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Earthnotes
Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




ALLSPICE
(Pimento dioica syn. P. officinalis)
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See also: Carolina Allspice

A tree native to the West Indies as well as northern portions of South America up to Mexico. It is cultivated in Jamaica. Male and female trees are required and take 6 years to bear fruit.

HARVEST: The small twigs bearing bunches of berries are snapped off, then spread out in the sun for drying (about 12 days or until they are a red-brown color). The stalks are then removed and the dried berries packed. They are also kiln-dried.

USES

MEDICINAL:
The rind contains the most active medicinal components.
Is considered to be stimulant in action, particularly the aroma.
The tea has antisepticproperties (due to the eugenol content in the berries) and is used primarily as a digestive aid for flatulence, intestinal gas and indigestion.
Often included in formulations designated as 'spring tonics' or 'stimulants'.
May be substitued for cloves in formulations.
Combined with laxative herbs to reduce griping.
Tea used as an appetite stimulant; also as a carminative.
Used in the bath, or as an ointment for aches & pains.
Both the tea and a poultice are used for rheumatism and neuralgia.
Lowers blood sugar (useful in diabetes); improves protein absorption.
Warm tea (plus inhalation of the warm vapors) used for hypothermia; also a reviving agent when taken in cases of frostbite.
Useful for oral hygiene and in cases of halitosis.
Useful for mild pain.
For pneumonia use warm tea, vapor inhalation and a liniment of allspice which is combined with ginger.
Has a tonic effect on the nervous sytem and is useful in cases of nervous exhaustion; the oil was once used for hysterical convulsions or 'spasms'.
A little warm tea with each meal for ulcers.
The leaves are used in the bath for varicose veins, gout, and edema.
Locally antiseptic and anesthetic.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
PIMENTO WATER: 5 parts crushed berries combined with 200 parts water which is boiled down to half its original volume. Useful for disguising the taste of other less palatable herbs. Of Pimento Water - 1 to 2 oz.
Of the oil - 2 to 3 drops on sugar cube for flatulence.
Of the powder - 10 to 30 grains.
POULTICE: Boil berries and make a thick paste. Spread on a soft clean cloth. The cloth can also be dipped in warm tea and used as a hot pack.

CULINARY:
Can be substituted for clove or cinnamon. Widely used as a seasoning. The leaves are used locally for seasoning and tea. The essential oil is used commercially for flavoring.

COMMENT:
The essential oil distilled from the fruit has eugenol as its chief component. The oil is used in perfumery, notably for oriental fragrances. Allspice contains antioxidant properties that make it useful as a preservative.



ALLSPICE, CAROLINA
(Calycanthus floridus)
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The plant contains a powerful alkaloid which depresses the action of the heart.

A North American aromatic shrub found from the Virginias to Florida, but also hardy to zone 5. The unusual maroon-brown flowers look like carved wood and have (according to some people) a strawberry-type fragrance when crushed. Others simply refer to it as sweet aroma.

HISTORICAL USES:
The Cherokees used the root or a tea of the bark as a strong emetic; also as a diuretic and for kidney and bladder problems. The cold tea was once used for failing eyesight. Early colonists used the tea for malaria. It is reported that the bark was once used as a substitute for cinnamon (US Dept. of Agriculture, Miscellaneous Publication No. 237, July 1936). NOT ADVISED! It is no longer considered safe.

ANIMALS:
Grazing cattle have been reported to have suffered toxic reactions.





©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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