Showing posts with label Medicinal Uses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medicinal Uses. Show all posts

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bible Tree - Cedar, Medicinal Uses

By Liliana Usvat    
Blog 321-365

Cedar was the first tree in Creation and one of the most powerful medicines. Any user of alternative medicine is acquainted with the healing properties of the cedar tree. The tea of the twigs and branches is simmered until the water in the pot begins to turn brown. It is then used for fevers, rheumatic complaints, chest colds and flu. - See more at:

Cedar was the first tree in Creation and one of the most powerful medicines. Any user of alternative medicine is acquainted with the healing properties of the cedar tree. The tea of the twigs and branches is simmered until the water in the pot begins to turn brown. It is then used for fevers, rheumatic complaints, chest colds and flu. - See more at:
While the Israelites suffered in exile, God offered a vision of hope - all kinds of trees growing in the desert. “I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together...” -Isaiah 41:19

Cedar was the first tree in Creation and one of the most powerful medicines. Any user of alternative medicine is acquainted with the healing properties of the cedar tree. The tea of the twigs and branches is simmered until the water in the pot begins to turn brown. It is then used for fevers, rheumatic complaints, chest colds and flu.
- See more at:
 Medicinal Uses

The leaves and tops are used for 
  • chronic cough, 
  • fever, and 
  • gout. 
  • An infusion made of 1 oz. of the tender leaves to a pint of boiling water may be taken 1 tbsp. at a time as a diuretic, 
  • emmenogogue, and 
  • uterine stimulant. 
  •  Applied externally, it is said to remove warts and 
  • fungoid growths. 
  • As a counterirritant, it is useful for relief of muscular aches and pains. 
  •  A salve for external application can be made by boiling a quantity of the leaves in lard.
  • American Indians used leaf tea for headaches, 
  • colds, in 
  • cough syrups, 
  • in steam baths for rheumatism, 
  • arthritis, 
  • congestion, 
  • and gout; 
  • externally, as a wash for swollen feet and burns. 
  •  Inner-bark tea used for consumption.
  •  Doctors once used leaf tincture externally on warts, venereal warts, 
  • gonorrhea, 
  • syphilis, 
  • prostate problems, 
  • toothache, 
  • whooping cough, piles,
  •  ulcers, 
  • bed sores, and 
  • fungus infections. 
  • Internally, leaf tincture was used for bronchitis, 
  • asthma, 
  • pulmonary disease, 
  • enlarged prostate with urinary incontinence.
Folk medicine cancer remedy.
Native healers used red cedar for treating fevers, sore throats, coughs, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculous infections, diarrhea, boils, heart and kidney problems, menstrual disorders, ringworm and other fungal skin infections, toothaches, arthritis, sore muscles, vaginitis, and bladder irritation. Eclectic physicians and herbalists in America and Europe have exploited Western Red and Northern White Cedar for many of the same maladies, as well as prostate problems, incontinence, and syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases.

For internal use, toss a handful (about one ounce) of leaf-tips, inner bark or twigs into a cup, cover with one cupful of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes.

For external use, use about two ounces of herbal material per cupful of boiling water and steep until cool (or prepare a decoction by simmering two ounces of herb in two cups of water until about 1/2 of liquid remains). The strong tea or decoction can be used for athlete's foot. As always, if you develop skin irritation, discontinue use.

Other Uses
  • The oil has been used as an aromatic ingredient in soap liniment. And the odor of the essential oil is pungent, almost overpowering. It is matched by a strong bitter taste. Arborvitae oil may be home distilled and used as an insect repellent.
Like Sage and Sweet grass, cedar is used to purify the home, it also has many restorative medicinal use. When mixed with sage for a tea, it cleans the body of all infections, cedar baths are also very healing. When cedar mixed with tobacco is put in the fire it crackles, this is said to call the attention of the Spirits (manitous) to the offering that is being made. 

Cedar is used in sweat lodge and fasting ceremonies for protection, cedar branches cover the floor of many sweat lodges and some people make a circle of cedar when they are fasting. It is a guardian spirit and chases away the bad spirits.

Legends, Myths and Stories

Native Americans put boughs of cedar on teepee poles, said to ward off lightning. Thunderbird was said to nest in mountain cedars. Red cedar (J. scopulorum), used ceremonially on the altar of the sacred woman at the Sun Dance.

Indigenous tribes of the Pacific Northwest once believed that sleeping beneath a Western Red Cedar would evoke vivid dreams. During their purifying rituals, people of the First Nations drank infusions made from red cedar boughs.

Natives knew that mature, fallen cedars could rest upon the forest floor for generations without rotting, a property they attributed to the spiritual nature of the tree.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bible Trees The Almond Tree - Medicinal Uses

By Liliana Usvat
Blog 315-365

The almond tree is the first tree to sprout and the last one to lose its leaves. 

The almond, Amygdalus communis, is a medium sized tree with narrow, light green leaves. Unlike the fig and olive, the almond does not live to a great age. The almond is a well-known symbol of resurrection because it is the first tree to flower. 
The white, five-parted flowers are up to two inches across and come in the late winter before the leaves of the tree develop. Because they may flower as early as late January or early February, it is sometimes possible to find almond flowers with snow.  

The Bible contains several references to the almond, often because of its early blossoming as a sign of awakening. The six-branched candlestick of the biblical Tabernacle, the meeting place of God with Moses and his people, is modelled on an almond tree. Later, in Christianity, the almond was seen as a symbol of the immaculate conception. 
"Christ was conceived in Maria as the almond kernel is formed in the still untouched almond" (Konrad von Würzburg, 13th century). The almond is probably best known in the form of marzipan, which came originally from the orient and was traditionally made of almonds, sugar and rose water. Baghlaba is the Persian variety.

Medicinal Uses

  • Almonds form an ideal tonic for your growing child. Soak 3-6 shelled almonds in warm water and than remove the skin. Grind them into paste, and mix it with milk. Add a teaspoon of honey. Feed your child daily. It can also be useful in adolescent girls with delayed puberty; crushed almonds, egg yolk, gingelly (til) powder, and a teaspoon of honey in milk will ensure good overall development during adolescence.
  • An excellent food supplement in case of general debility and convalescence. Soak 12-15 shelled almonds in hot water and remove outer covering. Grind them into fine paste, and mix it with the buttermilk and mash a ripe banana in it. Strain it through a muslin cloth, add 4 teaspoons honey, and drink twice daily. Almond forms an ideal food for diabetics also as it contains little carbohydrates.
  • Almonds are a good for constipation. Grind separately 5 teaspoons almonds and 5 teaspoons dried dates. Combine them and add 10 teaspoons honey.  Take 3 teaspoons of this mixture twice daily.
  • In the case of head lice, grind 7-8 kernels with 1-2 teaspoons lime juice and apply on the scalp. Apply a little almond oil on the scalp regularly and massage.
  • In the case of tooth ache and gum diseases, burn the shells of almonds, powder, and use as tooth powder.
  • To get relief from psoriasis and allied skin troubles, powder a few almonds, boil and apply on affected areas and let it remain overnight.
  • To improve skin complexion, mix equal quantities of almond oil and honey and apply to face. To protect from sunburn, apply the paste of almonds and milk cream along with coconut oil on exposed skin.
  • In the case of insomnia, grind blanched almonds (8-10) along with khuskhus grass powder (1 teaspoon) and milk (half teacup) and smear the paste on palms and soles.
  • To get relief from muscle sprains, mix equal parts of almond oil and garlic oil and massage over affected areas.

Other Uses

The almond tree gives off a resin which can be collected in the form of tears. In Ancient Greece these resin tears were burnt as incense to ward off disease and evil spirits. The fine fragrance disinfects, purifies and clarifies.

The almond is probably best known in the form of marzipan, which came originally from the orient and was traditionally made of almonds, sugar and rose water. Baghlaba is the Persian variety additionally flavoured with cardamom and traditionally eaten there during the four-week festivities in celebration of the New Year. 

In 16th century Germany the production of marzipan was the province of the pharmacists whose "confectiones" were only prepared with sugar to make the bitter medicine more pleasant-tasting. Marzipan was also known as "heart sugar".

Almond Tree in History

Almonds already grew in the stone age and their cultivation is thought to go back to the Bronze age. The almond is probably the oldest cultivated fruit of the Old World with a success story that continues right up to the present day. In the 17th to 16th century before the birth of Christ the almond tree made its way from its native Asia via Persia to Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt. In the 5th century it then travelled further to Greece and to the Roman Empire.  

Legends about Almond Tree

Ancient Greece in particular is the source of many legends in which the almond tree plays a role. According to one of these legends the almond is said to have developed from a drop of blood of the Greek goddess Kybele, the mother of the gods, who was originally the goddess of the mountains and of fertility in Asia Minor. 

In other accounts the almond tree is said to have developed from the male half of a hermaphroditic being created by Zeus.

There is an almond tree fairy tale from Morocco. In this fairy tale the beautiful princess Hatim had such a kind heart that she took money from her father's coffers and gave it to the poorest of her country. The king had no understanding for his daughter's behaviour, accused her of theft and had her executed. Allah understood Hatim's action and transformed the dead princess into an almond tree which gave the country's people almonds year after year.

Bible Remarks regarding Almond Tree 

Almonds are mentioned six times in the Scriptures and only in the Old Testament. The first reference is in Genesis 43:11 where Jacob, in an apparent attempt to curry favor with the ruler of Egypt, orders his sons to take some of the "best products of the land" including almonds.

 The best-known reference to the almond is Aaron's rod that budded (Numbers 17). This is miraculous because the flowering, budding, and fruiting of the almond in nature are always separated in time. 

Its flowers symbolize the cups that crown the seven branches of the Jewish candelabra (Ex. 25:33-36; 37:19-20). 

In the biblical books, the almond tree is mentioned several times (e.g., Gen. 30:37-39; 43:11; Qo.12.1-5). 

The prophet, Jeremiah, mentions it in a vision: The word of Yahweh was addressed to me asking, "Jeremiah, what to you see?" "I see a branch of the watchful tree," I answered. 

Then Yahweh said, "Well seen! I too watch over My Word to see it fulfilled" (Jer. 1:11-12). In this text there is a word game between the Hebrew words shaqed, a/mond tree, and shoqed, I watch. 

 Also, the image of the almond tree, the first tree to bloom, reminds us of the watchful eye of God, that watches over His word to set it to practice.

The last reference to the almond is in Jeremiah 1:11. "The word of the Lord came to me: 'What do you see, Jeremiah?' 'I see the branch of an almond tree', I replied." The Hebrew word for almond sounds similar to that for watchful. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

Fringetree, White Clump, Medicinal Uses for Liver and Gallbladder Disorders

By Liliana Usvat
Blog 281-365

White Clump Fringetree is clothed in stunning panicles of fragrant white flowers rising above the foliage in late spring. It has emerald green foliage throughout the season. The narrow leaves turn yellow in fall. 

White Clump Fringetree is a multi-stemmed deciduous tree with a more or less rounded form. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.
This is a high maintenance tree that will require regular care and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It has no significant negative characteristics.
White Clump Fringetree is recommended for the following landscape applications;
  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use

Plant Characteristics:
White Clump Fringetree will grow to be about 18 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 18 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.
This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It is an amazingly adaptable plant, tolerating both dry conditions and even some standing water. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments.
This species is native to parts of North America.
The almost-odorless root bark is gathered, washed, and dried for medicinal use. It has all but eluded modern horticulturists in growing it on a commercial scale, either by cutting or grafting. Most plants seen in gardens are from seeds which require over two years to germinate, if at all.

Medicinal uses
The fringe tree was commonly used by the North American Indians and European settlers alike to treat inflammations of the eye, mouth ulcers and spongy gums. 
In modern herbalism it is considered to be one of the most reliable remedies for disorders of the liver and gall bladder. The dried root bark is alterative, aperient, cholagogue, diuretic, febrifuge and tonic. 
The roots of the fringe tree are dried and used to treat liver and gallbladder disease in traditional American folk medicine, often in combination with barberry and other herbs containing berberine. 
The root acts as a bitter,stimulating release of bile, which increases gastric secretion and improved appetite and digestion. 
American Indians made a root-bark tea to clean wounds and sores and associated inflammation and infections. Overdoses can cause vomiting, frontal headaches and a slow pulse.
 In addition to the conditions cited, homoeopathy practices also use fresh root bark to treat migraine, headache, and depressive symptoms 
 The root bark also appears to strengthen function in the pancreas and spleen whilst anecdotal evidence indicates that it may substantially reduce sugar levels in the urine. Fringe tree also stimulates the appetite and digestion and is an excellent remedy for chronic illness, especially where the liver has been affected.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Japanese Pagoda Tree, Sophora japonica Nitrogen Fixing Trees, Medicinal Uses

By Liliana Usvat
Blog 267 -365

This tree is native to eastern Asia, especially China and Japan. Others common names include Chinese pagoda tree, Styphnolobium japonicum, Japanese pagoda tree, and Chinese Scholar.

Chinese Scholar Tree or Japanese Pagoda Tree A native of China, this medium sized tree grows to 65 feet in height, usually with a broad round crown.  It has a rapid growth rate and tolerates city conditions, heat, and drought. When grown in a yard, the Japanese Pagoda Tree can reach a height ranging from 50 to 75 feet; however, when grown along the road in compact soil, it only grows to 30 or 40 feet. Sophora has a height and spread of from 40 to 60 feet. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8  and prefers an open, sunny location.  

Bloom This tree begins to bloom when 10 to 15 years old. In late summer and early fall, 10- to15-inch upright panicles of mildly fragrant, creamy-white, pea-like flowers are produced at the ends of branches and live about a month.

Seeds Flowers are replaced by ornamental yellow seed pods, 6 to 8 inches long, which persist well into the winter and resemble strings of beads.

Bark The young bark is pale gray, becoming furrowed into fibrous, interlaced, scaly ridges.

Medicinal Uses

Sophora japonica, also known as Huai Hua Mi, is edible and often used as a cool Chinese herb to stop bleeding. 

Fruits as a source of sophorose and rutin drugs.

Main chemical constituents are triterpenoids, flavonoids, betulin, sophoradiol, flower oil, and tannin. Triterpenoids mainly include azukisaponinⅠ, Ⅱ, Ⅴ, soyasaponin I, Ⅲ, and kaikasaponin Ⅰ, Ⅱ, Ⅲ. Flavonoids mainly include quercetin, rutin, isorhamnetin, isorhamnetin-3-rutinoside, and kaempferol-3-rutinoside. And flower oil contains fatty acids, such as lauric acid, dodecenoic acid, tetradecenoic acid, teradecadienoic acid, palmitic acid, hexadecenoic acid, stearic acid, octadecadienoic acid, octadecatrienoic acid, arachidic acid and β-sitosterol.

The  fruit is expert in stopping bleeding and lowering blood pressure; root bark and leaf are skilled in curing sore. In addition, its shoots and seedling are also used medicinally. According to Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Materia Medica), its newborn shoots and seedling can be consumed as vegetable or tea. And Bao Pu Zi, literally “Book of the Master Who Embraces Simplicity”, and Ming Yi Bie Lu (Appendant Records of Famous Physicians) say that this herb is one of the best brain tonics, which can improve hair color and live longer if only people take it earlier.

Yu Huai Zang Lian Wan. From Cheng Fang Bian Du (Convenient Reader of Established Formulas), this formula is basically formulated for chronic and new hemorrhoids. Other key herbal ingredients are Huang Lian (Coptis Rhizome), Di Yu (Sanguisorba Root), and so on.
2. Huai Hua San. From Jing Yan Liang Fang (Experiential Fine Formulas), this prescription combines it with Zhi Zi (Gardenia) for the treatment of blood-heat type of hemafecia.
3. Huai Hua San. From Liang Peng Hui Ji (Close Friends’ Collection), this recipe uses this herb with Bai Cao Shuang (Plant Soot) to cure vaginal bleeding.
4. Huai Xiang San. From Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence), it couples charred Huai Hua Mi with a little bit She Xiang (Moschus) to treat throwing up blood.
5. Huai Hua Jin Yin Hua Jiu. In the formula of Yi Xue Qi Meng (Enlighten of Medicine), this herb works with Jin Yin Hua (Honeysuckle Flower) and wine to cure sore and ulcer.


 It has long been planted as shade tree thanks to its rapid growth rate and an immense size. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Maidenhair Tree Ginkgo biloba Medicinal Uses

By Liliana Usvat
Blog 259-365 recognizes Ginkgo biloba as "the oldest living tree on the planet that's been used safely for over 3000 years. " The paleontologists and evolutionists are also much interested in the Ginkgo although, as already stated, no wild localities are known where the trees grow, it has been discovered by its fossil remains to have been once widely scattered over the face of the globe. 

Buddhist monks cultivated the tree from about 1100 AD for its many good qualities." Plant collectors from the West eventually were sold on Ginkgo biloba trees and brought specimens home.

It is uncertain whether the maidenhair tree still persists in the wild and at present there are no conservation projects in place. 

Cultivated trees are found throughout the world, however, and a multi-million dollar industry has cashed in on the leaves' medicinal propertie

Maidenhair Tree

  • Known as a 'living fossil', the Ginkgo biloba is one of the world's oldest living tree species: it was around 350 million years ago!
  • The word ginkgo comes from the Chinese yinxingmeaning 'silver apricot'. It was named the maidenhair tree in England because the leaves look similar to the native maidenhair fern.
  • The fruit smells of rancid butter during the ripening process.
  • Native to Xitianmu Mountain in Zhejiang, China. Scattered in broadleaved forests up to 1,100m altitude.
  • The maidenhair tree is listed as ‘endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Medicinal Uses
  • Ginkgos are grown as hedges in China to supply the leaves for western herbal medicine. The leaves contain ginkgolides, which are used to improve blood circulation to the brain and to relieve Alzheimer’s, tinnitus and Reynaud's Syndrome. It is usually Europe’s number one selling herbal medication.
  • Ginkgo has been studied as a possible treatment for dementia and Alzheimer's disease
  • Seeds and leaves treat diseases such as Asthma and Tuberculosis
  • The ancient Chinese people believed that roasted seeds could help prevent drunkenness. Even today, roastedGinkgo seeds can be found at many Chinese and Japanese wedding celebrations in order to prevent people from getting too drunk.
  • Today, we use Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) for two main reasons: to increase blood circulation and 
  • to rid the body of free radicals, which can improve bodily functions greatly. Free radicals have been found to be part of the cause in most cancers. 
  • Ginkgo biloba can also benefit people who have Glaucoma, 
  • Tinnitus, 
  • Cerebral Insufficiency, 
  • Macular Degeneration, 
  • Male Impotence, 
The seeds (baigo) are most used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the leaves in western medicine. 
In Japan the seeds are called ginnan. The Japanese way of using Ginkgo as a medicine originates from the Chinese tradition.

The seeds' medicinal use is mentioned in the 'Great Herbal' Pen Tsao Kang Mu compiled by  Li Shih-chen (1578) which in still in use in TCM.  

Dr. C.A. Stuart and Dr. F. Porter Smith translated and researched this herbal and used it as a working base for their publication of 'Chinese Medicinal Herbs' (1911).  
In their work they write: "The seeds are supposed to benefit asthma, coughs, irritability of the bladder, blenorrhoa and uterine fluxes. 

Eaten raw they destroy cancer and are counter-vinous. Cooked they are said to be peptic and anthelmintic, and are similarly used by the Japanese to promote digestion.  In some cases they appear to cause peculiar symptoms of intoxication."

They also mention the use of the wood for seals used as charms by quacks in the treatment of disease.

Kaempfer mentions the seeds as an aid for digestion and bladder. Thunberg writes in Flora Japonica (1784) that the seeds are eaten raw or roasted in Japan and in 1819 Franz von Jaquin notes in 'Ueber den Ginkgo' the use as a digestive aid.

The earliest record of the use of the leaves as a medicine is said to be mentioned in the Chinese Materia Medica Shen Nung Pen Tsao Ching (which should originate from about 2800 BC or from the Han dynasty [206BC-220AD]) as an aid for blood circulation and the lungs. This record cannot be confirmed however  because the original of this work has never been found. 

Dian Nan Ben Cao (Lan Mao) (1436) mentions the use of the leaves for skin treatment, head sores and freckles. They are also used for chilblains and as a wound plaster. 

The internal use is first mentioned in the Ben Cao Pin Hui Jing Yao (1505) by Liu Wen-Tai as used against diarrhea. 

Deciduous tree up to 40m tall. Bark grey, furrowed, corky. Leaves characteristically fan-shaped, up to 12cm across, divided into two lobes, bright yellow in autumn, spirally arranged along long shoots. Each tree has either male or female flowers (dioecious): male flowers catkin-like, hanging down (pendulous) and yellow, up to 8cm long; female flowers smaller and on pedicels up to 4cm long. Fruits maturing following autumn, drupe-like, light yellow decaying to purplish-black. Pollinated by wind.

Fragrant, inconspicuous, dioecious. Flowers will not appear until trees are older than 20 years (Dirr) or 40 years (Jacobson).

Thrives in moist, well-drained soil, but tolerates poor, compacted soil, as well as heat, drought, salt spray, and air pollution.

It is well worth planting a ginkgo for the next generation. While slow to grow when young, with advancing age the ginkgo becomes a striking tree with interesting winter form and even more interesting foliage.

This species has merits that are well known. Virtually pest-free and incredibly tolerant of urban conditions, there are Ginkgo specimens that are centuries old living in cities around the world.
"The Maidenhair tree is sacred according to the Buddhist religion and has been cultivated for many centuries in China and Japan, especially in the grounds of temples" (Cafferty).

One could even argue that Ginkgo is a species native to Ontario, as fossil records show that this tree was indeed indigenous here millions of years ago.

For all the virtues of Ginkgo, some will avoid it due to the messy and stinky fruits. Washing off the smelly outer flesh reveals a delicious nut prized by many in Asia. Fruitless, male cultivars are available in numerous shapes and sizes.

Ginkgo has a fairly slow growth rate, but this shouldn't be reason to avoid planting them. Patience when growing this species is more than rewarded in the long-term. Unfortunately, too many landscape plans call for fast-growing trees that are structurally weak and short lived. Ginkgo is a tree that should be considered a sound investment that can be planted with confidence for the long term.

  • by seed, collect in fall (cold stratification is benefical)
  • can also be done by softwood or semihardwood cuttings, collect in early summer
  • cultivars are propagated mainly by grafting

Extreme examples of the ginkgo's tenacity may be seen in Hiroshima, Japan, where six trees growing between 1–2 km from the 1945 atom bomb explosion were among the few living things in the area to survive the blast. Although almost all other plants (and animals) in the area were destroyed, the ginkgos, though charred, survived and were soon healthy again. The trees are alive to this day.

The Ginkgo nuts are mentioned in Japanese textbooks from 1492 and later for use at tea ceremonies as sweets and dessert. In the Edo-period (1600-1867) common people began to eat them as vegetable and ingredients for pickles.

 In the 18th century the nuts (called ginnan) became used as a side dish when drinking sake. Today they are used (grilled or boiled) in chawan-mushi (a pot-steamed egg dish) or in nabe-ryori (Japanese fondue). The grilled nuts are still often eaten in Japan when drinking sake.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Temperate Legume Trees Robinia Pseudoacacia Medicinal Uses

By Liliana Usvat
Blog 249-365

Common name: Black Locust
Latin name: Robinia pseudoacacia

Very few nitrogen fixing trees are temperate, and very few of these are legumes. The genus Robinia, with four species native to temperate regions of North America, is noteworthy for an ability to tolerate severe frosts.

Robinia pseudoacacia L., or black locust (family Leguminosae, subfamily Papilionoideae), is among the few leguminous NFTs adapted to frost-prone areas. It is also adaptable to environmental extremes such as drought, air pollutants, and high light intensities (Hanover 1989). Rapid growth, dense wood, and N fixing ability make it ideal for colonizing degraded sites.
Robinia pseudoacacia will tolerate almost any soil conditions; it will be happy in acid, neutral or alkaline pH levels, in loam, sand, clay or chalk and facing any aspect so long as it is given a sheltered location.


Black locust is a medium-sized tree reaching 1535 m in height and 0.3-1.0 m in diameter. Long (2045 cm) pinnate leaves consist of 5-33 small, oval, alternate leaflets. Sharp spines are found at the nodes of young branches but are rare on mature wood. 

The smooth bark becomes reddishbrown and deeply furrowed with age. White to pink, fragrant flowers in 10-25 cm long, hanging racemes appear in early summer soon after the leaves. The closed flowers require bees to force petals open for cross-pollination. 

The small pods contain 4-8 hard-coated seeds which can persist in the soil for many years. Seed crops occur every 1-2 years beginning at age 3; pods open on the tree in winter and early spring. 

Propagation Reforestation

They can be propagated, with difficulty, from hardwood cuttings (15-30 cm long and 1-2 cm diameter) collected in winter or early spring.  The tree responds well to tissue culture and has been mass propagated by this method. In nursery culture black locust is either direct seeded or root sections (5-8 cm long) planted. 

The species has one of the highest net photosynthetic rates among woody plants. Black locust grows rapidly, especially when young. Trees can reach 3 m tall in one growing season and average 0.5-1.5 m height and 0.2-2 cm diameter growth per year. Trees attained 12 m ht in 10 yrs and 20 m ht in 25 yrs in Kashmir (Singh 1982), and 26 m ht and 27 cm diameter in 40 yrs


Bees harvest Robinia nectar to produce a honey regarded as one of the world's finest. Tree improvement specifically for late flowering and high nectar sugar content is ongoing in Hungary and the US.

The tree is used extensively to rehabilitate surface mine tailings in the US. In Hungary. A dense growth habit makes black locust suitable for windbreaks, a use most common in China. 

Black locust may even prove useful for alley cropping in temperate climates. Researchers at the Rodale Research Center in Pennsylvania are experimenting with intercropping black locust with vegetables.

 Numerous reports indicate the beneficial effect of this NFT to associated plants through improved soil fertility. Mixed plantings of black locust and conifers, however, can lead to reduced growth or death of the slower growing conifers because of shading and over-topping.

Medicinal use

  • Dried leaves are helpful in treatment of wounds caused by burns. 
  • It acts as a pain reliever. 
  • Used internally, it calms stomach burns, 
  • and is usually recommended to individuals who suffer from hyperacid gastritis and 
  • distensions.
  • It is helpful in easing digestion. 
  • As a good emollient and expectorant, 
  • Black Locust is excellent in treatments of asthma and bronchitis. 
  • Black Locust has a sedating and calming effect, and 
  • could be very useful in cases of headaches and 
  • stress. 
  • Infusion added to baths can help young children who suffer from insomnia. 
  • Flower powder is used in cases of gastritis, duodenal and gastric ulcer.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Raisin Tree Medicinal Uses

By Liliana Usvat
Blog 245-365

Common Name: Raisin Tree, Japanese Raisin Tree, Oriental Raisin Tree
Scientific Name: Hovenia dulcis
Family: Rhamnaceae (the Buckthorn family)

The Raisin Tree is a unique plant. The edible portion of the tree is not actually the fruit. The fruit itself is small, hard, pea-sized, and not edible. But the stem or stalk of the fruit, once the fruit is mature, will swell up and become gnarled. It is this fruit stalk, technically called a rachis, that is edible.

Flowering: Early Summer. Flowers are small but very numerous

  • Edible Fruit Stalk – Can be eaten raw or cooked. Reported to have a flavor similar to Asian Pears or candied Walnuts. The fruit stalks can be dried and then have a flavor and texture more like a raisin. (here is a fun article about cooking with the Raisin Tree)
  • Extract – An extract from the fruit stalks and other parts (young leaves and small branches?) is made in China. It is called “tree honey” and is used as a honey substitute. It is used for making sweets and even a type of wine!
  • Wildlife food for both birds and small mammals.
Medicinal Uses

There is some research to support that the antioxidants in this plant (hodulcine, ampelopsin, quercetin) has liver protecting and anti-inflammatory effects.
It provides superior antioxidant activity effect to world’s famous ‘manuka’ honey produced in New Zealand.

Drought Tolerant Plant 

A unique, large, fast-growing tree that bears sweet, edible peduncles tasting similar to a combination of raisin, clove, cinnamon and sugar & with medicinal properties!
Mature trees can yield 5-10 pounds of edible fruit stalks.
Tolerates light to medium shade, but fruits earlier and in larger quantity in full sun.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Byble Plants - Lebanon Cedars - History, Symbolysm, Medicinal Uses

by Liliana Usvat

Cedrus libani (Lebanon Cedar)  

Cedrus libani is a species of cedar native to the mountains of the Mediterranean region. Lebanon cedar or Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani subsp. libani or var. libani) - grows in Lebanon, Palestine, northwest Jordan, western Syria, and south central Turkey.

History, Symbolism and Medicinal Uses

The Cedar of Lebanon was important to various ancient civilizations. The trees were used by the Phoenicians for building commercial and military ships, as well as houses, palaces, and temples. The ancient Egyptians used its resin in mummification, and its sawdust has been found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs. The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh designates the cedar groves of Lebanon as the dwelling of the gods to which Gilgamesh, the hero, ventured.
Hebrew priests were ordered by Moses to use the bark of the Lebanon Cedar in circumcision and the treatment of leprosy.

According to the Talmud, Jews once burned Lebanese cedar wood on the Mount of Olives to celebrate the new year.

Because of its significance the word Cedar is mentioned 75 times (Cedar 51 times, Cedars 24 times) in the Bible.

Beyond that, it was also used by Romans, Greeks, Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians.

Medicinal Uses

Part Used Young Shoots
Plant Stem Cell Therapy  - Cedrus libani are widely used as traditional medicine in Lebanon for treatment of different infection diseases.
  • Himachalol from Cedrus Libani has shown potent anti-allergic activity.
  • The decoction has been used in intermittent fevers, rheumatism, dropsy, coughs, scurvy, and as an emmenagogue. 
  • The leaves, made into an ointment with fat, are a helpful local application in rheumatism.
  •  An injection of the tincture into venereal warts is said to cause them to disappear.
  •  For violent pains the Canadians have used the cones, powdered, with four-fifths of Polypody, made into a poultice with lukewarm water or milk and applied to the body, with a cloth over the skin to prevent scorching. 
  • Dosage---Of fluid extract, 1/4 drachm, three to six times a day, as stimulating expectorant and diuretic. The infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water is taken cold in tablespoonful doses.  
  • Inhale the steam of cedarwood essential oil to treat respiratory infections and clear congestion.
  •  Add a few drops to a sitz bath to ease the pain and irritation of urinary infections and to cure the infection more quickly.
  •  Applied to oily skin, cedarwood essential oil is an astringent that dries and helps clear acne. Incorporate it into a facial wash, spritzer, or other cosmetic (10 drops of essential oil per ounce of preparation). 
  • Added to a salve (15 drops of essential oil per ounce of salve), it relieves dermatitis and, in some cases, eczema and psoriasis. 
  • For bites and itching, mix cedarwood and an equal part of alcohol or vegetable oil, and dab directly on the area. Add two drops of essential oil to every ounce of shampoo or hair conditioner to ease dandruff and possibly slow hair loss. 
  • Anti-inflammatory, topical Insecticidal. Antiparasitic, Antibacterial, Anticandida, Scabies infections and to heal wounds in humans and domestic animals, both internally and externally. Himachalol from Cedrus Libani has shown potent anti-allergic activity. Dry Eczema - (dry white crusty skin) - Psoriasis, Pruritus, Hyper-Keratosis, chronic dermatitis, lichenoid dermatosis, Callosity, Diaper Rashes,
  •  Dermatitis Herpetiformis (in Celiac Disease), 
  • anti aging of the skin. Dry skin and Anti-Wrinkle. 
  • Also works on the Elastin and Collagen of the skin. Anti-furrow; Furrows are where there may be wrinkle lines complicated by the loss of subcutaneous fat and/or ligament support. Increases the ability of the skin &/or scalp to retain water. 
  • This is a Botox equivalent over a six month period excellent for dry skin. Hair loss, Dandruff, dry skin accompanied with acne. If Oily Acne then use Elm. 
  • Himachalol from Cedrus Libani has shown potent anti-allergic activity especially skin allergic reaction. Leaf and bread molds phycomycotic diseases. Topical Deet alternative 1, 15ml bottle diluted in 20 ounces of distilled water and put into a frosted plastic spray bottle and used as a natural Repellent of Ticks and Mosquitoes. Keep away from eyes also can be used on animals in place of Frontline toxic products.
  • 'A' Diabetes, inhibit amylase, excellent in acute and chronic pancreatitis.
  • A' Antitumor. Cytotoxicity against human epidermal carcinoma of the nasopharynx. Sesquiterpenes can also erase or deprogram miswritten codes in cellular memory (DNA). The root problem with a cancer cell is that it contains misinformation, and sesquiterpenes can delete that garbled information.
  • Tropical uses UTFor scabies use 1 drop on each affected area every 2 hour 4 to 6 times per day. Takes around 10 applications to be eradicated. Could potentially be a DEET replacement due to a “novel sesquiterpene Isolongifolenone” Repellent of Ticks and Mosquitoes.Combats hair loss alopecia areata. Cuts or wounds to disinfect and protect from infection.   
  • Musculoskeletal System: 'A' The Antispasmolytic activity was similar to that of papaverine as observed by the effect of himachalol on various isolated smooth muscles and several agonists.Fibromyalgia 
  • Infectious Diseases: 'A' Antiviral Herpes Simplex HSV1. Scabies, Molluscicidal activity. Antiviral, Antifungal, Expectorant, Lymphatic cleanser. 

Is widely cultivated as an ornamental species in southern climates. Requires about 1000 mm of rain a year. They form open forests with a low undergrowth of grasses in their native habitat.  

Propagate from seed, sown as soon as it ripens. Difficult to propagate from cuttings, and does not like to be transplanted.

Over the centuries, extensive deforestation has occurred, with only small remnants of the original forests surviving. Deforestation has been particularly severe in Lebanon and on Cyprus; on Cyprus, only small trees up to 25 m (82 ft) tall survive, though Pliny the Elder recorded cedars 40 m (130 ft) tall there.

Extensive reforestation of cedar is carried out in the Mediterranean region, particularly Turkey, where over 50 million young cedars are being planted annually.

The Lebanese populations are also now expanding through a combination of replanting and protection of natural regeneration from browsing by goats, hunting, forest fires, and woodworms.

World Heritage Site

The Cedars of God Forest is one of the last vestiges of the extensive forests of the Cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus libani ) that thrived across Mount Lebanon in ancient times. Their timber was exploited by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians as well as the Phoenicians. The wood was prized by Egyptians for shipbuilding; the Ottoman Empire also used the cedars in railway construction.

Concern for the biblical "cedars of God" goes back to 1876, when the 102-hectare (250-acre) grove was surrounded by a high stone wall, paid for by Queen Victoria, to protect saplings from browsing by goats. Nevertheless during World War I, British troops used cedar to build railroads

In 1998, the Cedars of God were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Current status
The forest is rigorously protected. It is possible to tour it escorted by an authorized guide. After a preliminary phase in which the land was cleared of detritus, the sick plants treated, and the ground fertilized, the "Committee of the Friends of the Cedar Forest" initiated a reforestation program in 1985. These efforts will only be appreciable in a few decades due to the slow growth of cedars. In these areas the winter offers incredible scenery, and the trees are covered with a blanket of snow.