Herbs & Plants

Frankenia grandifloria

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Botanical: Frankenia grandifloria
Family: N.O. Frankeniaceae

Synonyms: Frankenia. Flux Herb.

Common Name: Yerba Reuma

Habitat:  Frankenia grandifloria is native to California, Nevada, Arizona and Northern Mexico.Heliotropium curassavicum,and alkaline places, from the coast to the desert. SAn Joaquin Valley, central coast, south coast, Channel Islands, eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, Nevada, Mexico, to South America.It grows in salt marshes in clay loam soil, with high salt content. in salt marshes, full sun, pink fls. no trees, low vegetation.
It tolerates seaside conditions, alkaline soil, salt, no drainage and seasonal flooding.

Frankenia grandifloria is a perennial, rhizomatous and small shrubby plant, with a prostrate, much-branched stem, about 6 inches long, growing in sandy places.It’s leaves are opposite, entire and glabrous to densely hairy, the lower ones obovate and the upper narrow, and axillary fascicles are often present.

The solitary rose-purple flowers are about 3/8″ long and are sessile in the upper leaf axilsThe 5-cleft calyx is tubular with acute teeth, and the corolla contains five petals with 4-7, generally 5 or 6, stamens. There are normally three style branches.  The fruit is a linear capsule 3/16″ long with 1-20 brown seeds.    It blooms from June to October.  These four pictures were taken in Upper Newport Bay. It is salty to the taste, leaving an astringent aftertaste. It has somewhat fkeshy leaves ( no odour), small white to pink flowers, forms clumps, CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The Herb.
Constituents: It contains about 6 per cent of tannin.

The herb is used as a remedy in catarrhal affections, especially of the nose and genitourinary tract.
When diluted with from two to five times its volume of water, it may be used as an injection or spray. It may also be taken internally.

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

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.

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.
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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:
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


Herbs & Plants

Torreya californica

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Botanical Name : Torreya californica
Family: Cephalotaxaceae
Genus: Torreya
Species: T. californica
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Common Names:California Torreya or California Nutmeg

Habitat :South-western N. America – California. Rare and local along mountain streams, protected slopes, creek bottoms, and moist canyons of the Coastal Range and Sierra Nevada from sea level to 2000 metres.

Torreya californica is a dioecious evergreen tree, typically 16.5 to 90 feet tall and 8 to 20 inches in diameter.
The crown is conical in overall shape, with whorled branches. The leaves are needle-like, stiff, sharp pointed, 3–5 cm long and 3 mm broad; they are arranged spirally but twisted at the base to lie flat either side of the shoots.


The male (pollen) cones are 5–7 mm long, grouped in lines along the underside of a shoot. The female (seed) cones are single or grouped 2-5 together on a short stem; minute at first, they mature in about 18 months to a drupe-like structure with the single large nut-like seed 2.5–4 cm long surrounded by a fleshy covering, dark green to purple at full maturity in the fall.

Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, tolerating some lime. Undemanding as to the soil pH. Dislikes wind exposure[200]. Requires a sheltered position and either high humidity or a moist riverside soil. Tolerates woodland shade very well. One report says that trees are only hardy in the milder parts of Britain, whilst another says that trees are hardy in Britain at least as far north as Edinburgh. This species is the only member of the genus that is fully adapted to cool maritime sites. It can actually grow faster in such a position than it does in the wild. Trees in general grow better in the wetter western part of Britain. Usually slow growing, though trees occasionally increase by 60cm in a year. The bruised leaves release a powerful resinous smell. The fruits are also aromatic. The seed takes two summers to mature. Trees often crop well at Kew, but there were no seeds formed in 1994. A tree in fairly deep shade at Kew was carrying a good crop of seeds in the summer of 1996. Plants are usually dioecious, but isolated female plants have been known to bear fruit in the absence of a pollinating male. Plants are sometimes monoecious with dioecious branches. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Some of the seed should germinate in the following spring though much of it might take another 12 months. Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification and can take 18 months or more to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as growth is observed and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least the next couple of winters, making sure to pot them on into larger pots as and when required. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer when the plants are at least 20cm tall. Cuttings of half-ripe shoots in late summer. Cuttings do not grow well. Layering.

Medeicinal Uses:
The nuts have been chewed as a treatment for indigestion. A decoction of the nuts has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis. The crushed seeds have been rubbed on the temples in the treatment of headaches. They have also been rubbed on the body to cause sweating in the treatment of chills and fevers.

Other Uses:
The roots have been used as splints in basketry. Wood – straight-grained, strong, light, soft, easily worked. Of no commercial value, though it is occasionally used for fence posts.

The tree is planted as a specimen ornamental tree in gardens; and in groves in larger native plant and traditional landscape projects.

The seeds were used by Native Americans in Northern California as food, and the wood for making bows.

The wood is sometimes used in making Go game boards, as a cheaper substitute for the prized Kaya (Torreya nucifera), of Japan and Southeast Asia.

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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Herbs & Plants

Lomatium dissecta

Botanical Name : Lomatium dissecta
Family: Apiaceae
Tribe: Selineae
Genus: Lomatium
Species: L. dissectum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Leptotaenia dissecta, Leptotaenia foliosa var. dissecta

Common Name:Lomatium,Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Fernleaf Desert Parsley, Fern-leaf Desert Parsley, Fernleaf Lomatium

Habitat : Lomatium dissecta is native to much of western North America, where it grows in varied habitat. It is found in the eastern Transverse Ranges and the Sierra Nevada in California.Fern-leaf desert parsley may be found on open rocky talus slopes and in dry rocky meadows from the lowlands to moderate elevation in the mountains.

Lomatium dissectum is an attractive perennial wildflower with several ascending, glabrous stems arising 40-150 cm high from a large, fleshy to woody, carrot-shaped taproot. The large leaves are generally basal, with up to 2 leaves on the lower stems. The leaves are 15-30 cm long and ternate-pinnately dissected into small and narrow segments about 1 cm long.
The inflorescence is an umbel of 10-30 equal to subequal rays topped by small umbellets, the longest rays 4-10 cm long. The several bracts at the base of each umbellet are narrowly linear while the pedicels in fruit are 4-20 mm long. The flowers are yellow or dark purplish. The fruits are elliptic in shape, measuring 8-17 mm long and 4.5-10 mm wide with the lateral wings narrow and thickened but less than 2 mm wide. The fruits resemble pumpkin seeds


var. dissectum: Fruits sessile or nearly so. Leaves not so finely dissected, the segments broader, often 2-4 mm wide. Found westward from the eastern base of the Cascade Mts. from southern British Columbia south to northern California, and also in northern Idaho.

var. eatonii: Fruits borne on short stems 4-20 mm long. Leaves not so finely dissected, the segments broader, often 2-4 mm wide (See photo below.). Found from central and northeastern Oregon east to southern Idaho, southern Wyoming, and south to Utah, Arizona, Nevada and southern California.

var. multifidum: Fruits borne on short stems 4-20 mm long. Leaves finely dissected, the segments linear and 0.5-1.5 mm wide (See photo below.). Found from southern British Columbia and Alberta south to central Oregon, northern Wyoming, central Idaho, and northern Nevada.

Medicinal Uses:
A Lomatium dissectum root extract completely inhibited the cytopathic effects of rotavirus. It also showed antibiotic activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium

Both Lomatium and Ligusticum were used by Native Americans and early American medical practitioners for a variety of chronic or severe infectious disease states, particularly those of viral origin. Modern research is rather limited, but clinical trials have supported the inclusion of these botanicals for viral infections including HIV and condyloma.  Traditionally it’s demonstrated efficacy against a variety of bacterial infections including tuberculosis.
Lomatium contains an oleoresin rich in terpenes. It acts as a stimulating expectorant, enhancing the liquification and consequent elimination of mucus from the lungs. It also appears to exert a strong antibacterial activity, interfering with bacterial replication and inducing increased phagocytosis. The resin also contains a number of furanocoumarins including nodakenetin, columbianin and pyranocoumarin. These resins may be responsible for the plant’s antiviral effect. They may also be partly responsible for the phagocytic action lomatium causes               .
Based on empirical evidence and discussions with clinical herbalists, lomatium can be used as an antimicrobial, especially in the lungs and upper respiratory tract. It provides quick-acting relief in cases of viral or bacterial infection, particularly when there is a large amount of thick or sticky mucus and infection is deep-seated and persistent. Consider taking lomatium for pneumonia, infective bronchitis and tuberculosis
As an immunostimulant, this herb is traditionally used to treat colds and flus. Many cases during the 1920s U.S. influenza epidemic were successfully treated with lomatium by the professional herbalists of the time, and it has been used for this purpose by Native Americans since the introduction of influenza to the Americas                          .
Its infection-fighting ability makes lomatium valuable as a mouthwash and gargle for oral and throat infections, as a douche for bacterial and viral infections or candida, as a skin wash for infected cuts or wounds, and in many other first- aid situations                       .
Both tea and tincture forms are commonly used. For acute bacterial or viral infections, 2.5 ml of the tincture diluted in water can be used three to four times daily. A painful, itchy full-body rash that can persist for days occurs frequently when the crude tincture is used.  It seems to occur more commonly with the strong, fresh-root preparation and disappears when treatment stops

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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Herbs & Plants

Blue-Eyed Grass

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Botanical Name :Sisyrinchium bellum
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Sisyrinchieae
Genus: Sisyrinchium
Species: S. bellum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names :Blue-Eyed Grass, Western Blue-eyed Grass, Californian Blue-eyed Grass

Habitat :Blue-Eyed Grass  is  common in  California and Oregon in and west of the Sierra Nevada, its range extending south into Baja California. In parts of its range, Western Blue-eyed Grass has previously been classified as Sisyrinchium eastwoodiae, S. greenei and S. hesperium, but these names are now considered synonyms.

Sisyrinchium bellum grows as a perennial plant in open places where there is some moisture, particularly grassy areas, though it can also be found in woodlands and at altitudes up to 2,400 metres (7,900 ft). Like other species of blue-eyed grasses that are locally dominant, it is generally known simply as “Blue-eyed Grass” within its natural range.

Blue-eyed Grass. Sisyrinchium bellum is a 1 foot tall perennial with 1 inch blue flowers in Jan.-June. It has small, iris-like leaves. It is widely distributed in California on open, grassy slopes. It likes full sun and garden water. It also can become very drought tolerant. It grows in sand to clay, coastal bluffs to interior grasslands. There is one spot east of here that gets 8 inches of rainfall each year and blue-eyed grass is doing fine. Cold tolerant to at least 0 as it will go winter dormant in bad years. Big Sky Nursery in Frazier Park says this one did great up there even in the -18 degree weather. We planted these in reflected sun in Taft with once per week or so water and they grew to 2 feet tall with 20 or so flowers at a time covering them for months.


The stems of Sisyrinchium bellum can grow as long as 60 centimetres (24 in), though they are often shorter. Its leaves are grassy and tufted. The flowers are 1–2 centimetres (0.39–0.79 in) in diameter and purplish-blue, varying somewhat in color from a true blue to a definite purple; occasional white-flowering plants are found. It flowers from March to July. Dried in air, its seeds weigh between 1 and 4 mg. After flowering, it dies to the ground and is dormant over the summer.

Sisyrinchium bellum prefers some moisture and good drainage, but will tolerate summer dryness. It can be propagated by seed, and it self-sows. It can also be propagated by division of its rhizomes, and the flower stems can be rooted. It is moderately hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to 20 degrees F; -12 degrees Celsius.

Medicinal Uses:
The Ohlone used an infusion of the roots and leaves as a cure for indigestion and stomach pain, and similar uses are recorded from other Native American peoples.

The Coast Miwok have used tea made from blue-eyed grass to treat stomach-aches. Coastanoans and Hispanic Californians  have used the tea to reduce fever.  The Ohlone used an infusion of the roots and leaves as a cure for indigestion and stomach pain, and similar uses are recorded from other Native American peoples. The roots were used as a purgative.

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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