soon to be picturefull of roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruit
Above: Herbactive Plant at Kingston Lacy
Below: Herbactive by the side of Bourne Stream in Bournemouth
Alan Hopking as depicted in a newspaper in 1986
Marshmallow Althea officinale
This is the official plant that used to be used by doctors for internal gastric ulcers and external leg ulcers, and found in the British Pharmacopoea. This is not the common mallow.
Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria
This is a perennial herb, native to Europe, but also found in central Asia, Australia, North Africa and very common in North America. It likes wet and marshy places. It has a creeping rhizome (underground stem). It can grow to a height of 120cm (4 feet).
Not used by herbalists these days, but in the past Purple Loosestrife was valued to relieve dysentery, diarrhoea, and stomach pains; the red flower suggested to herbalists its use for bleeding, hence it was used for internal haemorrhage, excessive menstrual flow, nosebleeds ; externally it was used as a compress for eczema. Amazingly, corroborating early herbal medicine uses, recent research has shown it has an antibiotic effect on the typhus bacillus and dysentery amoeba.
Go out onto the Marsh and gaze at the sheer beauty of this magnificent plant. Find it near the New Information Centre looking across the central Marsh.
Fleabane Inula dysenterica
Fleabane was used for dysentery as its name documents. This plant is dried and used powdered to kill fleas on animals. It has also been burned for its smoke in farm barns as an insecticide. It flowers from late July to September. Its fruit or seed is silky and crowned by a few short, unequal hairs of a dirty-white, with an outer ring of very short bristles or scales. It has a salty taste and astringent, so animals don’t eat it.
Silverweed Potentilla anserina
Silverweed is abundant in England and throughout Europe, and can be found in New Zealand and China. The leaves are an identification method as their underside is a silver colour. The leaves are about 2-5 inches long, toothed. The flowers are buttercup-like and bloom from early summer till tate autumn. Large, with 5 petals of a brilliant yellow and the calyx is cleft into 10 divisions. It is a favourite food of cattle, horses, goats, pigs and geese. Sheep don’t eat it though.
In herbal medicine, Silverweed is used for all kinds of bleedings, including for piles and leg ulcers as a lotion. It was used for cramps in the stomach due to wind or irritable bowel. It used to be applied to get rid of pimples and freckles, also to relieve sunburn.
Water Mint Mentha aquatica
This plant is also known as Marsh Mint, it has a fresh characteristic smell of mint. It grows abundantly 1-2 feet high, in extensive masses in wet places, banks of rivers and marshes. It has whorls of lilac flowers.
In herbal medicine itt was used as a digestive aid and for loose bowels; for difficult menstruation; and for colds and flu and inflammatory complaints.
This is the outside entrance arch sculpture to the Church of Kilpeck, Herefordshire. 1140AD
This is the amazing image at the top of the right column of the arch of a man with foliage spewing from his mouth. A very early example of a green man (nature as the physician) – a sculpture in sandstone 1140AD Church of Kilpeck, Herefordshire, England.