Plant used for/Emollient
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- Softens the skin, causing warmth and moisture.
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Here is EcoReality's seed inventory for plants that are used as Emollient:
|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|
|2||Elderberry, Black; Black Elder; Elder Berry||Caprifoliaceae||Sambucus nigra (dg fo pf wp)||2013-04-23 00:00:00||182 each seeds in||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, 6||Camelina; Gold of Pleasure; Wild Flax; German Sesame; Siberian Oilseed||Brassicaceae||Camelina sativa (dg fo pf wp)||2012-04-12 00:00:00||50% germ||Prepare a weed-free seedbed in spring. Sprinkle the seed on the surface of the bed and press in. Keep evenly moist until germination. Harvest when the seed is fully mature and hard.||Easy to grow and high yielding, even on marginal land. Requires little or no input of fertilizer or water to achieve a good crop. Excellent choice for dryland farming and as a rotation crop for wheat or other grains.||full sun||drought tolerant||poor||10 each||Hardiness: All zones. Annual native to Northern Europe.
An ancient oilseed crop that is experiencing a resurgence of popularity due to three major factors:
1) easy to grow and high yielding, even on marginal land. Requires little or no input of fertilizer or water to achieve a good crop. Excellent choice for dryland farming and as a rotation crop for wheat or other grains.
2) a heat stabile and deliciously edible oil that has excellent shelf life can be cold pressed from the seeds. Very high in unsaturated fatty acids, the oil is loaded with health promoting Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E. The oil is a delicious raw condiment, and is a stabile and tasty cooking oil. The seeds themselves are excellent for feeding to poultry, giving exceptional egg production. Other stock can benefit from the feed value of this seed, as well.
3) this is one of the best crops for producing biodiesel. The plant is hardy to the temperate north and gives high yields of clean burning fuel. Interestingly, there are efforts afoot to limit the distribution of Camelina seed, and producers have worked out complex multi-level contracts aimed at cornering the market and fueling corporations instead of promoting self-sufficiency. We take issue with such things.
The plant has been used by humans for at least 4,000 years (remains in Switzerland date it to the Neolithic). Making this little weedy wonder into an exclusive botanical in modern times is not moving in the direction of cooperation. We offer the seed up to the public domain, and hope that many of you will grow it experimentally, and work your clean little patches up into commercially viable fields within a few years.
Camelina gives fast turnaround and high yield per input. The photo is of our recent germ test of this seed.
This species is a bad companion plant, depressing the growth of nearby plants. It has become a noxious weed of cultivated fields in some of the areas into which it has been introduced.An oil from the seed is used as a luminant and as an emollient for softening the skin. A fibre is obtained from the stems. The stems are used for making brooms.
|Fat, Fat: Omega-3||Emollient, Fibre, Food, Forage, Fuel, Oil|
|260||Comfrey||Boraginaceae||Symphytum officinale (dg fo pf wp)||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, 3||Dang-gui; Tang-kuei; Dong-quai||Apiaceae||Angelica sinensis (dg fo pf wp)||2013-04-26 00:00:00||116 each seeds in||plant||Sow seed in fall or early spring, on surface of soil, and press in well, and keep moist until germination. Cold soil germinator. Very trustworthy seed.
Seed best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe.Requires a deep moist fertile soil in dappled shade or full sun. This species is not fully hardy in colder areas, tolerating temperatures down to at least -5°c. Plants are reliably perennial if they are prevented from setting seed.
|Plant prefers part shade and moist soils.||sun or partial shade||moist||garden||Hardy to all temperate zones. Herbaceous monocarp native to China. Deeply cut leaves unfold from the meaty crown, subtended by the characteristically smoky smelling root, giving rise to the flowers that unfold and adorn the plant in late fall and sometimes make their seed after winter has commenced.
One of the most useful women's herbs of all times -- balances and regulates hormones. Dang Gui is a well-known Chinese herb that has been used in the treatment of female ailments for thousands of years. Its reputation is perhaps second only to ginseng (Panax ginseng) and it is particularly noted for its 'blood tonic' effects on women.
The root has a sweet pungent aroma that is very distinctive and it is often used in cooking, which is the best way to take it as a blood tonic. One report says that the root contains vitamin B12 and can be used in the treatment of pernicious anaemia. It is commonly used in the treatment of a wide range of women's complaints where it regulates the menstrual cycle and relieves period pain and also to ensure a healthy pregnancy and easy delivery.
However conflicting information suggests it should not be used during pregnancy and should not be used if menstrual flow is heavy or during menstration. It is an ideal tonic for women with heavy menstruation who risk becoming anaemic. The water-soluble and non-volatile elements of the root increase the contraction of the uterus whilst the volatile elements can relax the muscle of the uterus. Its use prevents the decrease of liver glycogen and protects the liver. Used for menopausal symptoms (hot flushes).
It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of various bacteria including Bacillus dysenteriae, Bacillus typhi, B. comma, B. cholerae and haemolytic streptococci.
The root is an ingredient of 'Four Things Soup', the most widely used woman's tonic in China. The other species used are Rehmannia glutinosa, Ligusticum wallichii and Paeonia lactiflora.The root is harvested in the autumn or winter and dried for later use. It has been used to treat pulmonary hypertension in combination with the allopathic medication nifedipine. Other uses include: constipation (a laxative), trauma injuries, ulcers, rheumatism and malaria.
|Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)||Alterative, Analgesic, Anticholesterolemic, Antiinflammatory, Antispasmodic, Deobstruent, Emollient, Hepatic, 77||Vetch, Kidney||Fabaceae||Anthyllis vulneraria (dg fo pf wp)||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 (dg fo pf wp)||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, Agavaceae, Aizoaceae, Alliaceae, Amaranthaceae, Anacardiaceae, Apiaceae, Apocynaceae, Araliaceae, Asteraceae, Boraginaceae, Brassicaceae, Campanulaceae, Caprifoliaceae, Adaptogen, Alterative, Analgesic, Anaphrodisiac, Anodyne, Anthelmintic, Antibacterial, Anticholesterolemic, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Zinc
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