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Herbs & Plants

Lamium album

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Botanical Name: Lamium album
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus:     Lamium
Species: L. album
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Lamiales

Synonyms: Archangel. White Dead Nettle. Blind Nettle. Dumb Nettle. Deaf Nettle. Bee Nettle

Common Names : White nettle or White dead-nettle

Habitat :  Lamium album is native to throughout Europe and Western Asia, growing in a variety of habitats from open grassland to woodland, generally on moist, fertile soils.It was introduced to North America, where it is widely naturalised.

Description:
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50-100 cm tall, with green, four-angled stems. The leaves are 3-8 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, triangular with a rounded base, softly hairy, and with a serrated margin and a petiole up to 5 cm long; like many other members of the Lamiaceae, they appear superficially similar to those of the Stinging nettle Urtica dioica but do not sting, hence the common name “deadnettle”. The flowers are white, produced in whorls (‘verticillasters’) on the upper part of the stem, the individual flowers 1.5-2.5 cm long.
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Cultivation:      
A very easily grown plant, it tolerates most soils and conditions. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a sunny position, though it also does well in partial shade. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. The white dead nettle is too weedy to be grown in the flower garden, but it does well in the wild garden and self-sows when well sited. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. A good bee plant and a good companion plant, helping any vegetables growing nearby. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Invasive, Suitable for cut flowers.

Propagation:    
Seed – this species usually self sows freely and should not require human intervention. When required it can be sown in situ as soon as it is ripe. Division in spring. Division succeeds at almost any time in the growing season. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses:Young leaves are eaten  raw or cooked. They can be added to salads or mixed with other leaves and cooked as a potherb. They can also be dried for later use. The leaves are a good source of vitamin A. A pleasant herb tea is made from the flowers

Medicinal Uses:
Chemical constituents:
Two phenylpropanoid glycosides, lamalboside (2R-galactosylacteoside) and acteoside, the flavonol p-coumaroylglucoside, tiliroside, 5-caffeoylquinic acid (chlorogenic acid), along with rutoside and quercetin and kaempferol 3-O-glucosides can be isolated from the flowers of L. album. The plant also contains the iridoid glycosides lamalbid, alboside A and B, and caryoptoside as well as the hemiterpene glucoside hemialboside

Lamium album is an astringent and demulcent herb that is chiefly used as a uterine tonic, to arrest inter-menstrual bleeding and to reduce excessive menstrual flow. It is a traditional treatment for abnormal vaginal discharge and is sometimes taken to relieve painful periods. The flowering tops are antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, haemostatic, hypnotic, pectoral, resolvent, sedative, styptic, tonic, vasoconstrictor and vulnerary. An infusion is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints, diarrhoea, menstrual problems, bleeding after childbirth, vaginal discharges and prostatitis. Externally, the plant is made into compresses and applied to piles, varicose veins and vaginal discharges. A distilled water from the flowers and leaves makes an excellent and effective eye lotion to relieve ophthalmic conditions. The plant is harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of bladder and kidney disorders and amenorrhoea.

Other Uses: Bees, especially bumble bees are attracted to the flowers which are a good source of early nectar and pollen, hence the plant is sometimes called the Bee Nettle.

A distillation of the flowers is reputed “to make the heart merry, to make a good colour in the face, and to make the vital spirits more fresh and lively.”

The plant has a creeping rootstock and makes a good groundcover plant for woodland edges.

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/Lamium_album
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Lamium+album
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html#whi
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/lamium-album-white-dead-nettle

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Herbs & Plants

Urtica urens

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Botanical Name : Urtica urens
Family: Urticaceae
Genus:     Urtica
Species: U. urens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Rosales

Synonyms: Common Nettle. Stinging Nettle.
Common Names :Annual nettle, Dwarf nettle, Small nettle, Dog nettle or Burning nettle

Habitat : Urtica urens is native to Eurasia and it can be found in North America and New Zealand as an introduced species. It is not only to be found in distant Japan, but also in South Africa and Australia and in the Andes.

Description:
Urtica urens is an annual herb, growing to a height of 4 to 20 inches.Stem is ascending–erect, often branching, 4-edged, with stinging hairs.

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Flower: Staminate and pistillate flowers separate, but on the same plant, flowers very small. Staminate flower: tepals 4, with sepals, hairy, translucent. Stamens 4, filaments curled inwards as buds. Pistillate flower: tepals 4, with sepals, in different-sized pairs, hairy, larger tepals usually with one stinging hair each. A single carpel, stigma brush-like. Inflorescence catkin-like, 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in.) long, shorter than leaf-stalks.

Leaves: Opposite, stalked, stipulate. Blade elliptic–quite round, with wedge-shaped–blunt base, short-tipped, deeply serrated, both sides with few stinging hairs, light green. Blade approx. 1.5 times as long as broad, stalk approx. 2/3 length of blade.

Fruit: Elliptic–drop-shaped, flat, yellowish brown, achene protected by tepals.
Cultivation:    
Prefers a nitrogen-rich soil. The best fibre is produced when plants are grown on deep fertile soils. Dislikes shade.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame.

Edible Uses:   
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Drink;  Oil.

Young leaves – cooked and used as a potherb. A very nutritious food, high in vitamins and minerals, it makes an excellent spinach substitute and can also be added to soups and stews. Only use the young leaves and wear stout gloves when harvesting them to prevent getting stung. Although the fresh leaves have stinging hairs, thoroughly drying or cooking them destroys these hairs. Nettle beer is brewed from the young shoots.

Medicinal Uses:.

Parts  Used: The whole herb, collected in Mayand June, just before coming into flower, and dried in the usual manner prescribed for ‘bunched’ herbs.
Constituents: The analysis of the fresh Nettle shows the presence of formic acid, mucilage, mineral salts, ammonia, carbonic acid and water.

It is the formic acid in the Nettle, with the phosphates and a trace of iron, which constitute it such a valuable food medicinally.

When the herb is collected for drying, it should be gathered only on a fine day, in the morning, when the sun has dried off the dew. Cut off just above the root, rejecting any stained or insect-eaten leaves, and tie in bunches, about six to ten in a bunch, spread out fanwise, so that the air can penetrate freely to all parts.

Hang the bunches over strings. If dried in the open, keep them in half-shade and bring indoors before there is any risk of damp from dew or rain. If dried indoors, hang up in a sunny room, and failing sun, in a well-ventilated room by artificial heat. Care must be taken that the window be left open by day so that there is a free current of air and the moisture-laden, warm air may escape. The bunches should be of uniform size and length, to facilitate packing when dry, and when quite dry and crisp must be packed away at once in airtight boxes or tins, otherwise moisture will be reabsorbed from the air.

The seeds and flowers are dried in the sun, or over a stove, on sheets of paper.

Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a tonic and blood purifier. The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating tonic. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding, it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use. This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant, gathered when in flower. A useful first-aid remedy, it is used in the treatment of ailments such as bites and stings, burns, hives and breast feeding problems.

The Nettle is still in demand by wholesale herbalists, who stock the dried and powdered herb, also the seeds. Homoeopathic chemists, in addition, employ the green herb for the preparation of a tincture.

Other Uses:
A strong flax-like fibre is obtained from the stems. Used for string and cloth, it also makes a good quality paper. It is harvested as the plant begins to die down in early autumn. An essential ingredient of ‘QR’ herbal compost activator, the leaves are also an excellent addition to the compost heap and they can be soaked for 7 – 21 days in water to make a very nutritious liquid feed for plants. This liquid feed is both insect repellent and a good foliar feed. The growing plant increases the essential oil content of other nearby plants, thus making them more resistant to insect pests. A hair wash is made from the infused leaves and this is used as a tonic and antidandruff treatment. A green dye is obtained from the leaves and stems. A yellow dye is obtained from the root. An oil extracted from the seeds is used as an illuminant in lamps.

Known Hazards:  The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin. This action is neutralized by heat so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious. However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Urtica+urens
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html#lesmed
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/annual-nettle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_urens

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Herbs & Plants

Stinging nettle

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Botanical Name :Urtica dioica
Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Urtica
Species: U. dioica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names:Stinging nettle, common nettle, Urtica dioica or Nettle

Habitat :Urtica dioica is  native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America. They are abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia, usually found in the countryside. It is less widespread in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil. In North America it is widely distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii and also can be found in northernmost Mexico. It grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest, especially in places where annual rainfall is high. In North America the stinging nettle is far less common than in northern Europe[citation needed]. The European subspecies has been introduced into North America as well as South America.

In Europe stinging nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings. The presence of nettles may indicate that a building has been long abandoned. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for stinging nettles.

Description:
Stinging nettle is a dioecious herbaceous perennial, 1 to 2 m (3 to 7 ft) tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. It has widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, which are bright yellow as are the roots. The soft green leaves are 3 to 15 cm (1 to 6 in) long and are borne oppositely on an erect wiry green stem. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin, a cordate base and an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals. It bears small greenish or brownish numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds cause a painful sting or paresthesia from which the species derives its common name, as well as the colloquial names burn nettle, burn weed, burn hazel.

click to see the pictures….>..(01)....(1)..(2).…...(3).…...(4)..…...(5)..…..

Edible Uses:
Stinging nettle has a flavour similar to spinach and cucumber when cooked and is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Young plants were harvested by Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce.  Soaking nettles in water or cooking will remove the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without incidence of stinging. After the stinging nettle enters its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles called “cystoliths”, which can irritate the urinary tract.  In its peak season, stinging nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable.  The young leaves are edible and make a very good pot-herb. The leaves are also dried and may then be used to make a tisane, as can also be done with the nettle’s flowers.

click & see ..>The nettle can be used as a foodstuff, as the purée shown in the  image.

Nettles can be used in a variety of recipes, such as polenta, pesto and purée. Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, particularly in Northern and Eastern Europe. In Nepal and the Kumaon & Gargwal region of Northern India, stinging nettle is known as Sisnu, Kandeli and Bicchu-Booti ( in Hindi) respectively. It is also found in abundance in Kashmir. There it is called ‘Soi’. It is a very popular vegetable and cooked with Indian spices.

Nettles are sometimes used in cheese making, for example in the production of Yarg[20] and as a flavouring in varieties of Gouda.

Nettles are used in Albania as part of the dough filling for the byrek. Its name is byrek me hithra. The top baby leaves are selected and simmered, then mixed with other ingredients like herbs, rice, etc before being used as a filling between dough layers.

Competitive eating:
In the UK, an annual Stinging Nettle Eating Championship draws thousands of people to Dorset, where competitors attempt to eat as much of the raw plant as possible. Competitors are given 60 cm (20 in) stalks of the plant, from which they strip the leaves and eat them. Whoever strips and eats the most stinging nettle leaves in a fixed time is the winner. The competition dates back to 1986, when two neighbouring farmers attempted to settle a dispute about which had the worst infestation of nettle.

Drinks:
Nettle leaves are steeped in a concentrated sugar solution so the flavour is extracted into the sugar solution. The leaves are then removed and a source of citric acid (usually lemon juice) is added to help preserve the cordial and add a tart flavour.

Commercially produced cordials are generally quite concentrated and are usually diluted by one part cordial to ten parts water – thus a 0.5 litres (0.11 imp gal; 0.13 US gal) bottle of cordial would be enough for 5.5 litres (1.2 imp gal; 1.5 US gal) diluted. The high concentration of sugar in nettle cordial gives it a long shelf life.

There are also many recipes for alcoholic nettle beer, which is a countryside favourite in the British Isles.

Medicinal Uses:
Allergies * Alopecia * Amenorrhea * Arthritis * Asthma * Bed Wetting/incontinence * Female Hormones * Fibromyalgia * Kidney * Libido * Longevity Tonics * Menorrhagia * Nutrition * Osteoporosis * PMS * Prostate * Rheumatoid_arthritis * Spring Tonics
Properties: * Analgesic * Anodyne * AntiCancer * Astringent * Depurative * Diuretic * Tonic
Parts Used: Leaves, stems, and to a lesser extent root
Constituents:  formic acid, mucilage, ammonia, carbonic acid, water

Stinging nettles are a potent herb with a long history of use. Nettle is one of natures best nutraceuticals, containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, along with vitamins A,C, D, and B complex, all in a form that is easy for the body to use.

The stinging comes from the presence on the bristles of histamine that delivers a stinging burn when the hairs on the leaves and stems are touched. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories (including quercetin), that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergy symptoms.1

Extracts of nettle roots(click & see) are reliable diuretics that encourage excretion of uric acid, but simultaneously discourage nighttime bathroom urges, making this remarkable plant useful for such disparate problems as gout, and the overnight incontinence of benign prostate enlargement and weak and irritated bladder. Frequent use of nettle leaf tea, a cup or more daily, rapidly relieves and helps prevent water retention. Nettle is a superb nourisher of the kidneys and adrenals.

Stinging nettle is an almost ideal herb for those with all types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. The anti-inflammatory substances combined with the rich concentration of the minerals boron, calcium and silicon ease the pain while helping to build strong bones. Drink stinging nettle in teas to reap the most benefits for osteoporosis and the bone loss that is often associated with arthritis. A cup of nettle herbal tea delivers as much calcium and boron, important herbs for bone health, as a whole cup of tincture would.3 While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) is necessary evil for most with arthritis, using nettle may help you to decrease the amount you need to take. In a scientific study of patients with acute arthritis, stewed stinging nettle leaves enhanced the anti-inflammatory effects of common arthritis medications. One reason may be that nettles contain large amounts of magnesium which helps to moderate pain response.

Stinging Nettles use a tonic of the female system goes back to the Native American women who used it throughout pregnancy and as a remedy to stop hemorrhaging during childbirth. It is considered one of the best all round women’s tonics. Nettles are a good general tonic of the female reproductive system, excellent for young women just starting their monthly cycle, as well as women entering menopause. Stinging nettle helps to keep testosterone circulating freely and keep you feeling sexually vital, and has been shown effective in treatment of BPH in clincal trials when combined with saw palmetto  4 and for male pattern baldness when combines with saw palmetto and Pygeum 5 Stinging nettle also acts as a tonic to the female system making it a herb that couples can share

Other Uses:

Textiles:
Nettle stems contain a bast fibre that has been traditionally used for the same purposes as linen and is produced by a similar retting process. Unlike cotton, nettles grow easily without pesticides. The fibres are coarser however…>…… click & see….click & see.....click & see .
In recent years a German company has started to produce commercial nettle textiles.
Nettles may be used as a dye-stuff, producing yellow from the roots, or yellowish green from the leaves.

click & see .

Gardening:
As well as the potential for encouraging beneficial insects, nettles have a number of other uses in the vegetable garden.

The growth of stinging nettle is an indicator that an area has high fertility (especially phosphorus) and has been disturbed.

Nettles contain a lot of nitrogen and so are used as a compost activator or can be used to make a liquid fertiliser which although somewhat low in phosphate is useful in supplying magnesium, sulphur and iron. They are also one of the few plants that can tolerate, and flourish in, soils rich in poultry droppings.

Recent experiments have shown that nettles are a beneficial weed, having use as a companion plant.

Stinging nettle can be a troubling weed, and mowing can increase plant density. Regular and persistent tilling will greatly reduce its numbers, the use of herbicides such as 2,4-D and Glyphosate, are effective control measures.

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail107.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle

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Natural Cures for Allergies

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4 Drug-free options for seasonal allergies:-….CLICK & SEE

Drug-free antidotes are nothing to sneeze at, especially if you’re susceptible to side effects such as drowsiness and dry mouth from popular OTC allergy pills. Below, some promising alternatives that can help get you through the remaining weeks of hay-fever season symptom free.

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)
Like many OTC meds, this perennial shrub is believed to block histamines. Studies show it can work as well as Zyrtec or Allegra at relieving allergy symptoms—with less drowsiness. A common brand is Petadolex; take as directed. Make sure the label specifies that pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been removed; they’ve been linked to side effects.

Nasal irrigation
The sinus cavities are rinsed with lukewarm saline water. Decades’ worth of clinical tests have found that washing allergens out of the nose is safe, effective, inexpensive, and free of side effects. Ceramic Neti pots, a plastic squeeze bottle such as SinuCleanse ($11), or sprays like ENTsol ($18) all work well. Use warm, distilled water and ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt per 1 cup for the Neti pot.

Spirulina….CLICK & SEE
A type of blue-green algae supplement, it’s rich in beta-carotene, protein, and chlorophyll. A University of California, Davis, study found that 2 g of spirulina daily for 12 weeks eased allergies better than did a placebo. Earthrise Farms (earthrise.com) grows much of the spirulina in the United States; recommended daily doses cost less than $1.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
This flowering plant isn’t soft to the touch, but the powdered form has been helpful for centuries. A handful of promising studies since 1990 show it eases allergies, though results vary. Try up to 9 g of pills daily, suggests Roberta Lee, M.D., medical director at the Continuum Center for Health and Healing in New York City.

You may also click to  learn more

Sources:msn.health & fitness

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