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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.




BindweedHedge BindweedJalap BindweedSea Bindweed



BINDWEED
Convolvulaceae
aka Scammony, Syrian Bindweed
(Convolvulus scammonia)
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CAUTION: Should not be used for an extended period of time.

CONTRAINDICATED: NOT with inflammatory conditions of the alimenary canal.

A twining plant of the morning glory family native to Asia with arrow-shaped leaves and yellow flowers, found growing on low ground and spreading by running rootstock. The root is the source of the drug Scammony, long used as a purgative. Scammony is a gummy resin obtained from the milky juice of the root by cutting the top of the root at an angle about 2 inches below the stalk; the juice is captured and gradually hardens and is sold as Scammony. The name is derived from the Latin convolvo - "to intertwine".

PART USED: Root (milky juice of the leaves has also been employed as a purge in 1/2 oz doses).
RELATED SPECIES:
FIELD BINDWEED Convolvulus arvensis: Native to Europe and Asia, but now widespread throughout the temperate regions; often a troublesome weed. Corolla pink or whitish to 1 inch across. Root purgative, hydrogogue cathartic and diuretic. Has been used in hanging baskets.
RHODIUM (Convolvulus scoparius): A shrub from which a fixative oil is obtained.
CONVOLVULUS VIRGATUS: Same as C. scoparius

USES

MEDICINAL:
Cathartic, diuretic, hepatic.
A drastic cathartic which works much like Jalap, but is more active and irritating and should not be used when inflammatory conditions of the alimentary canal are present.
Was once used as a hydrogogue in cases of dropsy.
Once used in the treatment of rheumatic and chronic diseases that would benefit from a purge.
Leaves were applied externally to swollen feet.
At one time the plant was gathered fresh just before blooming and boiled in ale to which nutmeg and clove had been added and the resulting decoction used as a strong and violent purge (only the robust dared to apply! The foolish didn't live to talk about it).

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
SHORT TERM USE ONLY
POWDERED ROOT = 3 to 12 grains
POWDERED RESIN = 3 to 8 grains
COMPOUND POWDER = 10 to 20 grains




HEDGE BINDWEED
Convolvulaceae
aka Bearbind, Bearwind, Cornbind, Devil's Garters, Devil's Vine, Great Bindweed, Hedge Belle, Hedge Convolvulus, Hedge Lily,
Hooded Bindweed, Jack-run'-in'-the-Country, Lady's Nightcap, Old Man's Nightcap, Ropebind, Rutland Beauty, Trailing Bindweed,
Wild Morning Glory, Withywind

(Calystegia sepium syn Convolvulus sepium)
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CAUTION: Should not be used for an extended period of time.

Deep-rooted, perennial, herbacious trailing or twining vine found in waste places, thickets, and cultivated ground in the eastern half of the United States and Canada as well as Europe and Asia. Common in England, but appear less in Scotland. Stem is smooth and angular from 3 to 10 feet, growing from a running rootstock. Leaves alternate, arrow-shaped, on thin petioles. Funnel-shaped flowers are white or pink with white stripes and grow solitary on long, quadrangular peduncles from the leaf axils. Flowers close at night and during cloudy weather.

HARVEST: Flowering plant for decoctions; rootstock to be dried and powdered.
FLOWERS: June to October

USES

MEDICINAL:
Mainly used as a purgative, but also as a cholagogue and febrifuge.
Has also been used to reduce inflammation of mucous membranes.
Fresh juice produces constipation.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
SHORT TERM USE ONLY
DECOCTION = Boil 1 tsp flowering plant in 1 cup water; 1 Tbsp to be taken at a time as needed.
JUICE = 1/2 tsp, once or twice daily.
POWDERED ROOT = 1 level tsp, once or twice daily.

VETERINARY:
Antiscorbutic; stem and root used for dropsy.
DOSE FOR FARM ANIMALS = 2 Tbsp shredded herb brewed in 1 pint water; one cup given daily.

OTHER:
Liked by sheep and goats.
Flowers said to have been eaten by Spanish gypsy children.




JALAP BINDWEED
Convolvulaceae
(Ipomoea purga syn I. jalapa syn Convolvulus jalapa)
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CAUTION: Jalap resin is subject to legal restrictions in some countries. Seeds may be harmful if eaten. The drug Scammony (or Jalap) is prepared from the resin.

Climbing evergreen vine to 10 feet, native to the eastern slopes of the Mexican Andes, hardy to 32 degrees F. Root is a purple-red, turnip-like tuber, much wrinkled. Stems twining. Leaves ovate to heart-shaped and pointed. Flowers purple-pink and funnel-shaped, 5 inches across which appear in autumn. Unpleasant taste.

PROPAGATION: By seed in spring; by semi-ripe cuttings in summer.
NEEDS: Well-drained, humusy soil in full sun. Prune back severely, or thin out in spring. Susceptible to white fly, aphids, and spider mites.
HARVEST: Roots lifted in autumn for resin extraction and to be dried for powders and tinctures.
PART USED: Tuber, resin.
RELATED SPECIES:
Convolvulus dissectus: An American species high in prussic acid
Convolvulus rhodorhiza: Produces an oil which attracts rodents; once used by rat catchers.
Ipomoea Batatas: Sweet potato, Yam.

MEDICINAL:
Acrid, purgative.
Has been used in Folk Medicine for constipation, colic and intestinal parasites.
Has been added to laxative and carminative formulations to allay griping.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
PROFESSIONALS ONLY
POWDERED ROOT = 3 to 20 grains
TINCTURE B.P. = 1/2 to 1 drachm
POWDERED RESIN =2 to 5 grains
COMPOUND POWDER B.P. = 1 to 2 drachms
JALAPIN = 1 to 3 grains




SEA BINDWEED
Convolvulaceae
(Calystegia Soldanella syn Convolvulus Soldanella)
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Found growing on sandy sea-shores. Stems do not climb, but remain buried beneath the sand with the leaves and flowers rising above the surface. Leaves kidney-shaped, alternate on foot-long stalks. Flowers single on angular stalks; bracts large, egg-shaped and close to the flower which is pale rose striped with red. Seeds are distributed by sea currents.

The juice which oozes from the stalks and root hardens into a type of resin and is used as a purge like Scammony.





©2003 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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