Garden Pamphlet

1. Lavender (Lavandula Augustifola)

Lavender was used in Ancient Greece, Persia and Rome as a perfume and antiseptic in baths, in Ancient Egypt in making mummification casts and Tibetan Buddhists still use it to treat insanity and psychosis. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for relaxation It is added to lotions for sunburn, tinctures for headaches and depression, teas for nervousness and headaches, infusions as mouthwashes for bad breath, and as a bath addictive for its smell, antiseptic qualities and relaxation. The flowers in a cloth bag are placed under the pillow to as a sleep aid. SS

2. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian is often called nature's tranquilizer. The therapeutic uses for valerian were described by Hippocrates; the 2nd century Greek physician Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia. Today, valerian roots are used for lowering blood pressure relaxing and relieving spasms, calming digestion, and inducing a restful night’s sleep without the dangers of addiction. Valerian can be used in an infusion or maceration to treat anxiety and insomnia, in a compress to ease muscle cramps, in a tincture for tension or anxiety, or as a wash to help with chronic ulcers and wounds. AW

3. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow’s name comes from the ancient Greek Achilles who is thought to have used yarrow to stop bleeding in wounded soldiers on the battlefield. It has long been known to stop nosebleeds by inserting a leaf into a nostril. The Micmac nation used yarrow tea as a diaphoretic to treat fevers and colds and as a poultice for bruises and swellings. Recently, the German Commission E has approved yarrow flower internally for loss of appetite and other gastrointestinal ailments, and externally as a sitz bath for menstrual cramps. Yarrow contains thujone, a known abortifacient so should be avoided during pregnancy. HB

4. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla arvensis)

Lady’s Mantle, was so named because the scalloped edges of its leaves resemble the scalloped edges of the Virgin Mary’s cloak. Dew collected from the center of the plant was used in 12th Century Europe to rid people of evil spells. Early Europeans used Lady’s Mantle topically to help heal wounds, as an astringent, and as an anti-inflammatory. Lady’s Mantle is used as a tea or a tincture, to control of menstrual bleeding, cramps, muscle spasms, and diarrhea. TG

5. Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)

The Egyptians called Horehound the "Seed of Horus" their god of sky and light. Ancient herbalists prescribed horehound for fever and malaria and an antidote for poison; the leaves were boiled in lard and used it to treat the bites of “mad dogs and serpents”. Today, horehound is used in teas to treat respiratory illness and suppress coughing. It contains marrubiin which helps ease the lungs. Horehound is made into candies and cough drops which have a root beer type flavor, or into cough syrups or syrups to aid digestion. AF

6. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

Mullein leaves dipped in vinegar were bound to the forehead, wrists, back of neck and soles of feet, by the Nanticoke Indians, to cure fever; the Delaware crushed leaves for a poultice to reduce swelling and pain. Mullein leaves are smoked like cigarettes to treat consumption and asthma and made into a tea to treat urinary tract infections and diarrhea. Mullein flowers are extracted in olive oil and used to treat ear aches, insect bites, hemorrhoids, sore joints, and gum and mouth ulcers. A decoction of the Mullein roots is used to treat toothaches and cramps. VAM

7. Eastern Cone Flower (Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea has been used by Native Americans for 400 years to treat the common cold and bronchitis and was considered a "cure-all". The leaves, flowers and roots are all used medicinally. It is ingested as a tea to treat colds and respiratory tract infections, and applied externally to treat poorly healing wounds and ulcers. Echinacea stimulates white blood cells and has both antibacterial and anti-viral actions. It is taken in small frequent doses as soon as flu-like symptoms appear not used preventatively. AMA

8. Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)

Hens and Chicks were described in the folklore of Istro-Romanians from 14th century Croatia as a cure for ear pains. Extracts are liver protecting, and HDL enhancing. Polyphenols and flavinoids of Sempervivum have a stabilizing effect on cell membranes making this a detoxifying herb. The fresh leaves have an astringent property; the inner surface can be used to cure warts and corns. Leaves can be bruised and applied as a poultice or the fresh juices applied, to treat burns, insect bites and bee stings. Homeopathic remedies call for a tincture of Sempervivum for herpes zoster, cancer of the tongue, breast cancer, ringworm, and hemorrhoids. VAM

9. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Foxglove flowers can be fitted over the tip of a finger (digit) from which it gets its Latin name. In the 13th century it was used by herbalists externally as a poultice. In the 18th century, western medicine used it treat dropsy. Foxglove leaves contain digitoxin which increases the force of heartbeats, raising blood pressure and lowering pulse rates; it is used to make the medicines Digoxin and Digitoxin. This plant is POISONOUS when ingested and can cause dizziness, vomiting, convulsions and death. It should NEVER be used for home treatment. RF

10. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

In Siberia where Chives originated, Alexander the Great approached, around 330 B.C, and was offered chives, which were thought to have aphrodisiac properties, as a gift to honor his marriage to Princess Roxana. In the Orient, chives are recommended as a cold, flu, and lung congestion remedy. Chives, like all members of the onion family are used to treat inflammation, to lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and LDL blood cholesterol levels while raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Chives are used in Ayurvedic medicine for their antibacterial properties and to treat coughs and sore throat. CR

11. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John’s Wort traditionally flowers on June 24th (St. John’s day) and was once thought to ward off evil spirits if gathered and burned on St. John's Eve. The dots or perforations which give it its name are actually a layer of colorless essential oils and resin. St. John’s Wort contains hypericin which is used to treat depression. The flowers can be extracted in olive oil to treat wounds and the flowers, leaves and stems can be made into a tea to relieve depression and nervous exhaustion. JW

12. Curly Willow (Salix matsudana)

Our Medicinal herb garden sculpture is made of Curly or Corkscrew Willow by Toby Baker (BFA’06).

A Sumerian clay tablet written in cuneiform script, thought to be the first pharmacopoeia, listed pulverized willow bark to cure pain. Hippocrates wrote about its analgesic properties in the 5th century BC. It has been used in Kenya to treat malaria and recent Chinese research shows that it may have some anti-obesity actions. Native Americans chewed the bark to alleviate pain. The fresh bark of all willows contains salicin which is converted in the liver into salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin and can be used to treat pain, inflammation and fever. VAM

13. Feverfew (Tanacetum Parthenium)

Feverfew, has been used for hundreds of years to treat high fever. A 16th century herbalist once claimed that Feverfew, dried and taken with honey, would "purgeth by siege" those that are "giddie in the head." Feverfew contains parthenolide, thought to prevent inflammation and constriction of blood vessels in the head. Feverfew is administered as an infusion, an essential oil or as a tea; the most common use is to simply eat 2-3 fresh leaves daily. It has been proven to successfully treat chronic migraines, perimenstrual headaches, fever, and even arthritis. Patients taking feverfew for headaches reported a drop in blood pressure and a reduction in nausea. RH

14. Apothecary's Rose (Rosa gallica officinalis)

Apothecary's Rose became the official rose of apothecaries in the 19th century. Apothecaries used the rose to ease headaches and sore throats, help heal wounds, as a cure for hangovers, to aid indigestion, and to eliminate wrinkles. Currently, rose water or rose oil is used in skin-care products to soothe the skin. Although it is mainly used as a vehicle for other agents to impart flavor and odor to prescriptions, the plant is known to be antibacterial, aromatheraputic, an anticancer agent, a tonic, and an astringent. CJ

15. Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium)

Wormwood dedicated to the Goddess Artemis by the Greeks, gets its species name from the Romans after the Latin word for bitter. Early Greek herbalists used it to eliminate intestinal parasites and thought it counteracted the poisons of hemlock, mushrooms and sea dragons. Wormwood’s bitter taste is extracted to make vermouth and the Italian wine Cinzano. The Bedouin’s place wormwood leaves in their nostrils as a decongestant and drink it as a tea for coughs. Wormwood is a moth and flea repellant; it is toxic to roundworms and threadworms and is used to stimulate the gallbladder and prevent formation of kidney stones. VAM

16. Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Indigenous tribes of North America would dry the rhizome of the Blue Flag Iris and use it to treat indigestion and liver problems (the fresh root is poisonous and causes nausea). Irises were depicted on the walls of temples in Egypt and were used to treat diarrhea. The end of the 19th century saw a huge appreciation of the Blue Flag as one of America's most valuable medicinal plants. Extracts of the powdered root, containing the chemical iridin are still prescribed for liver complaints and dropsy. JJ

17. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Pennyroyal was used in ancient Rome to repulse fleas, pulegium is Latin for flea. Pennyroyal oil is used topically to repel insects and the dried leaves were used as a strewing herb to mitigate outbreaks of bedbugs (NOTE: pennyroyal can be toxic to pets). The leaves, steeped as a tea can be used as to regulate menstruation; use with care as pennyroyal is high in pulegone, which can strengthen uterine contractions and act as an abortifacient. Pennyroyal infusions which have a smell reminiscent of peppermint can be dabbed on the forehead to help relieve headaches. AAA

18. Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)

Chamomile is a member of the daisy family which has been extensively used medicinally in the Mediterranean for well over 2000 years. In Medieval days people would pick the flower and squeeze the juice into their eyes to relieve eye pain. The flowers can be brewed into a tea or the oils can be extracted and used in ointments, lotions. Tea brewed from the dried flower heads helps to alleviate menstrual pains, stomach pains, and back pains, as well as nervousness and irritability. Chamomile contains chamazulene, polyines, tannin, coumarin, flavonoids, and apigenin; it is assumed that they all work together to produce the beneficial effects. DN

19. Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

Bee Balm, a member of the mint family, was first known to be used by Native Americans as an active diaphoretic (sweat inducer) for ceremonial sweat lodges; the Dakota Indians used the flowers in a tea for abdominal pains, the Winnebago used an infusion topically to treat pimples and the Oswego Indians drank it as a tea for relaxation. The US colonists used bee balm to replace black tea after high British taxation and the Boston Tea Party. It is served as a tea to improve general digestion, ease flatulence, relieve colic, alleviate menstrual cramping, and reduce nausea and vomiting. AL

20. Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

Marshmallow has anti-inflammatory, soothing, and healing properties. It can be used to treat burns, boils, abscesses, wounds, bedsores, ulcers, and even inflamed hemorrhoids. Marshmallow is also used in drawing creams because of its ability to draw out splinters and stingers. Marshmallow lowers blood sugar levels. The original marshmallows were made by grinding up the root of the Marshmallow plant into a powder and mixing with beaten egg whites and sugar. BS

21. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Comfrey was used by the ancient Greeks who named it for its ability to knit bone. The roots and leaves are used as a plaster to set broken bones and as a poultice to reduce swelling and heal wounds. It was used (and is no longer recommended due to toxicity) as a tea or syrup to aid mucous production in respiratory organs and heal stomach ulcers. Comfrey’s Medicinal properties come from allantoin, tannin, mucilage, and rosmarinic acid. Folk medicine claims that healing properties of comfrey were so powerful that bathing in comfrey could “restore a woman’s virginity”. RH

22. Cranesbill (Geranium maculatum)

Cranesbill was used by the Blackfoot Indians as a coagulant, to stop bleeding and by the Cherokee to treat thrush. The roots were widely prescribed in the nineteenth century to treat diarrhea, chronic dysentery and cholera. Today, Cranesbill is used in liquid extracts and infusions to relieve piles, internal bleeding and diarrhea. It can be used as a milk infusion to treat infants with diarrhea. The root contains tannins that have powerful astringent principles. Powdered root can be used topically as a styptic in wounds, piles, and other hemorrhages from small vessels. AR

23. Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina)

Lamb’s Ear is a member of the mint family native to Turkey, Iraq, and Iran (thus the species name byzantina). Members of the Stachys genus have been used medicinally for centuries throughout the world. Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis) was used for its sedative and antiseptic properties and through time has been considered somewhat of a “heal all”. Bandages of Woundwort (Stachys palustris) and Lamb’s ear were applied to wounds and bruises in medieval times due to their effectiveness in wound healing and the Chippewa Indians used it as a tea to treat colic. JS

24. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

The medicinal benefits of mints were written in Egyptian papyrus scrolls dating from 2800 B.C. and peppermint was discovered in a wreath dated to the twentieth Dynasty (1570-525 B.C.) In the old days, they used mint, with its cooling qualities, to cure fever. The English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) wrote that "Mint juice taken in vinegar, stirreth up venery (lust).” The aerial parts of peppermint are given as a tea or used as a tincture to treat nausea, travel sickness, indigestion, flatulence, colic, fever, and migraines, used as a compress to cool inflamed joints or for rheumatism or neuralgia; and inhalation of fresh leaves is used to ease nasal congestion. DT

25. Evening Primrose (Oentothera Biennis)

Evening Primrose has been used by Native Americans to speed wound healing and to treat hemorrhoids; some chewed the root, and rubbed it on their muscles to increase strength. Evening Primrose contains g-linolenic acid used to make hormone-like substances that help regulate metabolism and endocrine activity; it eases premenstrual syndrome, particularly breast tenderness and has been used to treat hyperactivity in children. Oil from the evening primrose seed has anti-arteriosclerotic activity preventing hardening of the arteries can help lower blood pressure and prevent clumping of blood platelets. Topically the oil is used to alleviate itching and flaking of inflamed skin as in eczema. EM

26. Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

Oregon Grape was first known to be used by American Indians who used the rhizomes to guard against general weakness and to help improve the appetite. Later, it was used by the British to help with digestive problems such as dysentery and diarrhea. Oregon grape is currently used in teas to help eliminate gallstones and in compresses to cure eczema. The alkaloid berberine which is found in the berries has been shown to have anti-mutagenic properties which can protect against cancer. Use of the tea while pregnant will induce contractions; over consumption of Oregon Grape may cause dizziness, diarrhea and kidney inflammation. SH

27. Poppy (Papaver orientalis)

We have planted an ornamental poppy cousin to the opium poppy Papover somniferum. The Sumerians called the Opium Poppy the "Herb of Joy”, they extracted the latex of the plant as medicine. In the ancient times, opium poppy was used in food, anesthesia, and ritualistic activities. The opium poppy is still used today as a narcotic and a pain reliever, and is the active ingredient in morphine and codeine. The seeds of the plant are also used in many different foods including breads, cakes, teas and oils and if you eat enough poppy seeds you will test positive for opium use. SV