Posts tagged ‘Plant’

December 9, 2018


Dagga is the local name for Cannabis in South Africa.

There are two African plants with the common names Klip Dagga and Wild Dagga that are consumed medicinally by African tribes.

For centuries Dagga has been used by the Hottentot tribe as a euphoric smoking herb.

It’s called Dagga because it has similar, but milder effects than Cannabis.

Herbs that influence the nervous system are called NERVINES and they have stimulating or sedating effects (sometimes both) on the nervous system, creating an overall feeling of rejuvenation.

There are mild, medium and strong levels of herbal nervine actions. Dagga is a medium nervine, while Cannabis (with THC) is classed as a strong euphoric nervine. Both provide pain relief, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, sedative and relaxing effects. It’s also has other properties such as an appetite stimulant, antioxidant and antimicrobial.

With its 10 foot tall stature, orange-reddish bee balm like flowers, it gets noticed in the garden, and hummingbirds and pollinators flock to it. It’s a stunning garden ornamental and good medicine.

The resinous tops and leaves are consumed as a tea or food, or smoked. Heat is necessary to release the resinous constituents.

The Latin names for each plant are, Leonotis nepetifolia for Klip Dagga and Leonotis leonarus for Wild Dagga but they have been used interchangeably, as there is some confusion.

Leonotis nepetifolia is found in the tropical parts of Africa and India. The leaves look like catnip, a hint from the Latin species name nepet- The common name is Lions ear or Klip Dagga. This species is stronger and less harsh to smoke.

Leonotis leonarus is a plant native to South Africa and is commonly known as Lions tail or Wild Dagga. The Latin leonarus means plants that have whorls. This species has more leathery leaves and is weaker and harsher to smoke.

It has a potent constituent pseudo-alkaloid leonurine, which is also present in the plant Motherwort.

In colder climates it’s treated as an annual with seeds needing a head start indoors, and seeds collected in fall.

In warmer climates it may become invasive, because it is from the mint family. It likes full sun and will tolerate some drought.

Caution is advised it may cause lightheadedness, nausea in large doses or addiction.

Consult with herbalists for more information about herbs

February 24, 2015


This is a picture I took in Mexico of an Oregano plant, also known as Wild Marjoram, but should not be confused with Origanum majorana, which is Marjoram. There are many common names of one plant that are confusing, so it’s best to use the universal Latin name to identify a plant. Latin names are usually in italics, to differentiate in print. The first Latin name is called the Genus, and the second name is the species of the plant. While marjoram and oregano are from the same Genus Origanum,  they are very different species: Origanum vulgare is Oregano, and Origanum majorana is Marjoram. 

The leaves on the Mexican Oregano are scalloped, unlike the smoother edged varieties in my garden. 

What other differences are there between Mexico Oregano and Greek Oregano? 

For starters the Mexican Oregano is grown in Mexico, and the Greek Oregano is grown in Greece. 

Plants that have the same Latin name can have different chemical constituents depending on where they are growing. Habitat influences plants, and alters chemistry because of factors like altitude, soil, climate, rainfall, and a host of other conditions. 

These types of plants are referred to as Chemotypes. They are the same plant in Latin name, but due to habitat may have different plant chemistry. 

Different breeding and natural selection of a Genus like Thymus, Thyme, creates many varieties of species and subspecies. 

The Mexican Oregano may have the same name as the Greek Oregano growing in my garden, but it looks different and tastes different. They may have mainly the same chemical constituents that make up Oregano, but there is enough variation in plant chemical constituents to change flavours and aroma. They may be used interchangeably, but expect different results. 

February 7, 2015

DIY Rose Tincture and Perfume for Nutritive Medicine and Skincare 🌹

Roses are such divine food, medicine and perfume, but watch out for those pointy, sharp thorns on the stem. It’s easy to see why it is such a universal symbol of love. 🌹

I collected some wild rose petals from my garden, for a rose petal tincture and essence. Wear gloves and protective clothing to harvest. Wild roses are better than the commercial varieties for medicinal use.

You can make your own perfume out of Rose petal flowers, as well as medicine.image

See my blog on how to make your own natural perfume from flowers.

Rose petal tincture is used medicinally as a nutritive for debility. Rose has a euphoric, aphrodisiac action that soothes and relaxes the nervous system. It tones digestion, reduces inflammation, and is great to use in skincare products. It is good for all skin types, especially mature skin. It’s easy to add rose water and essential oil to make your own skincare products.

See my blog on using Rose essential oil.

Rose water is what is separated from the essential oil part, and is used in cooking, baking, and for beverages.

Rose hips, collected after the flowers bloom, are delicious, nutritious medicinal food. Rose hip tea beverages and culinary soups have a pink red colour, and pack some good Vitamin C content and phytonutrients.

Here are some beautiful roses for you friends. The roses in these pictures are from my garden, so take some time to smell the roses.🌹

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Common Name  Rose hips/ flowers
Latin Name  Rosa spp.
Family Rosaceae
Parts Used Perennial- Collect flower petals during growing season. Roses lay dormant in colder climates. Collect rosehips in the Fall. Essential oil made from flowers. 
Target Organs Digestion, Central Nervous System, Nerves, Skin
Common Uses Aphrodisiac, perfume, debility, exhaustion, nutritive, inflammation, skincare, Rosehips, rosewater, are used in cooking and beverages
Properties Aphrodisiac, antidepressant, antiseptic, euphoric, antispasmodic, nutritive, astringent, mild laxative, vulnerary, diuretic, anti-inflammatory,
Constituents Essential oil : Esters: geranyl acetate, citronellyl acetate, neryl acetate, 

Sesquiterpene alcohol: farnesol, 

Aldehydes: benzaldehyde

Monoterpene alcohols: Citronellol 15-20%, geraniol 10%, linalool, nerol 15%, cedrol, linlool  

Monoterpenes: a+b pinene, limonene, camphene, b-caryophyllene, citronellal, p-cymene  

Damask rose: a-damascenone, B-damascenone, B-damscone, B-ionone, rose oxide  

Other: vitamin C, tannin, pectin, carotene, fruit acids

Cautions Do not use during pregnancy. Thorny plant, caution while harvesting.
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml Tea rose hips, flowers


July 3, 2013

Dog strangling vine Threatening Native Species and The Monarch Butterfly

The dog strangling vine is a destructive invasive alien plant that is threatening to strangle out native species in North America. Even the name sounds so horrific I want to just call it the strangling vine for short.

This strangling vine Cynanchum rossicum is from the milkweed family, but it is a different Genus than the native North American milkweed that the monarch butterfly lays their eggs on.

Flower They not only strangle out milkweed, the vine tricks the monarch into laying eggs on it, probably because it is from the same family. The eggs do not mature, which endangers the monarch butterfly population numbers. The loss of milkweed due to pesticide use and loss of habitat is having devastating consequences on the monarch butterfly population.


This plant is tough to take out too, you need to remove all the roots or it will grow back.

I have removed all of these invasive vines from my garden. I pull them every year because I didn’t like they way they strangled everything, and now I know what a true danger they are I will pull them even earlier.


I am growing a small patch of milkweed in my garden for the Monarchs and it surprises me how many people say to me why don’t I pull ‘those weeds.’

Between people pulling native milkweed or putting pesticides on them, destroying natural habitat and now invasive aliens competing, it is no wonder why the monarch butterfly population is in decline.

If you see this plant in your garden or anywhere else please remove it. As a caution wear gloves and long sleeves when removing it, it may cause a rash or wound.

Thank you for helping the Monarch butterfly and our native plant species.


June 27, 2013

Thyme for a Grass Substitute


My parents got a letter from the city that they now have to cut the grass on the boulevard that isn’t even in front of their house but nearby on a busy high traffic road. It is a new bylaw in the city of Toronto that states that everyone on a corner lot or at the end of the street beside city roads is now responsible for the grass on the boulevard. The recent by-law voted on March 5-7, 2012 and came into effect January 1, 2013,
BY-LAW NO. 375-2012

How safe is this and how is this saving the city money?

They have never had to do this in the twenty-five years or so that they have lived there. Now the city expects an elderly man to risk his life to cut the grass on busy high traffic city boulevard just to save the city some money? The city mower stops at the property fence line but mows the rest of the boulevard when it would be just as easy to do the rest. This is a discriminatory bylaw and could affect the property value of the houses mentioned, because let’s face it, would you want to mow grass next to high traffic as an added expense when next door doesn’t have to do it? If your answer is yes then start your engines!

This is not age related because I think no one no matter what age or condition should risk their life to maintain boulevard. People have been killed waiting for the bus and this is a bus route. It is just that the elderly and sick are the most vulnerable and people might be on fixed incomes and should not be responsible for maintaining the city boulevards, especially next to dangerous high traffic areas.

My dad finally got someone on the phone and they said if he or a family member couldn’t do it he would have to pay someone to cut the grass or be held responsible. The fine is $200 dollars, and I would rather pay the fine than risk my parents life. First the doctor wants to kill my dad with pills and now the city wants to risk his life for grass.

In the letter they never even stated how much grass he had to cut so someone came out to actually measure how much to cut! By this time the grass and weeds were so tall it was blocking a turn lane line of sight and was causing accidents. There was an accident out front that happened just as I was speaking to my parents and they were telling me about this.

When the city sent a worker to measure how much grass to cut they had to crunch over car pieces from earlier car accidents that jumped the curb. I just can’t believe that a council wants my elderly father to mow over broken car parts and endanger his life just to cut grass?
The neighbours rallied together, they sent letters, emails and they have finally gotten through to someone in council. Their city councillor was very nice and told them that they are not responsible for it anymore but have yet to get that in writing.

I propose that no one mow. A simpler solution would be to grow low growing thyme varieties instead of high maintenance lawn grass. GO LOW GROW NO MOW!!!!!

20130726-195022.jpgIt would be good to start with low maintenance boulevards and give up the unnecessary stink of gas and noise that you get from lawnmowers. Eliminate the use of mowing by planting low growing perennials like thyme and lavender on boulevards and wherever you don’t want to mow.

Find out more about Thyme here at thyme time ->

I am sending It is THYME for a GRASS substitute idea NO MOW LOW GROW with a note attached to city council and if you could please send one too that would be much appreciated!
The recent by-law voted on March 5-7, 2012 and came into effect January 1, 2013,
BY-LAW NO. 375-2012
( I phoned the city and they gave me the wrong by-law information I told on the phone the website didn’t have it uploaded it yet, not that you could figure out that bylaw system, the sewer site is more user friendly. I had to get my information from a councillor, but I found it frustrating that I had to inform some councillors and explain the new bylaw to them.)


Scarborough community council

Toronto city council

Mayor Ford of Toronto might get back to you between scandals

416-397-FORD (3673)

Let’s see what is cooking on the boulevard.



Allan Smithies
Manager, Traffic Planning/Right-of-Way Mgmt
Etobicoke York District
Etobicoke Civic Centre
399 The West Mall
Toronto ON M9C 2Y2

Phone: (416) 394-8412
Fax: (416) 394-8942
Mobile: (416) 434-6784
Blackberry: (647) 828-9506


June 26, 2013

Why Comfrey is Essential for First-aid Medicine and Permaculture


Comfrey is a very beautiful beneficial addition to any garden, and an important herb for medicine and permaculture. Other common names for Comfrey are knit-bone and boneset, because of its amazing ability to regenerate and stimulate the growth of bone. Comfrey is a must have for the first aid herbal kit, because it has demulcent, astringent and vulnerary herbal properties that make it ideal to treat any type of injury, whether it be sinew, bone, tissue or flesh.

Its powerful cell regeneration is mainly due to its allantoin content, which has a calcium type of effect that stimulates cell production that repairs collagen, connective tissue and bone.

Comfrey has tannins that produce so much astriction, which means tightening together of the skin, that stitches might be avoided.

It’s mucilage content is demulcent, sweet and moist, which relieves dryness, acute inflammation as well as swelling, and provides good treatment for burns. It provides a protective coating that soothes, moistens and cools, making it a good choice to treat any type of ulcers, internal or external, inside or out. It is also good to use for arthritis.

It is also a nutritious restorative having many vitamins and minerals in it, along with other healing phytonutrient properties.


PERMACULTURE – Works with the biodynamic forces of nature

There are countless uses for Comfrey in the garden, it adds much-needed nutrients and enriches the soil. Comfrey does not compete for nutrients with trees, so it is ideal to plant around fruit trees.
It attracts beneficial insects and earthworms, while it breaks up compacted soil and draws up nutrients.

The many uses in the garden include:

Compost- add to compost
Mulch- chop and drop mulch
Fertilizer- green manure
liquid fertilizer provides nutrients like potassium

Powerful cell and bone regenerator.
Stimulates the growth and healing of bone, flesh, connective tissues, collagen.

*Note that for broken bones, it is important they are set in the right place first before using comfrey to knit the bone together. If in any doubt about your injury please see a doctor for proper diagnosis first, before applying comfrey.

Use Comfrey leaves and root  externally in the form of poultice, compresses, ointments, tea infusions or tincture. The fresh tincture is the best choice for serious injuries with pain, or mix it with clay.

There are other species of comfrey. Russian comfrey and prickly comfrey are all used in the same way, but the officinale species is the one herbalists use the most.

It is from the Borage family, and like borage it has pyrrolizidine  alkaloids that have some cautions attached to it. Do not use internally, but caution comes from animal testing using isolated alkaloid constituents in high doses for long periods. There have been no human fatality cases reported.

Do not use internally when pregnant, lactating, liver disease, small children, frail elderly and caution with external use in these cases. Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, avoid long-term internal high dosage use due to potential liver damage. For external use only. Internal use see a qualified practitioner.

The alkaloids are least concentrated in the mature herb. The young spring leaves contains 8-10 times the amount found in the mature herb. The root has the most which is 4-5 times the alkaloid level in the mature herb. The alkaloid content is higher in the Russian variety than the prickly comfrey.

Common Name  Comfrey herb/ root
Latin Name  Symphytum   officinale
Family Boraginaceae
Parts Used Perennial-   flowers mid June to July pick from before flowering to mid flowering/ root rhizome- Fall/ Spring
Target Organs skin, mucus   membranes, skeletal-muscular, connective tissue, collagen, bones, respiratory, digestive, stomach,
Common Uses External use only: broken bones, fractures, scars, ulcers, wounds, abrasions, burns, sunburn, bites, stings, bruises, dislocation, varicose veins, sprains, strains, any injury, periodontitis, pharyngitis, eye infections,
Internal use with supervision for inflammation and ulcers of the digestive tract, colitis,
Properties astringent,   demulcent, vulnerary, anodyne, emollient, tonic, pectoral
Constituents Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids, mucilage, gum,   tannin, allantoin, Essential Oil, triterpenes, resin, inulin, choline,   protein, steroidal saponins, mucopolysaccharide 29%, phenolic acids, vitamins   A, B12, C, E, mineral iron, calcium, phosphorus, trace minerals
Cautions Medium strength: Mainly external use only. Do not use internally   when pregnant, lactating, liver disease, small children, frail elderly and caution with external use in these cases. Contains pyrolizidine alkaloids, avoid long-term high dosage use due to potential liver damage. There have been no human fatality cases reported, all research backing this toxicity claim were conducted on animals using isolated alkaloid constituents and not the whole plant. The alkaloids are least  concentrated in the mature herb. The young spring leaves contains 8-10 times the amount found in the mature herb. The root has the most which is 4-5   times the alkaloid level in the mature herb. The alkaloid content is higher in the Russian variety than the prickly comfrey.
Dosage the average dose is 10 g or 2-4mls of tincture
January 7, 2013

Basil Herb

Basil is an annual herb that likes full sun.  It is best known for being used in Italian cooking and making pesto.

basil docBasil is easy to grow in the summertime either from seed or seedlings. Do not store basil in the fridge it does not like the cold and will turn an off colour. Trim the stalks and store in a pint glass with water on the counter, which makes it easier to use in cuisine.

Common Name  Basil herb
Latin Name  Ocimum basilicum
Family Lamiaceae (Mint)
Parts Used annual herb picked all through summer
Target Organs digestion, nerves, respiratory, urinary, reproductive system
Common Uses Digestive conditions: digestive upset, gas, bloating, inflammation, liver congestioninfections, digestive, IBS, mucus colitis, nausea, pain,

Nervous system: tension, stress, nervousness,   fever, headache, exhaustion, depression,  fatigue(mental, physical)

Respiratory: flu, congestion, coughs, colds,  sinusitis, asthma

Reproductive system: infertility, Nutritive

Head: headaches, earache (external use only with essential oil), migraines

Used as insect repellent and for treating insect stings and bites.

Properties Anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal, antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-depressant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, astringent, emmenagogue, expectorant, digestive, relaxant, nervine, nutritive, hepatic, carminative, stimulant, warming, tonic,
Constituents Phenylpropanoids: eugenol, trans methyl isoeugenol, Monoterpene alcohols: linalool, geraniol,

Oxide: cineole

Phenol: methyl chavicol-40-50% Methyl ester: methyl cinnamate,

Monoterpenes: pinene, camphene, ocimene, mycrene, terpinolene,

Sesquiterpenes: caryophyllene, terpinolene;

Tannins 5%, saponins, flavones, ursolic acid

Cautions Mild remedy. Do not use during pregnancy
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml               Tea: 2 tsp steep 10 min


September 29, 2012

Making Wildflower mud seed bombs

Wildflower Power Movement: Making wildflower mud seeds ‘bombs’

 As a response to cities ripping out wild gardens that people have planted for growing food and a sense of community, make some wildflower mud bombs to seed cities and other areas with wild flowers and plants.  Looking down on the earth from a plane in the sky, square green boxes are all the eye can sometimes see and one wonders where have all the wildflowers gone? Turf the square green turf and return the wildflowers!!! Make sure you plant native flowers for your area.

here are some other strange alternatives 😀

Making Wildflower Mud Seed Bombs:

Packets of wildflower seeds or any seeds you want to grow

Mud or plant soil, compost

Mix seeds in soil in 5:1:1 ratio. Wet soil and form into mud balls

Throw mud seed bombs wherever you want them grow.

Best time to mud seed bomb is right before rainy days.  Even if the flowers don’t grow, birds will eat the seeds. Their food supply has dwindled due to monoculture in society and lack of wildflowers.  

June 16, 2012

What’s blooming in the Garden?

What is blooming in the garden? It feels like everything! Plants are blooming so fast, I turn around and it is almost summer. More delicious smells and tastes emerge 🙂 I wish I could capture them all!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tags: , ,
June 1, 2012

Oregano herb

Oregano is a perennial herb but in colder climates it may become an annual, but it might come back every year. Oregano is native to the Mediterranean region and warm temperate western and south-western Eurasia parts so it likes it hot and sunny.

Oregano grows from 20–80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm long. The tiny purple or white flowers 3–4 mm long grow in erect spikes and in clusters around the stem.

Oregano about to flower surrounded by Viola flowers

Fresh or dried Oregano is used in Italian cooking and it is stronger than Marjoram.

Consider Marjoram Origanum majorana Oregano’s sister.

Common Name Oregano herb
Latin Name Origanum vulgare
Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
Parts Used Perennial– herb picked in spring/summer growing season
Target Organs Digestion, stomach, respiratory, nervous system, musculo-skeletal, female reproductive
Common Uses Digestion:digestive stomach upset, gas, bloating, indigestion,  inflammation, liver congestion, infections

Respiratory:sinus congestion, infections, coughs, colds, flu, sore throat, bronchitis

Nervous system: Stress, fatigue, mental, physical

Musculo-skeletal: Arthritis, aches, stiffness, pain,

Female Reproductive: balancing, spasms

Culinary medicinal

Properties Antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory (general, local) antioxidant, antiprotozoal, antirheumatic, antispasmodic(digestive, respiratory, uterine) antiviral, anxiolytic, appetite stimulant, astringent, warming carminative, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, diaphoretic, stimulating emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine, rubefacient, stomachic, uterine relaxing/stimulating, vasodilator,
Constituents Essential Oil Yield: .2%  Esters: linalyl/geranyl acetatePhenols:63% carvacrol, thymol,Monterpene alcohols:50% borneol

Monoterpenes:10-40%, paracymene, terpinenes, cymene, caryophyllene, pinene,

Oxides: 1, 8 cineole,

Other: coffeic/ursolic/rosmarinic acids, gum, tannins, bitter, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron

Cautions Mild remedy in tincture form
Dosage Tincture: 1-4ml Tea: 1-2 tsp essential oil always dilute
%d bloggers like this: