Posted by admin | Posted in Lemongrass | Posted on 24-09-2010

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Lemongrass is so much more than just something used to flavor tea. Cymbopogon citrates is of the Poaceae family. It is tall grass growing in dense clumps with a height of 4 feet and a width up to 2 feet. There are seldom flowers. It is strongly lemon-scented when broken with a hint of rose fragrance.

Cultivation: A tender perennial, to Zone 10. When growing space 1 foot apart. Soil temperature is best at 70F to 75F. The soil should be well drained, dry, even poor. Excessive watering lowers the oil content. The pH is best at 4.3 to 8.4. Full sun is preferred.. Propagate from root divisions of clumps. Often the fresh lemon grass sold in some produce markets for Indonesian cooking has roots attached and can be grown. In cold climates, the roots can be dug up and brought in to overwinter.

Constituents: essential oil includes citral (65-85%), dipentene, methylheptenone, linalol, geraniol, geraniol, linalool, geranyl acetate, farnesol, nerol, citronellol, myrcene (12-25%)

History: Reports that lemon grass was being distilled for export as early as the 17th century in the Philippines. The first samples of the closely related citronella oil were displayed at the World’s Fair at London’s Crystal Palace in 1951. It is a favorite oil in India for hundreds of years and known locally as ‘choomana poolu’ which refers to the plant’s red grass stems.

Medicinal Uses: In East India and Sri Lanka, where it is called “fever tea,” lemon grass leaves are combined with other herbs to treat fevers, irregular menstruation, diarrhea, and stomachaches. Lemon grass is one of the most popular herbs in Brazil and the Caribbean for nervous and digestive problems.

The Chinese use lemon grass in a similar fashion, to treat headaches, stomachaches, colds, and rheumatic pains. The essential oil is used straight in India to treat ringworm or in a paste with buttermilk to rub on ringworm and bruises. Studies show it does destroy many types of bacteria and fungi and is a deodorant. It may reduce blood pressure – a traditional Cuban use of the herb – and it contains five different constituents that inhibit blood coagulation.

Traditional Uses: Take as a tea for fevers, coughs, colds, and as a pleasant tonic or beverage. Promotes perspiration and excretion of phlegm, and eases stomach cramps. Especially useful for children and infants. For adult fevers, boil 1 mashed root and 10 leaves in 3e cups of water for 10 minutes; drink very hot; go to bed and wrap up warmly. For childhood fevers, boil 10 leaves in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes; give child ½ cup 6 times daily and keep child warm. Soak mashed root in oil and rub on backache, muscle spasms and over forehead to relieve headaches.

Headache Pillow
1 cup dried lemongrass; 1/2 cup dried lavender; 1/4 cup dried marjoram; 1 tsp crushed cloves. Combine all the ingredients, put into a small muslin bag, and slip between the pillow and the pillowcase.

Safe Delivery Tonic
2 Tbsp lotus seeds; 2 Tbsp skullcap leaves and flowers; 1 Tbsp rose petals; 1 Tbsp lemongrass
Simmer lotus seeds in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add skullcap leaves and flowers, rose petals, and lemon grass. Steep for 10 minutes, covered. Strain and drink half a cup daily or as needed.

Nausea and Morning Sickness Tonic
1 Tbsp lemongrass
1/4 inch fresh or 1/8 tsp powdered ginger root
1 tsp chamomile flowers
Steep the above herbs for 15 minutes in 2 cups of boiled water. Strain and sip half a cup daily.

EXTRACTION: essential oil by steam distillation from the fresh and partially dried leaves, finely chopped
CHARACTERISTICS: A yellow, amber or reddish-brown liquid with a fresh, grassy-citrus scent and an earthy undertone. A yellow or amber liquid with a fresh, grassy-lemony scent, generally lighter than the West Indian type. Taste: pungent, bitter; Energy: cooling/moisturizing; Dosha effect: P K-, Vo; Note: top
ACTIONS: analgesic, antidepressant, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, antipyretic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, deodorant, febrifuge, fungicidal, galactagogue, insecticidal, nervine, sedative (nervous), tonic
MIXES WELL WITH: bergamot, rosemary, lavender, juniper, hyssop, pine, rosewood, basil, cedarwood, coriander, geranium, jasmine, neroli, niaouli, palmarosa, rosemary, tea tree, yarrow
Skin: acne, athlete’s foot, excessive perspiration, insect repellent, open pores, pediculosis, scabies, tissue toner
Circulation, Muscles and Joints: muscular pain, poor circulation and muscle tone, slack tissue
Digestive System: colitis, indigestion, gastro-enteritis
Immune System: fevers, infectious disease
Nervous System: headaches, nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions
Respiratory: 5 drops lemongrass; 4 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops sandalwood
Muscular: 5 drops lemongrass, 4 drops rosemary, 3 drops coriander
Emotion: 4 drops lemongrass, 4 drops orange, 2 drops basil
Lemon Grass, Coriander and Clove Bath:
2 Tbsp almond oil, 2 drops lemon grass oil, 2 drops coriander oil, 2 drops clove oil. Carefully measure the almond oil into a small dish. Slowly drop in all the essential oils. Mix all the ingredients and pour into the bath while the water is running. Rinse the dish under the running tap to make sure all the oils have gone into the bath water. For stiff limbs after excessive exercise.

Lemongrass is an aid for people who have trouble getting started in the morning. It is not only psychologically refreshing, but it also serves as a tonic for tightening weak connective tissue. The essential oil strengthens blood vessels and helps prevent varicose veins. It is beneficial for the treatment of sports injuries, like bruises and pulled ligaments. It may be used in an arnica tissue, diluted with water and applied as a cold compress or bandage.

Lemon grass produces one of the 10 – largest – selling essential oils in the world, with over 1500 tons produced annually. It is used as the natural starting point to produce the fragrance component citral. In East India, the oil is mixed with coconut oil to rub on lumbago, rheumatism, and painful nerve conditions. In the Caribbean, lemon grass baths ease soreness.

Other uses: Lemon grass is a fly, flea and mosquito repellent. It is used as the starting point in the manufacture of vitamin A. Lemon grass adds a citrus fragrance to potpourri.

Toxicity: Prolonged handling of lemongrass may cause contact dermatitis (itching, burning, stinging, reddened or blistered skin) People who handle the plant and then expose their skin to sunlight may end up with a severe sunburn on the exposed surfaces.

Ritual Uses: Lemongrass is bound to Mercury and air. It is said to repel dragons and serpents, and is burned, bathed in, or carried on the person for lust, fidelity, honesty, growth, strength, psychic powers, and purification. Plant Lemongrass around the home to repel serpent energy. Drink a tea to aid in psychic abilities and divination. Carry it in a sachet or charm to attract the object of your desire and to bring honesty to your relationships. Burn as an incense for strength and purification. Put a handful of leaves in a mesh bag and place under the tap water for a purification bath, and to attract and keep a lover.

Culinary Uses: An integral flavor in Sri Lanka and Thai cooking, lemon grass is also found in East Indian dishes and makes a very popular beverage in tropical countries. The unique refreshing tartness of lemongrass adds a peppery lemon flavor to soups, and outer long-simmered dishes. It adds mystery to stuffings and rubs. It commercially flavors dairy, desserts, candy, and baked goods. Tastes good with and in curries, soups, stews, and casseroles, particularly those made with chicken and seafood. Tips in cooking, use fresh stalk – whole or chopped. Bruise stem to release flavor. Soak the stalks in oil or milk for 2-3 hours to soften them. Use only lower 4-6 in (10-15 cm), discarding upper fibrous part. Soak dried stalks in hot water before use. When substituting, 1 teaspoon ground is roughly equivalent to one stalk. Stalks will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Fresh lemongrass can also be frozen, tightly wrapped, for several months. It works well with garlic, fresh coriander, coconut milk, and hot flavors.

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup:

5 cups (1.2 liters) chicken stock
4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 small fresh hot green chili, seeded and chopped
3 lemongrass stalks, cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces
1 tbsp nam pla (Asian fish sauce)
1 in piece lime or lemon peel
2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 pound (500 g) shrimp
Chopped scallions and cilantro or garnish
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients, except the shrimp. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Strain and discard the solids return the liquid to the saucepan, add the shrimp, and cook until the shrimp are just heated through, 1-2 minutes. Pour into a soup tureen, garnish with the chopped scallions and cilantro, and serve.

Lemongrass Curry
Makes 4 cups
1/3 cup sliced lemongrass, include the bulbs
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp dried ground galangal (or ginger)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed
3 shallots, peeled
3½ cups Coconut Milk
3 fresh lime or lemon leaves
Pinch salt or shrimp paste (available in Asian markets)
In a food processor or blender, puree together the lemongrass, garlic, galangal, turmeric, jalapeno and shallots. Bring the Coconut Milk to a boil and add the pureed ingredients, lime or lemon leaves, and salt or shrimp paste, and boil gently, stirring constantly for approximately 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for an additional 30 minutes or until the lime or lemon leaves are tender and the sauce is creamy. Remove the leaves before serving. (A World of Curries, Dave Dewitt & Arthur Pais)

Lemon Grass Ice Milk
2 cups milk
2 8-oz cans lowfat evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
6 8-inch pieces lemon grass stems
2 eggs
Wash lemon grass stems and slice into thin pieces. Combine with milk and sugar in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it just barely boils, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Whisk together eggs and lowfat evaporated milk. Combine with other ingredients in saucepan. Cook over low heat until slightly thickened, 6-8 minutes. Strain into a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Prepare in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions (An Herbal Collection)

Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies, Franzesca Watson, Harper Collins, 1995
Complete Aromatherapy Handbook, Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, Sterling, 1990
The Illustrated Encylopedia of Essential Oils, Julia Lawless, Element, 1995
The Illustrated Herb Encyclopedia, Kathi Keville, Mallard Press, 1991
Mother Nature’s Herbal, Judy Griffin, Llewellyn, 1997
Rainforest Remedies, Rosita Arvigo and Michael Balick, Lotus Press, 1993; ISBN: 0-914955-13-6

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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Japanese Knotweed


Posted by admin | Posted in Japanese Knotweed | Posted on 23-09-2010

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I was always told that when plants are weedy in an area, it’s because there is a need for them. Maybe we don’t see it, it’s hard to appreciate kudzu in the South, but there’s a need. Japanese knotweed is one such plant.

Otherwise known as Polygonum cuspidatum this plant in the Polygonaceae family has been called Mexican bamboo, Japanese fleeceflower, giant knotweed, and Huzhang

Description: Japanese knotweed is a large, robust perennial that spreads by long creeping rhizomes to form dense thickets. The stems are stout, cane-like, reddish-brown, 4 to 9 feet tall. The plants die back at the end of the growing season. The stem nodes are swollen and surrounded by thin papery sheaths. The leaves are short-petioled, 2 to 6 inches long and about two-thirds as wide, egg-shaped and narrowed to a point at the tip. The flowers are small, creamy white to greenish white, and grow in showy plume-like, branched clusters from leaf axils near the ends of the stems. The fruit is 3-sided, black and shiny.

Cultivation: Japanese knotweed grows quickly and aggressively. Large dense thickets form rapidly and shade out other plants. It can tolerate partial shade and is most competitive in moist, rich soil. Japanese knotweed is commonly found along roadsides and on stream banks. The thickets can completely clog small waterways and displace all other streamside vegetation. Knotweed can increase bank erosion and lower the quality of riparian habitat for fish and wildlife.

Properties: antiarthritic, antirheumatic, analgesic, detoxicant, antitussive, expectorant, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant

Medicinal Uses: In China, the root was used medicinally to treat menstrual and postpartum difficulties. In recent years, the Chinese have been using huzhang in the treatment of burns and acute viral hepatitis with considerable success. Researchers have found that some of its chemical components have antibacterial, antiviral, liver protectant and antioxidant effects. The unique broad, traditional and modern properties which include detoxicant, antiburn, wound healing, astringent, antimicrobial and antioxidant, have been utilized in skin care cosmetics and environmental products. Its extracts are used in skin lotions, antifatigue, massage and cleansing creams as well as in an herbal disinfectant approved by the US EPA.

: painful joints, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, cough with excessive phlegm, skin sores and boils, traumatic injuries

Culinary Uses: It is an extremely valuable and versatile food resource. The young shoots (up to 1′) canbe served like asparagus but with a flavor all their own. Gather in the early spring, selecting shoots with the thickest stems. Wash well and remove any leaves on the stalks. Place in a pan with about 1 inch of water or cook in a vegetable steamer. The stems cook quickly; in about 5 minutes they will turn a creamy olive green. They will be soft when pricked with a fork when done. Do not overcook. Drain and serve hot with melted butter or hollandaise sauce. The tender shoots can also be pureed with milk, salt and pepper to make a soup. Slightly older stems can be peeled and the sour rind boiled with sugar and pectin to make a rhubarb-like jam, sauces and pies.

Japanese Knotweed Purée

Gather stalks, choosing those with thick stems. Wash well and remove all leaves and tips. Slice stems into 1-inch pieces, put into a pot and add ¾ cup sugar for every 5 cups of stems. Let stand 20 minutes to extract juices. Add only enough water to keep from scorching, about half a cup. Cook until pieces are soft, adding more water if necessary. They will cook quickly. When done, the Japanese Knotweed needs only to be mixed with a spoon. Add lemon juice to taste and more sugar if desired. Serve chilled for dessert just as it is, or pass a bowl of whipped cream. This purée is excellent spooned over vanilla ice cream or baked in a pie shell. Keeps well in the refrigerator and may be frozen for later use. (City Herbal)

Japanese Knotweed Bread
2 cups unbleached flour
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp salad oil
¾ cup orange juice
¾ cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup sweetened Japanese Knotweed Purée
Preheat oven to 350F. Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Beat the egg white with the oil and orange juice. Add along with hazelnuts and purée to dry ingredients. Do not mix until all ingredients are added, and blend only enough to moisten. Do not overmix. Spoon gently into buttered 91/2-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Bake about 1 hour or until a straw or cake tester inserted in the center comes out dry. Cool by removing from pan and placing it on a rack. For muffins, spoon into buttered muffin tins and bake about 25 minutes. (A City Herbal)

A City Herbal, Maida Silverman, Alfred A Knopf, 1977; ISBN: 0-394-49852-6
Better Health with (Mostly) Chinese Herbs and Foods, Albert Y Leung, AYSL Corp, 1995; ISBN: 0-9634979-1-X
Exploring Nature’s Uncultivated Garden, Deborah Lee, Havelin Communications, 1988; ISBN: 0-925909-00-9
Wild Food, Roger Philips, Little Brown, 1986; ISNB: 0-316-70611-6

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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Job’s Tears


Posted by admin | Posted in Job's Tears | Posted on 18-09-2010

It was only a few years ago that I realized Job’s Tears was more than an interesting ornamental. So much more.

Job’s Tears or Coix lacryma-jobi is known as several names. Its pharmaceutical name is Semen Coicis Lachrymajobi of the family Gramineae. It’s also called Coix, yi yi ren, Chi Shih, Chieh Li, Djali Batoe and that’s just a start.

Description: This annual grass is native to south-east Asia and grows to a height of around 3 feet, with knobbly, bamboo-like stems from the bases of which new ‘tillers’ arise, these sometimes self- layering. The glossy deep green leaves are up to 2 inches wide with slightly wavy edges. The flowering and fruiting spikelets are insignificant, but the shiny, pea-sized receptacles that enclose their bases harden in autumn to a pale bluish gray and have often been used for beads and other decorative purposes. Some selected strains are cultivated for their edible grains. Perennial growing to 1m by 0.15m . It is hardy to zone 9. It is in leaf from May to October, in flower from July to October, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The flowers are monoecious and are pollinated by the wind.

Cultivation: Job’s Tears succeeds in ordinary garden soil and is best grown in an open sunny border. It prefers a little shelter from the wind. Job’s Tears is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 61 to 429cm, an average annual temperature of 41 to 50°F and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.4. While usually grown as an annual, the plant is perennial in essentially frost-free areas. Plants have often overwintered when growing in a polyhouse, they have then gone on to produce another crop of seed in their second year. Propagate by seed pre-soaked for 2 hours in warm water and sown February/March in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 57°F. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. Grow them on in cool conditions and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Seed can also be sown in situ in May. In a suitable climate, it takes about 4 – 5 months from seed to produce new seed. Crop harvested in 4-5 months after sowing. Plants are cut off at base and grain separated by threshing. Seeds are dried in sun prior to milling and the husks are removed. It is extensively cultivated in Philippine Islands, Indochina, Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka, and is used as an auxiliary food crop, especially as a substitute for rice.

History: In southern India, Job’s tears have been cultivated for at least 4000 years. The seeds are commonly found in archaeological sites. The grass is often growing in rice fields nearby. Archaeologists call the seeds, rice beads. Although extensively used by Asians, the grass is considered a weed in commercial rice fields. The teardrop shaped seeds have a hard shiny coat with a hole at the tip where the flower emerges. When the seed drops from the plant, another hole opens at the base which makes them perfect for stringing. In archaeological sites dating to approximately 2000 years ago, large numbers of the seeds have been found arranged in a manner that suggests they were strung as necklaces. In Japan, the seeds are called juzu dama which means prayer beads referring to the use by Buddhists for their meditations. By the 1400s, this grass was cultivated in southern European monasteries. One hundred-fifty seeds were strung to keep track of daily recitations of the Psalms. This use of beads later evolved into the rosary. It is in the monasteries that the seeds were first called Lachrima Iob (Job’s tears).) Their natural color is white, but they can be dyed shades of red, blue, green and yellow. Depending on where you are in the world, this plant goes by various names including ~David’s tears, Saint Mary’s tears, Christ’s tears and just plain tear drops. The leaves are used as fodder in parts of India, and are especially relished by elephants. Job’s tears were introduced into China in the first century A.D. by a Chinese general who conquered Tongking, where the grains were widely used as a cereal. The general became so fond of Job’s tears that he carried back several cartloads of the seeds to his own country. In Central America, strings of Job’s tears are used for the arms and legs of little seed dolls. Strings of Job’s tears were reportedly given to teething babies. Job’s tears is also used for musical instruments. Shaker gourds are probably one of the earliest musical instruments. In Africa, hollow gourds are covered with a loose net strung with hundreds of Job’s tears. The generic name of Job’s tears, coix, comes from the Greek koix, meaning “palm”, a name given by Linnaeus, The specific name lacryma-jobi, means tears of Job, an allusion to the large tear-like sheaths enclosing the flowers.

Properties: Diuretic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antidiarrheal, Anodyne; Anthelmintic; Antipyretic; Antispasmodic; Diuretic; Hypoglycemic; Pectoral; Refrigerant; Sedative; Tonic

Energetics: Kernels and roots: Sweet, bland, cool to cold. Leaves are neutral.

Meridians/Organs affected: Kidney, Lung, Spleen, stomach

Medicinal Uses: In Chinese medicine, the seeds strengthen the spleen and counteract “damp heat”, and are used for edema, diarrhea, rheumatoid arthritis and difficult urination. Drains dampness, clears heat, eliminates pus, tonifies the spleen. This herb is added to medicinal formulas to regulate fluid retention and counteract inflammation. It is very good for all conditions and diseases associated with edema and inflammation, including pus, diarrhea, phlegm, edema or abscesses of either the lungs or the intestines, and rheumatic and arthritic conditions. A tea from the boiled seeds is drunk as part of a treatment to cure warts. It is also used in the treatment of lung abscess, lobar pneumonia, appendicitis, rheumatoid arthritis, beriberi, diarrhea, edema and difficult urination. The roots have been used in the treatment of menstrual disorders. The FDA has approved testing for cancer therapy. Currently going through testing, the Kanglaite Injection is a new effective diphasic anti-cancer medicine prepared by extracting with modern technology the active anti-cancer component from the Coix Seed, to form an advanced dosage form for intravenous and intra- arterial perfusion. It had been proved experimentally and clinically that the Kanglaite Injection had a broad spectrum of anti-tumor and anti-metastasis action, such as hepatic cancer and pulmonary cancer, along with the action of enhancing host immunity. When used in combined treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, the Kanglaite Injection can increase the sensitivity of tumor cells, reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, relieve cancerous pain, improve cachexia, and raise the quality of life in advanced cancer victims. As a fat emulsion, the Kanglaite Injection can provide patients with high-energy nutrients with little toxicity. It inhibits formation of new blood vessels that promote tumor growth, counteracts weight loss due to cancer.

Some of the latest research also shows that Job’s tears is Immunostimulating, induces interferon, Bronchodialates; Lowers blood sugar; Reduces muscle spasms and is anti-convulsant; Stimulates respiration in small doses and inhibits it in higher doses; reduces arterial plaque; Anti-inflammatory, possibly through the suppression of macrophage activity
In order to gain optimum therapeutic benefits from this herb, it must become part of your daily diet for a period of at least 2-3 months.

Dosage: 9-30 grams

Combinations: For edema, blood in the urine, diarrhea, or dysentery, combine 20 grams of coix, 9 grams of alisma, 9 grams of poria, and 9 grams of atractylodes.
For rheumatic and arthritic conditions, combine 30 grams of coix and cinnamon-twig tea cooked with rice to make a porridge.

: dark and scanty urine; swelling; painful joints, sinews and bones due to damp excess; ulcers in the stomach or lungs; diarrhea and dyspepsia due to damp injury to spleen
Kernel: promotes urination and drains dampness, tonifies the Spleen and stops diarrhea, tonifies the Lungs, clears Damp Heat, clears Heat and expels pus, expels Wind Dampness, benefits the skin
Leaves: Warms the Stomach, tonifies Blood, tonifies Qi
Roots: Clears internal heat, drains damp, benefits the Spleen

Contraindications: Not in pregnancy

Dosage: 5 – 30 grams.
Powder: roast the seeds until golden brown, then grind to powder and store in an airtight container; plain, capsules, or water-paste; 6-12 grams, in two or three doses, on an empty stomach; for paste, use warmwater
Porridge: ½ cup of seeds, soaked in pure water for 1 hour, drained, then boiled in 1 liter pure water until cooked, adding more water as needed; eat in one or two portions, either on an empty stomach, or as part of a nonmeat, nondairy meal; to increase nutrient properties; add 3-5 Chinese jujubes

Combinations: For diarrhea, dysentery, edema, or blood in the urine with Phragmitis communis (Lu Gen), Poria cocos (Fu Ling), and Atractylodes macrocephala (Bai Zhu)
For intestinal abscess with Trichosanthis kirilowii (Gua Lou Ren) and Prunus persica (Tao Ren) Patrinia spp. (Bai Jiang Cao) and Paeonia suffruticosa (Mu Dan Pi)
For lung abcess Phragmitis communis (Lu Gen), Prunus persica (Tao Ren) and Benincasa hispida (Dong Gua Ren)
For bladder infections with Akebia trifoliata (Mu Tong)
For diarrhea with Atractylodes macrocephala (Bai Zhu) and Poria cocos (Fu Ling) [China]
For jaundice with Artemesia capillaris (Yin Chen Hao). For infantile jaundice with Coptis chinense (Huang Lian) As tea prepared with peanuts and brown sugar for edema and to benefit digestion
For joint pain as a food (congee) with Cinnamomum cassia (Gui Zhi) as a base.

For gout: Great Orange Peel Decoction (da ju pi tang)
6 g Citrus reticulata, 3 g costus, 3 g cinnamon, 15 g Morus alba seeds, 6 g Clematis minor, 9 g Cocculus diversifolius, 4.5 g Atractylodes macrocephala, 9 g Tuckahoe, 6 g Alisma plantago, 9 g Magnesium silicate (talc), 6 g Achryanthes bidentata, 12 g Job’s tears, 3 g licorice
Of a decoction of the above ingredients take two doses on an empty stomach.

Culinary Uses: Before corn (Zea mays) became popular in Southern Asia, Job’s tears was rather widely cultivated as a cereal in India. It is a potentially very useful grain having a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio than any other cereal. The seed has a very tough shell however making it rather difficult to extract the grain. The ssp. ma-yuen. Stapf. is grown for its edible seed and medicinal virtues in China, the seedcoat is said to be soft and easily removed. The ssp. stenocarpa is used for beads. A staple cereal crop in Japan and China, and in important medicinal herb. Nutritious soft-shelled seeds are widely consumed in macrobiotic cuisine. The seed is cooked. A pleasant mild flavor, it can be used in soups and broths.. It can be ground into a flour and used to make bread or used in any of the ways that rice is used. The pounded flour is sometimes mixed with water like barley for barley water. The pounded kernel is also made into a sweet dish by frying and coating with sugar. It is also husked and eaten out of hand like a peanut. The seed contains about 52% starch, 18% protein, 7% fat. It is higher in protein and fat than rice but low in minerals. This is a potentially very useful grain, it has a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio than any other cereal, though the hard seedcoat makes extraction of the flour rather difficult. A tea can be made from the parched seeds, while beers and wines are made from the fermented grain. A coffee is made from the roasted seed. In India, the Nagas use the grain for brewing a beer called zhu or dzu. Japanese brew a tea and an alcoholic beverage, and roasted seeds are made into a coffee-like drink.

Other Uses: Stems are used to make matting and the seeds are used in lei making in Hawai’i

Job’s Tears and Brown Rice Porridge

Yi yi ren dzao-mi jou
1 cup Job’s tears
1 cup brown rice
8 cups pure water
Wash and rinse the rice and Job’s tears well, then soak them in 8 cups of pure water for about 2 hours or overnight. Pour the grain, herb and water into a large nonaluminum pot, bring to a boil, cover, then lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour, until the grain is thoroughly cooked and the fluid begins to thicken. (A Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs)

Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, Dan Bensky & Andrew Gamble, Eastland Press, 1993; ISBN: 0-939616-15-7
A Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs, Daniel Reid, Barnes & Noble, 1995; ISBN: 0-7607-1907-1

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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Posted by admin | Posted in Ipecac | Posted on 07-09-2010

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I think all of us remember Syrup of Ipecac from when we were children and our parents wanted to empty our stomachs of the strange things we had ingested.

Cephaelis ipecacuanha (syn Psychotria ipecacuanha) is of the Family Euphorbiaceae.

Other names were American Ipecac, American-ipecac, Ipecac Spurge, White Ipecacuanha

Description: It is a small shrub with a slender stem growing to 1 foot.  It has a few oblong leaves, small white flowers, and purple-black berries.

Cultivation: It is native to South America, mainly Brazil. The plant prefers moist, shady woods. Cultivation has been attempted in Southeast Asia, but with limited success.  It prefers well-drained, humus-rich soil in shade, with ample moisture and humidity with a minimum of 59-64F. Propagate by greenwood cuttings in late spring, in sandy soil mix at 70-75F or by root cuttings during harvesting. The root of 3 year old plants is gathered throughout the year, although the Indians collect it when it is in flower during mid-winter and late winter. Dry before use.

History: The name Ipecacuanha, from the language of the Brazilian aborigines, has been applied to various emetic roots of South America. The Portuguese learned of this Indian remedy for bowel problems when they settled Brazil, and the root was introduced to Europe around 1672 as a remedy for dysentery. Originally sold in Paris as a secret cure, the plant showed such value in bowel affections that no less a personage than Louis XIV eventually bestowed a large sum of money and public honors on the physician who popularized its use, on the condition that he make it public.

Constituents: alkaloids including emetine and cephaeline; the glycosidal tannins ipecauanhic acid and ipecauanhin, ipecoside, starch, calcium oxalate

Properties: expectorant, emetic, sialagogue, anti-protozoal

Medicinal Uses: Ipecacuanha is mainly used as an expectorant in bronchitis and conditions such as whooping cough. At higher doses it is a powerful emetic and as such is used in the treatment of poisoning. Particularly useful for drug overdose. Care must be taken in the use of this herb. After an effective emetic dose has been given, large amounts of water should be taken as well. Ipecacuanha stimulates saliva production and helps expectoration through stimulation of mucous secretion and then its removal. Still used for amebic dysentery with good results.

Dosage: Only a small amount of the herb should be used. .01-.25g for an infusion. Pour a cup of boiling water onto a small amount of the herb (the size of a pea) and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Drink 3 times a day. For a powerful emetic, 1-2g should be used, which equals ¼ – ½ tsp when used for an infusion.

Combinations: In bronchial conditions it combines well with white horehound, coltsfoot and grindelia. In amebic dysentery combine with American cranesbill or Echinacea.

Toxicity: Do not use the root or rhizome. Take formulations containing ipecac carefully and only as instructed on the label.

The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal, David Hoffmann, Element Books, 1996; ISBN: 1-85230-758-7
Encyclopedia of Medicinal 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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Hyacinth Bean


Posted by admin | Posted in Hyacinth Bean | Posted on 03-09-2010

Hyacinth Beans for a long time were just stunning plants for me. Little did I know that they were so much more.

Lablab purpureus are of the Leguminosae family. They are known as Lablab Bean, Mouse-Ear Vine, Egyptian Kidney Bean; Bian Dou; Kachang Sepat, henzu (Japanese), p’yontu (Korean), Kachang Kara; Motchai, bonavist, Chinese flowering bean, Pharao bean, shink bean, val bean, wild field bean, and Indian bean.

Description: They are an annual legume reaching a height of 6′ – 8′. with a raceme growing from leaf axil, and a white or purple flower; there is a flat, red or purple light-green legume, and small, flat elliptical seed. It is an outstanding and beautiful vine. Seeds, young leaves, and flowers are edible. Blooms mid summer to fall. Usually it is sowed in spring and harvested in autumn. Can be a tender perennial in zones 9-11 The green or purple pods are small, 2-3 inches long, flat, smooth, and slightly sickle shaped. Pods resemble a lima bean pod with corrugation on the edge. Each pod contains 4-6 seeds that may be red, brown, or white. A distinctive mark is the long white seed scar. The 4 to 6 inch long sweet scented flowers vary in color, being white, pink, or purple.

Cultivation: Spacing is 12 in, for thick growth suggest 6-10 seeds per foot. Planting Depth: 1″ . Propagate by seed. Can be grown inside with warm greenhouse conditions. Given enough warmth and light, it will flower continuously. Hyacinth bean grows well in full sun in any well-drained soil, but in Zones 3 and 4 it needs a sheltered location. Since it is hard to transplant successfully, plant it in its permanent location. When night temperatures will stay above 50°, sow the seeds, spacing them about 1 foot apart. If no trellis is available, provide string or wire supports for the tendrils to grasp. Hyacinth bean is relatively free of pests. For earlier flowering in Zones 3-5, start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost is due. Sow seeds in individual 3-inch peat pots. Once the danger of frost is past, set the seedlings, pots and all, directly into the ground. Additional vines can also be propagated from stem cuttings rooted in moist sand.

History: “Lablab” is an Arabic or Egyptian name describing the dull rattle of the seeds inside the dry pod. The species is cultivated in India, China and tropical Africa. It is wild in India and also in Java, becoming naturalized in cultivation. From India, it was introduced to China, Western Asia and Egypt during ancient times. One of Jefferson’s favorite vines at Monticello. The hyacinth bean is also called “Fuji mame”. It is considered to have been introduced into Japan from China in 1654 by the Chinese famous Zen monk “Ingen” . Hence, this legume is sometimes called “Ingen” in Hence, this legume is sometimes called “Ingen” in Kansai district (the Central western parts of Japan).

Medicinal Uses:
TCM: Hyacinth bean is mild-and-lightly-warm-natured, tastes sweet. It can tonify the spleen and stomach, relieve internal heat fever, relieve summer beat-and damp and remove dampness to stop diarrhea, etc., leukorrhea, with reddish discharge, infantile malnutrition and anti-cancer, etc. The seeds are used to stimulate gastric activities, for vomiting and diarrhea in acute gastro-enteritis, thirst in heat-stroke, rheumatic arthritis, sunstroke, as an antidote against fish and vegetable poisoning and to treat colic and cholera. The flowers are used to treat dysentery when there is pus and bloody stools, inflammation of the uterus and to increase menstrual flow. Contraindicated in cases of intermittent fevers and chills, and in cold disorders. Dosage: 9-21 g. Use dry-fried for strengthening the spleen, untreated for clearing summerheat. Preparations of bian dou inhibited the effect of trypsin and amylase.

Other Uses: The distinctive long-lasting pods are suitable for cut stems for the cut flower industry. In addition, the pods are so unique that they could be used for decoration or harvested for Chinese food wholesalers. Preliminary studies in 1992, demonstrated high yields, simple production practices and relatively long vase-life for cut pod stems. Some local and regional florists enjoyed the special color and texture that hyacinth beans offered their arrangements while others had little interest in use of these stems. With yields as high as 70 cut stems per lineal meter of fence, the potential returns could be quite high [7 bunches/m x $2.50/bunch (a common minimum wholesale price) = $17.50/m] for short term harvest and marketing of this summer/fall crop. However, there is no established market for hyacinth bean cut stems and guarantees of profitability cannot be made.

Culinary Uses: Hyacinth bean is cooked with meat, chicken or cook shredded Hyacinth bean with xiang mushroom, mushroom edible fungus, hedgehog fungus, as dish. which is full of pleasant smell. Hyacinth bean must be cooked thoroughly when eaten, for it contains substances that can cause blood coagulation and hemolytic saponin, otherwise ,it could cause some symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting and nausea, etc. The immature pods are boiled and eaten as a vegetable. It is a favorite with Malays and Indians, being considered the best kind of bean pods eaten with curry. Ripe seeds are eaten in India and China as a split pulse. Pulses are legumes which produce seeds that are harvested when dry, then cooked for human food. They are high in protein and can substitute for meat in the diet. Oil content ranges from almost none to high. They also provide good quantities of B vitamins. Carbohydrate contents vary, but often include long chain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest and lead to flatulence (gas). Most grain legumes contain antinutrients or poisonous substances and need to be thoroughly cooked before eating. Under proper conditions they can be stored for many years. Lablab beans cannot be eaten raw because they contain a poisonous glycoside that is destroyed upon boiling. The flowers are edible as well and can be used in the same way as scarlet runner beans. The plant also has an edible starchy tuber. Can be substituted for cowpeas or split peas in cooking .

In East Indian cooking hyacinth beans are called val. Dried val beans are creamy-white to light tan in color, flat and long. They have a thick, white ridge on one side. On cooking, val acquires a strong, nutty aroma and the taste becomes creamy with a slight, but not unpleasant bitterness. Val need overnight soaking as it is very hard. It is usually sprouted to enhance its flavor. Just soak it in water then drain and hang up in a clean moist cloth overnight to promote sprouting. The beans need to be peeled to remove the thick, chewy skin. Then they are ready to be cooked. Val goes well with coconut, jaggery and ginger. You can add the sprouted beans to soups and salads.

Hyacinth bean with sesame paste (sengoku mame)

hyacinth bean
a pinch of salt
sesame paste (with soy sauce)
String the hyacinth bean and wash. Boil hyacinth bean for 3 or 5 minutes (till toothpick is easy to stick) with a pinch of salt. Drain off. Mix hyacinth bean and sesame paste.

Summer Cabbage
6 g each lablab beans, porias
3 g each Solomon’s seal, Chinese yam

1 lb nappa cabbage
3 ½ oz shelled shrimp
½ Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp cornstarch
Rinse the first 4 ingredients and drain. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the soup reduces to 1 cup. Sieve the soup and discard the dregs. Wash the nappa cabbages and cut into 2” x 1 ½” wide pieces. Remove the veins from the shrimp, wash, drain and marinate with the cornstarch and rice wine. Heat a wok, add 2 tbsp oil and heat to hot. Stir-fry the shrimp until cooked; remove immediately. Add another 1 tbsp oil to the wok and heat, stir-fry the nappa cabbage, add herb soup, shrimp, and the sugar and salt. Cook until the nappa cabbage is tender. Thicken with the water and cornstarch. Reduces inner heat, relieving thirst and increasing saliva. Helpful from the affects of osteoporosis and calcium depletion. (Chinese Herb Cooking for Health)

Valache Birde
(Val and Coconut Stir-Fry)

3 Tbsp corn oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
large pinch asafetida
10 curry leaves
4 green chilies, slit lengthwise, exposing the seeds, but so the chili is not broken in two
2½ cups val, soaked overnight, sprouted for 8 hours and skinned (10 oz)
4 Tbsp jaggery, grated

2 cups coconut, grated if fresh or flaked
6 kokum
2 Tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they pop add half the cumin seeds. Add the asafetida, curry leaves and chilis and sauté for a minute. Add the val, a little water, jaggery, kokum and salt and cook over low heat until the val is soft but not mushy. Grind the coconut and the remaining cumin seeds to a fine paste in a blender. Stir this paste into the curry and simmer for a minute. Serve sprinkled with coriander leaves. (The Indian Spice Kitchen)

Vangi ani Val
(Eggplant and Val with Coconut)

2 drumsticks, (optional) cut into 1 inch pieces
3 TRbsp corn oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
large pinch of asafetida
1 large onion, chopped finely

1 ¼ cups val, soaked overnight, sprouted for 8 hours and skinned
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp goda masala powder
4 Tbsp coconut, grated if fresh, or flaked
Boil the drumstick until it can be easily opened. Drain and reserve. Heat the oil and sauté the mustard seeds with the asafetida. When the seeds pop add the onion and sauté till golden. Add the val, eggplant, powder spices and salt. Mix well. Then add a little water and cook until the beans are soft but not mushy. Cook on a high heat to evaporate all the water. Remove from the heat and add the coconut and drumsticks. Stir gently and serve hot. (The Indian Spice Kitchen)

Chinese Herb Cooking for Health, Wang-Chuan Chen, Chin-Chin Publishing Co., 1997; ISBN: 0-941676-70-6
Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica,Dan Bensky & Andrew Gamble, Eastland Press, 1993; ISBN: 0-939616-15-7
An Illustrated Dictionary of Chinese Medicinal Herbs, Wee Yeow Chin & Hsuan Keng, CRCS Press, 1992; ISBN: 0-916360-53-9
The Indian Spice Kitchen, Monisha Bharadwaj, Dutton; 1997; ISBN: 0-525-94343-9

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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Posted by admin | Posted in Gentian | Posted on 01-09-2010

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Today our herb is Gentian (Gentiana lutea) of the family Gentianaceae.

Other names gentian is known by are gall weed; bitter root; Bitterwort; Gelber Entian, Enzian (German); grande gentiane, gentiane jaune (French); genziana maggiore (Italian); Goryczka Zolta, Gencjan (Polish)

The plant’s height is 3 feet, sometimes taller with a width of 1 foot. Flowers are 1-inch pale yellow blooms in clusters of 3 to 10. It takes about 3 years to flower. Leaves are shiny up to 10 inches long, tightly clasped on upright stems; occur at each joint of the stem with five prominent veins marking the underside. Upper leaves are small with no leafstalks. Fruit is a two-valved capsule of oblong shape. It blooms from May to June.

Cultivation: It is a perennial to Zone 3. Germination is within 14-28 days. Stratify for 3 weeks. Space 10-14 inches. Soil temperature 70-75F. Soil: rich humus, moist with good drainage and heavy watering. (native habitat is high bogs and wet pastures); pH: 5.5-6.5. Sun: Light shade. Prefers cool climate. May be difficult to establish, but plants can live over 50 years. Propagation: for best results sow fresh seeds in the autumn to naturally stratify. Established plants can be divided. The seeds require a period of vernalization at a low temperature or treatments to stimulate germination. In spring, after some two months of germinating in a substratum of sand and peat, the seedlings may be transplanted, ten to the square yard, taking care to water and weed. They benefit from an annual top dressing fresh acid soil or peat moss. In very cold climates with inadequate snow cover, they need light mulching with hay or evergreen boughs to protect them.

Harvest: The rhizome and roots are harvested in autumn and spring in the fifth or sixth year before the renewal of plant growth. They are fleshy, give out a penetrating odor of damp earth and have a very bitter taste. The entire hypogean apparatus is removed and after cursory cleaning this is dried, for herbal use swift action is necessary, in an oven at about 120F; in the liquor industry the plants have to be slightly fermented before drying. If dried slowly and then powdered, the root will retain its desired bitterness and color. Good-quality roots are dark reddish brown, tough and flexible with a strong disagreeable odor. The taste should be sweet at first, and then deeply bitter.

History: King Gentius of Illyria (180-67 BC( is said to have introduced gentian to medicine and given the herb his name after it cured his army of a mysterious fever. Gentian was used by the ancient Egyptians, Arabs, Greeks and Romans as an appetite stimulant, antiseptic wound wash, and treatment for intestinal worms, digestive disorders, liver ailments and “female hysteria.” It is a bitter flavoring used for alcoholic drinks, especially in Germany and Switzerland, where gentian flavored beer before the introduction of hops. Gentian wine was served as an apertif at 18th century dinner parties to encourage the guests’ digestion.

The term “moxie” (meaning courage tinged with recklessness) comes from Moxie, a bitter soft drink available only in New England since the 1890s which uses gentian root.

Character: very bitter, cold, astringent, drying

Meridians/Organs affected: liver, gall bladder

Properties: bitter, tonic, alterative, antipyretic, appetite and gastric stimulant, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge

Culinary: Gentian is found in any liquor store as the chief flavor in vermouth, and in Stockton bitters and Angostura bitters, both originally hailed as digestive tonics.

Medicinal: One of the most bitter of the bitter digestive tonics, gentian is often called “bitter root”. Taken 30 minutes before eating, it increases the appetite, stimulating digestive juices, pancreas activity, the blood supply to the digestive tract, and intestinal peristalsis. It also decreases intestinal inflammation and kills worms. Digestive juice begin flowing about 5 minutes after the herb reaches the stomach, and the level achieved in 30 minutes is maintained for 2 to 3 hours. It is especially helpful in fat and protein digestion and slightly raises stomach acidity. A German study found it extremely effective in curing indigestion and heartburn when volunteers were given gentian with small amounts of cayenne, ginger, and wormwood. Gentian is also used to treat liver and spleen problems, and to promote menstruation. At times, its fever-lowering action has been considered superior to Peruvian bark. There is some evidence that it makes the body more sensitive to adrenalin and may indirectly stimulate more than appetite. It was once used externally to clean wounds.

America’s 19th-century Eclectics considered gentian a powerful tonic and prescribed it to improve appetite and stimulate digestion. Gentian was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1955 as a digestive stimulant.

Gentian Digestive Tonic:
½ cup fresh gentian root
¼ cup fresh peppermint leaves
1 Tbsp fresh gingerroot, peeled and sliced
1 cup water
1 cup glycerin
Combine water and glycerin in a saucepan and simmer all ingredients over low flame for about 45 minutes. Strain. When liquid is cool, store in an amber jar or bottle. Take one teaspoon before each meal to aid digestion. Tonic will keep for about a year on the shelf and longer when refrigerated.

Other Uses: Used by veterinarians to improve animals’ appetites. Fermentation and subsequent distillation of the root produces “gentian grappa.” It is used in the liquor industry to prepare apertifs, syrups, and sparkling drinks as well as in vermouth and angostura. Apertifs can also be prepared quite easily by infusing the root in white wine.

Toxicity: Large doses can produce nausea and even vomiting. Gentian should not be given to children under age 2 or in cases of peptic ulcers. German physicians discourage its use by people with high blood pressure.

The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, 1993
Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses, Deni Bown, Dorling Kindersley, 1995; ISBN: 0-7894-0184-3
The Healing Herbs, Michael Castleman, Rodale Press, 1991
The Illustrated Herb Encyclopedia, Kathi Keville, Mallard Press, 1991
The Naturalist’s Herb Guide, Sally Ann Berk, Black Dog & Levanthal, 1996; ISBN: 1-884822-52-5
Potter’s New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, R.C.Wren, C.W.Daniel, 1985, ISBN: 0-85207-197-3
Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, edited by Claire Kowalchik & William Hylton, Rodale Press, 1987
Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Herbs and Spices, edited by Stanley Schuler, Fireside Books, 1990

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: URL: http://www.herbalpedia.com Editor: Maureen Rogers.  Copyright 2010.  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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