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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.




toxicBRYONY
NO LONGER IN COMMON USE
CUCURBITACEAE
aka Cow's Lick, Cowhind, Devil's Turnip, English Mandrake, Red Bryony, Wild Hops
(Bryonia dioica syn Bryonia cretica subsp dioica)
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Also see:
White Bryony

!!WARNING!!
!PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY!
Highly TOXIC in large doses!
Contains a deadly resin!
Fresh root a severe skin irritant!
NEVER TAKEN BY PREGNANT WOMEN!
Berries DEADLY - 40 to kill an adult, 15 to kill a child!

CONTAINS: Cucurbitacins (some have strong cytotoxic properties).
Cytotoxic = something which damages cells.



An herbaceous, dioecious vine found in moist areas and vineyards of Europe. It grows from a perennial, tuberous root with a repulsive odor which was once known as English Mandrake as it was often trimmed to a manlike shape to resemble true Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum). Leaves are cordate, palmate; flowers axillary; fruit a pea-sized red (sometimes orange/red-orange to yellowish) berry. There is also a black berried variety which is also highly toxic.



PROPAGATION: By seed sown in autumn; by division of tuber when dormant.
NEEDS: Grown as a crop in well drained neutral to alkaline soil in sun.
HARVEST: Root in autumn, then sliced and dried.
PART USED: Tap root.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Emetic and laxative effects are proven. Other uses are not verified.
Acrid, bitter, purgative, laxative, emetic, diuretic, antitumor, antirheumatic, rubefacient; acts as an irritant to tissue thus increasing blood supply to the area it contacts.
Was once used internally in small doses for bronchitis, asthma, intestinal ulcers, hypertension, and asthma.
Was once used externally as a rubefacient for muscle and joint pain, and pleurisy.
Has been used in combination with other herbs for problems of the gastro-intestinal tract, respiratory tract, arthritis, metabolic disorders, liver problems; also as part of therapy for acute and chronic infection.

HOMEOPATHIC:
B. alba is the homeopathic variety of choice.




toxicBRYONY, WHITE
NO LONGER IN COMMON USE
CUCURBITACEAE
aka Mandragora, Tetterberry, Wild Bryony, While Hops, Wild Vine, Wood Vine
(Bryonia alba)
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!!WARNING!!
PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY!
Highly TOXIC in large doses!
Contains a deadly resin!
Fresh root a severe skin irritant!
NEVER TAKEN BY PREGNANT WOMEN!
Berries DEADLY - 40 to kill an adult, 15 to kill a child!

CONTAINS: Dried root contains: bryonin (glucoside), starch, gum, fat, malates, bryoresin, cucurbitans, alkaloids, phytosterols, volatile oil, tannins.



A perennial, monoecious climber with spiral tendrils native to Europe, leaves and stems somewhat hairy. Leaves are opposite, palmate, 3 to 5 lobed; flowers small, greenish-white or yellowish in axil corymbs, unisexual, the male flowers being in stalked clusters with female in pairs followed by berries; fruit is a dull red to blackish berry the size of a pea; root spindle-shaped, dirty white, 1 to 2 feet long and fleshy with an unpleasant odor. Has been cultivated in the United States.



PART USED: Root
SOLVENTS: Alcohol, hot water.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Expectorant, vermifuge, cathartic, diaphoretic, emetic. Acts on fibrous tissues, serous membranes, ligaments, and nerve coatings.
Has been used for chest complaints, including whooping cough, bronchitis and pulmonary problems.
Has been used for rheumatism and muscle and joint pain.
Possible anti-tumor activity.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY!
!All others AVOID! Not an herb for the non-professional user!
PROFESSIONALS ONLY!
DRIED ROOT = 10 to 30 grains, or 0.1 to 0.5 gram
INFUSION = 1 tsp granulated root to 1 pint boiling water; 1 tsp was taken at a time every 1 to 2 hours if necessary.
TINCTURE = 5 to 10 drops

MEDICINAL:
The tincture is prepared from the fresh root before flowering and has historically been used for: colds, flu, fevers, rheumatic problems, as a diuretic for problems of the urinary tract; dose being 10 to 60 drops.

VETERINARY:
Has been used as an aphrodisiac for stallions (1 dessert spoon daily limited to a few weeks duration).

OTHER:
In parts of Germany at one time, the dried root was hollowed out and filled with beer. After 1 to 2 days, the beer was taken 1 tsp at a time for constipation.





©2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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