Plant used for/Essential

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Essential
Essential oils used in perfumery, medicines, solvents, etc.

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Inventory

Here is EcoReality's seed inventory for plants that are used as Essential:

IDcommon namefamilylatin namedatequantityactiondays to germpropagationdays to maturityhabitatsundrainagesoilinventorynotesnutrientsneedsuse
323ChamomileAsteraceaeChamaemelum nobile (dg fo pf wp)2013-06-24 00:00:0056 each starts in greenhouse soiltransplantSeed - sow March in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not let the compost dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. 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 summer or following spring. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 5cm long with plenty of underground stem. 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. Tolerates most well-drained soils, preferring a dry sandy soil and a sunny position[4, 37, 200]. Tolerates partial shade[16]. Established plants are drought tolerant[190]. Can be grown in grass[54]. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.8 to 8. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[200]. They often deteriorate in very wet or cold winters, but usually recover quickly in the spring and early summer[238]. Chamomile is commonly grown in the domestic herb garden, it is also cultivated commercially for its flowers which are used in herb teas and medicinally. The double-flowered form is highly regarded for its medicinal virtues[165]. Plants can be invasive when growing in good conditions[188], though they are easy to control[K]. There is some confusion between this plant (which is a perennial) and the annual chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) as to which is the genuine medicinal chamomile. Some reports say that this plant is the most effective herbally[4], whilst others says that Matricaria is more potent[9]. Both plants seem to have very similar properties and either can probably be used quite successfully. Camomile is a very good companion plant, promoting the health of plants it is growing close to, it is especially good for growing near cabbages, onions and, in small quantities, wheat[4, 14, 20, 54, 201, 238]. The cultivar 'Treneague' is a low-growing non-flowering form that makes an excellent ground cover[197]. Fairly tolerant of being walked on, it is sometimes used instead of grass for making a lawn though it is more difficult to maintain and can become weed infested, especially in its early stages[200]. It also tends to become bare in places[208]. The whole plant has a pungent aroma, this being especially noticeable on hot days or when the plant is bruised. Ground Cover; Lawn; Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.sun or partial shadewell drainedpoorCamomile is a common herb with a long history of safe and effective medicinal use - it is widely used as a household herbal remedy. It is particularly useful as a remedy for various problems of the digestive system, as a sedative and a nervine, it is especially suited for young children[4, 20, 21]. A tea is made from the flowers and this should be prepared in a closed vessel to prevent loss of the essential oils[4]. The flowers are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, nervine, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator[4, 14, 21, 37, 165, 201]. The single-flowered form is the most potent medicinally, though it can in large doses damage the lining of the stomach and bowels[4]. For this reason, the double-flowered form is usually preferred since this contains less of the alkaloid that causes the problem[4]. The flowers are gathered in the summer when they are fully open and are distilled for their oil or dried for later use[238]. They should not be stored for longer than 12 months[238]. The whole herb is used to make a lotion for external application in the treatment of toothache, earache, neuralgia etc[4]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Soothing'[210]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Chamaemelum nobile for coughs and bronchitis, fevers and colds, inflammations of the skin, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, tendency to infection - improve immunity, wounds and burns (see [302] for critics of commission E).

An infusion of the flowers is used as a hair shampoo, especially for fair hair[14, 20, 168]. It is also used as a liquid feed and general plant tonic[14], effective against a number of plant diseases[18, 20, 201]. It has fungicidal properties and its use is said to prevent damping off in seedlings[238]. The flowers are an ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator[32]. 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[K]. The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb[4, 168]. The whole plant is insect repellent both when growing and when dried[14, 20]. An essential oil from the whole plant is used as a flavouring and in perfumery[46]. Yellow to gold dyes are obtained from the flowers[168]. The plant makes a very good ground cover[197] and can also be used as an edging plant[200]. It does tend to become bare in patches[208].

Anodyne, Antiinflammatory, Antispasmodic, Aromatherapy, Compost, Dye, Essential, Food, Fungicide, Insect repellant, Nervine, Stomachic, Strewing, Tonic, Vasodilator
4Chaste TreeVerbenaceaeVitex agnus-castus (dg fo pf wp)2013-04-26 00:00:00112 each seeds in 8cc blocksplant21Standard greenhouse cultivation works best on these seeds, with germ after 3 or 4 weeks of warm, moist treatment.

Seed sow March in a warm greenhouse. The seed does not need pre-treatment. Germination is usually free and quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, November in a cold frame.

Prefers a light well-drained loamy soil in a warm sunny position sheltered from cold drying winds. Succeeds in dry soils. Intolerant of water-logging. Hardy to about -10°c.

Plants only flower freely in a warm summer, so they are best grown against a sunny wall even in areas of the country where they are hardy. The flowers are produced so late in the season that they are unlikely to produce viable seed in this country even if they flower properly.

A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. The whole plant is aromatic, the leaves and stems are strongly aromatic, the flowers are deliciously scented and the dried seeds have a pungent lemony perfume.

This species has long been regarded as a symbol of chastity. Flowers are produced at the ends of the current year's growth. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring and should consist of cutting out dead wood and shortening last year's flowering branches.
Germ: warm, moist, greenhouse.well drainedloam100 eachThe leaves and flowers exude exotic aromas. Seeds regulate hormones and support breast health.

Used for thousands of years for its beneficial affect on the female hormonal system. Prolonged usage restores corpus luteum function.

The berries of this plant have a range of medicinal actions but possibly the most important is its ability to rectify hormonal imbalances caused by an excess of oestrogen and an insufficiency of progesterone. It acts upon the pituitary gland, reducing the production of certain hormones and increasing the production of others, shifting the balance in favour of the gestagens. Thus it has a wide application of uses in malfunctions of the feminine reproductive system and has been used with great effect in restoring absent menstruation, regulating heavy periods, restoring fertility when this is caused by hormonal imbalance, relieving pre-menstrual tension and easing the change of menopause.

Some caution is advised since excessive doses can cause a nervous disorder known as formication, which manifests as a sensation of insects crawling over the skin.

The berries are considered to be an aphrodisiac, though other reports say that they are anaphrodisiac. The reason for this apparent disagreement is that the berries have a regulating effect on the body and so are likely to increase sexual activity in those who are not very active in this area whilst reducing it in those who are very active. The fresh berries are pounded to a pulp and used in the form of a tincture for the relief of paralysis, pains in the limbs, weakness etc.

Other uses include: reduced flatulence, suppress appetite and induce sleep. Unproven uses include: treatment of impotence, prostatitis, swelling of the testes, sterility, swelling of the ovaries.

A perfume is made from the flowers. Young stems are used in basket making. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves, the seed and the roots. Wood - hard, close grained.
Anaphrodisiac, Aphrodisiac, Basketry, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Dye, Essential, Febrifuge, Fragrance, Galactogogue, Infertility, Ophthalmic, Seasoning, Sedative, Stomachic, Wood
322SpearmintLamiaceaeMentha spicata (dg fo pf wp)2013-06-24 00:00:0056 each starts in greenhouse soiltransplantSeed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division[K]. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer. Woodland garden sunny edge; dappled shade; shady edge; cultivated bedspartial shademoistclayAntiemetic, Antiseptic, Cancer, Carminative, Diuretic, Essential, Insect Repellant, Poultice, Restorative, Stimulant, Stomachic, Strewing
72Tea Tree, AustralianMyricaceaeMelaleuca alternifolia (dg fo pf wp)2013-04-26 00:00:0079 each seeds in 8cc blocksplantSow in spring or summer. Sprinkle tiny seed on top of very light potting soil and tamp in, then keep evenly moist until germination. Greenhouse temperatures are preferred. These are always amazing when they emerge, that something so large can come from something so small -- its a miracle, really.

Seed: surface sow in spring or autumn onto a pot of permanently moist soil in a warm greenhouse. Emmerse in 5cm of water and do not water from overhead. Grow on until the seedlings are 0.5cm tall then remove from the water and pot up a week later. Seedlings are liable to damp off when grown this way, sowing the seed thinly, good ventilation and hygiene are essential for success. Grow the plants on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and then plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Cuttings of half-ripe lateral shoots with a heel, July/August in a frame.

Requires a fertile, well-drained moisture retentive lime-free soil in full sun. Prefers a soil that does not contain much nitrogen. Plants are shade tolerant and succeed in most soils and aspects except dry conditions when they are grown in Australian gardens.

This species is not very cold hardy; will require protection during cold snaps. It tolerates temperatures down to at least -7°c in Australian gardens but may not do as well with cooler summers and longer colder and wetter winters.

Seed takes about 12 months to develop on the plant, the woody seed capsules persist for 3 or more years. Any pruning is best done after the plants have flowered with the intention of maintaining a compact habit.

Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Nice in a pot tree for indoor use -- slow-growing, pleasant. Prefers full sun and ever moist, even swampy soil.sun or partial shadewell drainedclay100 eachNative to Australia. Spongy-white trunk, gently aromatic foliage and flowers like white gossamer.

Plantation grade -- source of the popular germacidal essential oil.


Tea tree, and in particular its essential oil, is one of the most important natural antiseptics and it merits a place in every medicine chest. It is useful for treating stings, burns, wounds and skin infections of all kinds. An essential oil obtained from the leaves and twigs is strongly antiseptic, diaphoretic and expectorant. It stimulates the immune system and is effective against a broad range of bacterial and fungal infections.

Internally, it is used in the treatment of chronic and some acute infections, notably cystitis, glandular fever and chronic fatigue syndrome.

It is used externally in the treatment of thrush, vaginal infections, acne, athlete's foot, verrucae, warts, insect bites, cold sores and nits. It is applied neat to verrucae, warts and nits, but is diluted with a carrier oil such as almond for other uses. The oil is non-irritant. High quality oils contain about 40% terpinen-4-ol, which is well tolerated by the skin and 5% cineol which is irritant. However, in poor quality oils the levels of cineol can exceed 10% and in some cases up to 65%. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy.

An essential oil is obtained from the leaves. It is strongly germicidal and is also used in dentistry, deodorants, soaps, mouthwashes etc.

Wood is very durable in wet conditions and in damp ground.
Alterative, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiseptic, Aromatherapy, Diaphoretic, Essential, Expectorant, Wood
75ValerianValerianaceaeValeriana officinalis (dg fo pf wp)10Seed 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 very easily grown plant, it succeeds in ordinary garden soil, preferring a rich heavy loam in a moist site. Thrives in full sun or in partial shade, doing well in light woodland.

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.
730Valerian 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 shademoistclay0 eachHerbaceous 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.
PhosphorousAntispasmodic, Beverage, Carminative, Compost, Diuretic, Essential, Flavouring, Fragrance, Hypnotic, Insectiary, Nervine, Sedative, Stimulant

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are sensitive to a particular nutrient
Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Zinc
supplies a particular nutrient (dynamic accumulator)
Antioxidants, Boron, Calcium, Carbohydrate, Chromium, Copper, Fat, Fat: Omega-3, Fibre: Non-Soluble, Folate, Iodine, Iron, Lycopene, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Protein, Silica, Sulfur, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Zinc

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