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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Viola renifolia

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Botanical Name: Viola renifolia
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola
Species: V. renifolia
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Common names: White violet and Kidneyleaf violet
Habitat : Viola renifolia is native to northern North America, where it has a widespread distribution across Canada and the northern United States as far south as Washington, Colorado, and New York. It is grown in part shade, sun; cool coniferous swamps and woods.
Description:
Viola renifolia is a perennial herb growing up to 10 centimeters tall. It does not have stems, rhizomes, or stolons. The kidney-shaped leaf blades are 3 to 6 centimeters long and are borne on petioles up to 15 centimeters long. It is in flower during April to June. The flower is 1 to 1.5 centimeters long and white in color with purple lines on the lower three petals. The fruit is a purplish nearly spherical capsules; seeds are brown; ripening mid-summer.

This violet grows in white spruce and black spruce forests, and temperate coniferous forests. Near the Great Lakes it grows in swamps and wooded areas….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 

Edible & Medicinal Uses:
Violets are high in vitamins A and C; the leaves contain as much vitamin C as 4 oranges. The flowers have been used as a garnish (fresh or candied) or as a flavouring and colouring in vinegar. They have also been made into jelly and syrup.

Flower Essences: Indications: uncomfortable in closed spaces and constrained environments; fearful of losing one’s identity in a group; unable to embody one’s sensitivity in a comfortable way.

Known Hazards: The rhizomes, fruits and/or seeds of some violets are poisonous, causing severe stomach and intestinal upset, as well as nervousness and respiratory and circulatory depression. The species name renifolia, from the Latin rens, ‘a kidney’, and folium, ‘a leaf’, refers to the kidney-shaped leaves typical of this plant.
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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viola_renifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/kidney-leaved-violet
http://www.borealforest.org/herbs/herb40.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Amelanchier bartramiana

Botanical Name : Amelanchier bartramiana
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Amelanchier
Species: A. bartramiana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : A. oligocarpa. Pyrus bartramiana.

Common Names: Mountain serviceberry, Mountain shadbush, Bartram‘s serviceberry, Mountain juneberry, Bartram juneberry, and the Oblongfruit serviceberry

Habitat :Amelanchier bartramiana is native to N. America – Labrador to Minnesota and south to Pennsylvania. It grows on the Peaty or boggy thickets, sphagnum bogs, bushy and mountain slopes to the sub-alpine zone.

Description:
Amelanchier bartramiana is a deciduous perennial Shrub or a tree growing to 3 m (9ft 10in). The leaves of Amelanchier bartramiana are either brown or green coloured, are egg-shaped and tapered at both ends with fine teeth almost to the base. It has 6–12 teeth while its lateral veins comes 10–16 pairs. Its petioles are 2–10 millimetres (0.079–0.394 in) long while its blades are ovate and elliptic. The flowers have five white petals, appearing singly or in clusters of up to four blossoms. The pomes are red, ripening to dark purple and are pear-shaped.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The plant is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade but thrives in any soil, including chalk, so long as it is not too dry or water-logged. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -30°c. All members of this genus have edible fruits and, whilst this is dry and uninteresting in some species, in many others it is sweet and juicy. Many of the species have potential for use in the garden as edible ornamentals. The main draw-back to this genus is that birds adore the fruit and will often completely strip a tree before it is fully ripe. This species hybridises with A. sanguinea, A. humilis, A. stolonifera, A. fernaldii and A. canadensis. Grafting onto seedlings of A. lamarckii or Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing.

Propagation:
Seed – it is best harvested ‘green’, when the seed is fully formed but before the seed coat has hardened, and then sown immediately in pots outdoors or in a cold frame. If stored seed is obtained early enough in the autumn, it can be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed. Grow the seedlings on for two years in the seedbed before planting them out into their permanent positions during the winter. Layering in spring – takes 18 months. Division of suckers in late winter. The suckers need to have been growing for 2 years before you dig them up, otherwise they will not have formed roots. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
The fruits are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The fruit contains a few small seeds at the centre, it is sweet but rather dry according to one report whilst others have found it to be sweet and juicy. The fruit can be added to pancakes or dried for later use. Fruits are oval or pear shaped unlike other members of this genus that have round fruits. They are 15mm long. The fruit is rich in iron and copper.

Medicinal Uses:
Not yet known.

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:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Amelanchier+bartramiana
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelanchier_bartramiana

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Herbs & Plants

Ceanothus integerrimus

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Botanical Name : Ceanothus integerrimus
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ceanothus
Species: C. integerrimus
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name : Dear Brush

Habitat : Ceanothus integerrimus is native to Western N. America – Washington to California. It grows on dry slopes and ridges in pine and mixed evergreen forests, 300 – 2000 metres.

Description:
Ceanothus integerrimus is a deciduous shrub from 1–4 metres (3.3–13.1 ft) tall with an open ascending to erect branch habit.   It is a drought-tolerant phanerophyte. Nitrogen-fixing actinomycete bacteria form root nodules on Ceanothus roots. Its stems are round yellow to pale green in color with either small soft to straight stiff sharp hairs parallel to or in contact with the surface of the stem,.

The leaves are glossy, deciduous and 2.5–8 cm long. Leaves grow alternately on stems. The leaf petioles are less than 15 mm in length and the stipules are also deciduous. The leaf blade is lanceolate, elliptical or oblong to widely ovate in shape. Leaves can have one to two ribs from the base; they are also generally thin and have an acute to obtuse tip. Leaf margins are either entire or slightly dentate, more so towards the leaf tip. Leaf surfaces are light green and are ciliate or contain hairs visible only by magnification. The lower leaves are also hairy and lighter in color.

The flowers are white or blue and rarely pink in color. They are produced in raceme clusters of 15 centimeters or less and contain both male and female organs. The fruit is a sticky valved capsule about 4–5 mm in diameter with a slight crest; the seed is ejected from the capsule after splitting.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES…..

It regenerates by seed, shoot formation from the crown and stem, and also by layering when branches come in contact with soil. It has been suggested that some Ceanothus species do not resprout from the root after the crown has burned as a result of fire where most other species are able to regenerate. Pollination of flowers is primarily by bees.

Seed production occurs after about four years of age. High densities of seeds occur in the upper soil of Ceanothus communities. Seeds remain viable up to 24 years or more. Seed dormancy is broken by the removal of the seed coat by fire scarification or physical disturbance. Seeds germinate best at about 1 inch soil depth in shady areas in the spring following fire scarification.

Varieties:
There are four weakly defined varieties of Ceanothus integerrimus. Identification is primarily by leaf morphology and flower color.

*Ceanothus integerrimus var. californicus. Leaves elliptic, lanceolate or oblong to ovate in shape and are three ribbed, from the leaf base. Leaf surfaces have small hairs and the undersides are less hairy than the surface. Flowers generally white or blue.

*Ceanothus integerrimus var. integerrimus.

*Ceanothus integerrimus var. macrothyrsus. Leaf blades oblong or ovate. Leaf bases are three ribbed at the base. Leaf surfaces are pubescent on both the surface and undersides. Flowers are white.

*Ceanothus integerrimus var. puberulus. Leaf blades elliptical or lanceolate and oblong to obovate in shape. Leaf base is three ribbed from the leaf base. Leaves are also pubescent on both sides. Flowers white…….CLICK & SEE

Ceanothus integerrimus hybridizes with Ceanothus tomentosus (Lemmon’s ceanothus) and Ceanothus cordulatus (mountain whitethorn).
Cultivation:
Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk. Requires a well-drained soil. This species is hardy to about -10°c according to some reports whilst another says that it requires a sheltered position or the protection of a wall when grown outdoors in Britain. Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small. Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring. Fast growing but short lived, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Some members of this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 – 3 months stratification at 1°c. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 2 months at 20°c. Another report says that the seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 – 120°c for 4 – 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it. It then requires a period of chilling below 5°c for up to 84 days before it will germinate. The seed exhibits considerable longevity, when stored for 15 years in an air-tight dry container at 1 – 5°c it has shown little deterioration in viability. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node,   July/August in a frame[11]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, 7 – 12 cm with a heel, October in a cold frame. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break. Good percentage.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.

Seed – raw or cooked. Used as pinole.
Medicinal Uses: The plant has been used by some native North American Indian tribes to treat women who have suffered injury in childbirth.

Other Uses:
Basketry; Dye; Miscellany; Soap.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers. Young flexible shoots can be used for the circular withes of baskets. All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins.

C. integerrimus is an important part of forest regeneration after wildfires by providing nitrogen. It does this by creating nitrogen rich patches in the soil. The nitrogen source is created by its root association with nitrogen fixing bacteria.

Deer and specifically mule deer feed on C. integerrimus. Porcupines and quail have also been observed eating the stems and seeds. Nutritionally leaves are a good source of protein and stems and leaves also contain high levels of calcium. However, nutritional quality of leaves is seasonal and appears to be best from fall to early spring.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceanothus_integerrimus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ceanothus+integerrimus

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Herbs & Plants

Liatris

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Botanical Name : Liatris
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Liatris
Gaertn. ex Schreb.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common names: Blazing-star, Gay-feather or Button snakeroot

Habitat ; Liatri is native to North America, Mexico, and the Bahamas. These plants are used as a popular summer flowers for bouquets.

Description:
Liatris is a  perennial  plant, surviving the winter in the form of corms.

Liatris species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Schinia gloriosa, Schinia sanguinea (both of which feed exclusively on the genus), Schinia tertia and Schinia trifascia.

Liatris is in the tribe Eupatorieae of the aster family. Like other members of this tribe, the flower heads have disc florets and no ray florets. Liatris is in the subtribe Liatrinae along with, for example, Trilisa and Carphephorus. Liatris is closely related to Garberia from Florida, but can be distinguished because the latter is a shrub and has a different karyotype.

click to see the pictures.>...…(01)....(1).....(2)...(3)..(4).…..(5)...(6).…...(7).

Botanical Source and History.—LIATRIS SPICATA, Willdenow, Button snakeroot. This plant, also known by the names of Gay-feather, Devil’s bit, etc., has a perennial, tuberous root, an erect, annual stem, 2 to 5 feet in height, mostly stout, and very leafy. The leaves are linear, glabrous, alternate, punctate, ciliate at base, lower ones 3 to 5-nerved, and narrowed at base. The flowers are sessile, of a bright-purple color; the heads many, densely crowded in a long, terminal spike, and from 8 to 12-flowered. The scales of the cylindrical, bell-shaped involucre are oblong or oval, and appressed, with slight scarious margins. Achenia pubescent, obconic. Pappus permanent, colored, barbellate, not evidently plumose to the naked eye. Receptacle naked. This plant is found in moist places in the middle and southern states, and in abundance in the prairies (G.—W.).

LIATRIS SQUARROSA, Willdenow, or Blazing-star, has a perennial, tuberous root, with a stem 2 to 3 feet high, thickly beset with long-linear, nerved leaves; the lower ones attenuated at the base. The heads are few, sessile or nearly so, with brilliant purple flowers; the racemes flexuous and leafy; the involucre ovate-cylindric, and the scales of the involucre large, numerous, squarrose-spreading; outer ones larger and leafy, inner ones mucronate-acuminate, and scarcely colored. Pappus plumose. This plant is found in the middle and southern states, in dry soil, and is known in the South by the name of Rattlesnake’s master (G.—W.).

LIATRIS SCARIOSA, Willdenow, or Gay-feather, has a perennial, tuberous root, with a stout, scabrous-pubescent stem, 4 to 5 feet in height, whitish above. The leaves are numerous, lanceolate, tapering at both ends, glabrous, with rough margins, entire, lower ones on long petioles, 3 to 9 inches long, upper ones 1 to 3 inches in length by 1 to 3 lines in width. The heads number from 5 to 20, an inch in diameter, and are disposed in a long raceme, with 20 to 40 purple flowers. The involucre is globose-hemispherical; the scales of the involucre obovate or spatulate, very obtuse, with dry and scarious margins, often colored. Pappus scabrous. This plant is found in dry woods and sandy fields from New England to Wisconsin, and extending southward (G.—W.).

LIATRIS ODORATISSIMA, Willdenow.—This plant, known as Deer’s tongue or Vanilla plant, has radical and stem leaves; the former are obovate-spatulate, tapering below, generally 7-veined, and sometimes slightly obtusely toothed. The stem leaves are oblong and clasping. The leaves are more or less glaucous and fleshy. The flower-heads are arranged in a panicle or corymb, and are from 4 to 10-flowered, the blossoms being of a vivid purple hue. The involucre has but few scales, and these are spatulate-oblong, and imbricated. Pappus not plumose, but finely barbollate. The rhizome of this species is not tuberous. Deer’s tongue is found from Virginia south, and flowers in September and October. The leaves, when dry, have a pleasant odor.
Native American plant used in smoking blends to flavor tobacco. Their perfume is largely due to Coumarin, which can be seen in crystals on the upper side of the smooth, spatulate leaves. -Demulcent, febrifuge, diaphoretic

History and Chemical Composition.—All the above plants are splendid natives, and flowering through August, September, and October. There are several other species of this genus which appear to possess medicinal properties analogous to each other, and which deserve further investigation—e.g., L. cylindracea, L. graminifolia, etc. The roots are the medicinal parts; they are all tuberous, except L. odoratissima, with fibers, and have a hot, somewhat bitter taste, with considerable acrimony, and an agreeable, turpentine odor. They appear to contain a resinous substance, volatile oil, and a bitter principle. Their virtues are extracted by alcohol, and partially by hot water in infusion. The leaves of L. odoratissima are often covered with glistening crystals of coumarin (C9H6O2) (Procter, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1859, p. 556). On account of this constituent, it is used in North Carolina for keeping moths out of clothes. Deer’s tongue is also of interest as a reputed adulterant of tobacco, it being said to be especially employed in the making of cigarettes, the deleterious effects of which have been attributed, by some, to the coumarin present in them. Liatris spicata was analyzed by W. F. Henry (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1892, p. 603). It contained 0.09 per cent of volatile oil, about 4.5 per cent of resin, 2.3 per cent of a caoutchouc-like body, 16 per cent of inulin, also mucilage, glucose, etc., but no glucosid nor alkaloid.

Medicinal Uses:
These plants are diuretic, with tonic, stimulant, and emmenagogue properties. A decoction of them is very efficient in gonorrhoea, gleet, and nephritic diseases, in doses of from 2 to 4 fluid ounces, 3 or 4 times a day. It is also reputed beneficial in scrofula, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, after-pains, etc. It is likewise of advantage used as a gargle, in sore throat, and chronic irritation of the throat, with relaxed tissues, and in injection has proved useful in leucorrhoea. It acts kindly on the stomach, and is of some value in dyspepsia associated with renal torpor. While it relieves colic and other spasmodic bowel affections of children, it has some reputation as a remedy for pain and weakness in the lumbar region. Said to be beneficial in Bright’s disease     in connection with Lycopus virginicus and Aletris farinosa; equal parts of each in decoction. These plants are celebrated for their alexipharmic powers in bites of venomous snakes. Pursh states that, when bitten, the inhabitants of the southern states bruise the bulbous roots, and apply them to the wound, at the same time drinking freely of a decoction of them in milk. This requires corroboration. The eliminative action of liatris may be taken advantage of in removing morbific products left in the system after serious forms of illness. The decoction is prepared from an ounce of the root to 1 pint of water. Dose, 1 fluid drachm to 4 fluid ounces.

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:
http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/liatris.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liatris
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail548.php

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Herbs & Plants

Sunflower

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Botanical Name ; Helianthus annuus
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Helianthoideae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Helianthus
Species: annuus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiospermae
Subdivision: Eudicots
Class: Asterids
Order: Asterales

Common Name : Sunflower,Common Sunflower

Habitat :Sunflower is native to the Americas that possesses a large inflorescence (flowering head). It grows in open dry or moderately moist soils on the plains.

Dscription:

Helianthus annuus is a annual flowering plant growing to 3 m (9ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is not self-fertile.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
The sunflower got its name from its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads of flowers. The heads consist of 1,000-2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base.

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

What is usually called the “flower” on a mature sunflower is actually a “flower head” (also known as a “composite flower“) of numerous florets, (small flowers) crowded together. The outer petal-bearing florets are the sterile ray florets and can be yellow, red, orange, or other colors. The florets inside the circular head are called disc florets, which mature into seeds.

The flower petals within the sunflower’s cluster are usually in a a spiral pattern. Generally, each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, 137.5°, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals, where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other; on a very large sunflower there could be 89 in one direction and 144 in the other. This pattern produces the most efficient packing of seeds within the flower head.

Cultivation:
To grow best, sunflowers need full sun. They grow best in fertile, moist, well-drained soil with heavy mulch. In commercial planting, seeds are planted 45 cm (1.5 ft) apart and 2.5 cm (1 in) deep. Sunflower “whole seed” (fruit) are sold as a snack food, raw or after roasting in ovens, with or without salt and/or seasonings added. Sunflowers can be processed into a peanut butter alternative, sunflower butter. In Germany, it is mixed with rye flour to make Sonnenblumenkernbrot (literally: sunflower whole seed bread), which is quite popular in German-speaking Europe. It is also sold as food for birds and can be used directly in cooking and salads. American Indians had multiple uses for sunflowers in the past,such as in bread, medical ointments, dyes and body paints

Propagation :
Seed – sow in mid spring in situ. An earlier start can be made by sowing 2 – 3 seeds per pot in a greenhouse in early spring. Use a fairly rich compost. Thin to the strongest seedling, give them an occasional liquid feed to make sure they do not become nutrient deficient and plant them out in late spring or early summer. Seed, harvested at 12% moisture content and stored, will retain its viability for several years
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Oil; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Oil.

Seed – raw or cooked. A delicious nut-like flavour, but very fiddly to extract due to the small size of the seed. Commercially there are machines designed to do this. Rich in fats, the seed can be ground into a powder, made into sunflower butter or used to make seed yoghurt. When mixed with cereal flours, it makes a nutritious bread. Cultivars with up to 50% oil have been developed in Russia. The oil contains between 44 – 72% linoleic acid. The germinated seed is said to be best for seed yoghurt, it is blended with water and left to ferment. The sprouted seed can be eaten raw. A nutritional analysis of the seed is available. Young flower buds – steamed and served like globe artichokes. A mild and pleasant enough flavour, but rather fiddly. Average yields range from 900 – 1,575 kg/ha of seed, however yields of over 3,375 kg/ha have been reported. A high quality edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It is low in cholesterol, and is said to be equal in quality to olive oil. Used in salads, margarines, or in cooking. The roasted seed is a coffee and drinking chocolate substitute. Another report says the roasted hulls are used. The leaf petioles are boiled and mixed in with other foodstuffs……CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Fresh weight)

* 560 Calories per 100g
* Water : 4.8%
* Protein: 24g; Fat: 47.3g; Carbohydrate: 19.4g; Fibre: 3.8g; Ash: 4g;
* Minerals – Calcium: 120mg; Phosphorus: 837mg; Iron: 7.1mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 30mg; Potassium: 920mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 30mg; Thiamine (B1): 1.96mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.23mg; Niacin: 5.4mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Medicinal Uses:    A tea made from the leaves is astringent, diuretic and expectorant, it is used in the treatment of high fevers. The crushed leaves are used as a poultice on sores, swellings, snakebites and spider bites. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use. A tea made from the flowers is used in the treatment of malaria and lung ailments. The flowering head and seeds are febrifuge, nutritive and stomachic. The seed is also considered to be diuretic and expectorant. It has been used with success in the treatment of many pulmonary complaints. A decoction of the roots has been used as a warm wash on rheumatic aches and pains.

Russian folk healers chop the head of a sunflower, soak the pieces in vodka and soap chips in a sunny place for nine days, and then rub the mixture on the joints of rheumatic patients as a potent liniment.  In medical clinics, Russian doctors prepare decoctions of the seeds for jaundice, malaria, heart conditions, diarrhea, and other ailments.  The seeds, browned in the oven, and made into an infusion, make a widely used remedy for whooping cough.

Other Uses:
Sunflower oil, extracted from the seeds, is used for cooking, as a carrier oil and to produce margarine and biodiesel, as it is cheaper than olive oil. A range of sunflower varieties exist with differing fatty acid compositions; some ‘high oleic’ types contain a higher level of monounsaturated fats in their oil than even olive oil.

The cake remaining after the seeds have been processed for oil is used as a livestock feed. Some recently developed cultivars have drooping heads. These cultivars are less attractive to gardeners growing the flowers as ornamental plants, but appeal to farmers, because they reduce bird damage and losses from some plant diseases. Sunflowers also produce latex, and are the subject of experiments to improve their suitability as an alternative crop for producing hypoallergenic rubber.

Traditionally, several Native American groups planted sunflowers on the north edges of their gardens as a “fourth sister” to the better known three sisters combination of corn, beans, and squash. Annual species are often planted for their allelopathic properties.[citation needed]

However, for commercial farmers growing commodity crops, the sunflower, like any other unwanted plant, is often considered a weed. Especially in the midwestern US, wild (perennial) species are often found in corn and soybean fields and can have a negative impact on yields.

Sunflowers can be used to extract toxic ingredients from soil, such as lead, arsenic and uranium. They were used to remove cesium-137 and strontium-90 from a nearby pond after the Chernobyl disaster, and a similar campaign was mounted in response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Known Hazards : The growing plant can accumulate nitrates, especially when fed on artificial fertilizers. The pollen or plant extracts may cause allergic reactions

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/Sunflower
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Helianthus+annuus