American Botanical Council Publishes Online Version of The Identification of Medicinal Plants Book

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Online access to identification book provides new quality control resource for herb industry

AUSTIN, Texas (October 19, 2017) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) announces a new benefit for its members around the world: the online publication of The Identification of Medicinal Plants: A Handbook of the Morphology of Botanicals in Commerce, a manual that addresses the macroscopic assessment of 124 medicinal plants used in North America and Europe.

The book was originally co-published in 2006 by ABC with the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. It was written by Wendy Applequist, PhD, associate curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s William L. Brown Center, and illustrated with botanically accurate black-and-white line drawings by artist Barbara Alongi.

Accurate identification of the correct genus and species of botanical raw materials is the first step in quality control of botanical preparations. While several methods of identification are addressed in the…

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Ozark Encyclopedia – M – Mayapple

Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Mayapple, American Mandrake – Podophyllum peltatum

Parts used: root, fruit

Traditional uses: Poisonous. Root soaked in whiskey and taken for rheumatism and as a purgative. Boiled root eaten as a purgative. Powdered root used on ulcers and sores. Fruit used for food.

“Podophyllum is a medicine of most extensive service; its greatest power lies in its action upon the liver and bowels. It is a gastro-intestinal irritant, a powerful hepatic and intestinal stimulant. In congested states of the liver, it is employed with the greatest benefit, and for all hepatic complaints it is eminently suitable, and the beneficial results can hardly be exaggerated. In large doses it produces nausea and vomiting, and even inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which has been known to prove fatal. In moderate doses, it is a drastic purgative with some cholagogue action. Like many other hepatic stimulants, it does not increase the secretion…

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Herbal Astrology

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Good Witches Homestead

Our ancestors were deeply attuned to the phases of the Moon and the stations of the Sun. Farmers once farmed by the Moon; the idea was that the “waxing” or growing Moon pulled plant energies upward, while the “waning” or decreasing Moon meant energy was moving back down towards the Earth and soil. When you consider that plants are filled with water and that the Moon’s gravity is strong enough to pull the tides of the ocean, there is a strong logic to this practice.

The “waxing” phase, from the New Moon to the Full Moon was the time to plant leafy plants and plants from which aerial portions were to be harvested such as berries, stems, leaves, flowers and barks. The “waning” phase, from the Full Moon to the dark of the Moon, was the time to plant root crops and also a good time to transplant, weed, prune…

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Ozark Encyclopedia – L – Lady’s Slipper

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Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Lady’s Slipper – Cypripedium

Parts used: root

Traditional uses: Roots used for menstrual disorders. Infusion of roots used for stomachaches and kidney disorders. Roots used for spasms and fits. Infusion of root taken for colds and hot infusion of root taken for flu. Sedative and nervine.

“American Valerian is one of the names given to the Yellow Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium). The roots of several varieties, the principal being Cypripedium pubescens and Cyprepedium parviflorum, are employed in hysteria, being a gentle, nervous stimulant and antispasmodic, less powerful than Valerian.” ~Grieve MH

As a nerve medicine – “Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium) roots are boiled in milk to make some sort of ‘nerve medicine.’” ~Randolph OMF 114

“Mrs. Landry says that a herb grown around there known as Lady Slipper…cures nerves and nervousness she says to dig up its roots and boil them down and take a tablespoon full as needed.” ~Parler…

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Welcome October: Pumpkins ~ Magic & Lore

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Good Witches Homestead

It is a magical time when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. According to our Celtic Ancestors, this is the time the souls of people who had died that year make their journey to the Otherworld. During this thinning of the veil, spirits are said to roam the earth freely, and communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easier at this time. It’s also told that the Fairy Folk became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. People use to dress in white (like ghosts), wear disguises made of straw, or dress as the opposite gender in order to fool the spirits and traveling after dark was not advised. The holiday’s bonfires and glowing turnips (yes, turnips) helped the dead on their journey while protecting the living.

So, let’s talk about the Halloween pumpkin … Pumpkins…

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Welcome October: Calendula, October Birth~flower

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Good Witches Homestead

COMMON NAME: calendula
GENUS:Calendula
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
C. Officinalis ‘Golden Gem’- dwarf; double; yellow. ‘Pacific Beauty’- double; yellow, orange, apricot; more heat tolerant than other cultivars. ‘Orange Gem’- double; medium orange. ‘Chrysantha’- double; buttercup yellow.
FAMILY: Compositae
BLOOMS: summer and fall
TYPE: annual
DESCRIPTION: Calendulas have light green aromatic leaves and large {up to 4 inches across}, daisy-like flowers that come in shades of yellow and orange. Plants get to be approximately 2 feet tall with a spread of 12 to 15 inches though dwarf varieties that grow only have that size are also available.
CULTIVATION: Calendula performs best in cool weather and is often used as a fall bedding plant. For fall bloom, the seeds should be sown outdoors in mid-June. The seeds, which should be sown 1/4 inch deep, germinate best at temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They need total darkness, so be sure…

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Ozark Encyclopedia – J – Jimsonweed

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Mountain Man Traditional Healing

Jimsonweed – Datura stramonium

***CAUTION! Poisonous!***

Parts used: flower, leaf

Traditional uses: Poisonous. Poultice of wilted leaves used on boils and fresh wounds. Smoked for asthma. Poultice of decoction of leaves mash applied to the chest for pneumonia. Compound poultice with crushed seeds rubbed on sore throat.

“Antispasmodic, anodyne and narcotic. Its properties are virtually those of hyoscyamine. It acts similarly to belladonna, though without constipating, and is used for purposes similar to those for which belladonna is employed, dilating the pupil of the eyes in like manner. It is considered slightly more sedative to the central nervous system than is belladonna.” ~Grieve MH

Used for asthma and lung trouble – “Jimson-weed (Datura) is used in treating bronchial troubles and asthma.” ~Randolph OMF 94

For insomnia – “For persistent insomnia, one has only to put a handful of Jimson-weed (Datura) leaves into each shoe and set the…

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Analysis of Helichrysum (Immortelle) Chemistry, Antioxidant Activity, and Chemotaxonomy

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Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Traditionally, helichrysum (immortelle; Helichrysum italicum, Asteraceae) has been used for the treatment of scars and cuts, as well as used as a liver stimulant and diuretic. The essential oil of helichrysum has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, fungicidal, and astringent effects. As an emollient and fragrance in the cosmetic and perfume industry, the chemical composition of helichrysum essential oil has been somewhat characterized. The aim of this study was to further characterize the chemical content and antioxidant activity of helichrysum aerial parts and to assess the chemotaxonomy of the H. italicum taxa.

The flowering aerial parts of helichrysum (H. italicum ssp. italicum) were collected in May 2011, near Valdanos, Montenegro. The air-dried aerial parts of the plant were extracted with 45% ethanol and dried. The air-dried flowering upper parts of helichrysum were submitted to hydrodistillation to produce the essential oil.

The essential oil was characterized by…

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Fall Allergies ~ An Herbal Approach

Good Witches Homestead

Seasonal allergies can really get you down, and over-the-counter meds can knock you out. Try these natural herbal remedies to soothe pollen induced headaches, scratchy throats, chapped skin, and more.

allergy-teaAs allergy sufferers, we’re acutely aware of seasonal changes in air quality. Earth’s reawakening in spring brings us welcome warmth, but it also delivers not-so-welcome tree pollen. Summer’s riot of plant bounty includes grasses and the associated output of pollen. Fall has its own offenders in the form of ragweed pollen and mold from fallen leaves.

If you’re an allergy sufferer, you may be thinking about closing the shutters and latching the door. Venturing out into this minefield of airborne plant pollens can feel treacherous. Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided us with a phyto-pharmacy that can help carry you comfortably through each season.

What’s an Allergy?

Seasonal allergies are common, affecting more than 35 million people in the United States and…

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Herbs To Have In Your Medicine Cabinet This Fall

Good Witches Homestead

It’s the time of year, where more often than not we are turning to our medicine cupboard to support our bodies and our families. An abundance of tea herbs, honey, and lemon, fresh herbs like ginger, turmeric, cayenne, and garlic are all great to have on hand throughout the winter. A few herbal tinctures also play useful roles and are key ingredients in the medicine cabinet.

elderflowerElderberry | Elderberry is an excellent superfood-like ally safe to take in large quantities. With elderberry and plenty of rest, our body’s natural response kicks in–that’s why elderberry syrups and tea have long been used to help support optimal immune function. All these amazing herbs come in handy when our resources are low: elderberry helps our body maintain its normal immune response. Because it’s so much like food, it’s incredibly safe for kids, and happens to taste divine when combined with honey–hence the elderberry syrup! This one…

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