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Herbs & Plants

Cenothera biennis

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Botanical Name : Cenothera biennis
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Oenothera
Species: O. biennis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Synonym: Tree Primrose.

Common Names: Evening primrose, Common evening-primrose, Evening star, or Sun drop

English Names: It is also known as Weedy evening-primrose, German rampion, Hog weed, King’s cure-all, and Fever-plant

Parts Used: Bark, leaves.

Habitat: The Evening or Tree Primrose, though originally a native of North Arnerica, was imported first into Italy and has been carried all over Europe, being often naturalized on river-banks and other sandy places in Western Europe. It is often cultivated in English gardens, and is apparently fully naturalized in Lancashire and some other counties of England, having been first a garden escape. It is found grows in dunes, roadsides, railway banks and waste places in Britain, often in sandy soils.

Description:
Oenothera biennis has a life span of two years (biennial plant) growing to 30–150 cm (12–59 in) tall. The leaves are lanceolate, 5–20 cm (2.0–7.9 in) long and 1–2.5 cm (0.39–0.98 in) broad, produced in a tight rosette the first year, and spirally on a stem the second year.

Blooming lasts from late spring to late summer. The flowers are hermaphrodite, produced on a tall spike and only last until the following noon. They open visibly fast every evening producing an interesting spectacle, hence the name “evening primrose.”

The blooms are yellow, 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) diameter, with four bilobed petals. The flower structure has an invisible to the naked eye bright nectar guide pattern. This pattern is apparent under ultraviolet light and visible to its pollinators, moths, butterflies, and bees.

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The fruit is a capsule 2–4 cm (0.79–1.57 in) long and 4–6 mm (0.16–0.24 in) broad, containing numerous 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) long seeds, released when the capsule splits into four sections at maturity.

Cultivation: Prefers a dryish well-drained sandy loam and a warm sunny position, though it is tolerant of most soils[4]. Heavy clay soils may induce winter rots. Grows well on very poor soils. Established plants are drought resistant. Formerly cultivated for its edible roots, the evening primrose is being increasingly cultivated for the oil contained in its seed which contains certain essential fatty acids and is a very valuable addition to the diet. See the notes on medicinal uses for more details. The flowers open in the evening and are strongly scented with a delicious sweet perfume, attracting pollinating moths. The seeds are a good food source for birds. Plants usually self-sow freely if they are growing in a suitable position, they can naturalize in the wild garden.

Propagation: Seed – sow in situ from late spring to early summer
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Oil; Root; Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Root – cooked. Boiled and eaten like salsify. Fleshy, sweet and succulent. Wholesome and nutritious. A peppery taste. The taste somewhat resembles salsify or parsnips. Young shoots – raw or cooked. Mucilaginous, with a peppery flavour, they are best used sparingly. Another source suggests that the shoots should not be eaten. Flowers – sweet. Used in salads or as a garnish. Young seedpods – cooked. Steamed. The seed contains 28% of a drying oil. It is edible and a very good source of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that is not found in many plant sources and has numerous vital functions in the body. The seed, however, is very small and difficult to harvest, it has to be done by hand. Overall yields are low, making the oil very expensive to produce.

Parts Used in medicines: Bark and leaves. The bark is peeled from the flower-stems and dried in the same manner as the leaves, which are collected in the second year, when the flowerstalk has made its appearance.

Medicinal Uses:
Anticholesterolemic; Antipruritic; Astringent; Hypotensive; Miscellany; Sedative.

The bark and the leaves are astringent and sedative. They have proved of use in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders of a functional origin, whooping cough and asthma. A syrup made from the flowers is also an effective treatment for whooping cough. The bark is stripped from the flowering stem and dried for later use, the leaves are also harvested and dried at this time. Evening primrose oil has become a well-known food supplement since the 1980’s. Research suggests that the oil is potentially very valuable in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, pre-menstrual tension, hyperactivity etc. It is also taken internally in the treatment of eczema, acne, brittle nails, rheumatoid arthritis and alcohol-related liver damage. Regular consumption of the oil helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the blood pressure. The seed is a good source of gamma-linolenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid which assists the production of hormone-like substances. This process is commonly blocked in the body, causing disorders that affect the uterine muscles, nervous system and metabolism. The poulticed root is applied to piles and bruises. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of obesity and bowel pains.

Other Uses:
Cosmetic; Dye; Miscellany; Oil.

The oil from the seed is added to skin preparations and cosmetics. It is often combined with vitamin E to prevent oxidation. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A finely ground powder made from the flowering stems is used cosmetically in face-masks to counteract reddened skins.

Known Hazards: Lowers the threshold for epileptic fits (avoid). Caution if on anticoagulants. Combining with phenothiazines (allopathic medication) can trigger seizures. Adverse effects: may cause headaches and nausea on an empty stomach. Diarrhoea with high doses. Seizures in schizophrenic patients on phenothiazines (allergy antihistamines)

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/Oenothera_biennis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Oenothera+biennis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/primro70.html

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Herbs & Plants

Lactuca serriola

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Botanical Name: Lactuca serriola
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. serriola
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name: Common Name: Prickly Lettuce. milk thistle (not to be confused with Silybum marianum, also called milk thistle) compass plant, and scarole.

Habitat :Lactuca serriola is native to Europe, Asia, and north Africa, and has become naturalized elsewhere. It grows in waste places, walls, occasionally on more or less stable dunes.

Description:
Lactuca serriola is an annual or binnial plant. It has a spineless reddish stem, containing a milky latex, growing from 30 to 200 cm. The leaves get progressively smaller as they reach its top. They are oblong lanceolate, often pinnate and (especially for the lower leaves), waxy grey green. Fine spines are present along the veins and leaf edges. The undersides have whitish veins. They emit latex when cut. The flower heads are 11 to 13mm wide, are pale yellow, often tinged purple. The bracts are also often tinged purple. It flowers from July until September. The achenes are grey, tipped with bristles. The pappus is white with equal length hairs….CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation: Prefers a light sandy loam in a sunny position. The wild lettuce is cultivated for the oil in its seed in Egypt. A compass plant, the top leaves align north-south.

Propagation:..…Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses: Young leaves are eaten raw as salad or cooked. A bitter flavour. The young tender leaves are mild and make an excellent salad, but the whole plant becomes bitter as it gets older, especially when coming into flower. As a potherb it needs very little cooking. Large quantities can cause digestive upsets. Young shoots – cooked. Used as an asparagus substitute. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The oil must be refined before it is edible. A pleasant flavour.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antipyretic; Diuretic; Homeopathy; Hypnotic; Narcotic; Sedative.
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. This species does not contain as much lactucarium as L. virosa. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. Lettuce, White: (Nabalus albus): The Chippewa doctor considered this a  milk root and used the root as a remedy for female complaints, possibly as a douche in leucorrhea, to help arrest the discomforting white discharge of the vagina. At the same time a tea of the leaves was taken as a diuretic to flush the poisons from the urinary organs. To the Indians, the oozing bitter juice also corresponded to the pus of a sore, for which purpose he applied a poultice of the leaves to the bites of snakes and insects. In time, the herb became better known for its content of the astringent tannic acid and was used not only in dysentery but as an everyday vulnerary, to heal cancerous and canker sores. The powdered root is sprinkled on food to stimulate milk flow after childbirth. A tea made from the roots is used as a wash for weakness. A latex in the stems is diuretic it is used in female diseases. It is also taken internally in the treatment of snakebite. . Used in diarrhea and relaxed and debilitated conditions of the bowels.

Other Uses: The seed contains 35.2% of a semi-drying oil. It is used in soap making, paints, varnishes etc.

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/Lactuca_serriola
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+serriola

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Sisymbrium officinale

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Botanical Name: Sisymbrium officinale
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Sisymbrium
Species: S. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Singer’s Plant. St. Barbara‘s Hedge Mustard. Erysimum officinale.

Common Name: Hedge mustard

Habitat : Sisymbrium officinale is native of Europe and North Africa, it is now well-established throughout the world. It grows in hedge banks, uncultivated ground, waste ground, the sites of ruined buildings etc. It is a fairly common weed of cultivated land.

Description:
Sisymbrium officinale is an annual plant. It gros to 2ft. by 1ft. It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife…….CLICK  &  SEE THE  PICTURES

Cultivation:    An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but prefers a moist to dry acid to alkaline soil in full sun or light shade[238]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[238]. Hedge mustard grows well near oats but it inhibits the growth of turnips[18]. The plant has a peculiar aptitude for collecting and retaining dust[4]. This means that when growing near roads or other polluted places the leaves are seldom edible[K]. A food plant for the caterpillars of several butterfly and moth species.

Propagation:   Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ

Part Used: Whole plant.

Edible Uses:
This plant is widely cultivated across Europe for its edible leaves and seeds. It is widely used as a condiment in Northern Europe (particularly Denmark, Norway and Germany).

The leaves have a bitter cabbage-like flavour and they are used either in salads or cooked as a leaf vegetable (in cultivar versions). The seeds have been used to make mustard pastes in Europe.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiaphonic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Laxative; Stomachic.

The whole plant is said to be antiaphonic, diuretic, expectorant, laxative and stomachic. This plant was at one time known as the ‘singer’s plant’ because of its use in treating loss of the voice. A strong infusion of the whole plant has been used in the treatment of throat complaints. Excessive doses can affect the heart. The dried plant is almost inactive, so it should only be used when freshly harvested

Traditional medicine:
The Greeks believed it was an antidote to all poisons. In folk medicine, it was used to soothe sore throats – indeed one name for it is singer’s plant. This plant “grows by our roadsides and on waste ground, where it is a common weed, with a peculiar aptitude for collecting and retaining dust…it is named by the French the ‘Singer’s Plant,’ it having been considered up to the time of Louis XIV an infallible remedy for loss of voice. Jean Racine, writing to Nicolas Boileau, recommends him to try the syrup…in order to be cured of voicelessness.” It is “good for all diseases of the chest and lungs, hoarseness of voice…the juice…made into a syrup with honey or sugar, is no less effectual…for all other coughs, wheezing and shortness of breath…the seed is held to be a special remedy against poison and venom.” It was “formerly used for hoarseness, weak lungs and to help the voice.” Herbalists use the juice and flowers for bronchitis and stomach ailments, among other uses, and as a revitalizer. In Tibetan medicine it is used to repress the symptoms of food poisoning.

Other Uses:
Soil conditioner….Alkaline secretions from the growing roots help to sweeten an acid soil.

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/Sisymbrium_officinale
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mustar65.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sisymbrium+officinale

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Herbs & Plants

Tragopogon pratensis

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Botanical Name: Tragopogon pratensis
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Tragopogon
Species: T. pratensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Noon Flower. Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.

Common Names: Meadow Salsify, Showy Goat’s-beard, Meadow Goat’s-beard or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon.

Habitat: Tragopogon pratensis distributed across Europe and North America, commonly growing in fields (hence its name) and on roadsides. It is found in North America from southern Ontario to Massachusetts; most of England; on the eastern and southern edges of Scotland; and central Ireland but not the coastal edges.

Description:
Tragopogon pratensis is an annual/perennial plant . It grows 30 to 100 cm tall.
It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self. The flower heads are 5 cm wide. They only open in the morning sunshine, hence the name ‘Jack go to bed at noon’. The plant is self-fertile.

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It differs from Viper’s-grass (Scorzonera humilis) in that Viper’s-grass has short, pale green bracts, whereas in Goat’s-beard they are long and pointed.The lower leaves are 10 to 30 cm long, lanceolate, keeled lengthwise, grey-green, pointed, hairless, with a white midrib. The upper leaves are shorter and more erect. It is the only United Kingdom dandelion type flower with grass like leaves.

The achenes are rough, long beaked pappus radiating outwards interwoven like a spider’s web of fine white side hairs (referred to as a “Blowball”

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soils, including heavy clays. Goat’s beard was formerly cultivated as a vegetable, though it has now fallen into disuse[2, 4]. Grows well in the summer meadow. The flowers open at daybreak and close before noon.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Make sure to water the seed in if the weather is dry.

Edible Uses:    Root eaten raw or cooked. The roots have a sweet flavour due to their inulin content. The young roots can be eaten raw whilst older roots are best cooked like parsnips or salsify. They are often blanched before use. Young leaves and shoots – raw or cooked. They can be added to mixed salads or used in soups etc. The leaves are best used as they come into growth in the spring. The flowering stem, including the buds, is cooked and served like asparagus.
Young shoots and roots of Meadow Salsify can be used in diabetic salads.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent; Depurative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Stomachic.

Goat’s beard is considered to be a useful remedy for the liver and gallbladder. It appears to have a detoxifying effect and may stimulate the appetite and digestion. Its high inulin content makes this herb a useful food for diabetics since inulin is a nutrient made of fructose rather than glucose units and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels. The root is astringent, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, nutritive and stomachic. A syrup made from the root gives great relief in cases of obstinate coughs and bronchitis. A decoction of the root is given in the treatment of heartburn, loss of appetite and disorders of the breast or liver. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The fresh juice of young plants is said to be a good dissolver of bile, relieving the stomach without side effects.

Other Uses:
Cosmetic…….An infusion of the petals is used to clear the skin and lighten freckles. A distilled water made from the plant is used in cleansing lotions for dry skins

In Armenia, rural kids make bubble gum from the juice of meadow salsify. For this purpose, when milky juice is released from the torn stems it is collected on the walls of a glass and dried.
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/Tragopogon_pratensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/goabea23.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tragopogon+pratensis

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Herbs & Plants

Citrus Begamia

Botanical Name :Citrus begamia
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Species: Citrus bergamia

Synonym: Citrus bergamia Risso

Common names : Bergamot orange bergamot

Other Names:Italian bergamotto, modification of Turkish bey armudu; literally, the Bey’s pear

.
Parts Used: Essence expressed from peel

Habitat : Citrus bergamot is native to Asia and is commercially grown in Calabria (Italy), in France, and in Ivory Coast.

Description:
Bergamot grows on small trees which blossom during the winter. The distinctive aroma of the bergamot is most commonly known for its use in Earl Grey tea, though the juice of the fruit has also been used in Calabrian indigenous medicine as an herbal remedy for malaria and its essential oil is popular in aromatherapy applications.

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The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa, which are in the mint family.

Cultivation
Propagule  Buds   Cutting   Seed Pollination method  Parthenocarpic Planting style    Crop spacing    Row spacing    Cold frame  Planting period    Harvesting period  Dec 01 – Feb 28 Frost tolerance    Heat requirement    Fertilizer  Typical Time to harvest

Constituents: linalyl acetate, bergamotine, beraptene, d-limonene, linalool

Uses  In food
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, and confectionery. An Italian food manufacturer, Caffé Sicilia in Noto, Syracuse, Sicily, produces a commercial marmalade using the fruit as its principal ingredient. It is also popular in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus as a preserve, made with bergamot peel boiled in sugar syrup.

As a fragrance
Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. Approximately one third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil.[citation needed] Bergamot was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed by Italian perfumers in 17th century Germany. One hundred bergamot oranges will yield about 3 ounces of bergamot oil.

Bergamot peel is also used in aromatherapy to treat depression and as a digestive aid.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Common Uses: Anxiety/Panic * Candida/Yeast Infection * Deodorants/Perfumes * Depression * Digestion/Indigestion * Herpes * Sore Throat/Laryngitis *

Properties: Antibacterial* Antispasmodic* Carminative* Cisatrisant* Deodorant* Digestive* Febrifuge* Sedative* Skin tonic* Vermifuge* Vulnerary* Analgesic*

uplifting scent of bergamot essential oil is used to stabilize the emotions, calm and tone the nervous system, relieve tension and insomnia, and is beneficial for anxiety and depression.

Bergamot essential oil has been used in traditional medicine for intestinal worms and fever, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and skin problems. Bergamot essential oil is very useful as an anti-infectious agent and is effective against a wide number of microorganisms.

Bergamot essential oil aids the digestion and can relieve symptoms of colic and gas when massaged into the abdomen.

Toxicology
In several studies, application of some sources of bergamot oil directly to the skin was shown to have a concentration-dependent phototoxic effect of increasing redness after exposure to ultraviolet light (due to the chemical bergapten, and possibly also citropten, bergamottin, geranial, and neral) . Bergapten has also been implicated as a potassium channel blocker, which in one case study of a patient who consumed 4 liters of Earl Grey tea per day led to muscle cramps.

Bergamot is also a source of bergamottin which, along with the chemically related compound 6’,7’-dihydroxybergamottin, is believed to be responsible for the grapefruit juice effect in which the consumption of the juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs.

Bergamot orange and sun exposure
In the past psoralen — extracted from bergamot oil — has been used in tanning accelerators and sunscreens. Psoralens penetrate the skin where they increase the amount of direct DNA damage. This damage is responsible for sunburn and for an increased melanin production.
It can also lead to phytophotodermatitis, a darkening of the skin as a result of a chemical reaction that makes the skin extra sensitive to ultraviolet light.

These substances were known to be photocarcinogenic since 1959, but they were only banned from sunscreens in 1995. These photocarcinogenic substances were banned years after they had caused many cases of malignant melanoma and deaths.Psoralen is now used only in the treatment of certain skin disorders, as part of PUVA therapy.

Bergamot oil is cold-pressed from the peel of the nearly ripe fruit. The aroma of bergamot oil is sweet and citrusy, but has a warm floral quality absent in lemon and orange. Along with neroli and lavender it is one of the principal ingredients in the classic Eau-de-Cologne. It is an excellent deodorizer or room spray and a refreshing and relaxing bath oil. Bergamot’s fresh uplifting aroma is used in aromatherapy to stabilize emotions and relieve tension. It is a nervous system tonic, with a calming influence on states on anxiety and depression. Use the oil in massage blends, aroma lamps, and baths.

Herbal medicine
Medicinal properties  antispasmodic   digestive tonic Medicinal parts  Essential oil Has medicinal uses  yes Do not self-administer  no Do no use if pregnant  no Legally restricted  no Toxicity precautions  Do not take essential oil internally. Medicinal notes  The fruit is 2 to 3 inch diameter, round slightly flattened at one end, and an orange colored aromatic rind which is used commercially for its oil. Citrus bergamia is most often used as oil. Bergamot (sometimes called Bergamot orange) has been used in traditional herbal healing as either an antispasmodic or a digestive tonic. Traditional medicinal remedies are made from the essential oil. Do not take essential oil internally.

Neuroprotective effects
Recently, bergamot essential oil has been found to reduce excitotoxic damage to cultured human neuronal cells in vitro and may therefore have neuroprotective properties.

Side Effects:
Increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Bergamot oil has a slightly irritation effect on the skin in high concentrations, but the reverse if used in moderation (1%). It must never be used neat on the skin in the presence of sunlight.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail7.php
http://www.crescentbloom.com/plants/specimen/ci/Citrus%20bergamia.htm

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