Catnip: For People and Cats

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Posted by admin | Posted in catnip | Posted on 24-05-2010

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One of my most useful plants, and one I have to keep in a sealed container in a locked room is catnip (Nepeta cataria). And I don’t care how well I hide it, my “children” seem to find it if I’m in a hurry and don’t put it carefully away. It’s a member of the Labiatae family and answers to a variety of names….catmint, cat’s wort, catnep, catrup, catwort, English catnip, field balm, nep, nip; nepeta cataire, Nept, Cataria, Calaminta, and Nebada.

It is an erect perennial which produces small whitish or pinkish, purple- or red-dotted flowers. The plant is strongly scented with a mintlike odor, rather like pennyroyal. It is native from the eastern Mediterranean region to the western Himalayas, central Asia, southern Siberia and China. It has been introduced in Japan, North America, South Africa and Java. Catnip is grown for extraction of its oil. The lemon oil from catnip is used in perfumes, candies and pharmaceuticals. Nepetalactone is employed to prepare feline attractants, sometimes used on toys for cats. This is similar to the hormone released by felines in heat. It’s cultivated as a medicinal plant, bee pasturage and for use as a condiment.

Catnip is a hardy plant that will grow well almost everywhere from the poorest dry garden soil to rich, deep-shaded woods. It enjoys full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Soil pH can range between 5 and .5. The plants will become more fragrant when grown in a sandy soil in full sun than in a heavy loam under shade. Frequent shallow cultivation encourages vigorous growth. A field of catnip usually produces for about three years. The flowering tops are the most desirable part of the plant. The plant is easily propagated by seeds, which remain viable for 4 or 5 years and may germinate erratically. They should be sown at a depth of an inch or less, with seedling emergence usually in 8-12 days. Once in place it self-sows. Transplants can also be used as well as root division and stem tip or softwood cuttings. The plants need little attention, except weeding. Pinching the plant at the appearance of the first flower buds produces a bushy plant with superior leaf production. Gather just as it is beginning to bloom, generally in mid-summer. Collect the lower leaves for minimum impact or clip stems. If you choose to gather the stems and upper plant, cut the stem six inches or more above the ground to protect the roots. Dry the herb as soon as possible in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area on a non-metallic screen or cheesecloth. Keep away from sunlight and toss the herb frequently while drying to expedite the process and avoid mold.

The generic name Nepeta is said to have been derived from the town Nepete in Italy where catnip was once cultivated. Catnip was cultivated for cats by the classical Greeks and Romans. Since the Old Kingdom in Egypt (2700-2300BC), catnip has been a symbol of fertility; it was dedicated to the goddesses Bast and Sekhmet, the cat and the lioness. Catnip was believed to help women transform themselves into cats at night. By 1265 it was a familiar herb of kitchen gardens in England. During the early medieval period the leaves and young shoots are known to have been used as a seasoning in the kitchen. In 15th century England, catnip leaves were used for rubbing meats before cooking, and also sprinkled in mixed green salads. Before modern Chinese tea became widely available, catnip tea was frequently consumed in England. In the belief that catnip roots made even the kindest person mean, early American hangmen consumed catnip roots before executions to harden themselves for their work. Catnip growing near houses has long had a reputation for repelling rats, no doubt because it attracts cats.

It has some history as a charm to cure barrenness and may yet be used to bring fertility either to one’s magick or to one’s womb. Catnip is also corresponded with all four Nine cards in tarot’s minor arcane. A mixture of catnip with dragon’s blood is used as an incense to be used to rid one’s self of a behavioral problem or other bad habits. To eliminate a serious defect or stop an alienating addiction, burn dried catnip and bloodroot. Write on a piece of paper the condition you want to get rid of and throw the paper into the fire. At the same time, invoke the name of a protective spirit. If you are seeking a new love, soak catnip in good whiskey overnight, ideally in the light of the Full Moon. Strain it out and sprinkle the liquid on your doorstep for 21 days in the shape of a new crescent moon. As a spell for warriors (in battle or in business), chew on the fresh herb for courage, daring, fierceness and protection

The effect the herb produces on cats includes sniffing, licking and chewing with head shaking, chin and cheek rubbing and body rubbing. Other members of the cat family experience this catnip response which lasts for 15 minutes to an hour. This response has been found to be inherited as an autosomal dominant gene. About one-third of domestic cats do not enjoy the pleasurable effects of catnip. The effects are not achieved by chewing the plant, rather they are induced by smelling the herb, and the plant must be crushed, bruised or broken to release the chemicals responsible for the effect.
This is an excellent herb to consider for a high-strung animal with a nervous stomach, especially if episodes of vomiting are precipitated by stressful events. Administer 12-20 drops of a glycerin-based catnip tincture for every 20 lbs of an animal’s body weight, 10-20 minutes prior to being subjected to stressful circumstances. For travel or other prolonged periods of stress, the tincture can be added to the animal’s drinking water—12 drops per 8 oz of water is a good starting dosage.

Researchers found that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET — the compound used in most commercial insect repellents. The study showed that nepetalactone is about 10 times more effective than DEET because it takes about one-tenth as much nepetalactone as DEET to have the same effect. Most commercial insect repellents contain about 5 percent to 25 percent DEET. Presumably, much less catnip oil would be needed in a formulation to have the same level of repellency as a DEET-based repellent. A previous study found that catnip also repels cockroaches.

Tomorrow we’ll cover its medicinal and culinary uses.

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Holy Basil—Good to Cook With Too!

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Posted by admin | Posted in Holy Basil | Posted on 22-05-2010

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Holy basil is used to make refreshing herbal drinks. Experiment with it in soups, fish dishes and desserts. Dried basil leaves should ideally be boiled or steamed because frying destroys the delicate fragrance. The leaves are occasionally added as a seasoning to fruit dishes and sweet yeast breads. The fresh leaves are added to salads to produce a sweet anise-like flavor. The fresh or dried leaves and even the flower tops add tremendous taste to meats, especially chicken and holy basil blends well with hot, spicy foods, giving a cooling effect. Thais use this herb in fish, chicken and beef curries. It can be used in herb vinegar, stir-fries, chicken salad and in Szechuan sauce used with grilled chicken or fish. The mucilaginous seeds are sometimes consumed as are those of sweet basil.

Recipes:

Tulsi Kadha (Hot Basil Tea)
2 cardamom
2 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 ½ cups water
2 tsp holy basil leaves, dried
honey to taste
Remove the cardamom seeds from their husks, then roughly crush with the cloves. In a heavy-bottomed pan, dry-roast the cloves, cardamom, cumin and fennel. As soon as they start smoking, add the water and then the holy basil. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Sweeten to taste with honey. Serve hot. (The Indian Spice Kitchen)

Tulsi Ka Sherbet (Iced Basil Tea)
2 Tbsp tea leaves
2½ cups water
2 tsp dried, holy basil leaves
sugar to taste
2 tsp lemon juice
crushed ice
4 lemon slices to garnish
Make the tea by adding the tea leaves to boiling water Drop in the holy basil and remove from the heat. Allow to cool, then strain. Mix the tea infusion, sugar and lemon juice. Serve in tall glasses over lots of crushed ice. Garnish with lemon slices and a fresh holy basil leaf if available. (The Indian Spice Kitchen)

Thai Beef with Basil
Preparation time: 20 minutes (the rice)
Peanut oil for cooking
1 Clove Garlic chopped
½ lb Beef sliced thin
1 medium shallot sliced thin
¼ cup mushroom (fresh or rehydrated)
1 Dried chili chopped
1 Tbsp fish sauce
½ Tsp palm sugar
2 Tbsp Holy Basil chopped
Holy Basil leaves for garnish
Heat peanut oil to just under smoking – stir fry garlic and beef for 2 minutes. Combine shallot, mushroom, chili, fish sauce, sugar and basil and add to wok. Stir fry briskly for 2 minutes. Serve over rice with basil leaf garnish.

Pad Gaprao Neua / Gai / Muu
Beef / Chicken / Pork with Holy Basil
500 g minced chicken, beef or pork
2 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped red chilli
1 tablespoon chopped green chilli
1 teaspoon green peppercorns
2 tablespoons palm sugar
¼ cup fish sauce
1 cup coarsely chopped holy basil leaves
The meat should not be too finely minced or it is difficult to cook without it sticking together.   The garlic, shallots, red chili and peppercorns are pounded together with a mortar and pestle.  Briefly stir-fry this paste to bring out the flavor and aroma. Add the sugar and stir-fry to melt, then the meat. Stir-fry until the meat is cooked through. Add the fish sauce, green chili and basil and cook until the basil wilts. The result should be a fairly dry loose mixture.  Serves 4

Clams Stir-Fried with Roasted Chili Paste and Fresh Basil
½ cup small dried red chilies
½ cup unpeeled shallots, halved lengthwise
¼ cup unpeeled garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
2 lbs. small clams, well scrubbed
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nampla)
1 cup holy basil leaves
1/3 cup sweet red pepper slices
To make the chili paste, place the chilies in a wok over low heat and dry-fry them until they darken, about five minutes. Transfer to a plate. Place the shallots and garlic in the wok over medium heat and dry-fry until soft and blistered, about 5 minutes. Trim the shallots and garlic, discarding the peels and root ends and place in a mortar (or food processor fitted with a metal blade). Stem the chilies and discard most of the seeds. Cut into small pieces and add to the mortar (or food processor). Pound (or pulse) the mixture until you have a smooth paste.
To make the clams, heat a wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add the 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and fry until golden, about 39 seconds. Add the clams and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of the chili paste. Cook until the clams open and the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. When most of the clams have opened, add the basil and stir-fry for a few seconds. (Discard any clams that do not open; it means they are unfit to eat). Transfer to a platter and garnish with the red pepper.  Serves four.  Warning: This dish is very hot

Holy Basil Chicken
3 Tbsp peanut oil
2 large cloves garlic
2 chicken breasts, shredded into bit size pieces
2 Tbsp soy sauce
½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2-3 Tbsp dried holy basil leaves
Heat oil. Add garlic and when garlic turns golden brown, add chicken; brown quickly. Add mushrooms to chicken; cook a few minutes longer. Add soy sauce to taste. Put in holy basil leaves, lower heat and cover. All to cook 5 minutes more and serve with rice (Sage Advice)

References:
Culinary Herbs (NRC) , Ernest Small, NRC Research Press, 1997; ISBN: 0-660-16668-2
Indian Spice Kitchen: Essential Ingredients and Over 200 Authentic Recipes, Monisha Bharadwaj, Dutton, 1997; ISBN: 0-525-94343-9
The Roots of Healing: A Woman’s Book of Herbs, Deb Soule, Citadel Press, 1996; ISBN: 0-8065-1578-3
Sage Advice, Herb Society of Southwestern Virginia, 1991

Resources:
Companion Plants, www.companionplants.com plants
Crimson Sage, http://www.crimson-sage.com Plants

HERBALPEDIA™ is brought to you by The Herb Growing & Marketing Network, PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575-0245; 717-393-3295; FAX: 717-393-9261; email: herbworld@aol.com URL: http://www.herbalpedia.com Editor: Maureen Rogers. Copyright 2006. All rights reserved. Material herein is derived from journals, textbooks, etc. THGMN cannot be held responsible for the validity of the information contained in any reference noted herein, for the misuse of information or any adverse effects by use of any stated material presented.

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Holy Basil—Medicinal Uses

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Posted by admin | Posted in Holy Basil | Posted on 20-05-2010

The Ayurvedic Energetics are:
Rasa: pungent, bitter; Veerya: heating; Vipaka: pungent; Guna: light, sharp, dry. And the Doshas: VK -; P+

The Pharmacological Action: demulcent, expectorant, anticatarrhal, antispasmodic, anthelminthic

The Constituents: The leaves contain an essential oil which contains eugenol, eugenal carvacrol, methyl chavicol, limatol and caryophylline. The presence of flavones apigenin and luteolin, the flavone-7-O-glycoside, luteolin-7-O-glucuronide, the flavone C-glucosides orientin and molludistin and ursolic acid have been reported. Furthermore, gallic acid, gallic acid methyl ester, gallic acid ethyl ester, protocatechuic acid, vanillic acid, 4-hydroxy benzoic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, 4-hydroxy benzaldehyde, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid were also reported. Many phenyl propane glucosides have been reported viz. 4-ally-1-O-b-D-glucopyranosyl-2-hydroxybenzene (1) and 4-allyl-1-O-b-D-glucopyranosyl-2-methoxybenzene (2) (eugenyl-b-D-glucoside).

Uses: An infusion of the leaves is a quick remedy for bronchitis and colds and an infusion of the seeds is an excellent diuretic. A decoction of the roots is thought to relieve malarial fever. Leaves are diaphoretic, antiperiodic, bronchitis, gastric & hepatic disorders etc. A tea prepared with the leaves of O. sanctum is commonly used in cough, cold, mild, indigestion, diminished appetite and malaise. Anthelmintic, deodorant, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, blood purifier, useful in skin diseases, antipyretic particularly in malarial fevers. Externally applied on chronic non healing ulcers, inflammation, skin disorders, useful in nausea, pain in abdomen, worms, allergic rhinitis, all types of cough, respiratory disorders. It acts as a powerful mosquito repellent.
Holy basil treats diabetes, normalizing both blood sugar and blood fats, including cholesterol and triglycerides. A significant placebo-controlled, crossover study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics showed a 17.6% reduction in blood sugar and led scientists to conclude that holy basil was of value in mild to moderate diabetes. Try a dose of 1 teaspoon of dry herbs, brewed into 1 cup of water, in a dose of 3 cups daily.

APPLICATIONS:
Postpartum tonic: 1 part blessed thistle, 2 parts vitex berries, 1 part dong quai root, 2 parts false unicorn root, 1 part St. Johns Wort, 1 part holy basil

As a tincture, take 25-50 drops, three to four times a day for two to four weeks. As a tea, simmer 3-6 tablespoons of the roots and berries, covered in 1 quart of water. Take off the heat, add in 2-3 tablespoons of the leaves and flowers, and steep, covered, another five to fifteen minutes

Active principle : Ursolic acid

Traditional Uses: The leaf infusion or fresh leaf juice is commonly used in cough, mild upper respiratory infections, bronchospasm, stress-related skin disorders and indigestion. It is combined with ginger and maricha (black pepper) in bronchial asthma. It is given with honey in bronchitis and cough. The leaf juice is taken internally and also applied directly on cutaneous lesions in ringworm. The essential oil has been used in ear infections. The seeds are considered a general nutritious tonic.

Indications: bronchospasm, cough, indigestion, catarrh

Formulations and Dosage: fresh leaf juice : 15-20 ml with honey tid; leaf infusion : 2-3 oz tid
For renal calculi: 50 ml. of juice of Raihan(Ocimum sanctum,Linn) mixed with 5 ml. of honey taken regularly for 3 months helps in dissolving the stone and cleaning the passage.

Since the ages elders have always worshipped the Tulsi plant. Special containers are made to keep this holy plant. On a certain day after Diwali people perform Tulsi Pooja. According to Ayurveda, plants have been found to have several medicinal properties. This leaves, seeds and roots of the Tulsi plants are used a variety of disease. The juice of Tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever. Extract of tulsi leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water. In children, it is every effective in bringing down the temperature. It is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu. For earache a few drops of tulsi extract, if instilled, relieves the symptoms promptly. The extracts are also helpful in digestive disorders. The juice of fresh leaves, flower tops and slender roots is a very god antidote for snake and scorpion bite. Its oil is rich in vitamin C, carotene, calcium and phosphorus. Besides, it has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Ayurvedic tulsi preparations have significantly reduced the symptoms of viral hepatitis. In diabetics it helps in lowering the blood sugar level. Its anti-spasmodic property can be utilized to relieve abdominal colics. In olden days tulsi leaves were used to treat tuberculosis (TB). It has an action similar to the currently available anti-TB drugs like Streptomycin and Isoniazide. However, tulsi leaves alone are not adequate but should be used as supplement to these drugs. Oil of tulsi has been used as a potent anti-malarial drug. It also has mosquito repellent properties. It raises the human body immunity by increasing the antibody production. Experimental studies on animals have shown anti-stress activity with tulsi extract. Tulsi has anti-fertility effect by reducing the estrogen hormone levels in females and decreasing the sperm count in men. It is also used to treat ringworm of the skin.

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Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

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Posted by admin | Posted in Holy Basil | Posted on 19-05-2010

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Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is of the Labiateae family.  The leaves range from dark green to almost purple and have uneven edges.  They are small and very ornamental.  The whole plant has a green, woodland perfume and the leaves taste peppery, almost like a cross between ginger and mint.  The branched, erect plant grows up to 2 ½ feet high and has small, fragrant leaves.  It bears spikes of tiny purple or scarlet flowers.  It develops into a subshrub (the base becomes woody).

There appears to be some confusion about the status of certain forms of Ocimum called “holy basil.”  One form of basil has purple leaves and stems and this variety has brown seeds without mucilage while the all-green form has black seeds with a little mucilage.  According to Richters much of what is sold as ‘sacred’ basil is actually spice basil.  Holly Shimizu, of the US Botanic Garden, notes that in India spice basil has been accepted as a holy basil.

All basil grows well in light, well-drained, fertile soils.  The best substrate is a sandy loam enriched with well-rotted manure.  The plants have a relatively high nitrogen and water requirement but does poorly if the roots are in water-logged soil.  A pH tolerance range of 4.3-8.4 but it’s recommended at 5.5-6.5. It is susceptible to frost and cold temperatures so should be seeded or transplanted into the field in late spring after danger of frost has passed.  It can be cultivated as a perennial by continually removing the flowers and harvesting frequently.  It requires full sunlight.  Holy basil can be reproduced from seeds or by division. The best way of preserving it is to dry the leaves and seeds by wiping them gently and then spreading them thinly on a plate to dry in a warm, shady place.  The leaves are delicate so do not crush them or leave them to dry in the sun or they will turn black.  Store the dried leaves in a clean dry jar.  Any trace of water will produce a fine, cottony fungus on the herb.  Dried holy Basil is too fragile to sustain long period in the cupboard, so use up within 2-3 months.

Holy basil has been grown for nearly 3000 years in Indian gardens, courtyards and temples.  It is the most celebrated of the bails in history and legend and the most sacred plant in Hinduism.  It is the important holy “Tulsi” or “Tulasi”, considered to be a reincarnation of the wife of Vishnu, and a symbol of fidelity or pure divine love.  The plant is dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna and is therefore planted in sacred places.  When the British colonized India, they allowed Hindus to swear in court on holy basil, because they had nothing equivalent to the Bible. In Curacao, leaves of holy basil strewn on the bed or stuffed behind the ears are thought to induce a good night’s sleep.  Holy basil is a symbol of love and fidelity and is woven through many daily rituals.  Touching and contemplation of the plant are said to free an individual from sin.  Washing the dead with basil water is believed to assure their entrance to heaven.

The tulsi plant is venerated by all householders as a symbol of their love for Vishnu or Krishna. There are 3 myths that explain the love Hindus have for this ordinary, wild-growing plant. The Padma Purana says that Tulsi was a gift the Gods received from the mythical churning of the cosmic ocean. Another legend says that Tulsi was a tribal woman in love with Vishnu. The third legend concerns the marriage of Tulsi with Krishna, which is celebrated during the Tulsivivaha festival. The tulsi plant is a repository of devotion and love. Its leaves decorate any gift given in generosity. It is the abode of all deities. The parents of a bride give away their daughter in marriage together with a tulsi leaf, sometimes made of gold It also has great medicinal qualities and is said to purify the atmosphere around the home.

Next post will discuss its amazing medicinal aspects.

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Agrimony—Medicinal Uses

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agrimony | Posted on 16-05-2010

Agrimony has long been used since Saxon times to heal wounds because it staunches bleeding and encourages clot formation. In the 15th century, it was the prime ingredient of “arquebusade water,” a battlefield remedy for gunshot wounds. In France, the eau de arquebusade is still applied for sprains and bruises. A cooling astringent and mildly bitter, the aerial parts can be used for “hot” conditions like diarrhea, bronchitis and a gentle tonic for the digestion as a whole.

Combined with other herbs such as corn silk, it is a valuable remedy for cystitis and urinary incontinence, and has also been used for kidney stones, sore throats, rheumatism, and arthritis. It can be used as a suppository combining the extract with cocoa butter and inserting into the rectum for hemorrhoids, tapeworms and diarrhea. The healing power is attributed to the herb’s high silica content. Agrimony is indicated for chronic cholecystopathies with gastric sub-acidity. Real success will be achieved only if the plant is used consistently for some time.

An infusion of the dried flowers and leaves makes a good gargle or mouthwash, helps clear the blood, freshens the breath, soothes sore gums and, as a footbath, has proved to be a cure for athlete’s foot. An infusion of the leaves alone can also be used to treat bruising. Agrimony is excellent as part of a long-term treatment for diabetes, for it lowers sugar levels and quenches thirst. It also helps hepatitis by intensively detoxifying the liver. It slows peristalsis and repairs the mucous membranes of those suffering from colic.

European herbalists suggest a few cups of agrimony tea daily to heal peptic ulcers and colitis, to gently control diarrhea, to tone the digestive tract lining, and to improve food assimilation. One glycoside it contains has been shown to reduce excessive bile production in the gallbladder. It’s best used with boiling water as a solvent.

An infusion is a gentle remedy, ideal for diarrhea, especially in infants and children.  It can be taken by breastfeeding mothers to dose babies.

A tincture is more potent and drying than the infusion, and effective if the condition involves excess phlegm or mucus. Use for cystitis, urinary infections, bronchitis and heavy menstrual bleeding.

Apply a poultice of the leaves for migraines.

Use the infusion as a wash for wounds, sores, eczema, and varicose ulcers.

Use a weak infusion (10 g herb to 500 ml water)as an eyewash for conjunctivitis.

Use the infusion as a gargle for sore throats and nasal mucus.

Some herbal remedies include:
For incontinence: 2 parts horsetail, 1 part agrimony, 1 part sweet sumach. Drink this tea three times a day

Parsley Cough Treatment: Pour 2 ½ cups of boiling water over 2 Tbsp of dried agrimony flowers or leaves and 1 Tbsp dried parsley. Cover and steep until the mixture is cool. Strain. Use as a gargle to soothe sore throats. To stop persistent coughs, take 2-3 Tbsp of the infusion morning and evening.

Bath for tension headaches: Put 1 oz each of mugwort, valerian, chamomile and agrimony to 1 pint of boiling water. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and add to bath water. Very good for aching muscles.

Antacid Wine: 3 cups red wine, 1 cup fresh agrimony leaves, ½ cup alfalfa leaves, ¼ cup oak bark. Macerate the crushed plants I the wine for 1 month. Strain. Drink 2 Tbsp 3 times daily to eliminate stomach hyperacidity.

Diarrhea Tea
3 Tbsp agrimony leaves
2 Tbsp self-heal
4 cups water
Combine the herbs in a pan; cover with the water; bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes; cool and strain. Drink as needed, up to one cup a day

Gout Tea
4 tsp agrimony leaves
2 Tbsp queen of the meadow root
2 cups boiling water
Combine the herbs in a glass container and cover with the boiling water; steep for 30 minutes; cool and strain. Take half a cup, up to four times daily

Catarrh Tea
2 tsp agrimony leaves
1 tsp wild bergamot leaves
1 cup boiling water
Combine the herbs and cover with the boiling water; steep 30 minutes, cool and strain. Take up to two cups per day.

Sting-Healing Ointment
1 lb petroleum jelly
4 tsp dried agrimony leaves
4 tsp dried marigold leaves
Melt petroleum jelly in a double boiler. Stir in the herbs and heat for 2 hours until the herbs begin to get crispy. Strain by pouring through cheesecloth. Squeeze the cloth to release all the liquid. While warm, pour the ointment into clean glass containers. Use as needed.

Dosage: Unless otherwise specified 3 go of herb or equivalent preparation is the average daily dose for internal application.
EAU DE ARQUEBUSADE (antiseptic wash)—½ oz each dried tops of agrimony, calamint, fennel, hyssop, lemon balm, marjoram, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme, wormwood, a few fresh leaves of angelica and basil, plus fresh lavender flowers. Chop plants and combine with 1 quart 190 proof grain alcohol. Let stand for 14 days, then strain.

Another way to use agrimony is as a Flower Essence.  For anxiety hidden by a mask of cheerfulness; denial and avoidance of emotional pain, addictive behavior to anesthetize feelings. The Agrimony person needs to find peace as an inner soul reality, rather than an outer state of behavior which others validate. It is their lesson that true inner peace comes fro honestly acknowledging pain and transforming it, rather than masking it with a superficial veneer of good cheer or polite tolerance.

No known contraindications or toxicity.

Culinary Recipes:
Agrimony Ale

Take equal amounts of dried dandelion, meadowsweet herb, and agrimony herb. For every ounce of herbs add a gallon of water. Boil for 20 minutes, then strain and add 1 pounds sugar per gallon to the liquid. Pour it into a cask or tub (or their equivalent) and float a small piece of toast spread on both sides with 1 cup brewer’s yeast. Cover with a cloth or towel and leave to stand in a warm place for 12 hours before drawing off the liquid and bottling. (Mastering Herbalism)

Antacid Wine
3 cups red wine
1 cup fresh agrimony leaves
½ cup alfalfa leaves
¼ cup oak bark
Macerate the crushed plants in the wine for 1 month. Strain. Drink 2 Tbsp 3 times daily to eliminate stomach hyperacidity. (Wild Medicinal Plants)

References:
Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica, Third Edition, Dan Bensky & Andrew Gamble, Eastland Press, 1993; ISBN: 0-939616-15-7
Compendium of Herbal Magick , Paul Beyerl, Phoenix Publishing, 1998; ISBN: 0-919345-45-X
The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal : A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies, David Hoffmann, Element, 1996; ISBN: 1-85230-758-7

Encyclopedia of Medicinal PlantsAndrew Chevallier, Dorling Kindersley, 1997; ISBN: 0-7894-1067-2

Flower Essence Repertory: A Comprehensive Guide to North American and English Flower Essences for Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being, Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz, Flower Essence Society, 1996; ISBN: 0-9631306-1-7
Herbal Medicine , Rudolf Fritz Weiss, Beaconsfield Arcanum, 1988; ISBN: 0-906584-19-1
Illustrated Herb Encyclopedia: A Complete Culinary, Cosmetic, Medicinal, and Ornamental Guide to Herbs , Kathi Keville, Mallard, 1991, ISBN: 0-7924-5307-7b
Jude’s Herbal Home Remedies, Jude C. Williams, Llewellyn, 1992; ISBN: 0-87542-869-X
Mastering Herbalism: A Practical Guide, Paul Huson, Stein and Day, 1975; ISBN: 0-8128-1847-4

Medicine Grove: A Shamanic Herbal , Loren Cruden, Destiny Books, 1997; ISBN: 0-89281-647-3

Secrets of Native American Herbal Remedies, Anthony J Cichoke, Avery Books, 2001; ISBN: 1-58333-100-X

Wild Medicinal Plants , Anny Schneider, Stackpole Books, 1999; ISBN: 0-8117-2987-7

Resources:
Companion Plants, www.companionplants.com plants, seeds
Crimson Sage http://www.crimson-sage.com Plants
Richters, www.richters.com seeds, dried herb

HERBALPEDIA™ is brought to you by The Herb Growing & Marketing Network, PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575-0245; 717-393-3295; FAX: 717-393-9261; email: herbworld@aol.com URL: http://www.herbalpedia.com Editor: Maureen Rogers. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. Material herein is derived from journals, textbooks, etc. THGMN cannot be held responsible for the validity of the information contained in any reference noted herein, for the misuse of information or any adverse effects by use of any stated material presented.

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Getting started with Agrimony

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Posted by admin | Posted in Agrimony | Posted on 14-05-2010

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We’ll start with agrimony.  Each week I’ll add another herb. The goal is to get you to try some of these plants for yourself.

I’ll cover a wide variety of botanicals. And leave for a time much further on plants that are difficult to use or should be used by an herbal professional.

If there is something you’d really like to know about, ask away and I’ll try to address your questions. For questions of a personal nature, I suggest the section on HerbNet.com called Ask the Herbalist. That’s geared to help with specific questions about using herbs in your daily life.

Now Agrimony or Agrimonia eupatoria is a perennial member of the Rosaceae family and is found in marshes, wet meadows, and in open areas. It is hardy to Zone 3.

It germinates in 14-24 days with a spacing of 12 inches and a soil temperature of 70F to 85F.   It likes the soil to be average, well drained, and fairly dry in full sun. Plant the seed or divide in the spring or transplant root division in the autumn. The leaves for drying should be picked before the flowers have bloomed. The flowers picked well before the seed heads have formed. in summer. Dry in the shade and not above 104F.

Agrimony contains tannins, bitter glycosides, nicotinic acid amide, silica, coumarins, flavonoids (luteolin, apigenin, quercin), xanthophyllite, phytosterine, minerals (iron, calcium, silicon), vitamins A, B, C, P and K, volatile oil, carbohydrates, and polysaccharides

Its character is cool, drying, bitter, with an astringent taste

It works on the lung and liver spleen energies.

It has properties of being an astringent, diuretic, tissue healer, stops bleeding, stimulates bile flow, some anti-viral activity reported.

The species name Eupatoria has regal associations getting its name from Mithridates Eupator, King of Pontus in northern Turkey who was said to have had a profound knowledge of plant lore. The tall flowering stalks have given this herb the nickname “church steeples.”

It was also christened Philanthropos, or “beneficial,” possibly in tribute to its medicinal virtues. The early Greeks named it after argemon meaning “a speck in the eye” because of its beneficial use as a wash for eyes and wounds. 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 ‘alle woundes’: and 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.

For internal bleeding, a curious mixture consisting of the fresh plant pounded up with human blood and the flesh of frogs was recommended. The plant’s association with ritual magic is also evident from the old belief that a person who slept with agrimony under the pillow would not wake up until the herb was removed. In fifteenth-century France, agrimony was an important ingredient of a healing water known as arquebusade that was used to teat the wounds of those hit with an arquebus or old-fashioned hand gun.

In rituals, it has the element of Air and is ruled by Jupiter. Its gender is Masculine. It’s magickal powers are those of protection and sleep. Its magical propereties can be use in sachets and in spells for protection, and to banish negative energy. It also can be used to reverse spells sent against the magician. Put a sprig of agrimony under your pillow to help you sleep.

Agrimony was once used to detect the presence of witches. Agrimony enjoys a reputation for enhancing magickal healing. It can be used either as a wash or an oil to increase the effectiveness of all forms of ritual healing, psychic healing, or any method of healing which employs energy at a distance. The extracted oil of agrimony is a fine choice for anointing one’s hands prior to cleansing the aura of another.

For spiritual properties, Agrimony’s medicine is movement toward deeper integrity of consciousness. This is demonstrated in its use as a liver herb—the liver being associated with clarifying vision—and its quality of drawing together.

All parts of the plant are used for dyes. Fresh leaves and stems with a chrome mordant on wool gives gold; with alum on wool/cotton it gives a brassy yellow; with tin on wool, orange; with iron on wool,dark green and the whole plant with alum on wool or silk gives yellow. A odorata is also used. Put leaves and stalks in cold water and heat slowly. Simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Strain off the plant material and cool the liquid. Put in the clean, wetted material and return bath to simmer for about 1 hour. Rinse the cloth material twice and dry.

To dye, the best yellows will be obtained from late fall harvested plants; gathered earlier they will yield a yellowish-buff color. Use fresh leaves and stems. Alum gives a brasy yellow to wool and cotton and Chrome is for gold on wool.

Next we’ll be covering agrimony’s medicinal uses along with places you can get plants or dried herb.

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