Saturday, April 30, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "Z"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

ZHI ZI
gardenia
(gardenia jasminoides)

(photo found HERE)


Known as the happiness herb, Gardenia is helpful in cases of restlessness, irritability, anger, hypertension, and similar ailments.

Maybe we should send some to Congress.

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Gardenia is used to clear heat in cases of high fever. It is known mostly, however, for the delicious aroma of its beautiful white flowers.

It has been used to treat high blood pressure and should not be used if you're already on a blood pressure medicine. There is nothing, however, problematic with indulging in that amazing fragrance. If you ask me, taking a few minutes everyday to breathe deeply of gardenias, roses, or any other fragrant flower or herb is a calming ritual, therapeutic to mind, body and spirit. Indulge to your heart's content!

_______

And that's a wrap! The 2016 A-Z Challenge is over. Heave a great sigh of relief, kids. We've made it!

Did YOU post every day?
I did!! 
Did YOU read new blogs and meet new bloggers every day?
Nope. Me either.
That's where I drop the ball every year. If you've visited here during the challenge more than once, THANK YOU!!! I'm slowly working my way over to pay back the gesture :)

Now GO! Prop your feet up. Relax. Enjoy your weekend.

You've earned it.

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "Y"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

YUCCA
(yucca baccata)
aka: Spanish Dagger, Soapweed, Soaptree

(photo found HERE)

Yucca is native to Mexico and the South West United States. It can grow in other places too; I grew up with two HUGE Yucca plants in my front yard and I'm from Georgia. Still, it is well known in Native American and Mexican folk medicine as an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic herb.

Native tribes used Yucca for everything from making clothes to medicine. It is truly and all-purpose plant. The root is high in natural saponins which, when chopped up in water, causes it to lather. It is an effective soap substitute and was used by native tribes for cleaning clothes.

The root is a nice potato substitute and can be found in most grocery store produce departments. It's starchy and a bit sweet. Next time you go to a potluck, grab a Yucca root! It's sure to cause a sensation! Just don't grab those huge spear-like leaves. That will cause an entirely different sensation, one you do NOT want to experience! Remember I said I grew up with them in my yard. I ran into them a couple of times. Youch!

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "X"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

XUE JIE
(dragon's blood resin)

(photo found at www.botanical.com)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) states that Xue Jie or Dragon's Blood has sweet, salty, and neutral properties. Sounds like the perfect temperament for a dragon to me! It is associated with the heart and liver and used in many TCM formulas geared towards those systems. The resin comes from the Sangre de Drago tree, an Amazonian rainforest tree that emits a blood-like sap when cut. This resin is known throughout South America for its healing properties and has slowly made its way into TCM.

Typically Dragon's Blood is used to treat superficial skin issues such as cuts, scrapes, abrasions, insect bites, and ulcers. When applied to the skin it creates a protective barrier or second skin that keeps out harmful impurities that could hinder the healing of the wound.

TCM is a complicated and fascinating branch of herbal study and one that is definitely worth digging into if you're interested in holistic healing. I owe it a large debt of gratitude for past and present supplements, Acupuncture treatments, and helping me fill my "X" and "Z" slots for this challenge :D

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "W"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!


***

WORMWOOD
(artemisia absinthium)

(photo found at www.botanical.com)

The Latin name "artemisia" comes from the Greek goddess Artemis (my personal favorite) who, it is rumored, used the plant and gave the knowledge of its healing powers to the wise centaur Chiron. You may have heard of him? He was the tutor to Jason, that guy with the boat who went after that golden woolly blanket?

Wormwood is known for its bitterness and is used to expel worms, repel insects, help with indigestion and restore appetite. Commercially it is used in perfume, beers, vermouth, and -most infamously- as the "Green Fairy" in absinthe.

If Wormwood is chosen as a remedy it should only be used in small quantities for short periods of time. Bear in mind that it is not safe for pregnant women or children in any amounts.

Wormwood once had a reputation as a love potion and it was believed it could give you a dream about your future spouse. Of course, I've heard that absinthe can make you see all sorts of things. If you do use it to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, be careful and don't listen to the voices. They don't have your best interest in mind!

No matter what they say.

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "V"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

(SWEET) VIOLET
viola odorata

photo found at www.botanical.com

The humble Violet was once the national flower of Athens. Pliny the Elder wrote that it was good for gout and spleen disorders. He also mentioned that a garland of Violets, when worn like a crown, may banish headaches and dizziness. Whether it works or not, I don't know, but I do know you'll look pretty trying :).

Since 500 B.C. Violet has been recorded to be beneficial for skin cancer when the fresh leaves are used in a poultice. The leaves and flowers of violet are used in cough syrups and for helping with upper respiratory ailments including asthma. Violet might also be helpfu lfor tumors, boils, abscesses, pimples, swollen glands, and malignant growths. 

Some say the name "Violet" comes from the Latin "vias" which means "wayside" referring to where they grow. Violet flowers are a herald of spring and a symbol of love and affection. It has been used for centuries in perfumes and the flowers can be used to make an uplifting tea. You can also candy the flowers and use them to decorate cakes! Lovely, helpful, and tasty; I'd say, Violet is dang near perfect!

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.



Monday, April 25, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "U"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

UNICORN ROOT
(true unicorn root: aletris farinosa aka: stargrass, starwort, star root, crow corn
falso unicorn root: chamaelirium luteum aka: starwort [hmmm...])


True Unicorn Root is found along the entire Eastern seacoast of the United States and is used mostly for stomach aches and for colic. The fresh root can be slightly narcotic when used in large doses. That narcotic property, however, is lost when the root is dried. When dried it is a valuable bitter tonic used to tone up the stomach. Because of this toning effect, it can be helpful to women who have a tendency to miscarriage.


This herbaceous, low growing perennial can be found in areas east of the Mississippi River. False Unicorn Root is primarily used for female issues especially infertility. If taken in large doses it can be a cardiac poison, however, when taken in moderation, this root may also be helpful for urinary weakness and liver and kidney disease.

False Unicorn Root grows in rich, moist woodlands and has lovely white flower fronds that resemble what one may think a unicorn horn to look like. False Unicorn has tiny flowers arranged in a tight spike where as True Unicorn has much larger flowers that are shaped individually like bluebells. They are bright white and look as if they've been dipped in flour.

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.




Saturday, April 23, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "T"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

THYME
(thymus vulgaris)
aka: garden thyme

(photo found at www.botanical.com)

To the Greeks, Thyme was a symbol of bravery. It is an appropriate symbol as Thyme is used for nervous conditions. It can also be a good tissue cleaner and as a wound wash. As a germicide, Thyme is great for gargles, mouthwashes, and in toothpaste. Steeped in a tea Thyme is wonderful for upper respiratory congestion.

In legend and history the little Thyme plant has been synonymous with courage and bravery. The Ancient Greeks also associated it with elegance.

Rudyard Kipling, when traveling in the Mediterranean, wrote of its fragrance as "wind bit thyme that smells of dawn in paradise". 

Mmm, if this is what paradise smells like, what a welcome to eternity!

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.


Friday, April 22, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "S"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

SAGE
(salvia)

(photo found at www.botanical.com)

Sage has many reputed curative properties. In the Middle Ages it was widely known as a cure-all. The most well-known traditional use for sage is for mental clarity and improved memory. The Old English word "sage" meaning "wise man" comes from this traditional usage.

Superstition tells us that if all is well in the house, sage will flourish in the garden. If things are amiss, the plant will droop and wilt. Sage is said to carry powers of wisdom and longevity. Bundles of dried sage, called smudge sticks, are burned by some to clear the air of negative energy and spirits.

Anybody interested in having an herb garden must have sage. For you writers out there, it's a lot of fun to use in your stories. Have a struggling college student turn to traditional remedies out of a desperate attempt to get good grades on his midterms. Have it work! Throw in a wizard, a "wise man" and give him a fondness for sage herb. Use sage as an ongoing barometer to give clues to the emotional weather throughout a novel. Perhaps an eccentric, a paranoid classmate, a desperate homeowner burns it in a vain (or not so vain?) attempt to get rid of a poltergeist. A demon. The moody old spirit of Uncle Ross.

Then again, if you DO have a moody old sprit hanging around, try burning some sage. At the very least it'll inspire an essay :)


***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "R"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

ROSEMARY
(rosmarinus officinalis)

(photo found at www.botanical.com)

Rosemary conjures up images of lovely cottage gardens and delicious mediterranean dishes. The Latin name means "dew of the sea" because it grows in abundance in its mediterranean home.

In ancient Greece, Rosemary was believed to strengthen memory, students of the time would wear sprigs of Rosemary in their hair while studying. To the Greeks and later Shakespeare, Rosemary because a symbol of remembrance.

Rosemary is a long standing folk remedy for nervousness, headaches, and stomach pains. It may also help with colds, sore throats, and sluggish liver. Rosemary has been used for centuries in hair tonics to stimulate hair growth and retain hair color in dark hair.

If you're feeling crafty make an herbal sleep pillow with rosemary and lavender to help alleviate insomnia and restless sleep.

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "Q"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

QUEEN OF THE MEADOW
eupatorium purpureum
aka: gravel root, Joe Pye Weed, kidney root

photo from Alchemy Works

Queen of the Meadow was used extensively by many Native American tribes as an antibiotic, antiseptic, diuretic, nervine, relaxant, stimulant, and tonic. It's common name, Joe Pye Weed, was given in honor of a Native American healer in New England who used it to help cure typhus.

It's a soothing herb for the urinary tract and can help dissolve kidney stones. It has also been used in rheumatic conditions and other inflammatory diseases.

Externally Queen of the Meadow essential oil is used in massage oils, bath oils, and liniments directed at treating cellulite.

The tall, stately blooms appear in summer and earning its title of Queen. If you decide to collect the roots for drying, they're best when gathered in autumn.

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "P"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

Pennyroyal
mentha pulegium
aka: puleguim, run-by-the-ground, lurk-in-the-ditch, pudding grass, piliolerial

photo found at www.botanical.com

A species of mint, Pennyroyal is native to Europe and parts of Asia and traditionally used to repel fleas. In the country, it is referred to as "run by the ground" and "lurk in the ditch" because of the way it grows. Another name "pudding grass" was given as it was formerly used in stuffing for hog's puddings. 

Pennyroyal is the smallest of the mints but one of the most pungent and aromatic. it is the main ingredient in Pennyroyal tea, an old cottage garden remedy for colds and delayed menstruation.

Pennyroyal loves rich, moist areas such as ponds and stream edges. Incidentally, that's where mosquitoes and gnats also flourish and Pennyroyal is as well-known bug repellent.

Though helpful, especially for calming the nerves, it should be avoided by pregnant women as it can cause abortion. If using to repel fleas, make an infusion in water or alcohol and spray around your pets bedding. I've heard you can spray it on collars and let them wear it but the smell is strong I think it would bother your dog or cat more than it would help. I know my cat would NEVER wear a fragrant collar. Or a collar in general. He's a bit of a nudist...

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The 2016 A-Z Challenge brought to you by The Letter "O"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

OAK
quercus robur
aka: English Oak
quercus alba
aka: Tanner's Oak

photo found at www.botanical.com

Oak trees are well known for their strong wood and used for centuries in ship building and barrel making. When Oak wood gets wet, it swells and creates a water tight seal. Medicinally it does similar action in the body, tightening the tissues.

Traditionally Oak bark has been used in tincture form to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and bleeding. It can also help to bring down swelling and is good to use to tighten gums around loose teeth.

Oak trees were held sacred by the ancient Greeks and Romans and venerated by the Druids. They symbolize strength and endurance and are considered great protectors and guardians of the virtuous. The classical world called the "The Trees of Life". Living in Savannah, I'm well acquainted with Live Oaks and I can certainly see why they have been venerated for their strength and beauty. Of course down here, they are also associated with many ghost stories. Then again, everything in Savannah is associated with ghost stories!

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.



Saturday, April 16, 2016

The 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE brought to you by The Letter "N"



Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

NIGHTSHADE
specifically atropa belladonna


photo found at www.botanical.com

Nightshade isn't a plant but a family of plants. The benign and more familiar of the family are tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes. For this post, however, I want to focus on one of the more infamous examples: Dead Nightshade or Belladonna.

Deadly Nightshade flourishes in the shade though it will grow in sunlight but it won't thrive. It has a beautiful flower and tempting, shiny berries but do beware: the plant is very, very poisonous. If taken accidentally, the poison may be prevented by swallowing a large glass of warm vinegar or mustard and water as soon as possible. Not sure what will happen after you've drunk either of these concoctions but I wouldn't leave home if I were you.

According to legend, the plant belongs to the devil and he goes about tending and trimming it at his leisure.

The poison in Belladonna is Atropine which, if misused, can certainly cause death. If it is used by a skillful herbalist or homeopathic doctor Atropine is effective in the treatment of eye diseases. This is one remedy I wouldn't recommend you distilling yourself, unless of course you have a fondness for purging via vinegar.

Sorry.

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE brought to you by The Letter "M"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

MANDRAKE
mandragora officinarum

photo found on PINTEREST

"Mandrake, or mandragora, is a powerful restorative," said Hermione, sounding as usual as though she had swallowed the textbook. "It is used to return people who have been transfigured or cursed to their original state." ~ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

(Because whenever I hear the word "mandrake" I think of that scene from the book and the movie :))

Mandrake comes from two Greek words that imply its hurtful nature. In the Middle East it is known as "Satan's Apple". The root looks more like a parsnip than an apple and if you squint a bit, it can resemble a small, squashed, wrinkly human.

(And now all I can think of is the scene from "Pan's Labyrinth":

photo found HERE

You're welcome.)

The harmless leaves are used in ointments. The root, however, is a very powerful purgative. Ancient cultures used it in cases of chronic pain, melancholy, and convulsions. It did give the patient relief from the pain and sleep but only after they went through a spell of delirium and madness. I guess to some, passing out from exhaustion due to psychosis may be preferable to chronic pain. I'll keep taking my turmeric for Fibromyalgia, thank YOU!

Anglo-Saxon herbals state that Mandrake had powers against demonic possession. It was believed to grow under the gallows where murderers were hanged. Mandrake is perhaps most famous for it's bizarre belief to let out a loud shriek  when dug out of the ground, killing the digger instantly. According to folklore, to harvest Mandrake, one could tie a dog's leash to the leaves of the plant and leave, letting the dog eventually leave the area, pulling the Mandrake out of the ground as it went.

Folklore does not tell us how the root was then claimed by the digger. Perhaps the Mandrake gets tired of screaming after a while and, if one is careful, one may pick it up and take it home without suffering a horrible death. Folklore also seems less that sympathetic towards the poor dog.

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.




Thursday, April 14, 2016

The 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE brought to you by The Letter "L"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

***

LARKSPUR
delphinium consolida
aka: lark's heel, lark's toe, lark's claw, knight's spur, staggerweed

photo from www.botanical.com

Larkspur's Latin name "delpinium' comes from "Delphi" the Latin for dolphin. It was given to the genus because the  buds are said to look a bit like the playful sea creature. The other part of the Latin name "consolida" refers to the plant's ability to consolidate wounds.

Larkspur makes a wonderful addition to bouquets but it is short lived as a cut flower. It is highly toxic to cows but sheep are unaffected by the poison. Some farmers will use sheep to clear larkspur from a field that is intended for cattle grazing. Even some people report having an adverse reaction to Larkspur though only contact dermatitis and not death.

Then again, if they reported it they couldn't very well be dead, could they? Sorry...

The seeds can be used in tincture form as an antiseptic wash to get rid of lice. It is rumored that when Ajax, the hero of the Trojan War, killed himself (for really stupid reasons I'll leave to Homer to tell you), Larkspur sprang up from his blood. Perhaps this connection with this ancient warrior caused soldiers to use the plant during WWI as a remedy for body lice. Bleck.

***

All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.