September 18th, 2013


New book from old, wormwood and soap.

Today I went to the Vinnies op shop for a look see. Found an old book called The Scented Garden By Rosemary Verey. It covers many fragrant plants but i especially like the chapters on herbs, herb history and knot gardens.....what a find! Old book to new home and it cost me all of one dollar....bargain! A good read by the fire coming up.

en route to town i stopped on the roadside to pick some wild wormwood growing through a paddock fence. (Artemisia Absinthum). I have eyed it off for a year and today i decided it was time to harvest some and try and strike some cuttings for the chook pen yard. It is good pick for the hens, keeps them worm free and discourages mites. I will fence it off while it establishes then they can dust bathe under it once it gets to a good size, it should only take a year to establish in this rich soil.
"Chances are, many readers know that wormwood is the key ingredient in the famous European beverage Absinthe. Almost as many know little else about this fascinating and beneficial herb. Wormwood belongs to the genus Artemisia, named for the goddess Artemis. The members of this genus belong to the family Compositae, along with daisies, tarragon, and a whole host of other plants we find in the field, the garden, and the kitchen. All species of Artemisia possess the characteristic bitterness, often effective for animals that feed on the wild varieties as a means of avoiding predation. But what can it do for humans, beyond the fact that one type, Artemisia absinthe, is used to produce an intoxicant?
Medicinal Uses of Wormwood
Sources from the Ancient World and the Middle Ages indicate that many varieties were useful for insecticides, to be strewn among floor rushes or dried and packed among furs and textiles to prevent moth and flea infestations. It also places prominently in love potions and philters of the Middle Ages. While it may truly be useful for repelling insects, more fascinating is the place it rightfully holds in modern pharmacopeias.
The bitter components and acids render wormwood an excellent remedy for digestive issues. This is primarily because a bitter flavor on the tongue actually causes the gallbladder to produce and release bile. Contrary to popular belief, it is often too little acid production that leads to most indigestion, not an excess of it. It is also noted as being useful in alleviating fever, expelling parasitic worms like roundworm from the digestive tract, and for its tonic effects. It may also be applied topically to reduce inflammation of insect bites and promote healing. Wormwood is also noted to be useful in treating jaundice, a sign of liver dysfunction and to increase sexual desire.
Habitat & Appearance of Wormwood
Species in this genus grow to approximately two feet in height. Their leaves have an almost feathery appearance and both the stem and upper surface of the leaves are covered with small, whitish hairs. Artemisia species can be found in much of the northern and western parts of Europe, where they grow wild in waste spaces. It is thought that several of these species were once commonly cultivated for their medicinal and insect repelling properties. Several may also be found throughout the North American continent as naturalized species, and in the steppes of Northern Asia. Many varieties of wormwood favor shady areas and can often be found as scrub vegetation in the under story level of more developed tracts vegetation. However, several species favor more arid and open conditions than those typically found in woodland habitats.
Active Ingredients in Wormwood
Wormwood possesses a volatile oil, which, when the plant essence is distilled, exhibits approximately .5%-1% of the resultant liquid. It is often blue or green in color and gives off a strong, bitter smell. The oil itself is a cocktail of thujone (absinthol or tenaceton), thujyl alcohol (both free and combined with acetic isovalerianic, succine, and malic acids), cadinene, phellandrene, and pinene. The herb also contains quantities of tannin, resin, nitrate of potash, other salts, the bitter glucoside absinthin, and absinthic acid. Often, the entire herb—root, stem and leaves, and flowers—is used in various preparations.
Properly collected and dried leaves and flowers of wormwood, collected on a warm, sunny day after blooming has begun in July and dried in partial sun not cooler than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, may be steeped as a tea in the following proportions: one ounce of dried leaves steeped for 10-12 minutes in one pint of boiling water. The essential oils are also useful for dispelling intestinal worms. Caution should be taken with Wormwood however, as taking too much can cause diarrhea because it stimulates swift emptying of the intestines as a part of its tonic effects."
Wormwood Herb Notes / Side Effects
Absinthol, a part of the volatile oil, has also been found to cause nerve depression, mental impairment, and infertility if used habitually. Excessive exposure to the component thujone is known to cause seizures, muscle breakdown, tremors, restlessness, kidney failure, insomnia, nightmares, stomach cramps, thirst, urine retention, numbness of extremities, paralysis, and death. As with all therapeutic substances, carefully monitored treatment is the best way to prevent accidental overdose.
Add to this information that wormwood is always useful in the chook pen.
I had an xray on my lower back and hips today, am almost sure they will find some arthritic changes, but dr is mainly looking to see if there is any damage causing the sciatica attacks. Dr rang and wants me in tomorrow to discuss blood test results so not really looking forward to that....she will also ring for the xray results while i am there. Ho hum getting old is a pain! Lol

yesterday was a day of creativity and i ended up felting some soaps after making a full batch of Borage and calendula soap. I am hoping it will help David's psoriasis, he had eczma as a babe and as an adult contracted both hayfever and psoriasis......i often wonder if these conditions contributed to him being  a bachelor.....every Mother wants her son to be happily settled but David seems a confirmed bachelor now. He will be 50 next year, gosh that ages me, but i was only 17 when he was born.

My Borage leaves are now completely crispy dried so i can put them into a jar in the pantry now. I checked the strength of Vodka on sale today for future tincture making.The strongest was 40% al vol but no mention what it was as proof on the label. I will check online for a comparison chart. The best price for a bottle was $35.00 so not cheap but have finished the last bottle with the orange essence.

i also brought some Seville oranges( Citrus Aurantium) today  to make some marmalade and a new essence which should be more redolent with the bitter orange peel rather than the sweet orange. Time will tell. They are not often available so it was good to find some. I have had a tree on order for two years but I think it is too rare for them to bother getting in for me.
my other purchase today was some Turmeric corms, i will plant them in a big pot and move them to shelter in Winter, i am sure they will not like frost.
here is some information on Turmeric.
The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory and disinfecting properties. This explains its healing powers when applied to cuts and abrasions. Taken orally as an anti-inflammatory, turmeric does not have the side-effects commonly associated with some modern pharmaceutical medicines. These include intestinal bleeding, ulcers, and the decrease of white blood cells. This makes turmeric a safe alternative to some non-prescription drugs.
Studies on mice and test grous of people have shown numerous benefits of using turmeric. Scientific claims prove the benefits of the herb aud in the relief of digestive complications and inflammatory benefits. Studies on mice have proven successful on slowing progression and preventing various forms of cancer.
Turmeric's detoxification qualities promote healthy digestion and may aid in weight management. Studies have shown that it helps clear LDL (bad cholesterol) from the liver and enhances liver function. Because of its detoxification and anti-inflammatory qualities, turmeric is used as a dietary supplement for relief from irritable bowel syndrome and stomach disorders. Benefits of turmeric consumption include the reduction of gas and bloating.
Turmeric also reduces the buildup of plaque associated with cardiovascular disease. Curcumin in turmeric lowers two inflammatory enzymes, LOX and COX-2. This helps stop platelets from gathering to form blood clots. Turmeric reduces blood sugar levels, a property valuable for helping those suffering from diabetes.
Using turmeric may have effects on slowing or preventing many forms of cancer. It slows the spread of cancer cells through elimination. Studies have produced evidence that turmeric can aid in preventing breast cancer from spreading to the lungs. It may help prevent colon cancer, and possibly aid in the prevention of pancreatic cancer.
Other foods combined with turmeric boost its healing capabilities. When combined with cauliflower, turmeric may help prevent prostate cancer. Onions may enhance the effects of turmeric on preventing colon cancer. Turmeric also helps prevent melanoma and stops the growth of new blood vessels developing in tumors. It is also thought to reduce the risk of childhood leukemia.
As a natural anti-inflammatory, turmeric aids in giving relief to sufferers of arthritis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It may also slow the progression of multiple sclerosis.
Anti-oxidants found in turmeric remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are known to damage cell membranes and cause cell death. They also have ill-effects on DNA.
Turmeric prevents and slows the progression of Alzheimer disease by removing amyloid plaque from the brain. It keeps amyloid A fibroid from gathering to form plaque that leads to complication of the brain.
Turmeric is sometimes used as an anti-depressant.
Although most often used for culinary purposes such as curries for Asian dishes, and for human consumption as a dietary supplement, turmeric has other uses as well. Indians have used turmeric for its rich, orange color to make dye for clothing and textiles. It is also used as a coloring for mustard, butter and cheese. Gardeners and homeowners have found that the herb tends to deter ants.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa).
i add this information on turmeric with reason today. I have just been told by the Dr that i have recently had a slight heart attack which has left me with some heart damage and also high cholesterol. My herbal research have now taken a slightly different tack with a need to treat myself for the cholesterol and to hopefully strengthen my heart a little. I have too much to do to die just yet!