Atropa Belladonna, Chamomile, Lavender, Dandelion and White Willow: Plants with Healing Attributes
Atropa Belladonna the toxic beauty
Family of the: Solanaceae
Scientific name: Atropa Belladonna
Common name: Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade
Where does it grow? This toxic plant grows in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia. The plant is commonly planted by wild animals that eat its fruit and dispose of the seeds elsewhere.
The Atropa Belladonna is a highly toxic fruit bearing plant. The whole plant is completely toxic. The roots are the most toxic part of the plant, closely followed by the leaf and the berries. The berries it bears are sweet. However when consumed the consumer will suffer hallucinations, rashes, impaired speech, blurred vision and death. The plant grows to be about five feet high and its flowers, which are shaped as bells, are purple with a hint of whitish green.
The plant is processed to obtain tinctures (alcoholic substances), powders, eye drops, and strong sedatives. In ancient times Italian women used the eye drops from the processed plants to maintain the pupils in their eyes dilated, which they thought to be seductive. However the constant use of these eye drops impairs the central nervous system and it can lead to blindness.
This also includes the factor that the woman with the dilated pupil would have had sever headaches if she encountered any source of light. Another use people gave the plant was the induction of hallucinations. However the inductions of hallucinations are not pleasant and if overdosed the user can face death.
Chamomile and its properties
Family of the: Aracaceae
Common name of the plant: Chamomile or Earth Apple
Scientific name of the plant: MatricariaChamomilla
Where the plant is grown: The chamomile can be found in Eurasian grounds, Australian and North American grounds. They grow in temperate areas and in open soil.
Description of the chamomile: The chamomile is a small plant only growing to be a little over 23 inches in height. Its stem is long and its leaves no longer than an inch in length. The chamomile bears a flower with white petals and a yellow center that has a hollow area in its center. The flowers can be recognized because of their particularly strong aroma.
Uses of the chamomile plant
The chamomile is an herbal plant, used as a well known home remedy because of its properties and most of the time used as a key ingredient in some teas due to its aroma and powerful healing abilities. The chamomile plant is used to create yellow dyes and it can also be used to treat blonde hair. It can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent, it reduces spasms in people and as an anxiety suppressant it is well appreciated when drank in tea. As a matter of fact the chamomile tea is used as relaxing tea, relaxing enough that it can help people fall asleep in an effective and profound manner.
The chamomile is also used to treat people with an irritated stomach. It has been used as mild laxative and anti bacterial agent. Scientists came to the conclusion that chamomile (through in vitro experimentations) was an anti bacterial agent and an anti mutation agent. It is not recommended that mothers that breast feed or are pregnant take this tea. This is due to the fact that the tea increases the power in the contractions of the uterine area. This could lead to miscarriage.
It is purple but, what else do you know about it?
Family of the: Lamiaceae
Common name of the plant: Lavender
Scientific name of the plant: LavandulaAngustifolia
Where this plant is native to and what type of ground it grows best in: This plant is native to the western part of the Mediterranean territory. Lavender grows best in sandy loam or gritty dirt. The plant is cultivated all over the world thanks to its aromatic wonders.
It is a shrub like looking plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is fairly recognizable and this is thanks to its purple, (and forgive the irony of the statement) and lavender colored flowers. These flowers liberate a mesmerizing scent that has been one of the main reasons for its cultivation and exportation. Lavender plants can grow to be up to 2 meters tall and its leaves resemble the leaves of a rosemary plant. The plant has woody stems and branches that shoot straight up and give the plant a shrub looking appearance.
Life with Herbs
The part of the plant used when creating herbal concoctions are the flowers. The flowers of the lavender plant have, as mentioned before, an intense and agreeable aroma. The lavender flowers are used fresh to extract the aroma for the creation of soaps, shampoos, teas, infusions, extracts, dyes so on and so forth.
Lavender’s excellent aroma has been used to treat people with aroma therapy and it has been proven that lavender has an excellent relaxing effect on the nervous system. Lavender tea helps depression and other tension syndromes achieved when overstressing. It has also been used for baths to relax the body and as a facial healer and an acne remover. Lavender oil is also excellent for giving massages and treating the body’s displeasing mate: stress.
The dandelion its properties and its medical uses
Family of the: Asteraceae
Scientific name: Taraxum
Common name: Dandelion
Where it grows: mostly available in Europe; Asia and North America. However there are some wild dandelions that grow worldwide in regions all across the globe.
This is the plant you took when you were a child and blew at it so that you could see its petals float away in the distance. Dandelions are in fact a great number of flowers that belong to the family of the Asteraceae and go under the name of Taraxum. These flowers may go from a white color to yellow to orange color. The seeds of the flower are planted whenever pollinating insects, humming birds and humans come in contact with the plant. The plant has long roots and stems that can grow to be up to 2 feet tall. The flower’s base is at largest 5 cm in diameter.
Uses of the dandelion plant: as garden plant the dandelion is excellent in the aid of pollination, the retrieval of nutrients and it also releases a gas that aids other plants to bear fruit. Dandelions have great amounts of nutrients that people can get through the plants leaves. The leaves may have to be hilled or blanched to kill the bitter taste but that is not of importance considering the fact that the plant has so many nutrients to give.
Your friend the white willow
Family of the: Salicaceae
Common name: White willow
Scientific name: Salix Alba
Where it grows: Europe and central Asia
Description of the plant: the white willow is indigenous to Eurasian region and it is found for its unmistakably white foliage. The leaves happen to be white due to the fact that a series of white hairs grow on their underside. These willows grow to be up to 30 meters tall and tend to have a rather crooked crown at the top. The flowers come in catkins which are conglomerations of the flowers in a line. The tree trunks are fairly thick and have a grayish brown color.
Uses of the white willow: The white willow is not used as wood for building furniture due to its fragile nature. It has been used however to make gun powder, and to “tan” leather. The white willow does happen to have a medical use however. The white willow produces and active ingredient that is essential for the production of aspirins. Salicin is the key ingredient used in the production of the aspirins and it extracted from the tree bark. The white willow has also been used to treat fevers and pains.
Article by: Alain Gutiérrez
White Willow Bark Tea
White willow bark is one of the herbs used for migraine and headace treatment. The use of white willow bark is also indicated for fibromyalgia, post surgical pain, Crohn's disease and any condition characterized by pain and inflammation. The active compounds in white willow, called salicylate glycosides, work as an effective anti-inflammitory by interfering with pain transmission in the nervous system and by treating the cause of inflammation.