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Chamomile

Chamomile

  • Anthemis nobilis
  • Chamomilla recutita
  • Matricaria chamomilla
  • Matricaria recutita
  • Compositae
  • Composite family

Common Names

Camomyle
Chamaimelon
Ground Apple
Herrmannchen (German)
Manzanilla (Spanish)
Maythen
Roman Camomile
Whig Plant

Parts Usually Used

Dried flowers usually, various parts

Description

An old well-known home remedy that grows freely everywhere. Chamomile is an undemanding plant that grows in fields and landfills, on fallow land, and along roadsides, embankments, and field boundaries.

From a short root, this creeping chamomile, a nearly prostrate perennial, puts forth a stem to 3-12 inches tall, from which bi- to tripinnatipartite lacy leaves grow. The small flower heads, which grow singly at the ends of the shoot tips, consist of a corona of white ligulate, daisy-like flowers and many (up to 400) yellow tubular disk flowers at the center. Blooms in late spring through late summer. The fruits (seeds) are extremely tiny. There are other species called chamomile. Cases of mistaken identity may result in allergic reactions to the application of chamomile. Consequently, buy chamomile in a pharmacy or health food store.

Growing chamomile in the garden or in bowls or pots on the balcony or patio is rewarding. Once the chamomile culture is established, no tending is necessary. The seeds cast by this annual will produce plenty of new plants each year. However, chamomile does need humus, nutritious soil that is not too heavy and plenty of sun. If there is no rainfall for a prolonged period, the plants will need watering.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:48
 
Calendula

Calendula

  • Calendula officinalis
  • Compositae
  • Composite family

Common Names

Garden marigold
Holigold
Marigold
Marsh marigold
Mary bud
Mary Golde
Mary Gowles
Pot marigold
Summer's bride

Parts Usually Used

Leaves, flowers

Description

Calendula, or Marigold, is an annual garden plant. The leaves are alternate, sessile, spatulate or oblancleolate, dentate with widely spaced teeth, and hairy. From June to October the plant bears large, brilliant, yellow or orange, terminal flower heads.

Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, aperient, cholagogue (increases flow of bile), diaphoretic, vulnerary (heals wounds), emmenagogue, diaphoretic, alterative, astringent

Biochemical Information

Essential oil containing carotenoids (carotene, calenduline and lycopine), a saponin, resin and bitter principle

Uses

The flowers may be eaten raw, taken as a standard infusion or the latter applied as a lotion. As a lotion, a marigold infusion (petals only) provides the ideal balancer of an over-oily skin, and all complexions will benefit from a salve or ointment composed of marigold flowers, so they say.

Used to regulate menses, help measles, smallpox, earache, colds, reduces fevers. Externally, used as an ointment or oil for burns, bruises, and injuries. The flowers are used for gastro-intestinal problems such as ulcers, chickenpox, fever, stomach cramps, recurrent vomiting, colitis, and diarrhea.

Externally for boils and abscesses, a good salve for wounds, bruises, sore nipples, yeast infections, shingles, bedsores (decubitus ulcers), sprains, varicose veins, acne, pulled muscles, sores, warts (rub fresh juice on surface). The tincture is used for gastritis and menstrual difficulties and cramps. It is said that if the fresh flowers are rubbed on wasp or bee stings there is instant relief.

Marigold is often used as a less-expensive substitute for saffron, fresh or dried petals give subtle flavor and golden color to seafood, soups, stews, puddings, rice, and omelets. The dried petals, softened in hot milk, can be added to the batters of cakes, breads, and cookies. The fresh, tender young leaves are good in salads.

Discourages Mexican bean beetles, nematodes, asparagus beetle, and other insects.

Warning

Do not use during pregnancy.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:46
 
Coriander

Coriander

  • Coriandrum Sativum
  • Umbelliferae
  • Umbel family


Common Names

Bugbane
Bug dill
Coriander seed
Chinese parsley
Dhanyaka (Sanskrit name)
Hu-sui
Stinking dill
Yan-shi (Chinese name)

Parts Usually Used

Leaves, seed

Description

Coriander is an annual herb that belongs to the carrot family (Umbelliferae). The unripe fruits have a smell that has been compared to that of bedbugs. The plant is named after koris, the Greek word for bug. However when ripe, the seeds have a distinctive sweet citrus/mint/musty aroma that has been valued over the centuries.

The parts that are used are the fruit, and sometimes for salads and soups - the fresh leaves. The fruit (so-called seeds) are of globular form, beaked, finely ribbed, yellowish-brown 1/5 inch in diameter, with five longitudinal ridges, separable into two halves (the mericarps), each of which is concave internally and shows two broad, longitudinal oil cells (vittae). The seeds have an aromatic taste and, when crushed, a characteristic odour.

Medicinal Properties

Alterative, antispasmodic, appetizer, aromatic, carminative, stomachic, pungent, cordial, diuretic, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant

Stimulant, aromatic and carminative. The powdered fruit, fluid extract and oil are chiefly used medicinally as flavouring to disguise the taste of active purgatives and correct their griping tendencies. It is an ingredient of the following compound preparations of the Pharmacopceia: confection, syrup and tincture of senna, and tincture and syrup of Rhubarb, and enters also into compounds with angelica gentian, jalap, quassia and lavender. As a corrigent to senna, it is considered superior to other aromatics.

If used too freely the seeds become narcotic.

Coriander water was formerly much esteemed as a carminative for windy colic.

Uses

Coriander can be applied externally for rheumatism, and painful joints. It improves the flavor of other medicinal preparations and stimulates the appetite. Used to treat diarrhea and colic, also cystitis, urticaria, rash, burns, sore throat, vomiting, indigestion, allergies, hay fever. A good stomach tonic and very strengthening to the heart. Will stop gripping caused by laxatives and expel wind from the bowels. At one time it was considered to have aphrodisiac effects. Used to flavor bread and liqueurs. Has the reputation to repel aphids.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:50
 
Hawthorn

Hawthorn

  • Crataegus oxyacantha
  • Rosaceae
  • Rose family

Common Names

Hawthorne
Haw
May bush
May tree
May blossom
Mayflower
Quickset
Thorn-apple tree
Whitethorn
Hawthorn

Parts Usually Used

Berries, young stems, leaves and flowers

Description

The hawthorn grows as either a shrub or a tree. It is widely grown as a hedge plant. Its trunk or stem have hard wood, smooth and ash-gray bark, and thorny branches. The small, shiny leaves are dark green on top, light bluish green underneath, and have three irregularly toothed lobes. The white flowers have round petals and grow in terminal corymbs during May and June. The fruit or haw is a 2 to 3 seeded, scarlet on the outside, yellowish and pulpy on the inside. The berries or fruit hang in small bunches from the thorny shrub, each berry has 1-5 seeds. Berries remain on the tree after the leaves fall off in autumn.

Medicinal Properties

Astringent, antispasmodic, cardiac tonic, carminative, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, vasodilator.

Uses

Hawthorn normalizes blood pressure by regulating heart action; extended use will usually lower blood pressure. It is good for heart muscle weakened by age, for inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), for softening the arteries in arteriosclerosis, helps strengthen blood vessels, cures giddiness, reduces palpitations, angina pectoris, weak heart, vascular insufficiency, blood clots (embolism, phlebitis), and for nervous heart problems. People under stress and strain from pressures of the job can benefit from hawthorn tea, aids in digestion. The tea is also a good remedy for other nervous conditions, particularly insomnia. Dilates coronary vessels, to restore the heart muscle wall, and to lower cholesterol levels. Used to treat skin sores. Relieves abdominal distention and diarrhea, food stagnation, abdominal tumors, and is good for dropsy, drives out splinters and thorns.

Warning

Though non-toxic, hawthorn can produce dizziness if taken in large doses.
Hawthorn contains heart-affecting compounds that may affect blood pressure and heart rate. Most hawthorn preparations are safe, but it is available in a highly concentrated form that should be used only under medical supervision. Hawthorn berries are considered best for blood pressure regulation and heart/vascular conditions.
Avoid if colitis or ulcers are present.
Used for centuries, no side effects have ever been noted.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:53
 
Lavender

Lavender

  • Lavandula officinalis
  • Lavandula vera
  • Lavandulae
  • Labiatae
  • Mint family

Common Names

Common lavender
Garden lavender
Spike lavender

Parts Usually Used

Leaves, flowers

Description

Lavender is a bushy, branching shrub, whose lower branches are woody, although the young stems are herbaceous. It grows to a maximum height of three feet. Stems and leaves are covered with fine grey hairs. The evergreen leaves are silvery grey, eight times as long as wide, up to two inches in length, linear, smooth edged, and opposite. The flowers are produced on terminating, wiry blunt spikes 6-8 inches long, and grow in whorls of 6-8 flowers, subtended by short pointed bracts. The calyx is purple-grey, tubular, with thirteen veins and five lobes, one of which is slightly larger than the others. The small purple-blue flowers have four stamens and a tubular corolla with two lips: the upper lip has two lobes and the lower lip three. Examination of the corolla with a hand lens shows a dense covering of stellate hairs and small shiny oil glands. It is most often identified by its fragrant, characteristic odour. Flowers June to September.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of genotypes, all with subtle and sometimes great genetic variation, both in the morphology and the chemical composition of the essential oil.
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the most widely grown lavender.

Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, cholagogue, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, relaxant, antibacterial, antiseptic.

Uses

In the past, lavender has been used as a folk remedy for numerous conditions, including acne, cancer, colic, faintness, flatulence, giddiness, migraine, nausea, neuralgia, nervous headache, nervous palpitations, poor appetite, pimples, rheumatism, sores, spasms, sprains, toothache, vomiting and worms. Lavender salts have been employed for centuries as a stimulant to prevent fainting; lavender oil vapor is traditionally inhaled to prevent vertigo and fainting. Tests show that lavender鈥檚 essential oil is a potent ally in destroying a wide range of bacterial infections, including staph, strep, pneumonia, and most flu viruses. It is also strongly anti-fungal. A lavender-flower douche is an effective treatment for vaginal infections, especially candida-type yeast infections. Lavender ointments are rubbed into burns, bruises, varicose veins, and other skin injuries. The straight oil is dabbed on stops the itching of insect bites.

Warning

Avoid high doses during pregnancy because it is a uterine stimulant.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 11:55
 
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