Tag Archives: Senega

Quillaja saponaria

Botanical Name : Quillaja saponaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fabales
Family: Quillajaceae
Genus:     Quillaja
Species: Q. saponaria

Synonyms: Soap Bark. Panama Bark. Cullay.

Common Names :Soap bark tree or Soapbark

Habitat: Quillaja saponaria IS native to Peru and Chile, and cultivated in Northern Hindustan.It has been introduced as an ornamental in California. Trees have been acclimatized in Spain but are rarely cultivated there. This tree occurs at altitudes to 2000 metres. The species is drought resistant, and tolerates about -12°C (10°F) in its natural habitat.

Description:
Quillaja saponaria is an evergreen tree  50 to 60 feet high. Leaves smooth, shiny, short-stalked, oval, and usually terminal white flowers, solitary, or three to five on a stalk. The tree has thick, dark bark, smooth, leathery, shiny, oval evergreen leaves 3–5 cm long, white flowers 15 mm diameter borne in dense corymbs, and a dry fruit with five follicles each containing 10-20 seeds. Bark thick, dark coloured, and very tough. In commerce it is found in large flat pieces 1/5 inch thick, outer surface brownish-white, with small patches of brownish cork attached, otherwise smooth; inner surface whitish and smooth, fracture splintery, chequered with pale-brown vast fibres, embedded with white tissue; it is inodorous, very acrid and astringent.
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Cultivation:  
Requires a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -12°c in their natural range in South America but they usually require greenhouse protection in Britain. They can succeed outdoors in the milder areas of this country, often as small shrubs but making a tree in the very mildest areas. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts, so it is best to site the plant in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. This species is cultivated for the saponins in its bark in some warm temperate areas of the world.

Propagation:    
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in early summer and give some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of fully ripe wood of the current year’s growth, November in a frame

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used:  Dried inner bark.

Constituents: Its chief constituent is saponin, which is a mixture of two glucosides, guillaic acid and guillaia-sapotoxin. The latter is very poisonous and possesses marked foam-producing properties. Calcium oxalate is also present in the bark. The drug also contains cane-sugar and a non-toxic modification of guillaic acid. As the active principles of Soap Bark are the same as those of Senega, Quillaia has been suggested as a cheap substitute for Sarsaparilla.

Antiseborrheic;  Expectorant;  Skin;  Stimulant.

Soap bark tree has a long history of medicinal use with the Andean people who used it especially as a treatment for various chest problems. The saponin content of the bark helps to stimulate the production of a more fluid mucous in the airways, thus facilitating the removal of phlegm through coughing. The tree is useful for treating any condition featuring congested catarrh within the chest, but it should not be used for dry irritable coughs. The inner bark contains about 9% of complex saponins, known collectively as ‘quillajasaponin’. It also contains calcium oxalate and tannin. It has been used internally as a stimulating expectorant, though it can cause irritation and inflammation of the digestive tract and so is no longer considered safe. The internal use of this plant needs to be carefully overseen by a professional practitioner. Sap bark tree is used as a source of compounds for the pharmaceutical industry. It is still used externally as a cutaneous stimulant in the treatment of skin ulcers and eruptions, dandruff etc.

Other Uses:
The fresh or dried inner bark is a soap substitute. It contains about 9% saponins and is a very gentle and effective cleaner. It is used for cleaning textiles and the skin. It can also be used as a hair tonic. The saponins are also used in anti-dandruff shampoos and exfoliant cleansers. They are used as a foaming agent in fire extinguishers. The bark also contains considerable quantities of carbonate of lime.

Known Hazards:  The plant is toxic if taken internally, tending to dissolve the blood corpuscles. The bark, and possibly other parts of the plant, contains saponins. Although toxic, saponins are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also destroyed by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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/Quillaja_saponaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Quillaja+saponaria
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/soaptr60.html

Polygala Senega

Botanical Name : Polygala Senega
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fabales
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus:     Polygala
Species: P. senega

Synonyms:  Snake Root. Senegae Radix. Seneca. Seneka. Polygala Virginiana. Plantula Marilandica. Senega officinalis. Milkwort. Mountain Flax. Rattlesnake Root.

Common Names : Seneca snakeroot, senega snakeroot, senegaroot, rattlesnake root, and mountain flax

Habitat:Polygala Senega is native to North America.The plant grows on prairies and in woods and wet shoreline and riverbank habitat. It grows in thin, rocky, usually calcareous soils. It also occurs in disturbed habitat, such as roadsides.

Description:
Polygala Senega is a perennial herb with multiple stems up to 50 centimeters tall. The stems are usually unbranched, but some old plants can have branching stems. A mature plant can have up to 70 stems growing from a hard, woody rootstock that spreads horizontally. The lance-shaped leaves are alternately arranged. The lower leaves are reduced and scale-like. The inflorescence is a spike of rounded white or greenish flowers. The fruit is a capsule containing two hairy black seeds. The root is twisted and conical, with a scent somewhat like wintergreen and a very pungent taste. There are two root morphs; a northern morph growing in Canada and toward Minnesota has larger roots up to 15 centimeters long by 1.2 wide which are dark brown and sometimes purplish toward the top, and a southern morph found in the southeastern United States that has smaller, yellow-brown roots.
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Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Dried Root.

Constituents: The root contains polygalic acid, virgineic acid, pectic and tannic acids, yellow, bitter, colouring matter, cerin fixed oil, gum, albumen, woody fibre, salts, alumina, silica, magnesia and iron. The powder is yellowish-grey to light yellowishbrown.

The active root (pharmaceutically referred to as Senegae Radix) constituents are triterpinoid saponins (notably senegin). Also recorded are phenolic acids, polygalitol (a sorbitol derivative), methyl salicylate, and sterols.

Oil of Senega is bitter, rancid, and disagreeable, with the consistency of syrup and an acid reaction. It is not Seneca oil.

This plant had many uses among Native Americans. The Cherokee used it as an expectorant and a diuretic, and for inflammation, croup, and common cold. The Chippewa used preparations of the root to treat convulsions and bleeding wounds. The Cree chewed the root for sore throat and toothache. According to Canadian botanist Frère Marie-Victorin, the Seneca may have been inspired to use the tortuous root to treat snakebite by its resemblance to the tail of a rattlesnake.

The root was exported to Europe in the 1700s and was sold widely by pharmacists into the 1800s. It was marketed as a treatment for pneumonia. It is still in use as an herbal remedy. It is ground and made into patent medicines, mainly remedies for respiratory complaints. It is added to cough syrups, teas, lozenges, and gargles. It is toxic in large amounts, and overdose causes such symptoms as diarrhea and “violent vomiting”. The powdered root can be sternutatory (sneeze-inducing).

The root product is called Senegae Radix, Radix Senegae, or simply senega. Active compounds include saponins such as senegin, as well as phenolic acids, sorbitol derivatives, methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen), and sterols. The expectorant property comes from the irritation of mucous membranes by the
saponins, which causes an increase in respiratory secretions and a decrease in their viscosity, giving a productive cough.

Other Uses: It grows in gaeden as an ornamental plant.

Known Hazards:  The root is a severe and serious irritant when too much is consumed. It can cause nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and violent vomiting.

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/Polygala_senega
http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/science-and-innovation/science-publications-and-resources/resources/canadian-medicinal-crops/medicinal-crops/polygala-senega-l-seneca-snakeroot/?id=1301436228908
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/senega41.html

Eryngium yuccifolium

Botanical Name : Eryngium yuccifolium
Family : Apiaceae – Carrot family
Genus : Eryngium L. – eryngo
Species: Eryngium yuccifolium Michx. – button eryngo
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision:Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division:Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class:Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order : Apiales

Common Names : Rattlesnake master, Button eryngo

Habitat :Rattlesnake master is found generally in wet or dry prairies and open woods in the southeast US, north to Virginia, and throughout the Midwest to Minnesota, Kansas and Texas.

It is a Missouri native plant which occurs in rocky woods, prairies and glades throughout the State and was a common plant of the tallgrass prairie.

Description:
Rattlesnake master is a warm-season perennial native forb which grows well on wet or dry mesic prairie soil.  Plants grow 2 to 6 feet tall from a short, thick rootstock.  The bluish green basal leaves are up to 3 feet long and up to 1½ inches wide.  The leaves along the stem are much shorter, but they may be as wide as the basal leaves.  All the leaves are thick and parallel veined and have soft or weak prickles spaced far apart along the edges.  The leaf bases clasp the single, erect stem.  Flower heads are on stout peduncles at the tip of the stem.  Each nearly spherical flower head is from 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter and is made up of many small flowers.  Whitish bracts stick out sharply from the flowers, which gives the flower head a rough, prickly feel and appearance.  The heads have a honey-like odor and are in bloom June to September.  Individual fruits, which mature in the flower head, are less than 1/10 inch long.  The root of rattlesnake master has been used medicinally by American Indians and pioneers.  Eryngium is Greek for “prickly plant” and yuccifolium is Greek for “yucca leaves.”

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Medicinal Uses:
The plant was used as an antidote to snakebites. The roots were chewed and applied to the bite. The roots have been used medicinally for liver ailments, to increase urine flow, to induce vomiting, and to treat rattlesnake bite.  Very useful in dropsy, nephritic and calculus affections, also in scrofula and syphilis.  It is valuable as a diaphoretic and expectorant in pulmonary affections and used when Senega is not available.  There is some effect in treating inflammations and malaria.  The pulverized root is very effective in hemorrhoids and prolapsus.  Chewing the root results in increased saliva flow.   A liquid made from roots mashed in cold water was drunk to relieve muscular pains.  The roots have also been used for rheumatism, respiratory ailments, and kidney trouble.  A decoction of the roots has been found useful in cases of exhaustion from sexual depletion, with loss of erectile power, seminal emissions and orchitis. A tincture of the roots is used in the treatment of female reproductive disorders.       Rattlesnake master is reported to have bitter aromatic constituents.  No research seems to have been done on the effectiveness of rattlesnake master in the treatment on rattlesnake bites, but an extract of Eryngium creticum was found to be effective as an antivenum to the sting of the scorpion Leiurus quinuqestristus.  This Eryngium grows in Jordan, where it is used by people in rural areas for scorpion stings.

Other Uses:
Native plant gardens, naturalized areas or prairies. Also can be effective in borders.

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.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/plant.asp?code=G500
http://www.millagardens.co.uk/index.php/2011/07/eryngium-yuccifolium/
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ERYU
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/image.asp?image=G500-0901020.jpg
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm
http://www.easywildflowers.com/quality/ery.yucci.htm

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