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Magic And Wicca - Herbal Encyclopedia - J


Herbs & Oils

~ J ~


(Jasminum officionale)

Common Jasmine is a deciduous shrub with strongly scented, white summer flowers.
The flowers make a tea that calms the nerves and increases erotic feelings. Steep two teaspoons of flowers per cup of water for twenty minutes. The dose is a quarter cup,, four times a day. The oil of the leaf is rubbed on the head to heal the eyes. A syrup of jasmine flowers and honey will help with coughs and lung complaints. The essential oil of jasmine is said to help menstrual pain and lung problems.
CAUTION: The berries are poisonous.
Parts Used: Flower
Magical Uses: Symbolic of the moon and of the mysteries of the night. Jasmine essential oil is useful for sexuality, DON'T use synthetics! Dried Jasmine flowers are added to sachets and other love mixtures. They will attract a spiritual (as opposed to a physical)love. The flowers will also draw wealth and money if carried, burned or worn. Jasmine will also cause prophetic dreams if burned in the bedroom, and the flowers are smelled to induce sleep. Use for: Anointing; Balance; Luck; Fortune; Justice; Happiness; Harmony; Peace; Prophetic dreams; Meditation; Money; Riches; Astral Projection.
Aromatherapy Uses Aphrodisiac; Dry, greasy, irritated skin; Muscular spasms; sprains; Coughs; Hoarseness; Laryngitis; Frigidity; Labor Pains; Uterine Disorders; Depression; Nervous Exhaustion; Stress Related Conditions. Key Qualities: Intoxicating; Uplifting; Anti-depressant; Euphoric; Balancing; Warming; Tonic.


(Juniperus communis)

A Druid sacred tree, Juniper is an evergreen tree or shrub with needle-like leaves in threes and berrylike cones that ripen to blue-black in their second or third year.
Primarily a diuretic, the berries help digestive problems, gastrointestinal inflammations, and rheumatism. The berries are taken as a tea (simmer two teaspoons per cup of water for ten minutes; take up to one cup four times a day), or taken as jam or syrup in water, mild, or herb tea. The dry berries can be chewed; three a day is sufficient.
CAUTION: Pregnant women and people with weak kidneys should not use juniper berry.
Parts Used: Berry and young twig
Magical Uses: Probably one of the earliest incenses used by Mediterranean Witches. Its berries were used with thyme in Druid and grove incenses for visions. Juniper grown by the door discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung in the house to attract love. Men use the berries to increase potency. Burn Juniper as incense for: Exorcism; Protection; Healing; Love. The Essential oil is useful in protection, purification and healing blends.
Aromatherapy Uses Acne; Dermatitis; Eczema; Hair Loss; Hemorrhoids; Wounds; Tonic for Oily Complexions; Accumulation of Toxins; Arteriosclerosis; Cellulite; Gout; Obesity; Rheumatism; Colds; Flu; Infections; Anxiety; Nervous Tension; Stress Related Conditions. Key Qualities: Aphrodisiac; Purifying; Clearing; Depurative; Nerve Tonic; Reviving; Protective; Restorative.



Botanical: Pilocarpus Jaborandi (HOLMES.)
Family: N.O. Rutaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Poisons with Antidotes
Other Species
---Synonyms---Arruda do Mato. Arruda brava. Jamguarandi. Juarandi.
---Part Used---Dried leaflets.
---Description---There is divergence of opinion among recognized authorities as to the origin of the drug known as Jaborandi. Not only is the name applied to plants of quite different species in South America, but various shrubs are recognized as official in some countries that are classed as inferior substitutes in others.
Until 1914 Pilocarpus Jaborandi only was regarded as official in the British Pharmacopoeia, but in the edition of that year it was omitted. In the United States P. Jaborandi is recognized as Pernambuco Jaborandi, and P. microphyllus as Maranham Jaborandi. Pernambuco Jaborandi was at first referred to P. pennatifolius, the leaves of which are now rarely found in commerce, and some writers describe this as being probably the true source of the drug. The uncertainty appears to be due to the fact that the fruit of the different species is not known to botanists, the drug being only introduced into Europe in 1847.
The names of Jaborandi, Iaborandi, and Jamborandi are applied to sundry pungent plants of the Rutaceae and Piperaceae orders, and especially to Piper Jaborandi.
The shrub grows from 4 to 5 feet high; the bark is smooth and greyish; the flowers are thick, small, and reddish-purple in color, springing from rather thick, separate stalks about 1/4 inch long. The leaves are large, compound, pinnate with an odd terminal leaflet, with two to four pairs of leaflets.
They are chiefly exported from Ceara and Pernambuco, and only the leaflets are officinal, though they arrive mixed with petioles and small fruits. The color is brownish-green, the margin entire, with a notch cut out at the blunt tip of the leaf, which except in the case of the terminal leaflet, is unequal at the base. They are hairless, leathery, with large oil-glands, from 2 1/2 to 4 inches long, and when crushed have a slightly aromatic odour. The taste is bitter and aromatic, becoming pungent. The powder is dark green or greenish brown.
---Constituents---A volatile oil, containing dipentene and other hydrocarbons, tannic acid, a peculiar volatile acid, and potassium chloride. The principal constituents are the three alkaloids, Pilocarpine (not found in all species), Isopilocarpine and Pilocarpidine.
Pilocarpine, only in the proportion of 0.5 per cent, is found as a soft, viscous mass yielding crystalline salts, freely soluble in alcohol, ether, and chloroform, and only slightly soluble in water. The nitrate should melt at 1.78ø C. It is a white, crystalline powder, soluble in 95 per cent alcohol, and giving a yellowish solution with strong sulphuric acid.
Various hypodermic solutions are prepared from it.
Hydrochlorate of Pilocarpine is official in the United States, and in some European Pharmacopoeias.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The crude drug is rarely used, its virtues being due to the alkaloid, Pilocarpine. It is antagonistic to atropine, stimulating the nerve-endings paralysed by that drug, and contracting the pupil of the eye. Its principal use is as a powerful and rapid diaphoretic, the quantity of sweat brought out by a single dose being as much as 9 to 15 OZ. It induces also free salivation and excites most gland secretions, some regarding it as a galactagogue.
Jaborine, of which there is a small quantity in the leaves, resembles atropine, and is antagonistic to pilocarpine, so that an impure pilocarpine may vary largely in effect.
Jaborandi may irritate the stomach and cause vomiting and nausea, as may pilocarpine, even when given as a subcutaneous injection, but these symptoms yield to morphine.
It is useful in psoriasis, prurigo, deafness depending on syphilitic disease of the labyrinth, baldness, chronic catarrh, catarrhal jaundice, tonsillitis, and particularly dropsy. Probably it is most popularly known in preparations for the hair. In small doses it quenches thirst in fever or chronic renal diseases.
It is contra-indicated in fatty heart or pleurisy.
---Dosages---Of Powdered leaves, 5 to 60 grains. Of Pilocarpine, 1/20 to 1/4 grain. Of Pilocarpine Nitrate, 1/20 to 1/4 grain. Of Fluid extract, B.P., 10 to 30 drops. Of Tincture, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm.
---Poisons with Antidotes---An overdose may cause flushing, profuse sweating and salivation, nausea, rapid pulse, contracted pupils, diarrhoea, and even fatal pulmonary oedema. The stomach should be emptied and a full dose of atropine given.
---Other Species---
P. microphyllus, with smaller and moreyellowish leaves, is regarded as identical in constituents in the United States.
P. pennatifolius, or P. pinnatus or P. simplex, inhabits Southern Brazil and Paraguay. The leaves are paler than the official ones, and contain little alkaloid. They are sometimes known as 'Paraguay Jaborandi.'
P. Selloamus, a variety of the above, with fleshier leaflets, yields Rio Janeiro Jaborandi. It was formerly official in the United States.
P. trachylophus, with smaller leaves, gives Ceara Jaborandi. It grows in Northern Brazil.
P. spicatus, giving Aracati Jaborandi, has simple lanceolate leaves said to have a high percentage of alkaloid.
P. racemosus of the West Indies, including a good percentage of alkaloids, yields Guadeloupe Jaborandi.
---Substitutes---Logwood leaves have been substitutes for Paraquay Jaborandi under the name of 'Feuilles de Bois d'inde.'
Leaves of Tunatea decipiens, or Swartzia decipiens are often mixed in parcels of P. microphyllus.

Jacob's Ladder

Botanical: Polemonium coeruleum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Polemoniaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Greek Valerian. Charity.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---This species is found wild in bushy places and by the side of streams, apparently indigenous, from Stafford and Derby northwards to the Cheviots, but doubtedly indigenous elsewhere, and when found in Scotland and Ireland, only an escape from gardens.
The Greek Valerian (Polemonium coeruleum, Linn.) is not a Valerian at all, but belongs to the natural order Polemoniaceae, the family of the Phloxes. Cats are, however, nearly as fond of the smell of this plant as of the true Valerian, and will frequently roll on it and injure it, and hence, perhaps, it has been popularly termed Valerian. It does not possess any of the medicinal qualities of the Valerians, and has nothing in common with them except in the shape of the leaves.
It is a common garden plant, with showy, blue flowers, and is called 'Jacob's Ladder,' from its successive pairs of leaflets. The name of the genus, Polemonium, is somewhat obscure - it is apparently derived from the Greek polemos (war), but its application is unexplained.
---Description---The plant is bright green and smooth, the upper portion generally clothed with short, gland-tipped hairs. The perennial root-stock is short and creeping, the stem 18 inches to 3 feet high, hollow and angular; the leaves, with very numerous pairs of entire leaflets, 1/2 to 1 inch long. The flowers are very numerous, terminating the stem of branches, slightly drooping, the corollas 3/4 to 1 inch across, deep blue, with short tubes and five broad, spreading segments. The stamens, inserted at the throat of the tube, have yellow anthers.
A handsome form, frequent in gardens, has variegated leaves and white flowers.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Culpepper says of it:
'It is under Mercury, and is alexipharmic, sudorific, and cephalic, and useful in malignant fevers and pestilential distempers; it helps in nervous complaints, headaches, trembling, palpitations of the heart, vapours, etc. It is good in hysteric cases, and epilepsies have been cured by the use of this herb.'
He tells us also, 'it is planted in gardens, and is found wild in some parts of Yorkshire.'
P. reptans (Linn.) (Abscess Root), known also as FALSE JACOB S LADDER, is used in herbal medicine for its diaphoretic, astringent and expectorant qualities; an infusion of the root being considered useful in coughs, colds, and bronchial and lung complaints, producing copious perspiration; has been considered to have similar diaphoretic and astringent action to Jacob's Ladder.

See Bindweed, Jalap.

Jamaica Dogwood
See Dogwood.


Botanical: Eugenia Jambolana (LANK,)
Family: N.O. Myrtaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Jambul. Jamum. Rose Apple. Java Plum. Syzygium Jumbolana.
---Part Used---Seeds, bark.
---Habitat---India. East Indies. Queensland.
---Description---A tree from 20 to 30 feet high, with long narrow peach-like leaves; flowers a greeny-yellow color, in terminal bunches, blooming in July; the fruit about the size of a hen's egg, varying from white to red and rose color, in scent and taste like a ripe apricot. It was cultivated in England by Miller in 1768. The bark is dense and hard, pinky or reddy-brown color, with a thick corky substance, whitish grey mottled, often ridged; the inner surface has a silky lustre; freshly fractured it shows a color varying from fawn to a pinky purple, abruptly shortly fibrous; seeds are oval, 1/2 inch long and 1/5 inch round, hard, heavy, blacky-grey color, almost tasteless.
---Constituents---Essential oil, chlorophyll, fat, resin, gallic and tannic acids, albumen and in their seed ellagic acid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---In India Jambul has long been used as a carminative in diarrhoea; stomachic and astringent. The fresh seeds have been found most effective in diabetes, as they quickly reduce sugar in the urine; also very beneficial in glycosuria. No poisoning or other harmful effects have been reported from its use.
---Preparations and Dosages---Van Morden advises: Fluid extract 1/2 fluid ounce should be taken in 8 oz. hot water 1 hour before breakfast and before going to bed. Fluid extract, 1 to 2 drachms. Powdered seeds, 5 to 30 grains.




Family: N.O. Oleaceae and Jasminaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses

The Jasmine, or Jessamine (the name derived from the Persian Yasmin), belongs botanically to the genus Jasminum, of the natural order Oleaceae, which contains about 150 species, mostly natives of the warmer regions of the Old World. About forty of these are cultivated in our gardens.
Their leaves are mostly ternate or pinnate; the flowers, usually white oryellow, with a tubular, five- or eight-cleft calyx, a cylindrical corolla-tube, with a spreading limb, two stamens enclosed in the corolla-tube and a two-celled ovary.
The COMMON WHITE JASMINE (Jasminum officinale), one of the best known and most highly esteemed of British hardy ligneous climbers, is a native of Northern India and Persia, introduced about the middle of the sixteenth century. In the centre and south of Europe it is thoroughly acclimatized.
Although it grows to the height of 12 and sometimes 20 feet, its stem is feeble and requires support. Its leaves are opposite, pinnate and dark green, the leaflets are in three pairs, with an odd one and are pointed, the terminal one larger with a tapering point. The fragrant flowers bloom from June to October; and as they are found chiefly on the young shoots, the plant should only be pruned in the autumn.
Varieties with golden and silver-edged leaves and one with double flowers are known.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The roots of several species of Jasminum have had various ill-defined uses in medicine - that of J. officinale is mentioned by Millspaugh (American Medicinal Plants) as 'a proven plant' in the homoeopathic sense, though he adds: 'the authority for the use of which I am unable to determine.'
The Dispensatory of the U.S.A. cites the case of a child, in 1861, being poisoned by the fruit of Jasmin,
'probably that of the common White species, J. officinale, the symptoms being coma, widely dilated pupil, snoring respiration, with cold, pale surface; slow, feeble pulse, followed by violent convulsions, with rigidity of muscle about head and throat.'
A palatable syrup can be prepared from the flowers. A preparation of the flowers has been employed medicinally. Green, in his Universal Herbal (1832), recommends:
'as an excellent medicine in coughs, hoarsenesses and other disorders of the breast, an infusion of five or six ounces of them picked clean from the leaves, in a quart of boiling water, being strained off and boiled in a syrup, with the addition of a sufficient quantity of honey.'
The SPANISH or CATALONIAN JASMINE (J. grandiflorum), a native of the north-west Himalayas, and cultivated in the Old and New World, is very like J. officinale, but differs in the size of the leaflets; the branches are shorter and stouter and the flowers very much larger and reddish beneath.
This is the Jasmine of the perfumery trade, one of the flowers most valued by perfumers, and grown at Grasse. Its delicate, sweet odour is so peculiar that it is without comparison one of the most distinct of all natural odours, and until quite recent years, it was believed that it was the only scent that could not be made artificially. A synthetic Otto of Jasmine now exists, however, its composition following more or less closely the constitution of the natural oil, containing benzyl acetate, a benzyl ester found in the natural oil of Jasmine, but the true perfume of Jasmine is not, however, exactly reproducible by any combination of chemical compounds or other natural products thus far known, and a proportion of the natural otto must be added to the mixture of synthetic substances to make the product satisfactory.
This Jasmine is very extensively cultivated at Cannes and Grasse. It is not grown on its own roots, but grafted on to two-year-old plants of J. officinale, an erect bush about 3 feet high being obtained, requiring no supports. The plants are set in rows, fully exposed to the sun, in a fresh, open soil, well sheltered from north winds, as they are very susceptible to cold and readily damaged by frost. They come into full bearing the second year after grafting. The blossoms, which are very large and intensely fragrant, are produced from July till the end of October, but those of August and September are the most odoriferous, the normal harvest being generally in full swing about the middle of August. The flowers open every morning at six o'clock and are culled after sunrise, as the morning dew would injure their fragrance. An acre of land will yield about 500 lb. weight of Jasmine blossoms.
A fungus, Agaricus melleus, is a plague of the Jasmine fields, attacking the roots of the grafted plants. When this mushroom has invaded a plantation, it is most difficult to combat, and the plants often have to be rooted out, causing much loss. It is not possible to grow Jasmine twice in succession on the same site, and the crop is replaced by roses or olives.
The perfume is extracted by the process known as enfleurage, i.e. absorption by a fatty body, such as purified lard or olive oil. Jasmine flowers contain, when picked, only a portion of the perfume which they are capable of yielding, so fresh oil is developed by the flowers as the solvent removes what was originally present.
Square glass trays, framed with wood about 3 inches deep, are spread over with grease about 1/2 inch thick, in which ridges are made to facilitate absorption, and sprinkled with freshly-gathered flowers, which are renewed every morning during the whole time the plant remains in blossom. The trays are piled up in stacks to prevent the evaporation of the aroma and finally the pomade is scraped off the glass, melted at as low a temperature as possible and strained.
When oil is employed as the absorbent, coarse cotton cloths previously saturated with the finest olive oil are laid on wiregauze frames, and are repeatedly covered in the same manner with fresh flowers. They are then squeezed under a press, yielding what is termed huile antique au jasmin. Three pounds of flowers will perfume 1 lb. of grease. This is extracted by maceration in 1 pint of rectified spirit to form the 'Extract.'
A small amount of Jasmine oil is prepared by extracting the blossoms with petroleum spirit and evaporating the solvent at a low temperature, but this treatment by killing the flower at once, stops the process of scent formation, so that the yield of oil is only onefifth (some say one-ninth) of that extracted by fats in the enfleurage process. The Jasmine oil obtained by extraction with volatile solvents is a pale-brown liquid with a pleasant odour, which is quite distinct, however, from that of Jasmine pomade.
The essential oil of J. grandiflorum contains methyl anthranilate, indol, benzyl alcohol, benzyl acetate, and the terpenes linalol and linalyl acetate.
As essential oil is distilled from Jasmine in Tunis and Algeria, but its high price prevents its being used to any extent.
The East Indian oil of Jasmine is a compound, largely contaminated with sandalwood-oil.
Syrup of Jasmine is made by placing in a jar alternate layers of the flowers and sugar, covering the whole with wet doths and standing it in a cool place. The perfume is absorbed by the sugar, which is converted into a very palatable syrup.
The ZAMBAK, or ARABIAN JASMINE (J. Sambac), is an evergreen white-flowered climber, 6 or 8 feet high, introduced into Britain in the latter part of the seventeenth century. Two varieties introduced somewhat later are respectively three-leaved and double-flowered, and these, as well as that with normal flowers, bloom throughout the greater part of the year.
The Hindus string the flowers together as neck garlands for honoured guests. The flowers of one of the double varieties are held sacred to Vishnu and are used as votive offerings in Hindu religious ceremonies.
At Ghazipur, a town on the Ganges, Jasmine, there called Chameli, is used mainly for making perfumed hair oils by a process of enfleurage. The odour is absorbed in sesame seeds. The seeds are prepared by washing and rubbing, and when decorticated are dried. The prepared seeds and flowers are placed in alternate layers and allowed to remain for twelve to fourteen hours. The seeds are then separated from the flowers and repeatedly treated in the same way with fresh flowers. The spent flowers are used over and over again with fresh till seeds, these latter giving oil of an inferior quality. The oil obtained from seeds treated with fresh flowers only is the best. The perfumed seeds are pressed in an ordinary wooden country press borne by bullocks. The method is crude, wasteful, tedious and dirty. Some Otto of Jasmine is also made at Ghazipur.
In Borneo it is the custom among the women to roll up Jasmine blossoms in their well-oiled hair at night.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
An oil obtained by boiling the leaves of this EasternJasmine is used to anoint the head for complaints of the eye, and an oil obtained from the roots is used medicinally to arrest the secretion of milk.
In China JASMINUM PANICULATUM is cultivated. It is an erect shrub, valued for its flowers and known as Sien-hing-hwa, the flowers being used with those of J. Sambac, Sambac-mo-le-hwa, in the proportion of 10 lb. of the former to 30 lb. of the latter for scenting tea, 40 lb. of the mixture being required for 100 lb. of tea.
In Catalonia and in Turkey, the wood of the Jasmine is made into long, slender pipestems.
JASMINUM ANGUSTIFOLIUM, an Indian species, found in the Coromandel forest and introduced into Britain during the present century, is a beautiful evergreen climber, 10 to 12 feet high, its leaves of a bright shining green, its large, terminal flowers, white with a faint tinge of red, fragrant and in bloom throughout the year. Its bitter root, ground and mixed with the powdered root of Acorus calamus, the Sweet Sedge, is in India considered a valuable external application for ringworm.
In Cochin-China, a decoction of the leaves and branches of JASMINUM NERVOSUM is taken as a blood-purifier. The very bitter leaves of JASMINUM FLORIBUNDUM (called in Abyssinia, Habbez-zelim), mixed with kousso, is considered a powerful anthelmintic, especially for tapeworm; the leaves and branches are added to some fermented liquors to increase their intoxicating quality.
The distinguishing characters of the TRUE YELLOW JASMINE (J. odoratissimum), a native of the Canary Islands and Madeira, consist principally in the alternate, obtuse, ternate leaves, the three-flowered terminal peduncles and the five-cleft yellow corolla, with obtuse segments. The flowers have the advantage, when dry, of retaining their natural perfume, which is suggestive of a mixture of Jasmine, jonquil and orange-blossom.
Among other hardy species commonly cultivated in gardens are the low ITALIAN YELLOW-FLOWERED JASMINE (J. humile), an East Indian species, introduced into the south of Europe and now found wild there an erect shrub, 3 or 4 feet high, with angular branches alternate and mostly ternate leaves, blossoming from June to September; JASMINUM FRUTICANS (Linn.) (J. frutescens, Gueldermeister), a native of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, a hardy, evergreen shrub, 10 to 12 feet high, with weak, slender stems, requiring support and bearing yellow, odourless flowers from spring to autumn, and JASMINUM NUDIFLORUM (Roth.) (J. pubescens, Willd.), of China, which bears its bright yellow flowers in winter before the leaves appear. It thrives in almost any situation and grows rapidly. The important medicinal plant known in America as the 'Carolina Jasmin' (Gelsemium nitidum) is not a true Jasmine, though often called 'Yellow Jasmine.' A more correct name for it is 'False Jasmine.'
The rhizome of J. fruticans is sometimes collected in the place of Gelsemium, but may be distinguished by the cells of the pith, which are thin-walled and full of starch, while those of Gelsemium are thick-walled and empty. See GELSEMIUM.
From the leaves of J. fruticans, the glucoside Jasminin has been isolated, and from the shoots of J. nudiflorum, the glucoside, Jasminiflorin.
Other plants called 'Jasmine,' but not related to it, are:
(i) The so-called American Jasmine (Quamoclit coccinea).
(ii) The Red Jasmine (Plumiera rubra), a shrubby tree, native to Central America, with delicately-scented flowers, which have obtained for it this name. Another member of the genus, P. alba, is known as the Frangipani plant, its scent having been characterized as 'the eternal perfume.'
(iii) The Cape Jasmine (Gardenia florida), with a strong, pleasant fragrance similar to that of Jasmine, much employed for 'buttonholes' and in wreaths, and in China, under the name of Pak-Semahwa, for scenting tea. Another Chinese species, G. grandiflora, is employed in dyeing the yellow robes of the mandarins. The fruit of G. campanulata, a species growing in the forests of Chittagong, is said to be used by the natives as acathartic and anthelmintic.
(iv) The Ground Jasmine (Passerina stelleri) is like the Gardenia, also a native of the Cape.
The WILD JASMINE or WHITE JASMINE OF JAMAICA (called there, 'Jamaica Wild Coffee'), with very fragrant white flowers, is a species of Pavetta. The Pavettas are shrubs inhabiting the tropical regions. The root of P. Indica is bitter and is employed as a purgative by the Hindus, the leaves being also used medicinally and for manuring; knife handles being made from the roots.
The leaves of the Indian Night Jasmine (Nyctanthes arbortristis - N.O. Jasminaceae) are used in homoeopathic medicine to make a tincture for rheumatism, sciatica and bilious fevers.--EDITOR.

See Indian Liquorice. -note: No reference found in A Modern Herbal.


Botanical: Impatiens aurea (MUHL.), Impatiens biflora (WALT.)
Family: N.O. Geraniaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Wild Balsam. Balsam-weed. Impatiens pallida. Pale-touch-me-not. Spottedtouch-me-not. Slipperweed. Silverweed. Wild Lady's Slipper. Speckled Jewels. Wild Celandine. Quick-in-the-hand.
---Part Used---Herb.
Members of the genus Impatiens are found widely distributed in the north temperate zone and in South Africa, but the majority are natives of the mountains of tropical Asia and Africa.
The flowers, purple, yellow, pink and white, sometimes a showy scarlet, are spurred and irregular in form and are borne in the leaf axils.
The name Impatiens is derived from the fact that the seed-pod, when ripe, discharges the seeds by the elastic separation and uncoiling of the valves.
Under the name of Jewelweed the herbage of Impatiens aurea and of I. biflora are largely employed in domestic practice and by homoeopaths and eclectics.
The plants are tall and branching, tender and delicate succulent annuals, with swollen joints, growing in lowlying, damp, rather rich soil, beside streams and in similar damp localities.
They are smooth and somewhat glaucous, the stems somewhat translucent, the foliage showing a brilliant silvery surface when immersed in water, which will not adhere to the surface.
The leaves are thin, ovate oval, more or less toothed, of a tender green color.
The slipper-shaped, yellow flowers, in bloom from July to September, have long recurved tails, those of the first-named species being of a uniform pale-yellow, those of the second species, orange-yellow, crowded with dark spots, hence its common name of Spotted-touch-me-not. The oblong capsules of both species when ripe explode under the slightest disturbance, scattering the seeds widely. Most of the popular names refer to this peculiarity, others to the shape of the flowers.
---Medicinal Action and Uses--
-The herbs have an acrid, burning taste and act strongly as emetics, cathartics and diuretics, but are considered dangerous, their use having been termed 'wholly questionable.'
The chemical constituents are not known, though the leaves apparently contain tannin, which causes them to be employed as an outward application for piles, proving an excellent remedy, the freshly gathered plants being boiled in lard and an ointment made of them.
The fresh juice of the herb appears to relieve cutaneous irritation of various kinds, especially that due to Rhus poisoning.
A yellow dye has been made from the flowers.
---Other Species---
The only species of Impatiens found wild in Europe is I. Noli-me-tangere, an annual, succulent herb about a foot high, with yellow flowers, in bloom in July and August, the lateral petals spotted with red (by cultivation, changing often to pale yellow and purplish).
This is our native 'Touch-me-not' or 'Quick-in-hand.' Although uncommon, it is to be found wild in moist mountainous districts in North Wales, Lancashire and Westmorland and occasionally in moist, shady places and by the banks of rivulets in other counties.
The plant will grow in cultivation, delighting in a moist soil and partially-shaded situations; the seeds being sown in autumn, soon after they are ripe. When once established, the plant will scatter its own seeds.
The whole plant is rather acrid, so that no animal except the goat will touch it.
It was formerly considered to have diuretic and vulnerary properties and was given to relieve haemorrhoids and strangury.
Boerhaave, the famous Dutch physician (1668-1738), considered it poisonous.
I. balsamina, the Common Balsam of gardens, a well-known annual, is a native of India, China and Japan. It is one of the showiest of summer and autumn flowers and of comparatively easy cultivation.
In the East, the natives use the prepared juice for dyeing their nails red.
I. Roylei, a tall, hardy, succulent annual, with rose-purple flowers, a Himalayan species, is common in England as a self-sown garden plant or garden escape.
I. Sultani, a handsome plant, with scarlet flowers, a native of Zanzibar, is easily grown in a greenhouse throughout the summer, but requires warmth in winter.
I. Cornuta, the 'Horned Balsam,' has long nectaries to its flowers, the spurs being three times as long as the corollas. In Ceylon it is called the 'Swallow-leaf.'
The whole plant is fragrant and in CochinChina, where it is a common garden weed, a decoction of the leaves is used as a hairwash, imparting a very sweet odour.
The 'Balsam Apple' is not related to the Impatiens, but is the fruit of Momordica balsamina.

John's Bread

Botanical: Ceratonia siliqua (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Locust Pods. Carob. Algaroba (Spain). Bharout (Arabia). Sugar Pods.
---Part Used---Fruit.
---Habitat---Southern Europe, Africa and Asia - bordering on the Mediterranean.
There was a tradition that this tree was the food of St. John in the wilderness, and the name is derived from the legend. It is very common in the south of Spain, where it forms a small branching tree about 30 feet high, the wood of which has a pretty pinkish hue. Leaves pinnate in two or three pairs of oval blunt-topped leaflets, leathery texture, and color shiny dark green. Flowers in small red racemes followed by flat pods 6 to 12 inches long and fully 1 inch wide, 1/4 inch thick, a shiny dark browny purple color. They do not split open when ripe; they contain a number of seeds in a line along the centre of the pods, each seed in a separate cell of fleshy pulp. This tree is much cultivated in dry parts because its long roots can grow deep enough in the ground to find moisture. The pods contain a large amount of mucilage and saccharine matter of pleasant flavour, and are largely employed for feeding all sorts of animals, and in time of scarcity for human consumption. In 1811 and 1812 they formed the principal food of the British cavalry during the War; they have been imported in considerable quantities for cattle food, though they do not contain much nutritive property, the saccharine matter being carbonaceous, or heat-giving, the seeds alone being nitrogenous. These seeds are so small and hard they often escape mastication.
Similar to Cassia pods, it is not known to what constituents its laxative properties are due.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Years ago the seeds were sold at a high price by chemists, as singers imagined they cleared the voice. By fermentation and distillation they give an agreeable spirit, which retains the flavour of the pod. The seeds were once used by jewellers as the original carat weight. Johannisbrod, so greatly esteemed in Germany, is made from the pulp of the Syrian Ceratonia siliqua. The fruit of John's Bread have similar constituents to those of Cassia pods and are also laxative and demulcent, with an odour somewhat like valerian.
Same as for Cassia pulp and pods.

Jujube Berries

Botanical: Zizyphus vulgaris (LAMK.)
Family: N.O. Rhamnaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Zizyphus sativa. Brustbeeren. Judendornbeeren. Rhamnus Zizyphus.
---Part Used---Fruit.
---Habitat---Southern Europe.
-Originally a native of Syria, Zizyphus vulgaris was introduced into Italy in the reign of Augustus, and is now naturalized in Provence, and particularly in the islands of HyŠres, where the berries are largely collected when ripe, and dried in the sun.
The trees average 25 feet in height and are covered with a rough, brown bark. They have many branches, with annual thorny branchlets bearing alternate, oval-oblong leaves of a clear green color, with three to five strongly-marked, longitudinous veins. The small flowers are pale yellow and solitary. The fruit is a blood-red drupe, the size and shape of an olive, sweet, and mucilaginous in taste, slightly astringent. The pulp becomes softer and sweeter in drying, and the taste more like wine. They have pointed, oblong stones.
A full analysis has not yet been made, but the berries are valued for their mucilage and sugar.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The Jujube is classed with the raisin, date, and fig as a pectoral fruit, being nutritive and demulcent. It is eaten both fresh and dried.
A syrup and a tisane were formerly made from it, but the berries are now little used in medicine.
Jujube paste, or 'Pâte de Jujubes,' is made of gum-arabic and sugar. It may be dissolved in a decoction of jujubes and evaporated, but is considered as good a demulcentwithout their addition. It is frequently merely mixed with orange-flower water.
A decoction of the roots has been used in fevers.
An astringent decoction of leaves and branchlets is made in large quantities in Algeria, and seems likely to replace the cachou.
---Other Species---
Z. Lotos, sometimes also called Z. sativa, of Northern Africa and Z. Jujuba of the East Indies possess similar properties, and are used in their respective countries. Z. Lotos is thought to have been one of the sources of the famous sweet fruits from which the ancient Lotophagi took their name, the liqueur prepared from which caused those who partook of it to forget even their native countries in its enjoyment. The Arabs call it Seedra. In Arabia a kind of bread is made of them by exposing them to the sun for a few days and then pounding them in a wooden mortar to separate the stones. The meal is mixed with water and formed into cakes which after drying in the sun resemble sweet gingerbread.
Z. Baclei is said to be used in the same way in Africa, and also for making a beverage.
Z. Jujuba is largely cultivated by the Chinese, in many varieties as a dessert fruit, some being called Chinese Dates, and it is also one of the main sources of stick-lac.
Z. Cenoplia of India has edible fruits, and the bark is esteemed as a vulnerary.
In Cochin-China the berries of Z. agrestis are eaten.
In Senegal the fruits of Z. Barelei are slightly styptic, and the negroes use the roots for gonorrhoea. It is probably the same species that is used there in venereal diseases.
A decoction of the dried leaves of Z. Napeca is said to be used for washing ulcers in Arabia.
Z. spina Christi, or Rhamnus spina Christi, of Ethiopia, is said to be the source of the crown of thorns placed on the Saviour's head. The Arabs call it Nabka.

Juniper Berries

Botanical: Juniperus communis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Coniferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Genévrier. Ginepro. Enebro. Gemeiner Wachholder.
---Parts Used---The ripe, carefully dried fruits, leaves.
---Habitat---Europe. North Africa. North Asia. North America.
The Juniper is a small shrub, 4 to 6 feet high, widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs freely on the slopes of the chalk downs near London, and on heathy, siliceous soils where a little lime occurs. It is a common shrub where bands of limestone occur, as on some of the Scotch mountains and on the limestone hills in the Lake district.
The berries are used for the production of the volatile oil which is a prime ingredient in Geneva or Hollands Gin, upon which its flavour and diuretic properties depend.
Although these valuable berries are produced from a native shrub, the berries of commerce are chiefly collected from plants cultivated in Hungary. The oil distilled on the Continent, principally in Hungary, is chiefly from freshly-picked berries. It has, hitherto, not been possible to produce the oil competitively with Southern Europe because of the relative cheapness of labour and the vast tracts of land over which the trees grow wild. But the rise in the price of foreign oil of Juniper berries since the outbreak of war has directed attention to the possible extended production of the oil either in Great Britain or her northern colonies. Sunny slopes are likely to be the best places to cultivate the shrub for the berries. The yield of oil, however, varies considerably in different years.
There is a wide difference in the chemical and physical characters of the oil distilled on the Continent from fresh and that in England from imported berries, which in transit to this country have become partially dried.
Commercial oil of Juniper is obtained chiefly from the ripe fruit and is stated to be in all essential qualities superior to the oil of Juniper from the full-grown, unripe, green berries used medicinally, which occurs as a colorless or pale greenish-yellow, limpid liquid, possessing a peculiar terebinthic odour when fresh, and a balsamic, burning, somewhat bitter taste.
Juniper berries take two or three years to ripen, so that blue and green berries occur on the same plant. Only the blue, ripe berries are here picked. When collected in baskets or sacks, they are laid out on shelves to dry a little, during which process they lose some of the blue bloom and develop the blackish color seen in commerce.
There is a considerable demand on the Continent for an aqueous extract of the berries called Roob, or Rob of Juniper, and the distilled oil is in this case a by-product, the berries being first crushed and macerated with water and then distilled with water and the residue in the still evaporated to a soft consistence. Much of the oil met with in commerce is obtained as a by-product in the manufacture of gin and similar products.
In Sweden a beer is made that is regarded as a healthy drink. In hot countries the tree yields by incision a gum or varnish.
The principal constituent is the volatile oil, with resin, sugar, gum, water, lignin, wax and salines. The oil is most abundant just before the perfect ripeness and darkening of the fruit, when it changes to resin. The quantity varies from 2.34 to 0.31 per cent Juniper Camphor is also present, its melting-point being 1.65 to 1.66 degrees C.
Adulteration by oil of Turpentine can be recognized by the lowering of the specific gravity.
The tar is soluble in Turpentine oil, but not in 95 per cent acetic acid.
Junol is the trade name of a hydroalcoholic extract.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Oil of Juniper is given as a diuretic, stomachic, and carminative in indigestion, flatulence, and diseases of the kidney and bladder. The oil mixed with lard is also used in veterinary practice as an application to exposed wounds and prevents irritation from flies.
Spirit of Juniper has properties resembling Oil of Turpentine: it is employed as a stimulating diuretic in cardiac and hepatic dropsy.
The fruit is readily eaten by most animals, especially sheep, and is said to prevent and cure dropsy in the latter.
The chief use of Juniper is as an adjuvant to diuretics in dropsy depending on heart, liver or kidney disease. It imparts a violet odour to the urine, and large doses may cause irritation to the passages. An infusion of 1 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water may be taken in the course of twenty-four hours.
In France the berries have been used in chest complaints and in leucorrhoea, blenorrhoea, scrofula, etc. They are nut given in substance.
The oil is a local stimulant.
Oil of Berries, B.P., 1 to 5 drops. Oil of Wood, 1 to 5 drops. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Spirit of Juniper, B.P. and U.S.P., 20 to 60 minims. Oil, 2 to 10 minims. Elixir of Potassium Acetate and Juniper as a diaphoretic, 4 fluid drachms. Comp. Spirit, U.S.P., 2 drachms. Solid extract, 5 to 15 grains.
---Other Species---
Gum Juniper is a name of Sandarac, theresinous product of Thuja articulata or Callitris quadrivalvis.
From dry distillation of the branches and heartwood of Juniperus oxycedrus, the Prickly Cedar or Medlar Tree, a large shrub, 10 to 12 feet high, with brownish-black berries the size of a hazel nut, native of the south of France, and occasionally from that of J. communis, is obtained the tarry, empyreumatic oil known as Cade Oil, or Juniper Tar Oil, used in the treatment of the cutaneous diseases of animals in France and other Continental countries, and for most of the purposes of Oil of Turpentine. It is a readysolvent for chemical drugs and is used externally for chronic eczema as oil, ointment, and soap.
J. virginiana, the American Juniper of Bermuda, known also as Red Cedar and Pencil Cedar, is only an ornamental tree in Britain, introduced in 1864, and growing 40 to 50 feet high. The smallness of the stem and slowness of growth render it unsuitable for planting here with a view to profit, but in America it is much used for cabinet-making, turnery etc. The interior wood is of a reddish color and highly valued on account of its great durability, being suitable for exposure to all weather. The highly-colored and fragrant heartwood is largely used in the manufacture of the wood coverings of blacklead pencils, and also for pails, tubs, and various household utensils subjected to wettings. Boxes made of the wood are useful for the preservation of woollens and furs, it being an excellent insectifuge on account of the oil contained in it.
Red Cedar Oil is an article of commerce, obtained from the wood by distillation from the chips and waste wood, from 15,000 to 20,000 lb. of oil being annually produced in the United States. It is used in the preparation of insecticides and also in making liniments and other medicinal preparations and perfumed soaps. It is used generally in perfumery and was formerly one of the principal constituents of the popular Extract of White Rose.
The berries in decoction are diaphoretic and emmenagogue, like those of Common Juniper, and the leaves have diuretic properties.


This is a very beautiful shrub, and is a great ornament to our meadows.
Descript : Common St. John's Wort shoots forth brownish, upright, hard, round stalks, two feet high, spreading many branches from the sides up to the tops of them, with two small leaves set one against another at every place, which are of a deep green color, somewhat like the leaves of the lesser Centaury, but narrow, and full of small holes in every leaf, which cannot be so well perceived, as when they are held up to the light; at the tops of the stalks and branches stand yellow flowers of five leaves a-piece, with many yellow threads in the middle, which being bruised do yield a reddish juice like blood; after which come small round heads, wherein is contained small blackish seed smelling like rosin. The root is hard and woody, with divers strings and fibres at it, of a brownish color, which abides in the ground many years, shooting anew every Spring.
Place : This grows in woods and copses, as well those that are shady, as open to the sun.
Time : They flower about Midsummer and July, and their seed is ripe in the latter end of July or August.
Government and virtues : It is under the celestial sign Leo, and the dominion of the Sun. It may be, if you meet a Papist, he will tell you, especially if he be a lawyer, that St. John made it over to him by a letter of attorney. It is a singular wound herb; boiled in wine and drank, it heals inward hurts or bruises; made into an ointment, it open obstructions, dissolves swellings, and closes up the lips of wounds. The decoction of the herb and flowers, especially of the seed, being drank in wine, with the juice of knot-grass, helps all manner of vomiting and spitting of blood, is good for those that are bitten or stung by any venomous creature, and for those that cannot make water. Two drams of the seed of St. John's Wort made into powder, and drank in a little broth, doth gently expel choler or congealed blood in the stomach. The decoction of the leaves and seeds drank somewhat warm before the fits of agues, whether they be tertains or quartans, alters the fits, and, by often using, doth take them quite away. The seed is much commended, being drank for forty days together, to help the sciatica, the falling sickness, and the palsy.


For to give a description of a bush so commonly known is needless.
Place : They grow plentifully in divers woods in Kent, Warney common near Brentwood in Essex, upon Finchley Common without Highgate; hard by the New-found Wells near Dulwich, upon a Common between Mitcham and Croydon, in the Highgate near Amersham in Buckinghamshire, and many other places.
Time : The berries are not ripe the first year, but continue green two Summers and one Winter before they are ripe; at which time they are all of a black color, and therefore you shall always find upon the bush green berries; the berries are ripe about the fall of the leaf.
Government and virtues : This admirable solar shrub is scarce to be paralleled for its virtues. The berries are hot in the third degree, and dry but in the first, being a most admirable counter-poison, and as great a resister of the pestilence, as any growing: they are excellent good against the biting of venomous beasts, they provoke urine exceedingly, and therefore are very available to dysuries and stranguaries. It is so powerful a remedy against the dropsy, that the very lye made of the ashes of the herb being drank, cures the disease. It provokes the terms, helps the fits of the mother, strengthens the stomach exceedingly, and expels the wind. Indeed there is scarce a better remedy for wind in any part of the body, or the cholic, than the chymical oil drawn from the berries; such country people as know not how to draw the chymical oil, may content themselves by eating ten or a dozen of the ripe berries every morning fasting. They are admirably good for a cough, shortness of breath, and consumption, pains in the belly, ruptures, cramps, and convulsions. They give safe and speedy delivery to women with child, they strengthen the brain exceedingly, help the memory, and fortify the sight by strengthening the optic nerves; are excellently good in all sorts of agues; help the gout and sciatica, and strengthen the limbs of the body. The ashes of the wood is a speedy remedy to such as have the scurvy, to rub their gums with. The berries stay all fluxes, help the hæmorrhoids or piles, and kill worms in children. A lye made of the ashes of the wood, and the body bathed with it, cures the itch, scabs and leprosy. The berries break the stone, procure appetite when it is lost, and are excellently good for all palsies, and falling-sickness.



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