Monday, July 4, 2011
Gold-Felberich / Yellow Loosestrife
• Family: Primrose (Primulaceae)
• Habitat: roadsides, thickets
• Height: 2-3 feet
• Flower size: 1/2 inch across
• Flower color: yellow
• Flowering time: June to July
• Origin: Europe
Yellow loosestrife - a perennial herb reaching up to 5 feet in height, yellow loosestrife produces stolons (runners) that send up erect, branched stems. Narrowly oval, pointed leaves grow in clusters of three or in opposite pairs and are almost stalk less. The yellow flowers (June-September) are borne in long-stalked clusters from the upper leaf axils.
The golden yellow flowering clusters of yellow loosestrife are a common summer sight along roadsides and in marshes and other wet places throughout much of eastern North America. The herb is a native of the Old World, however, and has been part of European herbal medicine for some 2,000 years or more. The first-century A.D. Greek medical writer Dioscorides reported that the juice of the leaves administered as a drink or an enema was an effective treatment for persons who had dysentery or were vomiting blood. He also called loosestrife "a wound herb and stancher of blood," recommending it both for cases of heavy menstrual bleeding and for nosebleed. When the herb is burned, it gives off sharp smelling fumes that Dioscorides said would drive off snakes and kill flies.
Pliny (AD 23-79) recorded that lysimachia, the plant's Latin name, was a tribute to King Lysimachus of Sicily, who was the first to discover its medicinal benefits. The name "loosestrife" refers to the plant's reputed power to prevent conflict, particularly between animals, and to repel insects.
In present -day herbal tradition infusions, or teas, of the whole dried herb are still recommended for bleeding in the mouth and nose, to help heal cuts, and as a gargle for sore throat. The concentrated extract yellow loosestrife sometimes serves as a hair bleach.
An astringent herb, yellow loosestrife is principally used to treat gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhea and dysentery, to stop internal and external bleeding, and to cleanse wounds. Yellow loosestrife makes a serviceable mouthwash for sore gums and canker sores, and may be used to treat nosebleeds. Yellow loosestrife has also been taken as an expectorant.
HABITAT AND CULTIVATION
Native to Europe, yellow loosestrife commonly grows along roadsides and near water. Yellow loosestrife is also cultivated as a garden plant. Yellow loosestrife is gathered when in flower in summer.
Yellow loosestrife contains a benzoquinone, saponins, flavonoids, and tannins.
botanical plate by by THOMAS ROBINS JR.
The Yellow Loosestrife, which is in no way related to the Purple Loosestrife, has often been known as the Yellow Willow Herb, Herb Willow, or Willow Wort, as if it belonged to the true Willow Herbs (which are quite a different family - Onagraceae). There is a superficial resemblance between them, especially with regard to the leaves. The Yellow Loosestrife belongs, however, to the same family as the Primrose and the Pimpernel.
The Purple Loosestrife, on the other hand, is more nearly allied to the Willow herbs.
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