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Herbs & Plants

Pimpinella saxifraga

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Botanical Name :Pimpinella saxifraga
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Pimpinella
Species: P. saxifraga
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

SynonymsSalad Burnet. Burnet Saxifrage. Pimpinella sanguisorba

Habitat :Pimpinella saxifraga is native to the British Isles and temperate Europe and Western Asia. It is neither a Burnet, which its leaves resemble, nor a Saxifrage although it has a similar herbal effect as a diuretic.

Description:
Its leaflets are more numerous, five to ten pairs, and shorter than thoseof the Great Burnet. The flowers in each head bear crimson tufted stigmas, the lower ones thirty to forty stamens, with very long, drooping filaments. Both the flower and leafstalks are a deep-crimson colour.

Turner (Newe Herball, 1551), in his description of the plant, tells us that ‘it has two little leives like unto the wings of birdes, standing out as the bird setteth her wings out when she intendeth to flye. Ye Dutchmen call it Hergottes berdlen, that is God’s little berde, because of the colour that it hath in the topp.’ The great Burnet and the Salad Burnet both flower in June and July.

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The Salad Burnet forms much of the turf on some of the chalk downs in the southern counties. It is extremely nutritious to sheep and cattle, and was formerly extensively cultivated as a fodder plant on calcareous soils but is now little grown in that way. Cattle do not seem to like it as well as clover when full grown, but when kept closely cropped sheep are fond of it. It has the advantage of keeping green all the winter in dry barren pastures, affording food for sheep when other green crops are scarce. The results of cultivation have, however, not been very satisfactory, except on poor soil, although it contains a larger amount of nutritive matter than many grasses.

In the herb gardens of older days, Salad Burnet always had its place. Bacon recommends it to be set in alleys together with wild thyme and water mint, ‘to perfume the air most delightfully, being trodden on and crushed.’

 Cultivation: It is easily propagated by seeds, sown in autumn, soon after they are ripe. If the seeds be permitted to scatter, the plants will come up plentifully, and can be transplanted into an ordinary or rather poor soil, at about a foot distant each way. If kept clear from weeds, they will continue some years without further care, especially if the soil be dry. Propagation may also be effected by division of roots in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses:
When used for salad, the flower-stalks should be cut down if not required for seed. The leaves, for salad use, should be cut young, or may be tough.

Medicinal Action and Uses:  The older herbalists held this plant in greater repute than it enjoys at the present day. Pliny recommended a decoction of the plant beaten up with honey for divers complaints.

Dodoens recommended it as a healer of wounds, ‘made into powder and dronke with wine, wherin iron hath bene often quenched, and so doth the herbe alone, being but only holden in a man’s hande as some have written. The leaves stiped in wine and dronken, doth comfort and rejoice the hart and are good against the trembling and shaking of the same.’ Parkinson grew Burnet in his garden and the early settlers in America introduced it from the Mother Country. ‘It gives a grace in the drynkynge,’ says Gerard, referring to this use of it in cool tankards. We are also told that it affords protection against infection,
‘a speciall helpe to defend the heart from noysome vapours and from the infection of the Plague or Pestilence, and all other contagious diseases for which purpose it is of great effect, the juice thereof being taken in some drink.’and that ‘it is a capital wound herb for all sorts of wounds, both of the head and body, either inward or outward, used either in juice or decoction of the herb, or by the powder of the herb or root, or the water of the distilled herb, or made into an ointment by itself or with other things to be kept.’ It is still regarded as a styptic, an infusion of the whole herb being employed as an astringent. It is also a cordial and promotes perspiration.

Turner advised the use of the herb, infused in wine or beer, for the cure of gout and rheumatism.

click to see for homeopathic remedies :

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/Pimpinella_saxifraga
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/burles89.html

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Herbs & Plants

Epilobium parviflorum

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Botanical Name:Epilobium parviflorum
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Epilobium
Species: E. parviflorumi
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Myrtales

Common Names :Smallflower Hairy Willowherb or Willowherb

Habitat :Epilobium parviflorum grows  in most of Europe, including Britain, from Sweden to Northern Africa and Western Asia up to India, in USA and Canada.

Description:
Epilobium parviflorum  is a herbaceous perennial plant.

The biological form of the plant  is hemicryptophyte scapose, as its overwintering buds are situated just below the soil surface and the floral axis is more or less erect with a few leaves….

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Epilobium parviflorum reaches on average 30–80 centimetres (12–31 in) in height. The stem is erect and densely covered with hairs, especially in the lower part. The leaves are opposite, unstalked but not amplexicaul, lanceolate and toothed, rounded at the base, 4–10 centimetres (1.6–3.9 in) long. The tiny flowers are pale pink or pale purple, 6–7 millimetres (0.24–0.28 in) in diameter, with four petals, eight stamens and a 4-lobed stigma. Flowering occurs from June to August.  The hermaphroditic flowers are either self-fertilized (autogamy) or pollinated by insects (entomogamy). Fruit is a three-to seven-centimeter long capsule containing very small black seeeds (about 1 mm long), with white fibres that allow the dispersal by wind. This species is quite similar to Epilobium hirsutum, but the flowers are very smaller

Medicinal Uses:
Extracts of this plant have been used by traditional medicine in disorders of the prostate gland, bladder and kidney, having an antioxidant and antiinflammatory effect . Extracts of Epilobium have been shown to inhibit proliferation of human prostate cells in-vitro by affecting progression of the cell cycle.

Small-flowered willow herb has been used as remedies in folk medicine, particularly in Central Europe, for the treatment of prostate disorders and abnormal growths. This pleasant herb and flower tea was highly recommended by Austrian herbalist, Maria Treben, for ailing men with prostate abnormalities.  Enlarged prostate, prostatitis, kidney or bladder disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, mouth mucus membrane lesions, rectal bleeding, menstrual disorders, cystitis, Preliminary (in vitro) studies at the Prostate Center of Vancouver found that very low concentrations of an extract from small-flowered willow herb tea, in the micrograms per ml level, was among the most active ever seen against abnormal cells and growths of the prostate. Several extracts from Epilobium parviflorum, were evaluated in biochemical assays with 5-alpha-reductase and aromatase, two enzymes involved in the etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Aqueous extracts displayed inhibition of these enzymes and the active compounds identified were macrocyclic ellagitannins, oenothein A1, B1 and B2, which can make up to 14% of crude plant extracts. Out of a total of 92 plant phenolic extracts tested, small-flowered willow herb was also found to have high antioxidant activity.  Small-flowered willow herb tea is also recommended for treating urinary tract infections in women. Take as a tea for oral, vaginal, and intestinal candidias.  An ingredient of Swedish bitters.

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/Epilobium_parviflorum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Epilobium_parviflorum_0.7_R.jpg

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Herbs & Plants

Parietaria officinalis

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Botanical Name : Parietaria officinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Parietaria
Species: P. officinalis

Common Names:Pellitory-of-the-wall,lichwort

Habitat :Western Europe to Western Asia and the Caucasus

Description:
Parietaria officinalis is a  perennial plant  growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to October. 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 Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.

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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 dry or moist soil.

Cultivation : 

Prefers a well-drained to dry alkaline soil in full sun or semi-shade[238]. The plant grows well on drystone walls . The pollen of this plant is one of the earliest and most active of the hay fever allergens . Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. Prick out the seedling when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown in situ in autumn or spring. Division in spring. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:
Young plant – raw or cooked. The young shoots can be added to mixed salads

Medicinal Uses:
Cholagogue;  DemulcentDiuretic;  Laxative;  Refrigerant;  Vulnerary.

Pellitory of the wall has been valued for over 2,000 years for its diuretic action, as a soother of chronic coughs and as a balm for wounds and burns. In European herbal medicine it is regarded as having a restorative action on the kidneys, supporting and strengthening their function. The whole herb, gathered when in flower, is cholagogue, slightly demulcent, diuretic, laxative, refrigerant and vulnerary. It is an efficacious remedy for kidney and bladder stones and other complaints of the urinary system such as cystitis and nephritis. It should not be prescribed to people with hay fever or other allergic conditions[238]. The leaves can be usefully employed externally as a poultice on wounds etc. They have a soothing effect on simple burns and scalds. The plant is harvested when flowering and can be used fresh or dried

This plant constitutes a very effective diuretic, Ideal to increase micturition. One of the best resources when it is necessary to increase the production of urine. It seems that flavonoids grants it this property besides its wealth in potassium. Two or three infusions a day of a dry couple of spoonfuls of leaves for a liter of water can be used in the following ailments when it is useful to eliminate liquid of the body ( this remedy can be substituted by herbal tincture. In this case we should take 40 daily drops diluted in water divided in three daily doses):

*Metabolic Illnesses in which the elimination of corporal liquids is fundamental, such as the obesity or the diabetes, also in the treatment of the cellulitis.

*Rheumatic illnesses, as the gout , arthritis or uric acid. When eliminating water, we expel with it all the unwanted substances accumulated in the articulations, deflating them and improving the painful symptoms associated with these complaints. The plant appears in this sense as a fantastic depurative.

*Illnesses of the urinary tract , as gallstones or kidney stones. It is very effective in the treatment of the stones of the kidney – calculous – since, when increasing the urine, it impedes the retention of the minerals and the possible formation of a stone. Equally useful to treat renal inflammations (nephritis) or those of the urinary bladder (cystitis) since the emollient values of the mucilages that this plant contains exercise a smoothing property on the body tissues.

*Illnesses of the circulatory system. CO-helper in the treatment of these affections when they are related to liquid retention, as in the formation of edemas, bad circulation, high blood pressure, etc.

Besides its diuretic , emollient and depurative properties, it is necessary to mention its pectoral properties , very useful for the cure of bronchial affections and asthma. In this case , half a spoonful of the powder of the dry leaves should be taken three times to the day .

The pungent pellitory root is taken as a decoction or chewed to relieve toothache and increase saliva production.  The decoction may also be used as a gargle to soothe sore throats.  In Ayurvedic medicine, the root is considered tonic, and is used to treat paralysis and epilepsy.  The diluted essential oil is used in mouthwashes and to treat toothache.  It is an energetic local irritant and sialagogue, and acts as a rubefacient when applied externally. Its ethereal tincture relieves toothache. The root chewed has been found useful in some rheumatic and neuralgic affections of the head and face, and in palsy of the tongue. The decoction has been used as a gargle in relaxation of the uvula. Severe acronarcotic symptoms, with inflammation of the alimentary tract and bloody stools, were produced in a young child by less than a drachm of the tincture. The dose is from 30 to 60 grains as a masticatory. Oil of pellitory is made by evaporating the ethereal tincture.

Other Uses
The whole plant is used for cleaning windows and copper containers.

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=Parietaria+officinalis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parietaria_officinalis
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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Anise

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Botanical Name:Pimpinella anisum.
Family:
Apiaceae
Genus:
Pimpinella
Species:
P. anisum
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Apiales

Habitat:
Anise is native to  Eastern Mediterranean or Western Asia.

Synonyms: Anisum vulgare (Gaertn.), A. officinarum (Moench.), Anise, Anisum, Anisi fructus, common aniseed

Parts used: Fruits (sometimes incorrectly called “seeds”).
Cultivated : Southern Europe, North Africa, Near East, China, Pakistan, Mexico, Chile, USA
Taste/smell:Sweet and very aromatic. A similar fragrance to that of cicely.( licorice-like, sweet)

Etymology: The spice gained its Latin name anisum as a result of confusion with dill, known in Greek as an?son. Names of anise in virtually all European languages are derived from anisum.
The Sanskrit name shatapushpa means “one hundred flowers” and refers to the flower cluster. The Hindi name saunf properly denotes fennel, of which anise is incorrectly thought to be a foreign variety. To distinguish anise clearly from fennel, the specialised terms patli saunf “thin fennel” or vilayati saunf “foreign fennel” are often used. Some languages refer to the sweetness of anise, e.g. Greek glykaniso “sweet anise”, or name anise as a sweet variant of other spices, e.g. Indonesian jinten manis and Arabic kamun halu “sweet cumin” (a name sometimes also used in English). Arabic has another, similar name habbu al-hulwa “sweet grains”. The Portuguese term erva doce “sweet herb” may denote anise, fennel or sweetleaf (stevia rebaudiana).
The genus name pimpinella is Late Latin for “narrow-ribbed fruit”.
Major Uses: pastries, candies, liquors

Description:

Anise, Pimpinella anisum, is an herbaceous annual plant in the family Umbelliferae grown primarily for its fruits which are used as a spice. The plant has a grooved stem and alternately arranged leaves. The lower leaves are round with a toothed edge and petioles which can be between 4 and 10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) in length. The upper leaves are feathered and become progressively shorter towards the top of the plant. The aniseed plant produces umbels of white flowers and an oval, flattened, hairy fruit with a single seed. Anise can reach a height of 45–60 cm (17.7–23.6 in) and is an annual plant, surviving only one growing season. Anise may also be referred to as aniseed and originates from the Mediterranean.

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Several spices have been called anise. The native of Egypt, Pimpinella anisum, is anise seed or aniseed, while China is the source of Illicum verum, star anise. In the past, dill, caraway and fennel seeds were confused with anise seed.
Useful Parts: The seeds have been used widely in cooking, and are popular in spicy cakes. The oil of anise  is often used in artificial licorice, and gives its distinctive taste to liqueurs such as anisette and raki. Anise is used in many processed foods and in cough medicines, and is often included in pet foods for the flavor it imparts.
Edible  Uses:In Western cuisine, anise is mostly restricted to bread and cakes although fruit products are occasionally aromatised with anise. In small dosage, anise seeds are sometimes contained in spice mixtures for sausages and stews. Their main applications are, however, anise-flavoured liqueurs, of which there are many in different Mediterranean countries including rak? in Turkey, ouzo in Greece and pernod in France. In many cases, oil of anise is partially or wholly substituted by oil of star anise in these products.

In the East, anise is less known and both fennel and star anise are more easily available and more popular. Anise may substitute for fennel in North Indian recipes, but it is a less suitable substitute for star anise in Chinese foods.
Anise appears occasionally in Mexican recipes, but native anise-flavoured herbs (Mexican tarragon and Mexican pepper-leaf) are more commonly used. Anise is an acceptable substitute for both, although tarragon is even better.
Several plants generate an aroma comparable to that of anise. Within the apiaceae (parsley) family, fennel and cicely copy the aroma of anise perfectly and chervil and dill also resemble anise, although their fragrance is less pure. In Far Eastern cuisines (India, Iran and Indonesia), no distinction is made between anise and fennel and the same name is usually given to both of them. In the Philippines star anise is very popular and is referred to as “anise” for short.

Constituents:
As with all spices, the composition of anise varies considerably with origin and cultivation method. These are typical values for the main constituents.

*Moisture: 9-13%
*Protein: 18%
*Fatty oil: 8-23%
*Essential oil: 2-7%
*Starch: 5%
*N-free extract: 22-28%
*Crude fibre: 12-25%
*Essential oil yielded by distillation is generally around 2-3% and anethole makes up 80-90% of this.

Medicinal Properties: Over the centuries, anise has been reported to have numerous medical benefits, but there is no evidence that it offers any pharmacologic benefit. It is thus a flavorful digestive spice that may be soothing, stimulating or carminative (relieving gas) in different individuals, and it is a popular taste in drinks, confections and simple proprietary medicines.

Anise is a carminative and an expectorant. It is also a good source of iron. One tablespoon of anise seeds sprinkled on cookies, bread or cake provides 16% of the RDA for a woman and 24% of the RDA for a man. A 1990 study tested the effect of certain beverage extracts on the absorption of iron. The results showed that anise was the most effective of the extracts tested in promoting iron absorption. The authors recommended offering this as a preventive agent to iron deficiency anemia. To make a carminative tea that may relieve intestinal gas, crush 1 teaspoon of anise seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-20 minutes and strain. Drink up to 3 cups a day. In a tincture, take  1 teaspoon up to three times a day. Diluted anise infusions may be given cautiously to infants to treat colic. For older children and people over 65, begin with low-strength preparations and increase strength if necessary. Some people simply chew the anise seeds. Early English herbalist Gerard suggested anise for hiccups. It has also been prescribed as a milk promoter for nursing mothers and as a treatment for water retention, headache, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera and even cancer. America’s 19th century Eclectic physicians recommended anise primarily as a stomach soother for nausea, gas, and infant colic.

Modern uses: Science has supported anise’s traditional use as a treatment for coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. According to several studies the herb contains chemicals (creosol and alpha-pinene) that loosen bronchial secretions and make them easier to cough up. Another chemical (anethole) acts as a digestive aid. Anise also contains chemicals (dianethole and photoanethole) similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. Scientists suggest their presence probably accounts for the herb’s traditional use as a milk promoter and may help relieve menopausal discomfort. One report shows that anise spurs the regeneration of liver cells in laboratory rats, suggesting a possible value in treating hepatitis and cirrhosis. While there are no studies that support using anise to treat liver disease in humans, anise looks promising in this area.

Other Miscellaneous Uses:
*In the 1860s, American Civil War nurse Maureen Hellstrom used anise seeds as an early form of antiseptic. This method was later found to have caused high levels of toxicity in the blood and was discontinued shortly thereafter.

*According to Pliny the Elder, anise was used as a cure for sleeplessness, chewed with alexanders and a little honey in the morning to freshen the breath, and, when mixed with wine, as a remedy for asp bites (N.H. 20.72).

*The Biblical “anise” mentioned in some translations of Matthew 23 is dill (A. graveolens), rather than this plant.

*In 19th-century medicine, anise was prepared as aqua anisi (“Water of Anise”) in doses of an ounce or more and as spiritus anisi (“Spirit of Anise”) in doses of 5–20 minims.

*In Pakistani and Indian cuisines, no distinction is made between anise and fennel. Therefore, the same name (saunf) is usually given to both of them. Some use the term patli (thin) saunf or velayati (foreign) saunf to distinguish anise from fennel, although Gujarati has the term anisi or Sava.

*In the Middle East, water is boiled with about a tablespoon of aniseed per teacup to make a special hot tea called yansoon. This is given to mothers in Egypt when they are nursing.

*Builders of steam locomotives in Britain incorporated capsules of aniseed oil into white metal plain bearings, so the distinctive smell would give warning in case of overheating.

*Anise can be made into a liquid scent and is used for both drag hunting and fishing. It is put on fishing lures to attract fish.

*Anise is frequently used to add flavor to mu’assel, particularly the double apple flavor.

*Anise is one of the three odors used in K9 Nosework.

Historical View :
Oil of anise possesses the same aromatic, carminative, and stimulant properties as anise fruits, and as already noticed is commonly preferred to them as a medicine, and is alone official in the British Pharmacopoeia.

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:
unitproj.library.ucla.edu
http://www.aidanbrooksspices.blogspot.com/2007/10/anise.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anise