Plant used for/Beverage
Please add more about plants that are used for Beverage here!
- Used in making tea or juice to drink.
For more information
Here is EcoReality's seed inventory for plants that are used as Beverage:
|ID||common name||family||latin name||date||quantity||action||days to germ||propagation||days to maturity||habitat||sun||drainage||soil||inventory||notes||nutrients||needs||use|
|259||Alfalfa||Fabaceae||Medicago sativa||Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in situ. The seed can also be sown in situ in autumn. Seed can be obtained that has been inoculated with Rhizobium bacteria, enabling the plant to succeed in soils where the bacteria is not already present. Alfalfa can adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions from cold temperate to warm sub-tropical, but thrives best on a rich, friable, well-drained loamy soil with loose topsoil supplied with lime. It does not tolerate waterlogging and fails to grow on acid soils. Grows well on light soils. Alfalfa is a very deep rooting plant, bringing up nutrients from deep in the soil and making them available for other plants with shallower root systems. It is a good companion plant for growing near fruit trees and grape vines so long as it is in a reasonably sunny position, but it does not grow well with onions or other members of the Allium genus.||Hardy to zone 5. In flower June to July. Seeds ripen July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees, lepidoptera, self. Self-fertile.||partial shade||well drained||poor||0 each||Leaves and young shoots - raw or cooked. The leaves can also be dried for later use. The seed is commonly sprouted which is added to salads, used in sandwiches etc or cooked in soups. The seed is soaked in warm water for 12 hours, then kept moist in a container in a warm place to sprout. It is ready in about 4 - 6 days. The seeds can also be ground into a powder and used as a mush, or mixed with cereal flours for making a nutritionally improved bread etc. An appetite-stimulating tea is made from the leaves.
Alfalfa leaves, either fresh or dried, have traditionally been used as a nutritive tonic to stimulate the appetite and promote weight gain. The plant has an oestrogenic action and could prove useful in treating problems related to menstruation and the menopause. The plant is grown commercially as a source of chlorophyll and carotene, both of which have proven health benefits. The leaves also contain the anti-oxidant tricin. The root is febrifuge and is also prescribed in cases of highly coloured urine. Extracts of the plant are antibacterial. Used for asthma, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders (anti-ulcer).
|Nitrogen, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin K||Anodyne, Antibacterial, Antiscorbutic, Aperient, Beverage, Diuretic, Dye, Emetic, Febrifuge, Food, Forage, Haemostatic, Mulch, Nutritive, Oil, Stimulant, Tonic|
|267||Autumn Olive; Autumn Berry, Silverberry, Aki-Gumi, Oleaster||Elaeagnaceae||Elaeagnus umbellata||Seed: sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It should germinate in late winter or early spring, though it may take 18 months. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate, often taking more than 18 months. A warm stratification for 4 weeks followed by 12 weeks cold stratification can help. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well.
Layering: September/October. Takes 12 months.
Plants can fruit in 6 years from seed.An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%.
|full sun||well drained||poor||Fruit: edible raw or cooked. Juicy and pleasantly acid, they are tasty raw and can also be made into jams, preserves etc. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent. The fruit contains about 8.3% sugars, 4.5% protein, 1% ash. The vitamin C content is about 12mg per 100g. Mature bushes in the wild yield about 650g of fruit over 2 - 3 pickings. The harvested fruit stores for about 15 days at room temperature. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter and contains a single large seed.
Seed: edible raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
The seeds are used as a stimulant in the treatment of coughs.
The expressed oil from the seeds is used in the treatment of pulmonary affections.
The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.Very tolerant of maritime exposure, it makes a good informal hedge, succeeding even in very exposed positions. The plants make a reasonable wind-protecting screen, they are about as wide as they are tall. They make a good companion hedge, enriching the soil and fertilizing neighbouring plants. The wood is a good fuel.
|Antioxidants, Lycopene, Nitrogen, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E||Astringent, Beverage, Cancer, Cardiac, Food, Fuel, Hedge, Pectoral, Stimulant|
|264||Clover, Crimson||Fabaceae||Trifolium incarnatum||Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring to early summer in situ. The seed can also be sown in early autumn as a winter green manure.
Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun. Succeeds in poor soils. It grows well in an apple orchard, the trees will produce tastier fruit that stores better.
It should not be grown with camellias or gooseberries because it harbours a mite that can cause fruit drop in the gooseberries and premature budding in the camellias.
Fairly resistant to 'clover rot'.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Buttercups growing nearby depress the growth of the nitrogen bacteria by means of a root exudate.When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
|full sun||moist||poor||8800 grams||The seeds can be sprouted and eaten in salads. They can also be dried and ground into a nutritious flour. Dried flower heads are a tea substitute. Used as a green manure. It is relatively fast growing, makes an excellent weed suppressing cover and fixes nitrogen. It is also used with grass seed mixes in soil reclamation projects.||Nitrogen||Beverage, Green manure, Soil stabilization|
|293||Clover, white||Fabaceae||Trifolium reptans||Seeds: Pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in situ. If the seed is in short supply it might be better to sow it in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring.
Division: in spring.
Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun, preferring a sweet calcareous clay soil.
Succeeds in poor soils.
Dislikes growing with henbane or members of the buttercup family. Buttercups growing nearby depress the growth of the nitrogen bacteria by means of a root exudate.
It grows well in an apple orchard, the trees will produce tastier fruit that stores better.
It should not be grown with camellias or gooseberries because it harbours a mite that can cause fruit drop in the gooseberries and premature budding in the camellias.
Polymorphic, there are many subspecies and varieties. Some varieties have also been selected for use in lawn mixes.This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
|Grassland and lawns, preferring a calcareous clay soil[9, 17].||full sun||well drained||clay||3500 grams||A very important food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species it is also a good bee plant. A good companion plant in the lawn, tolerating trampling[18, 54].||Nitrogen||Antirheumatic, Antiscrophulatic, Beverage, Depurative, Detergent, Food, Green manure, Ophthalmic, Tonic|
|260||Comfrey||Boraginaceae||Symphytum officinale||Seed: sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed you can try an outdoor sowing in situ in the spring.
Division: succeeds at almost any time of the year. Simply use a spade to chop off the top 7cm of root just below the soil level. The original root will regrow and you will have a number of root tops, each of which will make a new plant. These can either be potted up or planted out straight into their permanent positions.Tolerates most soils and situations but prefers a moist soil and some shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Best grown in an open sunny site in a deep rich soil if it is being grown for compost material. Plants can be invasive, often spreading freely by means of self-sown seed. The root system is very deep and difficult to eradicate, even small fragments of root left in the soil can produce new plants.
|Damp, often shady localities, in meadows, woods etc, especially near streams and rivers.||partial shade||moist||clay||Comfrey is a commonly used herbal medicine with a long and proven history in the treatment of various complaints. The root and the leaves are used, the root being more active, and they can be taken internally or used externally as a poultice. Comfrey is especially useful in the external treatment of cuts, bruises, sprains, sores, eczema, varicose veins, broken bones etc, internally it is used in the treatment of a wide range of pulmonary complaints, internal bleeding etc.
The plant contains a substance called 'allantoin', a cell proliferant that speeds up the healing process. This substance is now synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry and used in healing creams.
Some caution is advised, however, especially in the internal use of the herb. External applications and internally taken teas or tinctures of the leaves are considered to be completely safe, but internal applications of tablets or capsules are felt to have too many drawbacks for safe usage.
The leaves are harvested in early summer before the plant flowers, the roots are harvested in the autumn. Both are dried for later use.
A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested before the plant flowers. This has a very limited range of application, but is of great benefit in the treatment of broken bones and eye injuries.
Edible: young leaves, cooked or raw. The leaf is hairy and the texture is mucilaginous. It may be full of minerals but it is not pleasant eating for most tastes. It can be chopped up finely and added to salads, in this way the hairiness is not so obvious. Young shoots can be used as an asparagus substitute, as are blanched stalks. Older leaves can be dried and used as a tea. The peeled roots are cut up and added to soups. A tea is made from the dried leaves and roots. The roasted roots are used with dandelion and chicory roots for making coffee.
|Anodyne, Astringent, Beverage, Compost, Demulcent, Emollient, Expectorant, Haemostatic, Homeopathy, Refrigerant, Vulnerary|
|2||Elderberry, Black; Black Elder; Elder Berry||Caprifoliaceae||Sambucus nigra||2013-04-23 00:00:00||182 each seeds in 8cc blocks||plant||Soak berries overnight, smash them, and remove the seeds. Sow in outdoor conditions, in pots or flats, and expect germination in the spring. Alternatively, you may wish to remove the seeds from the fruits and then store the seeds in moist medium in a sealed plastic bag or jar in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for 90 days, then remove from fridge and sow. The best conditions for germination are cool, moist shade. We find that this method is pretty reliable. Elderberries will not grow properly in sterile soil. Sow seeds in very rich and composty soil medium. The breakdown of fungi in the soil will produce gibberellic acid, a growth hormone which is helpful for germination. Once germinated, the seedling grows very rapidly into a handsome bush or small tree. Grow out in a shaded place in pots for a year before transplanting to final location.
Seed best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, when it should germinate in early spring. Stored seed can be sown in the spring in a cold frame but will probably germinate better if it is given 2 months warm followed by 2 months cold stratification first. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If good growth is made, the young plants can be placed in their permanent positions during the early summer. Otherwise, either put them in a sheltered nursery bed, or keep them in their pots in a sheltered position and plant them out in spring of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 15 - 20cm with a heel, late autumn in a frame or a sheltered outdoor bed.
Division of suckers in the dormant season.
A very easily grown plant, it tolerates most soils and situations, growing well on chalk, but prefers a moist loamy soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates some shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Tolerates atmospheric pollution and coastal situations.
The elder is very occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties though most of these have been developed for their ornamental value. The sub-species S. nigra alba has white/green fruits that are nicer than the type species and are quite nice raw.
The elder also has a very long history of folk use, both medicinally and for a wide range of other uses. All in all it is a very valuable plant to have in the garden. The leaves often begin to open as early as January and are fully open in April. The leaves fall in October/November in exposed sites, later in sheltered positions. Young stems can be killed by late frosts but they are soon replaced from the ground level.
Very tolerant of pruning, plants can be cut back to ground level and will regrow from the base.
The flowers have a sweet, almost overpowering smell, not exactly pleasant for it has fishy undertones, but from a distance its musky scent is appealing.
Very resistant to the predations of rabbits. The flowers are very attractive to insects. The fruit is very attractive to birds and this can draw them away from other cultivated fruits.The elder is an early colonizer of derelict land, the seed arriving in the defecations of birds and mammals. It is a very good pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
|127||It's probably a good idea to grow 3 trees for pollination purposes, although we have certainly seen good crops of fruit from a single tree grown in isolation. Elderberries are best placed as an understory to a higher tree canopy. Will also grow in full sun if the roots are kept cool and moist.||sun or partial shade||moist||loam||50 each||Perennial, deciduous, multistemmed bush to small tree native to Europe. Wild form. This is the most tried-and-true species for medicinal use, and the berries are very tasty, and about twice as big as the berries of other species. Elderberry berries are rich in anthocyanins, bioflavonoids, vitamins and antioxidants.
The syrup, tincture or glycerite of the berries is excellent for treating the common cold and for overall increase in immunity. The fresh green leaves may be infused in olive oil to make an emollient embrocation for treating sunburn, rough skin, age spots, and/or diaper rash (normally individuals will not have both age spots and diaper rash, but it can happen). Truly, all parts of the plant may be used in herbal medicine, and this is much expanded upon in my book "Making Plant Medicine."
Flowers generally appear in year 3. Flowers turn rapidly into heavy clusters of fruits.
Elder has a very long history of household use as a medicinal herb and is also much used by herbalists. The plant has been called 'the medicine chest of country people'.
The flowers are the main part used in modern herbalism, though all parts of the plant have been used at times. The inner bark is collected from young trees in the autumn and is best sun-dried. It is diuretic, a strong purgative and in large doses emetic. It is used in the treatment of constipation and arthritic conditions.
An emollient ointment is made from the green inner bark.
The leaves can be used both fresh or dry. For drying, they are harvested in periods of fine weather during June and July. The leaves are purgative, but are more nauseous than the bark. They are also diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and haemostatic.
The juice is said to be a good treatment for inflamed eyes. An ointment made from the leaves is emollient and is used in the treatment of bruises, sprains, chilblains, wounds etc.
The fresh flowers are used in the distillation of 'Elder Flower Water'. The flowers can be preserved with salt to make them available for distillation later in the season. The water is mildly astringent and a gentle stimulant. It is mainly used as a vehicle for eye and skin lotions. The dried flowers are diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, galactogogue and pectoral. An infusion is very effective in the treatment of chest complaints and is also used to bathe inflamed eyes. The infusion is also a very good spring tonic and blood cleanser.
Externally, the flowers are used in poultices to ease pain and abate inflammation. Used as an ointment, it treats chilblains, burns, wounds, scalds etc. The fruit is depurative, weakly diaphoretic and gently laxative. A tea made from the dried berries is said to be a good remedy for colic and diarrhoea.
The fruit is widely used for making wines, preserves etc., and these are said to retain the medicinal properties of the fruit. The pith of young stems is used in treating burns and scalds.
The root is no longer used in herbal medicine but it formerly had a high reputation as an emetic and purgative that was very effective against dropsy.
A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh inner bark of young branches. It relieves asthmatic symptoms and spurious croup in children.
The plant is a valuable addition to the compost heap, its flowers are an alternative ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator and the roots of the plant improve fermentation of the compost heap when growing nearby.
The leaves are used as an insect repellent, very effective when rubbed on the skin though they do impart their own unique fragrance. They can be powdered and placed amongst plants to act as a deterrent, or made into a spray when they act as an insecticide. This is prepared by boiling 3 - 4 handfuls of leaves in a litre of water, then straining and allowing to cool before applying. Effective against many insects, it also treats various fungal infections such as leaf rot and powdery mildew. The dried flowering shoots are used to repel insects, rodents etc.
The flowers are used in skin lotions, oils and ointments. Tolerant of salt-laden gales, this species can be grown as a shelter hedge in exposed maritime areas, it is rather bare in the winter though.
This is an excellent pioneer species to use when re-establishing woodlands. It is very tough and wind-resistant, grows quickly and provides shelter for longer-lived and taller woodland species to establish. It will generally maintain itself in the developing woodland, though usually in the sunnier positions.
A dye is obtained from the fruit and the bark. The bark of older branches and the root have been used as an ingredient in dyeing black. A green dye is obtained from the leaves when alum is used as a mordant. The berries yield various shades of blue and purple dyes. They have also been used as a hair dye, turning the hair black.
The blue colouring matter from the fruit can be used as a litmus to test if something is acid or alkaline. It turns green in an alkaline solution and red in an acid solution.
The pith in the stems of young branches pushes out easily and the hollow stems thus made have been used as pipes for blowing air into a fire. They can also be made into musical instruments. The pith of the wood is used for making microscope slides and also for treating burns and scalds. The mature wood is white and fine-grained. It is easily cut and polishes well. Valued highly by carpenters, it has many used, for making skewers, mathematical instruments, toys etc.
Fruit eaten raw or cooked. The flavour of the raw fruit is not acceptable to many tastes, though when cooked it makes delicious jams, preserves, pies and so forth. It can be used fresh or dried, the dried fruit being less bitter. The fruit is used to add flavour and colour to preserves, jams, pies, sauces, chutneys etc, it is also often used to make wine.
The fruit is about 8mm in diameter and is borne in large clusters. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
Flowers eaten raw or cooked. They can also be dried for later use. The flowers are crisp and somewhat juicy, they have an aromatic smell and flavour and are delicious raw as a refreshing snack on a summers day, though look out for the insects. The flowers are used to add a muscatel flavour to stewed fruits, jellies and jams (especially gooseberry jam). They are often used to make a sparkling wine.A sweet tea is made from the dried flowers. The leaves are used to impart a green colouring to oils and fats.
|Antiinflammatory, Aperient, Beverage, Compost, Cosmetic, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Dye, Emetic, Emollient, Expectorant, Food, Forage, Fungicide, Galactogogue, Haemostatic, Hedge, Immunostimulant, Insect Repellant, Insecticide, Laxative, Litmus, Ophthalmic, Pioneer, Pipes, Purgative, Salve, Stimulant, Wood|
|266||Goji; Wolfberry; Chinese Matrimony Vine; Box Thorn||Solanaceae||Lycium barbarum||2012-03-31 00:00:00||240 each seeds in 8cc blocks||plant||7||Plant prefers full sun and fast-drying soils. High desert conditions are quite conducive. Goji plants are drought-tolerant.
Seeds lose viability when removed from fruit. Soak dried berries in water overnight and remove the seeds from the softened fruits in the morning and plant them. Use a sandy potting soil medium. Sow the seeds just beneath the surface, tamp in, and keep in strong light. Water well to start, but back off on watering after germination, which occurrs in 1 to 2 weeks. Pot up seedlings and plant out to the landscape only after they are well-established.
Grow in greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Pinch out the shoot tips of the young plants in order to encourage bushy growth.
Cuttings: half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel if possible, July/August in individual pots in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, autumn to late winter in a cold frame. High percentage.
Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
An easily grown plant, it does not require a rich soil, flowering and fruiting better in a well-drained soil of moderate quality. Succeeds in impoverished soils, but more fertile soils are best if the plant is being grown for its edible young shoots.
Requires a sunny position. Tolerates maritime exposure. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value.Plants are very tolerant of pruning and can regrow from old wood. Any trimming is best carried out in the spring. Plants produce suckers freely and can become invasive when in a suitable position. Otherwise they can be difficult to establish.
|730||Native to Northern China. Viney, likes something to grow on. Will spread on ground.||sun or partial shade||well drained||poor||300 each||Goji berries are used fresh, juiced or (more commonly) dried and used like raisins.
They are a yin tonic, immune enhancing, and excellent for the overall health.
There is much confusion over the naming of this species. Most, if not all, of the plants being grown as L. chinense or L. europaeum are in fact this species.
Fruit: edible raw or cooked. The fruit is a berry about 2cm in diameter. A mild sweet liquorice flavour. Only the fully ripe fruits should be eaten.
Young shoots: edible cooked. Used mainly as a flavouring, they can also be lightly cooked for 3 - 4 minutes and used as a vegetable, the flavour is somewhat cress-like but has also been described as peppermint-like.
Leaves: wilt rapidly once they have been harvested; used as a tea substitute.
A sweet tonic decoction made from the fruits is used to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. It acts mainly on the liver and kidneys. The fruit is taken internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, diabetes, poor eyesight, vertigo, lumbago, impotence and menopausal complaints.
The fruit is harvested when fully ripe and is dried for later use.
The root bark is a bitter, cooling, antibacterial herb that controls coughs and lowers fevers, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. It is taken internally in the treatment of chronic fevers, internal haemorrhages, nosebleeds, tuberculosis, coughs, asthma etc. It is applied externally to treat genital itching. The bark is harvested in the winter and dried for later use.
The plant has a long history of medicinal use, both as a general, energy restoring tonic and also to cure a wide range of ailments from skin rashes and eyesight problems to diabetes. A tonic tea is made from the leaves.The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.
|Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E||Antibacterial, Anticholesterolemic, Antipyretic, Beverage, Cancer, Diuretic, Food, Hedge, Hypoglycaemic, Ophthalmic, Purgative, Skin, Soil stabilization, Tonic, Vasodilator|
|265||Rye, Fall||Poaceae||Secale cereale||Seed: sow March or October in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but prefers a well-drained light soil in a sunny position.
It thrives on infertile, submarginal areas and is renouned for its ability to grow on sandy soils.
Established plants are drought tolerant. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of of 22 to 176cm, an annual temperature in the range of of 4.3 to 21.3°C and a pH of 4.5 to 8.2.
Rye is a widely cultivated temperate zone cereal crop. It is able to withstand severe climatic conditions and can be grown much further north and at higher altitudes than wheat.
Average yields vary widely from country to country, the world average is around 1.6 tonnes per hectare with yields of almost 7 tonnes per hectare achieved in Norway.
There are many named varieties. Rye is a rather variable species and botanists have divided it into a number of sub-species, all of which could be of value in breeding programmes. These sub-species are briefly listed below:
S. cereale afghanicum (Vavilov.) K.Hammer. Native to the Caucasus, western Asia and India.
S. cereale ancestrale Zhuk. Native to western Asia.
S. cereale dighoricum Vavilov. Native to the Caucasus and eastern europe.
S. cereale segetale Zhuk. Native to temperate Asia.Rye grows well with cornflowers and pansies, though it inhibits the growth of poppies and couch grass.
|full sun||well drained||poor||25000 grams||Edible seed: cooked. A common cereal, it is used especially in N. Europe to make bread. The seed contains about 13% protein. The grain also contains some gluten, though not as much as wheat, so it makes a heavier bread than wheat. It can also be used to make cakes etc. The seed can be sprouted and added to salads.
Malt, a sweet substance produced by germinating the seed, is extracted from the roasted germinated seed and used as a sweetening agent and in making beer etc. The roasted (ungerminated) seed is used as a coffee substitute.
The straw is used as a fuel or as a biomass in industry. It is quite strong and can also be used in thatching, for paper making, weaving mats and hats etc. Other uses for the straw include as a packing material for nursery stock, bricks and tiles, for bedding, archery targets, and mushroom compost.The plant is a good green manure crop. It is fast growing with an extensive and deep root system. It is especially useful if sown in late autumn. Its growth over the winter will prevent soil erosion and the leaching of nutrients from the soil, it can then be incorporated into the soil in the spring. The extensive root system also makes this a good plant to use for soil stabilization, especially on sandy soils.
|Carbohydrate, Phosphorous, Potassium, Protein||Beverage, Cancer, Fibre, Fuel, Green manure, Laxative, Oil, Poultice, Soil stabilization, Sweetening|
|69||Sumac, Smooth; Sumach Tree||Anacardiaceae||Rhus glabra||Scarify and sow in spring.||Plant prefers part shade to full sun and will flourish in any soil, including clay.||sun or partial shade||Small deciduous tree to 15 feet, with a flattened, spreading crown. All zones. Throughout North America, the several species of Sumac decorate field, roadside and yard with their deep-red, fall colors and erect, cone-like clusters of fruit. The fruit is covered with fuzz, rich in malic and ascorbic acid crystals, very high in vitamin C. You can make tasty sun tea from these fruits.||Alterative, Antiseptic, Appetizer, Astringent, Beverage, Diuretic, Dye, Emetic, Emmenagogue, Febrifuge, Galactogogue, Haemostatic, Hedge, Mordant, Oil, Ophthalmic, Pioneer, Refrigerant, Rubefacient, Salve, Shelterbelt, Soil stabilization, Tannin, TB, Tonic, Wood|
|74||Uva Ursi; Bearberry; Kinnikinik||Ericaceae||Arctostaphylos uva-ursi||60||Scarify seed vigorously on sandpaper. Fire dependent germinator. Sow in fall, spring, or summer. Space plants 1 foot apart.
Seed: best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak dried seed in boiling water for 10 - 20 seconds or burn some straw on top of them and then stratify at 2 - 5°c for 2 months. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 months at 15°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer.
Cuttings of side shoots of the current season's growth, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August to December in a frame. The cuttings are very slow and can take a year to root.
Division in early spring. Take care because the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and keep them in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away actively.
Layering of long branches in early spring.
Requires a deep moist well-drained light or medium lime-free loam in sun or semi-shade. Shade tolerant but plants produce less fruit when they are grown in the shade. Prefers a cool damp position.
A very ornamental plant, it is sometimes cultivated for its medicinal uses.
There are a number of named varieties developed for their ornamental interest. The form 'Massachusetts' is an especially prostrate, free-flowering and free-fruiting form. 'Anchor Bay', 'Point Reyes' and 'Vulcan's Peak' have all been mentioned as good groundcover forms.This is one of the first plants to colonize bare and rocky ground and burnt over areas. It is often an indicator of poor soils in the wild. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their final positions as soon as possible. Hybridizes with other members of this genus, especially A. columbiana.
|Plant prefers acid soils, full sun to part shade.||partial shade||moist||loam||30 each||Hardy to: All zones. Spreading perennial evergreen groundcover. Circumpolar. The herb covers entire hillsides and has been adopted by landscapers for use in the city as a drought tolerant, glossy leaved groundcover. Does well in pots.
Smokeable. Tea or tincture treats mild urinary infections.
Bearberry was commonly used by many native North American Indian tribes to treat a wide range of complaints and has also been used in conventional herbal medicine for hundreds of years, it is one of the best natural urinary antiseptics. The leaves contain hydroquinones and are strongly antibacterial, especially against certain organisms associated with urinary infections. The plant should be used with caution, however, because hydroquinones are also toxic.
The dried leaves are used in the treatment of a variety of complaints. These leaves should be harvested in early autumn, only green leaves being selected, and then dried in gentle heat.
A tea made from the dried leaves is much used for kidney and bladder complaints and inflammations of the urinary tract such as acute and chronic cystitis and urethritis, but it should be used with caution and preferably only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The tea is more effective if the urine is alkaline, thus it is best used in combination with a vegetable-based diet.
Externally, a poultice of the infused leaves with oil has been used as a salve to treat rashes, skin sores etc, and as a wash for a baby's head. An infusion of the leaves has been used as an eyewash, a mouthwash for cankers and sore gums and as a poultice for back pains, rheumatism, burns etc.
The dried leaves have been used for smoking as an alternative to tobacco.
The herb should not be prescribed to children, pregnant women or patients with kidney disease. Other uses: fluid retention and bed wetting. Claimed to strengthen the heart muscle and urinary tract and to return the womb to its normal size after childbirth. Treatment should be short (seven days) and used with an alkaline diet. Not recommended for children under 12.
Edible fruit, raw or cooked. Insipid, dry and mealy, it becomes sweeter when cooked. Added to stews etc, it is a good source of carbohydrates.
The fruit can also be used to make a cooling drink or used for preserves etc. It can be dried and stored for later use. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter. A tea is made from the dried leaves.
A yellowish-brown dye is obtained from the leaves, it does not require a mordant. A grey-brown dye is obtained from the fruit.
The dried fruits are used in rattles and as beads on necklaces etc.The leaves are a good source of tannin. The mashed berries can be rubbed on the insides of coiled cedar root baskets in order to waterproof them. A good ground-cover for steep sandy banks in a sunny position or in light shade. A carpeting plant, growing fairly fast and carpeting as it spreads. It is valuable for checking soil erosion on watersheds. This is also a pioneer plant in the wild, often being the first plant to colonize burnt-over areas, especially on poor soils.
|Antiseptic, Astringent, Beads, Beverage, Diuretic, Dye, Hypnotic, Kidney, Lithontripic, Ornamental, Pioneer, Poultice, Skin, Soil stabilization, Tannin, Tonic, Waterproofing|
|75||Valerian||Valerianaceae||Valeriana officinalis||10||Seed is short-lived and should be sown within a year of receipt. Light dependent germinator. Sow in spring, tamped securely into surface, and keep evenly moist until germination, which occurs in 10 to 16 days. Seedling leaves look very un-valerian at first and some folks are confused. But have faith, in time the leaves will become divided and much more closely resemble the standard form of the plant. Space plants 1 to 2 feet apart.
Seed: sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed because it requires light for germination. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant out into their permanent positions in the summer if sufficient growth has been made. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse or frame for their first winter and plant them out early in the following summer.
Division: in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
A polymorphic species, the more extreme variations are given specific status by some botanists. Valerian is often grown in the herb garden and also sometimes grown commercially as a medicinal herb.
When grown for its medicinal root, the plant should not be allowed to flower. The flowers and the dried roots have a strong smell somewhat resembling stale perspiration. Cats are very fond of this plant, particularly the powdered root. Once a cat has discovered a plant they will often destroy it by constantly rolling over it.The dried root also attracts rats and can be used as a bait in traps. A good companion for most plants.
|730||Valerian prefers full sun to part shade and moist but well-drained soils. I have seen excellent clumps form, during a wet spring, on the peak of a pile of ground pumice. However, regular garden soil amended with organic compost will do nicely. The plant adapts rather well to a wide range of conditions.||sun or partial shade||moist||clay||0 each||Herbaceous perennial. Native to Europe and temperate Asia.
One of the best phosphorous accumulators.
Probably the strongest herbal cerebral sedative, the plant makes one go to sleep. All parts of the plant are active, but it is the spreading root and root crown, dug and used fresh, that is most commonly used, and the tincture of the fresh root is the most common dosage form. However, I have gone to sleep after eating a salad that an unwitting apprentice had prepared using valerian leaves as an ingredient, and I've had multiple correspondences from folks that make tinctures out of the fresh flowers. Regardless of how you make the potion, it is well-known that Valerian does not work on everybody. Some folks are stimulated by it. However, most of us go to sleep under her influence.
Flowers white in the second year to a height of 5 feet or more. Some companies are slinging varieties of Valerian that they claim are medicinally superior to the standard European strain (which is what we grow). However, the standard strain is plenty good enough to do the job.
Valerian is a well-known and frequently used medicinal herb that has a long and proven history of efficacy. It is noted especially for its effect as a tranquilliser and nervine, particularly for those people suffering from nervous overstrain. Valerian has been shown to encourage sleep, improve sleep quality and reduce blood pressure. It is also used internally in the treatment of painful menstruation, cramps, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome etc.
It should not be prescribed for patients with liver problems.
Externally, it is used to treat eczema, ulcers and minor injuries.
The active ingredients are called valepotriates, research has confirmed that these have a calming effect on agitated people, but are also a stimulant in cases of fatigue.
The roots of 2 year old plants are harvested in the autumn once the leaves have died down and are used fresh or dried. The fresh root is about 3 times as effective as roots dried at 40°, whilst temperatures above 82° destroy the active principle in the root.
Use with caution, can lead to addiction.
The plant yields about 1% of an essential oil from the roots.
Seed is edible. An essential oil from the leaves and root is used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods, condiments etc. It is especially important in apple flavours. The leaves can also be used as a condiment. The plant is used in moderation as a herbal tea.
It is used in perfumery to provide a 'mossy' aroma, though the scent is considered to be disagreeable by many people. The dried roots are also placed in linen cupboards and clothes drawers in order to scent the clothes.
The dried root attracts rats and cats, it can be used as a bait to lure them away from other areas.An ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. The plant can also be used to make a very good liquid plant feed. It attracts earthworms. The leaves are very rich in phosphorus.
|Phosphorous||Antispasmodic, Beverage, Carminative, Compost, Diuretic, Essential, Flavouring, Fragrance, Hypnotic, Insectiary, Nervine, Sedative, Stimulant|
|76||Vervain, Blue||Verbenaceae||Verbena hastata||2013-04-27 00:00:00||other||14||Sow in the early spring or give 2 weeks cold conditioning by putting seeds in moist medium in a plastic bag in the fridge (not freezer) and then sow in warm soil. Germ in 2 to 4 weeks. Space plants 6 inches apart.
Seed: sow early spring in a greenhouse or cold frame and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
Basal cuttings in early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -20°c.
|Plants prefer full sun to part shade and moist garden soils. Good drainage is not a necessary prerequisite. If there is a concern that the plant will spread, then keep it in a pot, or provide other suitable barriers.||sun or partial shade||moist||200 each||Upright, creeping, self-seeding herbaceous perennial significant in medicine and ritual. Native to the Eastern US. Bright blue flowers on reddish-tinted plants, in multiple, long-lasting, handsome spikes.
Fresh or dried leaf, in tincture or tea, is a bitter remedy for treating indigestion, colds, and fevers. A good ingredient for home brew, it is also a traditional offering plant to honor the garden spirits. The plant will placate ills, real or imagined. Once imagined, ills become real, don't they? It's a quirk of the human condition that most of us would like to escape. Vervain helps you escape.
The leaves and roots are used medicinally; roots are more active than the leaves. The plant is used in the treatment of stomach aches, gravel, worms and scrofula. An infusion of the roots, leaves or seeds has been used in the early stages of fevers. A snuff made from the dried flowers has been used to treat nose bleeds.Seed are edible cooked. The seed can be roasted and ground into a powder or used whole as a piñole. Pleasantly bitter, some of this bitterness can be removed by leeching the flour. The leaves are used as a tea substitute.
|Antidepressant, Antiperiodic, Beverage, Diaphoretic, Emetic, Expectorant, Food, Ornamental, Tonic, Vermifuge, Vulnerary|
|77||Vetch, Kidney||Fabaceae||Anthyllis vulneraria||7||Scarify the seed on medium sandpaper and sow in spring. An overnight soak will speed germination, which takes 1 to 3 weeks. Barely cover with soil, tamp well. Easy to sow in place, or if you like, sow in pots. Excellent for open garden, grasslands, rock gardens, or potted culture.
Seed: sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. If there is sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ. Pre-soak the seed for about 12 hrs or scarify the seed. It usually germinates in 1 -2 months at 10°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring or autumn.
Prefers a sunny position and an alkaline soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 8. Prefers a sandy loam. Thrives in poor soils.A rich food source for bees, butterflies and caterpillars.
|This easy creeper fixes nitrogen and provides nectar for an extended time period from midspring through midsummer, and again, sometimes, with the fall rains.||sun or partial shade||poor||50 each||Herbaceous perennial native to Europe and flowering yellow to about 8 inches. Plant prefers full sun to part shade and calcerous soils or regular garden soils. I frequently see this growing in the wild on the Pacific Coast, and it is relatively famous for doing well around beaches, sea cliffs, etc.
With its soft and pretty, globular flowers and forgiving, slightly downy foliage, Kidney Vetch is a natural choice as an emollient treatment for the skin, and has been used as such since time immemorial. The plant may be poulticed, or dried and made into an infused oil and incorporated in that way into cosmetics, lotions, or salves. The plant detoxifies, and it soothes inflammations.
This plant is an ancient remedy for skin eruptions, slow-healing wounds, minor wounds, cuts and bruises, it is applied externally.
Internally, it is used as a treatment for constipation and as a spring tonic. The plant can be used fresh in the growing season, or harvested when in flower and dried for later use.The dried flower heads are a tea substitute.
|Boron, Nitrogen||Antitussive, Astringent, Beverage, Emollient, Insectiary, Laxative, Vulnerary|
|258||Wild Hollyhock||Malvaceae||Alcea rosea||14||Seed: sow April/May or August/September in pots or in situ. Easily grown from seed, which usually germinates in about 2 - 3 weeks at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division after flowering. Only use rust-free specimens.
Root cuttings in December.
Basal cuttings at almost any time of year.
Succeeds in most soils. Poor soils should be enriched with organic matter. Prefers a heavy rich soil and a sheltered sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -15°c.A very ornamental plant, it is usually grown as a biennial due to its susceptibility to the fungal disease 'rust'. There are many named varieties. Young plants, and also the young growth in spring, are very attractive to slugs.
|sun or partial shade||moist||clay||0 each||The flowers are demulcent, diuretic and emollient. They are useful in the treatment of chest complaints, and a decoction is used to improve blood circulation, for the treatment of constipation, dysmenorrhoea, haemorrhage etc.
The flowers are harvested when they are open and are dried for later use. The shoots are used to ease a difficult labour. The root is astringent and demulcent. It is crushed and applied as a poultice to ulcers. Internally, it is used in the treatment of dysentery. The roots and the flowers are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are said to have a sweet, acrid taste and a neutral potency. They are used in the treatment of inflammations of the kidneys/womb, vaginal/seminal discharge, and the roots on their own are used to treat loss of appetite.
The seed is demulcent, diuretic and febrifuge.
Edible: young leaves, raw or cooked. A mild flavour, but the texture leaves something to be desired. They have been used as a pot-herb, though they are not particularly palatable. They can also be chopped up finely and added to salads.
Inner portion of young stems, raw. Flower petals and flower buds, raw. Added to salads.
A nutritious starch is obtained from the root.
A refreshing tea is made from the flower petals.
A fibre obtained from the stems is used in papermaking. The fibres are about 1.9mm long. The stems are harvested in late summer, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be removed. The fibres are cooked with lye for 2 hours and then ball milled for 3 hours or pounded with mallets. The paper is light tan in colour.
The flowers are an alternative ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost.
The seed contains 12% of a drying oil.
The red anthocyanin constituent of the flowers is used as a litmus.A brown dye is obtained from the petals.
|Antiinflammatory, Astringent, Beverage, Compost, Demulcent, Diuretic, Dye, Emollient, Febrifuge, Fibre, Litmus, Oil, Ornamental|
|79||Witch Hazel||Hamamelidaceae||Hamamelis virginiana||2013-04-20 00:00:00||other||30||Seed is quite hard and germinates best after some cold conditioning. Fall planted seed may germinate in a few months in a cold greenhouse, or if planted in the shadehouse or outdoor nursery bed will germinate in the spring. To sow in spring, plant early enough so that the seed experiences at least 30 days of cold moist soils, or give 30 days cold moist stratification in the refrigerator before planting. All this said, the germplasm is viable and robust, and given the right conditions the seeds do germinate reliably. Germination usually occurs between 30 and 90 days after planting.
Seed can be very slow to germinate. It is best to harvest the seed 'green' (as soon as it is mature but before it has dried on the plant) around the end of August and sow it immediately in a cold frame. It may still take 18 months to germinate but will normally be quicker than stored seed which will require 2 months warm stratification then 1 month cold followed by another 2 weeks warm and then a further 4 months cold stratification. Scarification may also improve germination of stored seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Overwinter them in a greenhouse for their first winter and plant out in late spring.
Layering in early spring or autumn. Takes 12 months. Good percentage.
Softwood cuttings, summer in a frame.
Prefers a moist sandy loam in a sunny position, though it tolerates some shade. Prefers a rich well-drained soil. Dislikes dry limy soils but will succeed in a calcareous soil if it is moist. Prefers a position sheltered from cold drying winds in a neutral to slightly acid soil. A very hardy plant tolerating temperatures down to about -35°c.Witch hazel is a widely used medicinal herb. The bark is harvested commercially from the wild in N. America. The twigs have been used in the past as dowsing rods for water divining. A slow growing shrub, it takes about 6 years to flower from seed. The flowers have a soft sweet perfume. This species is notably susceptible to honey fungus.
|2190||The witch hazel bush itself is full of surprises, flowering in midwinter and waiting to eject its seed until autumn. Plant prefers full sun to part shade and well-drained, slightly acid soils. It likes to be able to get its roots down into the aquifer, so it can often be found growing in dried up riparian zones or in moist but well-drained woodlands. It does fine as a permaculture bush/tree in city lots or on the farm.||sun or partial shade||well drained||rich||20 each||Woody perennial bush to small tree native to the US. A sturdy and handsome addition to the medicinal landscape, with a multi-stemmed habit.
The bright green leaves and young twigs, picked at the height of their glory and dried, produce the quintessential astringent. Water extracts or tinctures with low alcohol content and 10% glycerine thrown in to stabilize the tannins (see "Making Plant Medicine") prove to be very useful for treating hemorrhoids, herpes lesions, or any inflammatory conditions of the skin. Very nice way to tone up the waydown tissues after childbirth. Excellent post-operative swipe. Can be taken internally as well as used externally -- nontoxic.
For all you farmers market plant-seller type people, and nursery folks, a little tip -- the plants develop quicly into saleability and in our experience tend to be bestsellers. Trees on a pot will evoke remeniscent smiles and ready purchases among a significant cross section of your customers, including housepeople, herbalists, grandfolks and eager gardeners everywhere.
Witch hazel bark is a traditional herb of the North American Indians who used it to heal wounds, treat tumours, eye problems etc. A very astringent herb, it is commonly used in the West and is widely available from both herbalists and chemists. It is an important ingredient of proprietary eye drops, skin creams, ointments and skin tonics. It is widely used as an external application to bruises, sore muscles, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, sore nipples, inflammations etc.
Tannins in the bark are believed to be responsible for its astringent and haemostatic properties. Bottled witch hazel water is a steam distillate that does not contain the tannins from the shrub, this is less effective in its action than a tincture. The bark is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, colitis, dysentery, haemorrhoids, vaginal discharge, excessive menstruation, internal bleeding and prolapsed organs. Branches and twigs are harvested for the bark in the spring. An infusion of the leaves is used to reduce inflammations, treat piles, internal haemorrhages and eye inflammations. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from fresh bark. It is used in the treatment of nosebleeds, piles and varicose veins.Seed is eaten raw or cooked, and has an oily texture. The seeds are about the size of a barley grain and have a thick bony coat. A refreshing tea is made from the leaves and twigs.
|Antiseptic, Astringent, Beverage, Cosmetic, Haemostatic, Homeopathy, Sedative, Tannin, Tonic, Wood|
|80||Wood Betony; Woundwort||Lamiaceae||Stachys officinalis||7||Sow in the early spring. Standard greenhouse culture or direct seed. Barely cover seed, tamp well and keep evenly moist until germination, which occurs inb 1 to 3 weeks. Space 2 feet apart. Flowers from 2 to 3 feet tall.
Seed: sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring. Very easy, the plant can be successfully divided at almost any time of the year. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.Prefers a light moist neutral to acid soil in sun or light shade. A characteristic plant of healthy roadside banks on heavy soils. Hardy to at least -25°c. At one time bugle was often cultivated for its medicinal virtues, though it is now little used. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value. An excellent bee plant.
|sun or partial shade||moist||clay||100 each||Herbaceous perennial, highly adaptable to lowland sites as well as gardens at altitude. Native to Europe and Russia. This moisture-loving plant is a clumper, making a lush mound that flowers in multiple upright racemes red-purple.
The tea or tincture of fresh leaf helps relieve acute or chronic pain.
Note from Richo: A truly stellar herb. We had to really dig to come up with the seeds back in the day. One of the best fresh tincture herbs for treating addiction -- the taste is so good that it can in and of itself become addictive! But that's a good thing. Nervine tonic against stresses of living in the good ol' USA.
Wood betony was at one time commonly used as a medicinal plant in the treatment of a wide range of disorders, especially as a nervine and tonic for treating maladies of the head and as an external application to wounds. It also stimulates the digestive system and the liver, having an overall tonic effect upon the body. Wood betony is much less used nowadays, and more often forms part of a mixture of herbs.
The whole plant is collected when in flower in the summer and can be dried for later use.
It is taken in the treatment of 'frayed nerves', pre-menstrual complaints, poor memory and tension. It can be taken in combination with herbs such as comfrey, Symphytum officinale, and lime flowers, Tilia species, to treat sinus headaches and congestion. Wood betony can be taken on its own, or with yarrow, Achillea millefolium, to staunch nosebleeds. A pinch of the powdered herb will provoke violent sneezing and it has been used as part of a herbal snuff mixture in the treatment of headaches. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant. It is used in the treatment of asthma and excessive perspiration.
A fine yellow dye is obtained from the leaves.The leaves and flowering tops make a good tea substitute. Refreshing and aromatic, it has all the good qualities of tea without the negative ones.
|Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Antiseptic, Astringent, Beverage, Carminative, Cathartic, Cholagogue, Digestive, Diuretic, Dye, Emetic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Homeopathy, Insectiary, Nervine, Sedative, Sternutatory, Tonic, Vulnerary|
|81||Woodruff, Sweet; Woodderowffe||Rubiaceae||Galium odoratum||2013-04-27 00:00:00||other||Seed: best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate. A period of cold stratification helps reduce the germination time. Lots of leafmold in the soil and the shade of trees also improves germination rates.
Division: in spring. The plant can also be successfully divided throughout the growing season if the divisions are kept moist until they are established. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Cuttings of soft wood, after flowering, in a frame.
Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun. This species does not thrive in a hot climate. Prefers a moist calcareous soil. Dislikes very acid soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. This species is very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and grows well in towns.
A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c.
Sweet woodruff is occasionally cultivated in the herb garden for its medicinal and other uses. The dried foliage has the sweet scent of newly mown hay. A very ornamental plant but it spreads rapidly and can be invasive. However, this is rarely to the detriment of other plants since these are normally able to grow through it.It does no harm to any plants more than 60cm tall.
|full shade||moist||30 each||Perennial creeping ground cover. Excellent choice for low light areas, the plant is spreading, white-flowered, and highly aromatic. Ingredient in ales of old (and old ales).
Sweet woodruff was widely used in herbal medicine during the Middle Ages, gaining a reputation as an external application to wounds and cuts and also taken internally in the treatment of digestive and liver problems. In current day herbalism it is valued mainly for its tonic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory affect. An infusion is used in the treatment of insomnia and nervous tension, varicose veins, biliary obstruction, hepatitis and jaundice.
The plant is harvested just before or as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The dried plant contains coumarins and these act to prevent the clotting of blood - though in excessive doses it can cause internal bleeding. The plant is grown commercially as a source of coumarin, used to make an anticoagulant drug.
A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry. A homeopathic remedy made from the plant is used in the treatment of inflammation of the uterus.
Edible: Leaves, raw or cooked. The leaves are coumarin-scented (like freshly mown hay), they are used as a flavouring in cooling drinks and are also added to fruit salads etc.
The leaves are soaked in white wine to make 'Maitrank', an aromatic tonic drink that is made in Alsace. A fragrant and delicious tea is made from the green-dried leaves and flowers. Slightly wilted leaves are used, the tea has a fresh, grassy flavour. The sweet-scented flowers are eaten or used as a garnish.
A red dye is obtained from the root. Soft-tan and grey-green dyes are obtained from the stems and leaves.A good ground-cover plant for growing on woodland edges or in the cool shade of shrubs. It spreads rapidly at the roots. It is an ideal carpeting plant for bulbs to grow through. Although the fresh plant has very little aroma, as it dries it becomes very aromatic with the scent of newly-mown grass and then retains this aroma for years. It is used in the linen cupboard to protect from moths etc. It was also formerly used as a strewing herb and is an ingredient of pot-pourri. It was also hung up in bunches in the home in order to keep the rooms cool and fragrant during the summertime.
|Antispasmodic, Beverage, Cardiac, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Dye, Fragrance, Homeopathy, Insect Repellant, Seasoning, Sedative, Strewing|
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