continue Apiaceae post!

You may have noticed I am in the new editing style of Gutenberg now? I ran into difficulty editing my latest post last week, as you may have noticed so I decided to do the bottom information again into a new post. Last time I mentioned mostly the edible uses of the Umbels so below you’ll find the other, mostly medicinal uses I found..

Wild Angelica, a native and less harsh one then its garden relative, see below

Most of the below information is of the brilliant book by Julian Barker: Med Flora by J. Barker

Medicinal (and some other) Uses:

Sanicle or Sanicula europaea  The name comes from the Latin ‘to heal’ and ‘healthy’. It was a plant valued by the School of Salerno and throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. Not used in modern medicine. Action is Astringent and haemostatic. Anti-inflammatory. Carminative. Expectorant and antitussive. Uses: Gastro-enteritis, especially with suspected ulceration or occoult bleeding. Flatulence. Diarrhoea. Respiratory and urinary infections. Leucorrhoea. Metritis and menorrhagia (In the past was fed to cows after calving to aid expulsion of afterbirth and to stop bleeding) Externally: for healing varicose and other ulcers, haemorrhoids, bruises, chilblains, skin rashes. As a mouthwash for sore gums, etc. or sre throat (gargle)

information with a pink background means: take care as it is poisonous!

information with a green background tells you about an interesting edible use.

The useful and very attractive Sea-holly

Sea-holly or Eryngium maritimum: interesting history as an aphrodisiac Action: Diuretic. Anti-lithic Uses: Cystitis, urethritis, urinary calculus; renal colic; haematuria. Benign prostatic hypertrophy. Prostatitis.

Scandix pecten-veneris or Shepard’s Needle is a salad-herb. Our species is aperitif and stomachic, also said to be aphrodisiac. The upper leaves are used and not the elongated fruit.

Coriandrum sativum or Coriander

Both leaves and fruits are useful against flatulence and colic and may be given to children and babies over 6 months old.

Burnet-saxifrage or Pimpinella saxifraga

Action: Aperitif. Expectorant. Carminative. Antiseptic. Anticatarrhal. Galactagogue. Uses: Sore throat, laryngitis, flatulent dyspepsia. Catarrh associated with upper respiratory tract infections. Said to be useful for asthma. Gargle- internal usage is uncertain so only use small doses for limited period.

Crithmum maritimum or Rock Samphire: good Vitamin C content.

Hemlock Water-dropwort Oenanthe crocata   This has been used externally for warts and whitlows. Mrs Grieve says it has been taken for eruptive conditions of the skin. It would have to be a serious eruption recalcitrant to other treatment before one would conceive of administering so poisonous a plant!

Oenanthe aquatica or Fine leaved Water-dropwort: poisonous!

Aethusa cynapium or Fool’s Parsley can be mistaken for Garden Parsley but is poisonous

Foeniculum vulgare or Fennel Action: Aromatic and carminative aperitif and metabolic aid. Diuretic. Galactagogue. Antimicrobial.

Uses: Dyspepsia; flatulent colic in children. Topically: Blepharitis, conjunctivitis (compresses made from strong infusion)

Conium maculatum or Poison Hemlock “If Hemlock has made the name of Socrates widely known, then the death of Socrates has made the reputation of Hemlock”. Much used in past and not just for poison. Actions: Analgesic, antineuralgic, antispasmodic; anaphrodisiac.

Ammi visnaga NN This non native has been cultivated since earliest times for medicine. More recently, it has been exploited as a drug for use in angina and asthma. The fruiting pedicels (ie the rays of the umbel) are sold in Egyptian markets as tooth picks. Several others in this genus make good garden plants and cutflowers!

Flower umbel of the Wild Celery and Common Red Soldier beetle

Wild Celery Parts used Fruits, fresh or dried. All other parts should be fresh, or as a specific tincture Action: Diuretic and urinary antiseptic. Antirheumatic. Uses: Rheumatism. Arthritis. Gout. Inflammation of urinary tract.

Parsley or Petroselinum crispum

Action: Diuretic. Emmenagogue. Anti-galactogenic. Antispasmodic. Stomachic: action on digestive tract with high mineral and vitamin content make it anti-anaemic. Antimicrobial. Uses: Dysmenorrhoea. Amenorrhoea. Dysuria. Cystitis. Chronic oedema of metabolic or cardiac origin. Anaemia. Flatulent dyspepsia. Nausea.

Caraway or Carum carvi

It is by far the most popular of the Umbeliferous carminatives in Central and Eastern Europe. I would say that it loses favour to Fennel and Aniseed as you travel west. Large amounts of the fruits are used, especially for baked goods but also for charcuterie and savoury dishes like sauerkraut. It flavours various liquers like Kummel. The plant, which is mentioned in the Bible, has been known medicinally for at least 5000 years. It came to Western Europe, along with its name kharwayia from the great Arab medical tradition of the 10th-12th centuries. Pigeon-fanciers will keep their birds faithful if they include a bit of caraway in the feed.

Action: Antispasmodic and carminative. Expectorant. Antimicrobial. Galactagogue. Said to be emmenagogue. Uses: Flatulent dyspepsia. Intestinal colic. Anorexia. Respiratory tract infections; laryngitis (gargle). Said to be useful for painful periods.

Scots Lovage or Ligusticum scoticum is a culinary herb which is, on account of its vitamin C content; Antiscorbutic, carminative and diuretic, mostly from the volatile oil which it contains. Used like Lovage.

Wild Angelica or Angelica sylvestris

The leaves make a reasonable carminative and stomachic drink, the root and fruit are stimulant and antispasmodic. The pulverised fruits have been used to get rid of and deter nits from the heads of children. The volatile oil content is considerably less than the following species, but that can be an advantage when a gentler remedy is needed, for instance with children.

Garden Angelica or Angelica archangelica                                                

Action; Aromatic bitter. Gastric stimulant. Antispasmodic and carminative. Diaphoretic. Antiseptic. Said to be diuretic

Uses: flatulent dyspepsia associated with hypoacidity. Anorexia nervosa. Bronchial catarrh. Of great value in asthma and some types of migraine. Peripheral vascular disorders. The leaf is carminative and anti-inflammatory and is made into compresses to relieve thoracic pain.

Lovage or Levisticum officinale

Action: Stomachic, carminative and cholagogue. Diuretic. Antidiaphoretic. Mild expectorant. Emmenagogue. Uses: In soup (it has an unusual flavour and should be used sparingly). Said to be useful for rheumatism and painful periods. The fruit has been used for migraine.

Caution: not to be taken during pregnancy, nor where there is kidney impairment or disease.

Peucedanum ostruthium or Masterwort, Imperatoria

This was a most important medicinal plant in Gerard’s day and was cultivated on some scale. The heyday use of this plant has retired from these parts but it and several others of the 170 species in this genus are used in Central and Eastern Europe and also in Africa and India.

What was it used for? Chronic bronchial catarh. It is also aperitif and stomachic (an aromatic bitter rather similar to Angelica). It was considered useful as an anti-venom, an indication still recognised in Switzerland today.

Peucedanum officinale or Hog’s Fennel, Sulphurweed

Very rare native. One cannot be sure whether this was the peukedanos that Dioscorides valued so highly. The strong sulphurous contents give it expectorant, antispasmodic and diaphoretic properties. Whether it has the claimed antimicrobial activity ascribed to it has not been put to the test in modern times.

Fruit of Hogweed; a diagnostic feature.
Fruit of Hogweed; a diagnostic feature

Heracleum spondhylium or Hogweed

Pigs do like the leaves and with the fleshy sprouting shoots reminiscent of asparagus, why shouldn’t they? The people of the Baltic use it much more than we: in Poland and Lithuania they make a potent fermented soup from the leaves and fruit called borscht. 

Borscht derives from an ancient soup originally cooked from pickled stems, leaves and umbels of common hogweed. The young shoots are considered excellent eating by many foragers.

In eastern European countries and especially Romania, H. sphondylium is used as an aphrodisiac and to treat gynecological and fertility problems and impotence. It is also sometimes recommended for epilepsy. However, there are no clinical studies to prove its efficacy at treating any of these problems.

The stem and leaf hairs are capable of producing a very nasty contact dermatitis with the possibility of subsequent photosensitivity. At its worse, this can lead to permanent purplish discoloration of the skin.

Wild Carrot:

Action Diuretic. Antilithic. Antirheumatic. Carminative. Uses: Gout. Polymyalgia rheumatic (in combination with a number of other remedies). Urinary gravel. Cystitis.

Cultivated Carrot:

The fleshy root of the cultivated carrot is a well-known and highly nutritious food. It is also, but only if taken raw daily, a gentle remedy for threadworms in children. The leaves of the carrot contain porphoryns which tend to stimulate pituitary release of the gonadatrophic hormones. The culyivated plant subsp. Sativus has been known for 2000 years and is derived from a Mediterranean ancestor and not from the native plant. Orinally it contained anthocyanin pigments which made it the colour of beetroot. The colour was bred out in Holland in the 17th and 18th centuries. Wide medicinal uses are claimed but, in practice, it is employed as a remedy for a number of urinary conditions and for gout, for which it often does well with Celery seed.

Sweet Cicely or Myrrhis odorata  is a herbal tonic that restores energy, lifts the spirits and settles the digestion.

It is also a very handsome plant to grow in your garden. The foliage is feathery and has white blotches, which make an attractive pattern! The flowers are an attractive bonus to the foliage.

The fruits make tasty snacks!

The fruits or leaves and stems can be made into an aperitif against poor appetite, weak digestion, flatulence and indigestion. It is a good remedy for older people who have lost their enthusiasm for life, as it lifts the spirits and enkindles the digestive fire. It enables them to enjoy their food with good appetite, warming the digestion and improving absorption of nutrients. This plant is also beneficial for anyone who is weak or exhausted, perhaps after a chronic illness or caring for someone else. It will help them get back their energy and ‘joie de vivre‘ slowly rebuilding their strength and gently warming the whole system.

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