it can be changed, is found in the alcoholic and ethereal extracts, together with a fixed oil, a bitter, crystalline glucoside, daphnin, and a substance like euphorbone. Daphnin can be resolved into daphnetin and sugar by the action of dilute acids.

Mezereum has been used in the past for treating rheumatism and indolent ulcers, but because of its toxic nature it is no longer considered to be safe. The plant contains various toxic compounds, including daphnetoxin and mezerein, and these are currently being investigated (1995) for their anti-leukaemia effects. The bark is cathartic, diuretic, emetic, rubefacient, stimulant and vesicant. The root bark is the most active medically, but the stem bark is also used. It has been used in an ointment to induce discharge in indolent ulcers and also has a beneficial effect upon rheumatic joints. The bark is not usually taken internally and even when used externally this should be done with extreme caution and not applied if the skin is broken. The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The fruits have sometimes been used as a purgative. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of various skin complaints and inflammations.

An ointment was formerly used to induce discharge in indolent ulcers.

The bark is used for snake and other venomous bites, and in Siberia, by veterinary surgeons, for horses’ hoofs.

The official compound liniment of mustard includes an ethereal extract, and one of its rare internal uses in England is as an in gredient in compound decoction of sarsaparilla.

Authorities differ as to its value in chronic rheumatism, scrofula, syphilis and skin diseases. A light infusion is said to be good in dropsies, but if too strong may cause vomiting and bloody stools. Thirty berries are used as a purgative by Russian peasants, though French writers regard fifteen as a fatal dose.

In Germany a tincture of the berries is used locally in neuralgia.

Slices of the root may be chewed in toothache, and it is recorded that an obstinate case of difficulty in swallowing, persisting after confinement, was cured by chewing the root constantly and so causing irritation.

Other Uses  :
Dye;  Oil.

A yellow to greenish-brown dye is obtained from the leaves, fruit and bark[13]. The seed contains up to 31% of a fatty oil[74]. No further details are given.

Known Hazards:  Daphne mezereum is very toxic because of the compounds mezerein and daphnin present especially in the berries and twigs. If poisoned, victims experience a choking sensation. Handling the fresh twigs can cause rashes and eczema in sensitive individuals. Despite this, it is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens for its attractive flowers.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Betula pendula/Betula alba

Botanical Name :Betula pendula/Betula alba
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula Subgenus: Betula.     Species: B. pendula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms include Betula pendula var. carelica (Merckl.) Hämet-Ahti, B. pendula var. laciniata (Wahlenb.) Tidestr., B. pendula var. lapponica (Lindq.) Hämet-Ahti, B. aetnensis Raf., B. montana V.N.Vassil, B. talassica Poljakov, B. verrucosa Ehrh., B. verrucosa var. lapponica Lindq., and B. fontqueri Rothm. The rejected name Betula alba L. also applied in part to B. pendula, though also to B. pubescens. Silver Birch has also sometimes been called Weeping Birch or European Weeping Birch

Common Names  : Birch bark & leaf , White Birch, Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch,Silver Birch, European white birch, Common Birch, Warty Birch

Habitat : Betula pendula (silver birch) is a widespread European birch, though in southern Europe it is only found at higher altitudes. Its range extends into southwest Asia in the mountains of northern Turkey and the Caucasus. The closely related Betula platyphylla in northern Asia and Betula szechuanica of central Asia are also treated as varieties of silver birch by some botanists, as B. pendula var. platyphylla and B. pendula va.r. szechuanica respectively

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree, typically reaching 15–25 metres (49–82 ft) tall (exceptionally up to 39 metres (128 ft)), with a slender trunk usually under 40 centimetres (16 in) diameter, but exceptionally to 1 metre (3.3 ft) diameter, and a crown of arched branches with drooping branchlets. The bark is white, often with black diamond-shaped marks or larger patches, particularly at the base. The shoots are rough with small warts, and hairless, and the leaves 3–7 centimetres (1.2–2.8 in) long, triangular with a broad base and pointed tip, and coarsely double-toothed serrated margins. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins, produced before the leaves in early spring, the small 1-2mm winged seeds ripening in late summer on pendulous, cylindrical catkins 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.6 in) long and 7 mm broad.

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It is distinguished from the related downy birch (B. pubescens, the other common European birch) in having hairless, warty shoots (hairy and without warts in downy birch), more triangular leaves with double serration on the margins (more ovoid and with single serrations in downy birch), and whiter bark often with scattered black fissures (greyer, less fissured, in downy birch). It is also distinguished cytologically, silver birch being diploid (with two sets of chromosomes), whereas downy birch is tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes). Hybrids between the two are known, but are very rare, and being triploid, are sterile. The two have differences in habitat requirements, with silver birch found mainly on dry, sandy soils, and Downy Birch more common on wet, poorly drained sites such as clay soils and peat bogs. Silver birch also demands slightly more summer warmth than does Downy birch, which is significant in the cooler parts of Europe. Many North American texts treat the two species as conspecific (and cause confusion by combining the downy birch’s alternative vernacular name ‘white birch’, with the scientific name B. pendula of the other species), but they are regarded as distinct species throughout Europe.

It commonly grows with the mycorrhizal fungus Amanita muscaria in a mutualistic relationship. This applies particularly to acidic or nutrient poor soils. Other mycorrhizal associates include Leccinum scabrum and Cantharellus cibarius. Old trees are often killed by the decay fungus Piptoporus betulinus, and the branches often have witch’s brooms caused by the fungus Taphrina betulina

Successful birch cultivation requires a climate cool enough for at least the occasional winter snowfall. As they are shallow rooted they may require water during dry periods. They grow best in full sun planted in deep, well-drained soil

 Parts Used: Bark, leaves

Constituents:  buds: volatile oil which includes the camphor-like betulin. young leaves: rich in saponins; also a flavonoid derivative, hyperoside resin, tannins, sesquiterpenes, betuloventic acid, vitamin c. bark: betulinol and a glycoside

Medicinal Uses:
* Cancer Prevention * Eczema * Kidney * Pain Relief
Properties: * Analgesic * Anti-inflammatory * AntiCancer * Aromatic * Astringent * Depurative * Febrifuge * Vermifuge
Parts Used: Bark, leaves

Birch is a natural pain reliever containing salicylate, the compound found in aspirin. Salicylate relieves the inflammation and pain associated with  osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and generalized muscle pain. Salicylate deters the body’s production of certain prostaglandins that are linked to inflammation, pain, and fever among other things. An other reason birch calms arthritis and gout is it’s cleansing diuretic action that eliminates toxins and excess water. Sweet birch can have good results against cellulite.

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions of birch bark support it’s traditional uses in skin disorders such as eczema. Traditional healers have long considered the leaves of the white and silver birch effective for skin rashes and hair loss. The essential oil of birch is astringent and is mainly employed for its curative effects in skin affections, especially eczema. 2The American species Betula lenta, (Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch) oil is almost identical with Wintergreen oil, but is not as toxic. Still, the methyl salicylate it contains can have harmful effects if used unwisely, and it is not for general use in aromatherapy and never to be taken internally. Birch bark and leaf in whole herb form have a much lower toxicity.

Birch bark and leaf is also used as an antibacterial diuretic in the treatment of urinary tract infections and cystitis. To increase the effect (and reduce burning) add a pinch of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to the infusion.

Betulin and betulinic acid, both present in birch bark display some anticancer and anti-tumor properties, 4  though neither is touted as a stand alone cure for cancer these constituents add another reason to employ birch in healing remedies and help to validate its history of use from ancient times until today.

Other Uses:
Silver birch is often planted in parks and gardens, grown for its white bark and gracefully drooping shoots, sometimes even in warmer-than-optimum places such as Los Angeles and Sydney. In Scandinavia and other regions of northern Europe, it is grown for forest products such as lumber and pulp, as well as for aesthetic purposes and ecosystem services. It is sometimes used as a pioneer and nurse tree elsewhere. It is naturalised and locally invasive in parts of Canada. Birch brushwood is used for racecourse jumps, and the sap contains around 1% sugars and can be drunk or be brewed into a “wine”. Historically, the bark was used for tanning. Silver birch wood can make excellent timber for carving kitchen utensils such as wooden spoons and spatulas: its very mild, sweet flavour does not contaminate food, and it has an attractive pale colour. Bark can be heated and the resin collected; the resin is an excellent water proof glue and firestarter.

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


Herbs & Plants

Prunus padus

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Botanical Name:Prunus padus
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Prunoideae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Padus
Species: P. padus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Padus racemosa – Lam.

Common Names; Bird Cherry or Hackberry

Habitat :Prunus padus is native to northern Europe including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, Siberia and the Himalayas. It also  grows north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. It is found by streams and in moist open woods, usually on alkaline soils but also found on acid soils in upland areas

Prunus padus is a deciduous small tree or large shrub, 20 to 40 feet tall  and Spread: 20 to 40 feet . It is the type species of the subgenus Padus, which have flowers in racemes.


It is hardy to zone 3. It is in white  flower in May.   And the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, bees. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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

Cultivation :
Succeeds in any soil, preferring a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Very hardy but it does not like exposure to strong winds. A very hardy tree, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. A very ornamental species, there are some named varieties. The sub-species P. padus borealis is found in Scandinavia and the mountains of C. Europe. It is a shrub growing only to about 3 metres high. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Trees usually produce lots of suckers and will soon regenerate by this method if the main trunk is cut down. This tree is a host for cereal virus vector[98]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Trees only cast a light shade and do not themselves thrive in heavy shade. The fruits are relished by birds and the flowers and leaves attract many insects.

Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood, October/November in a frame. Suckers removed in late winter. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Leaves; Seed.

Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit usually has a bitter taste and is used mainly for making jam and preserves. The fruit is about the size of a pea and contains one large seed. Flowers – chewed. Young leaves – cooked. Used as a boiled vegetable in Korea. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes  below on toxicity. A tea is made from the bark.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Sedative.

The bark from young twigs is the medicinally active part.The bark is mildly anodyne, diuretic, febrifuge and sedative. An infusion is used in the treatment of colds, feverish conditions,rheumatic and arthritic pain etc. The bark is harvested when the tree is in flower and can be dried for later use. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
It is also used in homeopathy

Other Uses
Dye; Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Wood – hard, heavy, durable, easy to work, polishes well. It is much valued by cabinet makers.

Known Hazards : The seed and leaves contain hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is readily detected by its bitter taste. Usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm, any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Epilobium hirsutum

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Botanical Name:Epilobium hirsutum
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Epilobium
Species: E. hirsutum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Common Names: Great willowherb, Great hairy willowherb or hairy willowherb. Local names include Codlins-and-cream, Apple-pie and Cherry-pie.

Habitat : Epilobium hirsutum is native to Eurasia, where it is found in moist waste ground of the Mediterranean region, Europe, Asia, and Africa.It is absent from much of Scandinavia and north-west Scotland. It has been introduced to North America and Australia.  Common habitats include marshland, ditches and the banks of rivers and streams. It is widespread, often forming large, long-lived colonies in England, Wales, and Ireland. In Scotland it is confined to the east coast. Intolerant of shade, hairy willow-herb is found in damp and waste places to elevations of 2500 meters (8100 feet).It grows on the stream banks, marshes, drier parts of fens etc, to 360 metres.

It is a tall, perennial plant, reaching up to 2 metres in height. The robust stems are branched and have numerous hairs. The hairy leaves are 2-12 cm long and 0.5-3.5 cm wide. They are long and thin and are widest below the middle. They have sharply-toothed edges and no stalk. The large flowers have four notched petals. These are purple-pink and are usually 10-16 mm long. The stigma is white and has four lobes. The sepals are green.

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It flowers from June to September, with a peak in July and August. The flowers are normally pollinated by bees and hoverflies. A number of insects feed on the leaves including the elephant hawkmoth, Deilephila elpenor.

Edible Uses: Tea..…..The leaves are used to make a tea. This is often drunk in Russia, where it is called ‘kaporie tea’. The leaves are also sometimes sucked for their salty taste. Edible leaves. No more details are given in the report but caution is advised, see the notes below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves of Epilobium hirsutum have been used as astringents, but there are some reports of violent poisoning with epileptic-like convulsions as a result of its use. This remedy has been discarded by professional herbalists as the use of the leaves has been associated with poisonings and convulsions.

Known Hazards : One report says that the plant might be poisonous. Another says that it causes epileptiform convulsions

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


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