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Week 2 Herbs Notes

by: Bailey Dickinson

Week 2 Herbs Notes HORT 3440

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Bailey Dickinson
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Week 2 Herbs Notes
Herbs, Spices, and Medicinal Plants
James Affecter
Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Bailey Dickinson on Friday August 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HORT 3440 at University of Georgia taught by James Affecter in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views.


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Date Created: 08/19/16
Week 2 Notes for HORT 3440 CRN10344 (8/15/2016-8/19/2016) Monday: Plant nomenclature = the formal system of rules for giving scientific names to plants You need to be familiar with three “ranks” of scientific names:  Family (e.g., Piperaceae)  Genus (e.g., Piper)  Species (e.g., nigrum) Species is the most specific rank. This example is black pepper. Different species under black pepper have different uses Piper nigrum = black pepper Piper methysticum = Kava (medicinal plant from south pacific region- tranquilizing/sleeping plant) Sometimes, we are more familiar with the scientific name than the common name. Ex. Purple Cone Flower vs. Echinacea “Officinale” as a species name indicates a plant that is used medicinally or has been Melissa officinalis = lemon balm (relaxing) Taraxacum officinale = dandelion (used for diarrhetic) Rosemary (mint family)- used medicinally and is good for soothing digestive problems. Also used in aromatherapy because it’s energizing. Rosemary is also a symbol of remembrance (brides carry it/people are buried with it so family won’t forget them) Lady’s Mantle (rose family)- has a lot of tannins- astringent. Tannins make proteins shrink; they protect the plant by tasting strong. Good for stopping bleeding. People used to believe that the dew collected from this plant is useful in turning things into gold. It can set seeds even if the flower hasn’t been fertilized. It has separate male and female flowers. Males become mature faster than females. Connected with Jesus and virgin birth. The plant never gets fertilized but can still form seeds without fertilizer. This is otherwise known as parthenogenesis. During the Renaissance, this was thought to be a fountain of youth plant What’s the plant used to ward off vampires? Garlic Garlic: White magic! (In onion family)  Allium sativum, a variable cultigen, probably derived from an Asiatic species  Long reputation for white magic; defense against vampires and the plague (People used to think that it made you stronger for battle)  Perhaps most popular herbal panacea (cure-all) of all time  Used today to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure The bulbs of garlic are the “leaves” The stem of garlic is the central cylinder Garlic is also thought to prevent against the evil eye (person can cause you bad fortune or bad luck by looking at you with mal intent) He recommends an article in “Economic Botany” called Ritual botanicals against the evil eye in Tuscany, Italy It’s diagnosed by taking water, olive leaves, and olive oil. If the olive oil stays apart and doesn’t clump together, you have the evil eye. Juniper, Fennel, and Savory are also used to ward odd the evil eye (malocchio) European Mistletoe (Viscum album)- investigated as an anti-cancer plant in Europe Hemiparasite is American Mistletoe- Grows on trees. Gets water and some minerals from the plant you grow on, but it still performs photosynthesis for itself. The white berries on mistletoe are poisonous. Ghost Plant, Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora)- True parasite. It gets its nutrients from trees around it through a fungi intermediate. The Celts who lived in Whales and Ireland worshiped trees and thought that mistletoe was special because it lived its whole life in trees. Someone would go into a tree with a golden tool and cut it down. (couldn’t let it hit the ground once cut) People would make sacred brews with the plant for their religion Mistletoe berries are very poisonous, causing abnormal heart rate, low blood pressure, seizures, even death (during a party, his cat ate a couple of the berries and almost died) A lot of medicines come from poisonous plants Mandrake: in the potato family. Contains the tropane alkaloids atrophine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. These give it anesthetic properties, killing pain and producing a dream-like sleep King Tut was buried with a lot of Mandrake. It’s also supposed to increase sexual fertility. st Dioscorides- traveled as a physician with Nero’s army. Lives in 1 century. His “De Materia Medica” was a standard medical text through the Middle Ages for 1400 years. The root can be shaped like a human. Myth about Mandrake: if you dug it up, it would screech and you would die or go crazy. You were supposed to tie the root to a dog and move away, and the dog would be the one to suffer the supposed consequences. Peyote Cactus: Hallucinogenic plant form our continent Cacti evolve from plants that lose all of their leaves and put all of the emphasis on the stems. Cacti also have beautiful flowers. Peyote Cactus- Lophophora williamsii  Native to the Rio Grande valley  Used by the Aztec priesthood, banned by the Spanish  Contains the alkaloid mescaline  Today used as a sacrament by the Native American Church (fuse between Mexican Aztec tradition, and Christianity) (the spirit of God is in the peyote) It’s in a group of hallucinogens called entheogens- that which generates God or the divine within a person; many hallucinogenic plants, like Peyote, are considered entheogens Today, people called peyetaros are registered with the DEA to collect peyote for the Native American church. You can slice off just the top and the plant still survives. Incense- can create a nice atmosphere, calming influence in aromatherapy, also seen as an offering and represents transition from physical to spiritual world by burning To make the sticks- you make a paste from the plant you use and roll it back and forth Sandalwood  Name refers to a group of hemiparasitic trees (root parasites) in the genus Santalum  European Mistletoe belongs to the same plant family  Valued for its fragrant wood and aromatic oils Wednesday: Semester at Sea Most herbs and spices originate from three main geographic regions:  Europe and the Mediterranean region  Old world tropics (particularly India and the Far East) Eastern hemisphere  New World tropics In antiquity, spices were useful in many different ways  Flavoring foods  As medicines  As perfume (Romans used excessively)  For ceremonies and rituals  For preserving foods (this was a huge issue before refrigeration) Many herbs and spices are potent inhibitors of bacterial growth  Extracts of 30 herbs and spices were tested against several bacterial cultures  All inhibited or killed at lease one-quarter of the bacterial species  The four most potent killed ever species tested: garlic, onion, allspice, and oregano  Garlic lowers blood pressure and cholesterol too  All active ingredients in mouthwash are plant products Expedition sponsored by Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut in 1500 BC to the Land of Punt She brought back mur trees (good for mouth sores) Eber’s Papyrus Patterns of conquest in the Middle East resulted in an on-again/off- again flow of spices from the Far East to Europe, like a swinging door..  During the Dark Ages (476-1096 AD) the Arabs were in control of the spice trade and Europeans were essentially cut off from the supply.  “Muslim Curtain”  Arabs continued the spice trade for their own use  The prophet Muhammad was a spice trader as a young man, leading a spice caravan The Dark ages ended with the first Crusade in 1096. Europeans were once again exposed to the luxuries of the Middle East.  Stimulated a desire to break the Arab trade monopoly  Overland routes to India, China, and Southeast Asia delivered spices to Venice and Genoa  These city-states became fabulously wealthy, helping to fund the artistic and cultural achievements of the Renaissance in Italy (14 -16 centuries) In the 1400s, expansion of the Turkish Empire once again cut off Europe from control of overland routes, leading to the search for sea routes to the Far East..  In 1498, Vasco de Gama reached India by sailing around the African Cape of Good Hope  By 1560, direct sea routes and reopening of overland routes has reestablished the flow of spices to Europe This led to the Age of Exploration  The Portuguese were the first to dominate the Asian trade  The Dutch displayed them and had a virtual monopoly for 200 years  They were pushed aside by the British in 1796 The Age of Exploration was followed by a period of colonialism when many of the spice plants were transported around the world for civilization Botanical Gardens such as the Jardim Botanico Rio de Janeiro, served as centers of introduction Friday: Black pepper An evergreen vine native to Sri Lanka and India It’s pollenated by wind. The red bulbs have the sugar in them and are more mature than the green. If you pick the green immature fruits and let them dry, you get black pepper If you pick the mature red ones and remove the flesh, you get white pepper If you put the green immature fruit in brine, you get pungent tasting ones. Cinnamon Native to a similar area- Sri Lanka/India. It’s also an evergreen tree Flaps flip open when the pollen is ready to be released. We are interested in the bark. When cinnamon is harvested, the outer layer is thrown away, and the inner part is used. When they harvest cinnamon cassia (cheaper Chinese cinnamon), they use all of the bark. Ceylon cinnamon is more expensive. Cinnamon still relies on hand processing. Compassing- cutting the tree down to the root The goal of the harvest is to end up with cinnamon quills Nutmeg and Mace Nutmeg: came from a group of islands in Indonesia Aril- fleshy covering of the seed  Tree, native to the Moluccas or Spice Islands  Yellow fruit looks like an apricot; splits open to reveal fleshy red covering of seed Nutmeg trees are dioecious (male and female flowers are born on separate plants) In nutmeg orchards, male branches are grafted onto female trees to provide pollen. You would want mostly female trees, so you can produce the fruit.  Nutmeg contains the toxic chemical myristicin  Hallucinogenic, with painful physical side effects and the risk of nutmeg psychosis  Convulsions, heart palpitations, nausea, dehydration  No specific antidote In low does, nutmeg is used medicinally for nausea, bloating, and diarrhea Nutmeg oil is traditionally applied as a counter-irritant, for relief of aches and pains In Indonesia, grated nutmeg is mixed with warm milk to help children sleep Cloves Another evergreen tree. The commercial spice is obtained from the dried, un-opened flower buds of the clove tree, which are harvested by hand. Cloves are an example of a spice that the Colonial Europeans attempted to control by limiting production  The Dutch expelled the Portuguese form the Spice Islands in 1605 and monopolized the clove trade for the next two centuries  The Dutch East Indian Company limited clove production to one island, and extirpated them from all others  Anyone illegally planting or trading cloves was put to death  In 1770 a Frenchman smuggled out some seedlings, eventually leading to large scale cultivation in Tanzania, East Africa  Now it is a widespread tropical crop Clove oil is an anesthetic and is used as a remedy for toothaches Clove cigarettes are very popular in Indonesia. The cloves pop when you get to them Ginger, Zingiber officinale “rhizome” = underground stem Perennial herb native to lowland rainforests of tropical Asia One of the first Oriental spices known in Europe; obtained by the Greeks and Romans from Arab traders Warms the stomach and aids digestion; reduces nausea (seasick/carsick) “carminative”- dispels gas form the intestinal tract Ginger family characteristics:  Perennial herbs  Aromatic  Thick rhizomes  Simple, alternate leaves  Pantropical distribution, most diverse in SE Asia  Typically in shady lowland forests with rich soil Important species include:  Ginger  Cardamom seeds  Galangal  Turmeric (curcumin is primary component of turmeric and is being investigated for anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties)


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