Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Apothecary Garden

Notes about the apothecary plantings by Leesa Burton



Almond
Prunus dulcis
The almond is a deciduous tree, growing. The young twigs are green at first, becoming purplish where exposed to sunlight, then grey in their second year. The flowers are white to pale pink and appear before the leaves in early spring. They then turn into the almond seed or nut. Almond grows best in Mediterranean climates with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
Almond seeds are commonly eaten for their taste but are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. The health benefits of almonds are extensive, and they are frequently used as a healthy solution for relief from constipation, brain health, respiratory disorders, coughs, heart disorders, anemia, impotency, and diabetes. It also helps in maintenance of healthy hair, skin care (psoriasis), and dental care. The oil is extracted for culinary and uses in skin care.


Aloe Vera
Aloe barbadensis
Aloe Vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings.
Historically, the gel inside the aloe leaf has been used topically to heal wounds and for various skin conditions, and orally as a laxative. Aloe Vera gel can be found in hundreds of skin products, including lotions and sunblock.  Aloe medications can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Aloe gel is taken by mouth for osteoarthritis, bowel diseases including ulcerative colitis, fever, itching and inflammation, and as a general tonic. It is also used for stomach ulcers, diabetes, asthma, and for treating some side effects of radiation treatment. But most people use aloe gel topically, as a remedy for skin conditions including burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores.


Aniseed
Pimpinella anisum
Aniseed, commonly also known as “anise,” “anis,” or “anise seed,” is a herb with a faint licorice taste that is common in Mediterranean cooking. Both seed and leaves carry the plant’s distinctive licorice taste, but the seeds are usually the only parts that humans consume. They are often used to flavor baked goods and savory broths; their essential oils are also believed to have some medicinal properties.
It has long history as a medicinal herb. It is thought to promote better sleep. The oil and sometimes the seeds have also been used by a variety of cultures to help with digestive problems. The herb also has anti-parasitic properties, which makes it useful for treating some fungal infections; rubbing the seed’s oils on the scalp may also help ward off lice. The oil can be helpful at relieving nasal congestion and speeding the cure of the common cold as well.




Anise hyssop (Liquorice Mint)
Agastache foeniculum
Anise hyssop is a species of perennially growing plant that belongs to the mint family. It is indigenous to most of the north-central and northern regions of North America. The Native Americans found many uses for this plant. Honey-bees are very much attracted to it and it is extensively cultivated in the form of a honey herb. In addition, the flowers of anise hyssop are also an excellent source of nectar for butterflies. On the other hand, wild birds, particularly finches, find the seeds of the plant attractive. The flowers as well as the leaves of anise hyssop are both edible. In folk herbal medicine is has been used to aid digestion and cure wounds, fevers, diarrhea and cough.


Brahimi
Bacopa monniera
Brahmi is a perennial, creeping herb with numerous branches that grows in wetlands and marshy places. Brahmi is native to India but has spread throughout the tropics. Brahmi has long history in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is widely used for its effect in blood circulation that promotes efficient function of the liver, lungs and the kidneys. Brahmi is also traditionally used to treat skin problems including psoriasis, eczema, abscess and ulceration because it stimulates skin cell regeneration and growth. It has also been used as memory enhancer, and in mental and physical fatigue, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, to increase sex drive, impotence, bronchitis, coughs and hoarseness, arthritis, rheumatism, inflammatory conditions, high cholesterol levels.


Cat thyme
Teucrium marum
Despite what its name suggests, it is not a thyme. It is a mounding, tender perennial with grey-green  leaves tipped by fragrant pink flowers. Cat thyme, a native of Spain and the Western Mediterranean.
The plant has used in the treatment of many diseases, being considered useful in most nervous complaints. It is used in the treatment of gallbladder and stomach problems. The root bark is considerably astringent and has been used for checking hemorrhages. A homeopathic remedy is made from the whole herb. It is said to be effectual against small threadworms in children. It is also antibacterial.


Echinacea
Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida
There are nine known species of echinacea, all of which are native to the United States and southern Canada. Echinacea has traditionally been used for colds, flu, and other infections, based on the idea that it might stimulate the immune system to more effectively fight infection.
Echinacea is widely used to fight infections, especially the common cold and other upper respiratory infections. Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.
Echinacea seems to activate chemicals in the body that decrease inflammation, which might also be what reduces cold and flu symptoms.


Feverfew
Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium
Feverfew is a short bush with daisy-like flowers.
Its traditional medicinal uses include fevers, headaches, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility, problems with menstruation and with labor during childbirth, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears), dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.



Fingerroot Ginger
Boesenbergia Pandurata
This plants has many names as its medicinal and culinary use spans across a variety of Asiatic countries properties. Along with many other names, it is also known as kachai, kuncho, temu kunci, lesser galangal or Chinese ginger. It is a member of the Zingiberaceae family so is related to ginger, zedoary (kachur) or white turmeric (Curcuma zedoaria), turmeric, and kulanjan (Alpinia galangal). Its rhizome has been traditionally used in folk medicine for treatment of several diseases. The rhizome contains essential oils and many flavonoid compounds that in studies have shown many interesting pharmacological activities, such as antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer.


Mint (Egyptian)
Mentha niliaca
Egyptian mint has a flavor similar to Apple Mint. But, this is a much more robust plant with sturdy upright stems and large velvety gray leaves.
It is a spreading perennial growing to a height of 90cm. Frost hardy. Prolific white flowers in summer. It has been used in for its flavour and seen as useful in tabouleh, salads, etc.
Ayurvedic physicians have used mint for centuries as a tonic and digestive aid and as a treatment for colds, cough, and fever.




Orange peel creeping thyme
Thymus nitidus
Edible but mainly used for groundcover in lawns, paths and steps. A groundcover perennial with mauve flowers in summer. It has an orange peel fragrance when leaves are crushed. Frost hardy. See 'Thyme' for traditional medicinal uses.







Parsley
Petroselinum crispum
Garden parsley is a species of in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Algeria, and Tunisia), naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as a herb, a spice, and a vegetable. It is used in food worldwide and an important cultural culinary herb. Parsley is a source of flavonoid, and antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Parsley is used for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, gastrointestinal disorders, constipation, jaundice, intestinal gas (flatulence), indigestion, colic, diabetes, cough, asthma, fluid retention (edema), osteoarthritis, anemia, high blood pressure, prostate conditions, and spleen conditions. It is also used to start menstrual flow, as an aphrodisiac, and as a breath freshener. Some people apply parsley directly to the skin for cracked or chapped skin, bruises, tumors, insect bites, lice, parasites, and to stimulate hair growth.


Peppermint
Mentha piperita,
It is a hybrid mint, a cross between water mint and spearmint. The plant, indigenous to Europe and the Middle East, is now widespread in cultivation in many regions of the world.
Peppermint oil has also been shown to be a safe and effective short-term treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. According to the German Commission E monographs, peppermint oil (as well as peppermint leaf) has been used internally as an antispasmodic (upper gastrointestinal tract and bile ducts) and to treat irritable bowel syndrome, catarrh of the respiratory tract, and inflammation of the oral mucosa. Externally, peppermint oil has been used for muscle pain and nerve pain.


Pomegranate
Punica granatum.
Pomegranate is considered to have originated in the region of modern day Iran, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. Pomegranate is a tree and it is the fruit that is most commonly eaten, whilst various parts of the tree are used to make medicine.
Pomegranate is used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, heart attack, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and high cholesterol. It is also used for conditions of the digestive tract, including diarrhea, dysentery, and tapeworm and other intestinal parasites. Some people use pomegranate for flu, swelling of the lining of the mouth (stomatitis), gum disease, erectile dysfunction and diabetes. It is also used for preventing prostate cancer, obesity, and weight loss.


Sage
Salvia officinalis
Sage is a small, woody, perennial shrub growing to about 90cm. The long, oval, grey-green leaves, velvety in texture, have a slightly bitter, camphor-like taste, while the flowers are purple-blue in colour.
Sage is used in cooking, but also for digestive problems, including loss of appetite, gas (flatulence), stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn. It is also used for reducing overproduction of perspiration and saliva, and for depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer's disease. Women also use sage for painful menstrual periods, to correct excessive milk flow during nursing, and to reduce hot flashes during menopause. Sage is applied directly to the skin for cold sores; gum disease (gingivitis); sore mouth, throat or tongue; and swollen, painful nasal passages. Some people inhale sage for asthma.


Thyme
Thymus vulgaris
Thyme is an herb that has been long known for its culinary and antiseptic properties. During the 15th and 17th century plagues thyme was an important in combatting the plagues. During World War I thyme was an important antiseptic to the soldiers. The name thyme means ‘fumigate’ it was used in the early days as incense. Thyme can relieve congestion in the head and chest. It has been used as a gargle to relieve sore throats and mouth ulcers. Contained in thyme is thymol which has been used as a topical antibiotic, though too much can be toxic. Thyme can be used as a mild insect repellent. Thyme is taken by mouth for bronchitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, intestinal gas (flatulence), parasitic worm infections, and skin disorders. It is also used to increase urine flow (as a diuretic), to disinfect the urine, and as an appetite stimulant. Some people apply thyme directly to the skin for hoarseness (laryngitis), swollen tonsils (tonsillitis), sore mouth, and bad breath. Thyme oil is used as a germ-killer in mouthwashes and liniments. It is also applied to the skin and in the mouth to fight bacterial and fungal infections.

Valerian
Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae
It is a perennial flowering plant that has heads sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer. Valerian flower extracts were used as a perfume in the 16th century. Native to Europe and parts of Asia, valerian has been introduced into North America. It is consumed as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including the grey pug. It is most commonly used for sleep disorders, especially the inability to sleep (insomnia). It is frequently combined with hops, lemon balm, or other herbs that also cause drowsiness.
Valerian is also used for conditions connected to anxiety and psychological stress including nervous asthma, hysterical states, excitability, fear of illness (hypochondria), headaches, migraine, and stomach upset.

  
Wood Betony
Stachys officinalis, Betonica officinalis.
The Wood Betony is a perennial plants that has stems rise to a height of from 1 to 2 feet, and are slender, square and furrowed. All the leaves are rough to the touch and are also fringed with short, fine hairs; their whole surface is dotted with glands containing a bitter, aromatic oil. Betony is used for digestion problems including heartburn, diarrhea, and intestinal gas, for breathing problems including bronchitis and asthma, for painful conditions including gout, headache, and facial pain, and for urinary tract conditions including bladder and kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) and bladder pain and swelling (inflammation). It is also used to treat stress and tension, nervousness, and epilepsy.
In combination with other herbs, betony is used to treat
nerve pain (neuralgia) and anxiety.