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Tag: Medicines from native plants

Medicines from native plants

Medicines from native plants

Even in prehistoric times, men were using plants as medicines. It is likely that an early caveman might accidentally have found that eating willow bark alleviated his headache. This discovery would have been passed on to others, and a great wealth of information about the properties of various plants could have been accumulated in this way, developing into the herbals of the middle ages. Many of the published remedies were of doubtful value, but with experimentation many useful medicines were…

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Silver Birch (Betula pendula)

Silver Birch (Betula pendula)

Birch trees with silver-grey bark that are a common sight in Nailsea, include the slender Silver Birch. This tree and many of its close relatives are able to survive in very cold climates. The Birch is the national tree of Finland and its habitat extends to Greenland and the Arctic. Birch belongs to the Betulaceae, the family that includes the hazel and the alder. Birch is one of the ‘pioneer’ species that establishes itself on bare or poor soil that…

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The Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

The Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Although swathes of bluebells characterise the ancient woodland of England, this plant is relatively rare on the continent. Probably 90% of the plants of this species are found in Great Britain, so we have a special responsibility for its preservation. It is in the Liliaceae, a family that also contains the Fritillaries, Lily of the valley, Solomon’s seal, Hyacinths, and the wide variety of lilies, which we grow in our gardens. It is quite different from the ‘Bluebells of Scotland’…

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Nettles (Urtica dioica)

Nettles (Urtica dioica)

Early childhood memories of Nettle stings are a strong reminder to avoid contact with that plant, since the effect is painful and lasts for several hours. Although it is not known to be fatal in humans, even in severe cases, it is reported that dogs have been killed by being badly stung. It is likely that the Nettle sting evolved as a deterrent to herbivores, and certainly the Nettle is a very successful agricultural weed, growing especially well in pastures…

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