Archive for the ‘Incesticide’ Category

Passion Flower – Passiflora incarnate

Passionflower
Passionflower

This plant is a native to the Americas, growing in sandy thickets and open fields, roadsides, and waste places. It is listed in Indiana as rare, and in Ohio as Threatened.

This flower was named the Passion flower due to the fact that the flower reminded early Christians of Christ’s passion on the cross. Count the petals and sepals, together they are said to represent the disciples (except for Judas & Peter). The stamens number 5, just as Christ had 5 wounds. The stigmas look like the nails of the crucifixion used to affix him to the wooden cross and the corona represents the crown of thorns.

The Cherokee used the flower for food, medicine, and for religious ceremony. It was used in a formula for nervous behavior along with hops, valerian, and hawthorn. In combination with peppermint it has calming properties. Today it is still used for calming.

The fruit can be eaten raw, the inside is yellow, and gelatin like. It can also be used to make drinks, sherbet, jams & jellies. The leaves could be eaten as a spring green.

The aromatic flowers are used in making perfume, and added to potpourri or dried and burned as incense. The root is also used as an insecticide.

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Nasturtium – Tropaeolum majus

Nasturtium
Nasturtium

 

A lone red nasturtium
Glows like a star
This Christmas day
On top of the wild
Woodbine plant…

By Mary Guckian

 

This native of the South American Andes Mountains is a wonderful addition to most any garden. It acts as a trap plant for aphids and can also be eaten. But be careful, if you live on Hawaii, Lord Howe Island or on New Zealand this pretty little vine is considered invasive!

 

The leaves and flowers of this plant have a peppery taste and can be added to a salad. The seeds can be used as a caper substitute. These flowers and leaves are a rich source of Vitamin C, being 130 mg per 100 g edible flowers.

 

In the Andes Nasturtium has an extensive history of being used as a disinfectant and as a wound healer. It has also been used as an expectorant to heal chest conditions, such as to clear nasal and bronchial catarrh. Externally it has also been used in the treatment of baldness, minor injuries to the skin and for skin eruptions.

 

If you were to make an infusion of the leaves, and then add soap flakes, you will have a very effective insecticide!

Lavender Cotton – Santolina chamaecyparissus

Lavender Cotton
Lavender Cotton

This silver-gray sub-shrub of Mediterranean origin has aromatic leaves that are often used in perfumery. The leaves have a pleasant, pungent smell, while the flowers are perceived as having an unpleasant odor by some. The color of the foliage also lends the bush to be included in a Moon garden. The silver-gray leaves will reflect the moons light very pleasingly.

 

It is rarely used in Herbal medicine, although it has a history of treating intestinal parasites in children. The crushed leaves are also effective rubbed on an insect bite or sting for relief!

 

Even more rarely it has been used as a spice in cooking, just dry and crumble the leaves, or use fresh in dishes such as barley soup.

 

The foliage is often used in pot pourri for the aromatic scent, and in sachets to keep insects out of closets and linens. It has also been used as an herbal smoking substitute for tobacco. Dry branches, with or without the flowers, for use in making aromatic wreathes of mixed herbs.

Yarrow – Achilla millefolium

Wild Yarrow flowers
Wild Yarrow flowers

“An ounce of Yarrow sewed up in flannel

and placed under the pillow before going to bed,

having repeated the following words,

brought a vision of the future husband or wife:
‘Thou pretty herb of Venus’ tree,
Thy true name it is Yarrow;
Now who my bosom friend must be,
Pray tell thou me to-morrow.’”

Halliwell’s Popular Rhymes, etc.

This native of Europe and Asia is naturalized in North American and most other countries throughout the world. It can be found in meadows and pasture, and in late May and June along roadside throughout Maryland and Delaware. Yarrow has the ability to repel unwanted insects and has been burnt to repel mosquitoes. Placed in the garden it discourages beetles, ants and flies! If a handful is added to the compost it will speed up the breakdown of the plant material. In the garden it is a very good companion plant improving the health of all plants around it.

Driving down the road here in Delaware the edges of the road are often lined with Yarrow, sometimes thickly, sometimes sparingly. But regardless of how many plants you see, Yarrow is a frequent flower this time of year (June). This flower in the wild is white, but yellow and red varieties can be found at nurseries to plant in the home garden.

In Rome it was called Herba militaris and was used and highly valued for treating battle wounds. In Cherokee i ma dah (snakegrass) was used to treat fever, stop bleeding and as a poultice in compound with wintergreen or birch used to treat rheumatism. It was also used as an astringent and an anti-inflammatory, used also to treat gout and edema, and as an appetite stimulant.

Dye can be obtained from the flowers, both yellow and green. Birds, such as Starlings, use the plant in their nest to act as insecticides to keep their babies safe! A tea is made from the flowers and leaves are very aromatic.

In China, it is said that it grows around the grave of Confucius. Chinese proverbs claim that yarrow brightens the eyes and promotes intelligence. The most authentic way to cast the Yi Jing uses dried yarrow stalks. The stems are said to be good for divining the future.

Elderberry – Sambucus canadensis

Elder berries
Elder berries

“Elder be ye lady’s tree.

Burn it not, or cursed ye’ll be.”

 

This common form of Elder is found only east of the Rockies, and south through eastern Mexico all the way to Panama. Here is the east of North America It can be found as far north as Nova Scotia and as far south as Florida. It tends to be found most frequently in moist areas along riverbanks, along roadways and in woods and thickets where it tends to stay moist.

 

All parts of Elder are Toxic except for the berries, but there is a bonus to the calcium oxalate crystals found in the leaves. If the leaves are dried and crumbled and scattered in the garden, they will act as an insecticide. In humans the leaves, twigs, and roots can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma if they are consumed. So used care when using them!

 

The berries and flowers have been used in both medicine and as food. It is recommended that the berries be cooked before consumption as some folks tend to get nauseous from them also! The elder berries are diuretic (removing excess fluid) and also detoxifying, and people consume them to lose weight. The berries can be used in infusion or tincture internally to treat colds, flu and asthma. Externally to treat swellings, rashes, and frostbite like trauma to skin (called chilblains).

Moth Mullein – Verbascum blattaria

I am too near, too clear a thing for you,

Moth Mullein flowers

Moth Mullein flowers

                                                      A flower of mullein in a crack of wall,

                                                       The villagers half see, or not at all….

By Lizette Woodworth Reese

This biennial import from Europe and Africa has escaped cultivation in North America and is considered an invasive plant in Colorado and a weed elsewhere. It was first recorded in Pennsylvania in 1818, and was recorded in Michigan in 1840. It has since been found in almost every one of the continental United States, as well as in southern Canada and even Hawaii. Like other biennials it begins life a ground hugging rosette, it is not until its second year than a central stalk rises and bears flowers.

Unlike its more widespread cousin Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) it is not used frequently in herbal medicine. But there was a single reference found to research being done on its use for the treatment of cancer. There is some evidence that it may be useful as a non-narcotic pain killer.

A study conducted in 1974 focused on the insecticidal properties of Moth Mullein. It found that 53% of mosquito larvae were killed. This report supports the uses that New England women used it for…keeping moths from the winter woolens!

To check out my previous post on this plant check it out here