Herb Garden’s “Medicinal” Plants, June 25, 2017

feverfew, yarrow and Clary sage

Blooming today in the garden: feverfew, chamomile, foxglove, yarrow, and clary sage. Each of these was historically once used as medicine.

Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium), as indicated by its name, was used to reduce fevers. Chamomile is still used in a relaxing tea. The chamomile in our herb garden is the Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) variety. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) was used to improve the force of heart contractions and is the origin of our modern medicine digitalis. Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) was once used as an eyewash. The decoction of seeds is mucilaginous. It was thought any foreign matter would adhere to it and thus be washed from the eye. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) was used on wounds and does contain an alkaloid that makes blood clot faster. Yarrow also contains azulene, a volatile oil, that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It is named after Achilles whose mother dipped her infant son in a solution of yarrow to protect him in battle. Unfortunately, she held him by his ankle, and he was shot with an arrow in his vulnerable spot his Achilles heel.

Its interesting to note that the World Health Organization recently estimated that 80% of people worldwide still rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. Almost one-fourth of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from botanicals. The plants in the herb garden at Woldumar are for educational purposes only and historical information concerning their use is for entertainment only. They should never be used as medicine.

roman chamomile and foxglove

Content provided with permission by Sylvia Colles. If youd like to volunteer to help in the Herb Garden, download the volunteer form at http://woldumar.org/get-involved/volunteer/or just join us on one of the general workdays. Questions for Sylvia (about the garden) may be relayed by contacting director@woldumar.org; emails can be readily forwarded to her.
Images of feverfew, yarrow and Clary sage, courtesy of Sylvia Colles. Images of Roman chamomile and foxglove, courtesy of J. Tillotson.
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