Herbology #101, starts, first Sunday, January 1st, 2016.
First Sunday, July 1st, 2015
SEEDS n’ PLANTS: Historical use included.
Aconite, [monkshood, wolfsbane] Striking bright flower spikes. Recognized as a poison since antiquity, especially to poison arrows. Contains aconite, a useful sedative for many conditions. Seeds: $5.95
Agrimony, Used to wash out wounds. Internally used for liver, kidney and bladder problems. Agrimony was one of the most famous vulnerable herbs. The Anglo-Saxons, who called it Garclive, taught that it would heal wounds, snake bites, warts, etc. In the time of Chaucer, when we find its name appearing in the form of Egrimoyne, it was used with Mugwort and vinegar for a “bad back” and all wounds. One of these old writers recommends it to be taken with a mixture of pounded frogs and human blood, as a remedy for all internal hemorrhages. Seeds: $7.99.
Aloe Vera, The famous healing plant. Fresh leaves can be split and gel applied to treat minor burns, sunburn, wrinkles, insect bites, minor cuts, scratches and skin irritations. The juice is also used internally for ulcers. Grow indoors in good light. Plant: $3.95 [in stock]
Andrographis, A main herb used to fight the common cold, flu, and upper respiratory infections. Clinical trials have shown this really works. Like Echinacea, it works by boosting the immune system. With its adaptogen-like properties, it has an anti-cancer activity, it is a bitter tonic, and it is an antioxidant that has been shown to protect the liver. Easy to grow. Seeds: $5.95
Angels Trumpet, Black Currant Swirl. Beautiful hallucinogenic plant use for divination, prophecy and sorcery. They are also used for eternally in the form of poultices or ointments for the treatments of aches, pain, arthritis, and rheumatism. All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. These plants are great in container on the porch. Seeds: $9.95 [in stock]
Belladonna: Source of atropine, valuable in treating eye diseases and spasms. External applications lessen local inflammation and pain. Do not use without medical supervision. Germination is difficult; usually slow and sporadic Stratification at 5°C/40°F for 4-12 weeks or gibberelic acid pre-treatment is reported to speed germination. Seeds, $7.95 [in stock] Plant: $15.95
Buckwheat, Well known as a grain, cover crop and beeplant; not so well known is its medicinal value. The infusion made from the flowering tops is high in rutin which combats arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries and veins). Seeds: $4.95
Burdock, Roots of this common wildplant are said to have “blood-purifying” properties. Useful for skin diseases, including eczema. Recent medical evidence supports folkloric use for tumors. One of four herbs in anti-cancer formula. Seed: $5.95
Chia: The Aztecs called chia the “running food” because messengers could run all day on just a handful of seeds. Seed: $3.25
Foxglove, purple, digitalis, important for its stimulating and regulating action on the heart. Seeds: $2.25 [in stock]
Henbane, A striking, odoriferous plant with a legendary reputation. Henbane has been used as an instrument of assassination and murder since antiquity, most famously in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet: “Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,/with juice of cursed henbane in a vial.” Gerard’s Herball or General History of Plantes (1633) says “the leaves, seed and juice taken inwardly cause an unquiet sleep like unto the sleep of drunkenness, which continue long, and is deadly to the party.” In fact the plant contains the tropane alkaloids hyoscyamine and scopolamine, which in low doses have a sedative effect, but in higher doses will cause mania, hallucination, euphoria, convulsion and death. Henbane’s uses are more benign today, giving us useful drugs for ophthalmology and the prevention of motion sickness. An annual plant that has naturalized in North America, it has broad, coarse leaves and grayish-yellow flowers heavily veined in black, with dark centers. Fascinating as a specimen plant or where grown for therapeutic use. Modern cases of poisoning are rare, and henbane’s reformed reputation has made it a respectable garden dweller at last, albeit with an unsavory past.
Loofah, Grow your own Loofah pad. (Loofah) Known as the ‘dishcloth gourd’ because the dried over-ripe fruits can be used to scrub dishes. Wonderful for bath and shower as it invigorates the skin without harsh abrasion. Used in Chinese cuisine as a vegetable and in medicine for rheumatic pains. Seeds: $5.95
Ma Huang Tea, Chinese ephedra; Cao ma huang) We are very pleased finally to be able to offer seeds of the true Ma huang from Inner Mongolia. Ma Huang is a powerful stimulant herb containing the alkaloid ephedrine, the main inspiration for today’s popular over-the-counter antihistamine drugs. Purified ephedrine is very potent, and a common North American practice of adding it to diet formulas is potentially dangerous because ephedrine can raise blood pressure if used over a long period, and can even cause cardiac arrhythmia. However, when used in its native, non-purified form, the dried herb is much safer and very popular in traditional Chinese medicine for dispersing conditions characterized by wind and cold, such as chills, fever, headache, cough and wheezing. Very hardy; prefers dry, well-drained location with full sun exposure. Ht. 30cm/12in. Seed: $5.95
Morning Glory, Heavenly Blue, Lovely fast growing vine with dark sky-blue flowers. Ideal for walls, trellises or tall fences. Used by the Aztecs as a hallucinogen in religious ceremonies. Seeds, $3.95 [in stock]
Morning Glory, White, Seeds, $2.95 [in stock]
Poppy, Opium, Source of opium and the narcotic alkaloids, morphine and codeine, used to control pain, coughs and diarrhea. The plant is far more important for its culinary uses. Its seeds, which do not contain alkaloids, are widely used on breads, cakes, bagels and in Middle Eastern delicacies. The seeds also yields a good quality oil used for salads, soap, ointments and paints. A beautiful cool season annual with a mixture of single and double flowers in a riot of colors from pink to purple to blood red.. Seeds: $3.99
Reishi Mushroom, A Oriental mushroom of immortality. Obesity, (Ling-xhi) The legendary Oriental mushroom of immortality, a single stalk of which could bring even a dead man back to life! It is still in great use as a tonic and for the treatment of obesity, angina pectoris, bronchitis, hepatitis and insomnia. Scientific evidence is building that suggests that reishi has hypertensive, anti-tumor, hypoglycemic and stimulatory activity. We ship blocks of colonized sawdust which will yield beautiful, orange-red mushrooms in 3-4 months. Instructions included. SPECIAL ORDER. $124
Saffron Bulbs: Sept–Oct Shipping, $19.95/5
Sage, Salvia, Divinorum, Sacred sage of Mexico’s Mazatlan Indians. Chewing fresh leaves would induce divinatory visions. Psychotropic effects. Prefers humid, shaded conditions and humas-rich, moist soil. Rangy plant, reaching 7ft. unless pruned. Plant: $51.95 4″-6″
Soapwort, Excellent shampoos, skin rinses and washes for delicate fabrics are made by steeping roots in water. Lathers like soap when agitated. Skin rinse helps to relieve itchiness. Seeds: $2.95
Tobacco Wild. (Aztec Tobacco) The wild tobacco used by North American Indians for thousands of years and still in use in native ceremonies. It is grown for smoking in some parts of Asia. More potent than cultivated tobaccos, with more nicotine, it is a source of nicotine sulfate, an insecticide for the control of aphids, whiteflies and mites. It is an annual growing to 1.5 meters (5 ft.) tall, flowering from July to September. Seeds: $2.95
Tea Tree, Anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti viral, antiseptic., Seeds: $6.95
Wolfsbane, Historically used as a poison on arrows. A useful sedative. Wolfsbane apparently can be used to reverse shape-shifting spells and has a folk tradition of protecting homes against werewolves. There was also the belief that witches dipped flints in the juice of wolfsbane (a very dangerous endeavor in itself) and then threw them at an enemy; such flints were called elf-bolts. One scratch was enough to kill, and that is not folklore. Seeds: $5.95
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