Artemisia pontica, the Roman Wormwood or Small Absinthe, is a lesser known cousin of Grand Wormwood and the preferred herb used in the production of absinthe and vermouth. Originating in southeastern Europe (the specific name refers to the Pontus area on the shores of the Black Sea).
It is naturalised over much of Eurasia from France to Xinjiang, and is also found in the wild in northeastern North America.
It is called Little or Small Absinthe because it is smaller in stature and leaf than the Grand Absinthe (Artemisia absinthium) also known as Grand Wormwood.
It grows as a rhizomatous perennial with erect stems up to 100 centimetres tall; the grey foliage is finely divided and aromatic. The flowers are small, yellowish, and appear in loose panicles at stem tips.
The essential oil from the plant contains cineol, camphor, thujone, and borneol among other components. It is said to be less bitter than great absinthe and is the principal flavouring of vermouth. It is commercially cultivated in Spain and Lithuania.
Usage for Wormwood:-
It is an ingredient in absinthe, which contrary to popular belief was never banned in the UK during la Belle Epoch although it was throughout the rest of Europe until the recipe changed. It is still used for flavouring in some other spirits and wines which include the bitters, vermouth and pelinkovac.
In the Middle Ages, it was used to spice mead, a honeyed wine, and in Morocco it is still used as tea which we heartily recommend as a digestive.
In 18th century England, wormwood was sometimes used instead of the better known hop in beer manufacturing.
A handful of Lavender, Wormwood and Rosemary stuffed in an old sock is an effective deterrant to moths in a wardrobe. Refresh by squeezing occasionally and wetting with some kind of spirit to release the essential oils.
Its traditional use has been claimed to remedy indigestion and gastric pain, and it acts as an antiseptic, and as a febrifuge.
The word “wormwood” comes from Middle English “wormwode” or “wermode”. The form “wormwood” is influenced by the traditional use as a cure for intestinal worms. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary attributes the etymology to Old English “wermōd” (compare with German Wermut and the derived drink Vermouth). An alternate explanation dubiously combines the Old English “wer”, meaning “man” (as in “werewolf”), with OE “mōd”, meaning “mood”.
Roman Wormwood Herb (Cut) – Artemisia pontica
Papaver rhoeas from which Red Poppy Petals are obtained are also called the Common Poppy, Corn Poppy, Corn Rose, Field Poppy Flanders Poppy or just Red Poppy is an annual herbaceous species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy is commonly thought ofas an agricultural weed (hence the common names including “corn” and “field”) but after World War I, The Great War, as a symbol of armistice and remembrance (but not in all countries)
Traditional Uses for Red Poppy Petals:-
The flowers of the corn poppy have a very long tradition of medicinal usage, especially for ailments in the elderly and young children.
They are mainly regarded (in syrup) as a mild pain reliever and as a treatment for irritable coughs but also help to reduce children’s nervous over-activity. Unlike the related opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) they are non-addictive. However, the plant does contain alkaloids, which are still under investigation, regarded as very very slightly narcotic and so should only be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist.
The flowers and petals are anodyne, emollient, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypnotic, slightly narcotic and sedative.
An infusion is usually taken internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints and coughs, insomnia, poor digestion, nervous digestive disorders and minor painful conditions. The flowers are also used in the treatment of jaundice.
The petals are harvested as the flowers open and are dried for later use. They should be collected on a dry day and can be dried or more frequently made into a syrup. The latex in the seedpods is narcotic and slightly sedative. It can be used in very small quantities, and under expert supervision, as a sleep-inducing drug. The leaves and seeds are tonic. They are useful in the treatment of low fevers.
They are frequently used in Pot Pourri simply because they are pretty and keep their colour well when dried properly.
To Purchase Red Poppy Petals click here
Papaver Rhoeas is very slightly narcotic. The chief constituent of the fresh petals is the red colouring matter, which consists of Rhoeadic and Papaveric acids. This colour is much darkened by alkalis.
All parts of the plant contain the crystalline non-poisonous alkaloid Rhoeadine. The amount of active ingredients is very small and rather uncertain in quantity. There is great controversy as to the presence of Morphine. Also it has not been determined whether Meconic Acid, which is present in opium, is a constituent.
Pomegranate Flowers (Punica granatum) can have a beneficial effect for overall general health. The tree will bloom abundantly although little blossom will set fruit in cooler climes and blossom fall is common, however the flowers are generally sun dried and then the blossoms can used to make a herbal tea. A tea made from the flowers is generally believed to be beneficial for specific cardiac health, to reduce the symptoms of diabetes and good for general health.
The flowers have astringent effects and can be used to help prevent acne. A toner or face pack made using the flowers is excellent for skin health.
Spots on the skin can be treated using the extract obtained from pomegranate flowers (either in tincture or infused form)
An infusion made using the flowers helps to control diarrhoea and drinking the tea in small doses lessens the effect of diarrhoea
Dried pomegranate flower (when powdered) can be used in the preparation of a herbal tooth powder. The flowers can treat gingivitis and are good for overall oral health.
Used to help relieve the discomfort of migraines and minor headaches.
In other cultures it is known by a variety of names such as Granada or Granado, Dulim, Dadima, Granatapfel, Melegrano or Pomo Granato.
History and Mythology of Pomegranate:-
The tree is native of the Middle East stretching to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region of Asia, Africa and Europe.
The fruit was used in many ways as it is today and was featured in Egyptian mythology and art and was prized in the ancient world.
It was known to central and southern India where it was brought from the Middle East about the first century A.D. and was reportedly growing in Indonesia in 1416. It has been widely cultivated throughout India and drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaysia, the East Indies and tropical Africa since. The most important growing regions today are Egypt, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, India, Burma and Saudi Arabia. There are some commercial orchards in Israel on the coastal plain and in the Jordan Valley.
It is rather commonly planted and has become naturalized in Bermuda where it was first recorded in 1621, but only occasionally seen in the Bahamas, West Indies and warm areas of South and Central America. Many people grow it at cool altitudes in the interior of Honduras. In Mexico it is frequently planted, and it is sometimes found in gardens in Hawaii. The tree was introduced to California by Spanish settlers in 1769. It is grown for its fruit mostly in the dry zones of that state and Arizona. In California, commercial pomegranate cultivation is concentrated in Tulare, Fresno and Kern counties, with small farms in Imperial and Riverside counties.
Images of the fruit are used to represent fertility, which seems to have its origins everywhere. We see it in the Middle East and India. The fruit was cultivated in Egypt before the time of Moses. It was found in the Indus valley so early that there is a word in Sanskrit for pomegranate. Indian royalty began their banquets with pomegranate, grape, and jujube. Arab caravans probably spread its use.
The pomegranate is significant in Jewish custom. Tradition holds that a pomegranate has 613 seeds to represent the 613 commandments in the Torah. The design of the pomegranate was woven into the high priest’s robes, and brass representations were part of the Temple’s pillars. It is mentioned six times in the Song of Solomon. We see it again in ancient Greece and Rome. In the verses of the Odyssey, Homer mentions it as part of the gardens of Alcinous (probably in Sicily). The Romans imported their pomegranates from African Libya, and Pliny the Elder gave instructions for its storage. It appears in China during the Han and Sung dynasties.
The derivation of the word pomegranate comes from the Middle French pome garnete (seeded apple), but Europeans were slow to adopt the pomegranate. It was probably introduced from Sicily, however Europeans, then under Norman influence, distrusted fruits and vegetables, preferring a meat-based diet. It is mentioned in the 14th century Ménagier de Paris which offered some recipes, and it was known in England in Elizabethan times being mentioned in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The enthusiasm for pomegranate as a food was limited, but it was widely used as a decoration.
The Spanish Conquistadores brought the pomegranate to America. Jesuit missionaries carried it north to their missions in California. They were found growing wild in Georgia in 1772 .
Pomegranate Flowers – Punica granatum
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is a deliciously and sweetly scented but highly toxic woodland (therefore partial shade loving) flowering plant. It is a native throughout the cool and temperate Northern Hemiphere in Asia, and Europe. all plant parts are toxic including the red berries that it sometimes forms after flowering
It is also know as May lily, May bells, and Muguet (in French) and in Christian folklore, as Our Lady’s tears or Mary’s tears
Lily of the Valley Leaves Uses:-
It is primarily used to treat the heart. It is a cardiovascular herbal remedy which has been known and used for centuries. It is also a diuretic.
Lily of the Valley as a Cardiovascular Aid:
It can help to cause the heart beat to slow down and become more regular. Because it is a diuretic, lily of the valley also helps the blood pressure to decrease as fluid leaves the body. The action of the drug closely resembles that of Digitalis, though it is less powerful; it is used as a substitute and strongly recommended in valvular heart disease, also in cases of cardiac debility and dropsy. It slows the disturbed action of a weak, irritable heart, whilst at the same time increasing its power. It is the leaves which are used in herbal remedies and they have been found to be a perfectly safe remedy containg less toxins than the flowers. No harm has been known to occur from taking it in full and frequent doses, it being preferable in this respect to Digitalis, which is apt to accumulate in the blood with poisonous results.
Lily of the Valley as a Diuretic:
Lily of the valley can cause increased urine production and aid the kidneys.
At the beginning of the 20th century, it became tradition in France to sell the plant on international Labour Day which is May the 1st and also called La Fête du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day) by labour organisations and private persons without paying sales tax (on that day only) as a symbol of spring.
Lily of the Valley Cut Herb – Convallaria majalis
The word Attar is derived from the Hindu/Urdu word Ittar which in turn derives from the similar Persian word for Perfume, Itar, and is an essential oil derived from botanical sources usually blended with a wood oil like, but not always, Sandalwood.
Most commonly these oils are extracted via hydro or steam distillation. They can also be expressed by chemical means but generally natural perfumes which qualify as Attars are distilled with water.
The term is mostly used in the Middle East and India nowadays instead of the term essential oils but historically an Attar was very different.
Attar oils were once generally distilled into a wood based oil such as sandalwood and then aged. By and large they still are.They are extremely strong in aromatic terms and a little (just a drop) can be overpowering. Their use is popular in the middle and far east particularly as they are alcohol free but they should be used sparingly and with circumspection.
The aging process could last from one to ten years depending on the botanicals used and the results desired. Technically Attars are distillates of flowers, herbs, spices and other natural materials. As they age they thicken and become strong.
Their expense is down to the use of Sandalwood or other expensive or endangered wood oils let alone the additional distilled ingredients like oud which is the most expensive wood in the world or Rose which takes at least 9000 petals to make just 1ml of oil.
The ancient Egyptians were famous for producing perfumes or Attars throughout the ancient world and they are still renowned in the field today. The perfumes were extracted from plants and flowers by a process that we, today, would call “enfleurage” before they could be added to other oils. The process was later refined by the famous Muslim physician Shaykh al-Rais who made a distinctive type of distilled aromatic product. He was referred to as Abi Ali al Sina. Some say that he was the first to make a distillation of Rose. Liquid perfumes were previously just a mixture of oil with crushed herbs and aromatics until his distillation process where he is said to have first experimented with roses.
The most famous Attars of his day were Rose, Saffron, Jasmine, Oud and at the time were greatly favoured by the Islamic world to treat numerous health disorders largely. They are still popular today along with a variety of musks but are more highly regarded for their aromatics qualities than their medicinal attributes.
Some of the first users of Attars were the Mughal invaders of India from Persia. Jasmine Attar was the favourite perfume of the Nizams of the Hyderabad state. Traditionally in the Eastern world, it was a customary practice for the nobility to offer an Attar to their guests at the time of their departure. The Attars are traditionally given in ornate tiny crystal cut bottles called Itardans. This tradition of giving a scent to one’s guests continues to this day in many parts of the Eastern world. Among Sufi worshipers the use of Ittars during meditation circles and dances is quite common.
CO2 Extraction (sometimes called Hypercritical or Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction) is a relatively new process used to extract the very purest essence of a plant. Whilst essential oils from plants are usually extracted using heat distillation which is, in itself, a destructive process, CO2 Extraction uses only low or high pressure which means the complexities of the oil’s constituents are preserved.
When high pressure is applied to CO2 (carbon dioxide) the gas acts like a liquid. This liquid CO2 can be used as a quite inert and very safe solvent which, when pumped into a chamber containing plant material will act like a solvent attracting the plant’s volatile elements into it.
Essential oils can be extracted in this way and have the added benefit of avoiding the high temperatures of steam distillation which, in itself, can destroy some volatile compounds, especially those of an extreme delicate nature. Not all CO2 extracts are essential oils however as that term typically refers to steam distillation.
Many CO2 extractions, whilst more efficient perhaps, result in an extraction not dissimilar to the steam distilled oil but some are much more complex and rounded and, of course, the offerings can be very much more varied. Plants whose scent would easily be destroyed by the heat in the steam distillation process might more easily be captured by the Supercritical CO2 extraction process.
Essential Oils or CO2 Selects:
These “Selects” are obtained at relatively low CO2 pressure and contain only volatile, CO2 soluble components. These tend to resemble the classic steam distillate essential oils but with the advantage of no temperature degradation and the potential for additional volatile substances that may not be distilled out of the plant under normal steam distillation. The consistency of the essential oils extracted with the CO2 method will vary from batch to batch just as the plants themselves vary and just as steam distilled oils vary. Naturally, there is also the extraction process itself and the actual processor to consider.
Extracts Called “Totals:”
These “Totals” are obtained at higher CO2 pressures and contain all CO2 soluble components, including waxes, resins, colorants, resembling a classical hexane extract, with the advantage of no solvent residue. Therefore the resultant oils are like absolute oils.
These “Totals” are very very much like the herb itself. CO2 totals are usually thick and pasty due to the beneficial fats, resins, and waxes they contain that come from the plant material itself. These totals are soluble in essential oils and vegetate oils but seldom in water and are considered Absolute Oils.
This article in no way endorses the efficacy of the eventual recipe but is presented for educational and historical purposes only for those interested in what Essiac Tea is.
Essiac Tea was discovered by the nurse Rene Caisse ( The name Essiac is simply her name spelt backwards).
She had the recipe given to her by an English woman who told her that in a meeting with a First National (Amero Indian) Shaman several years before she had been given to believe that a recipe of common-ish herbs taken as a tea regularly would stop or alleviate cancer.
Rene Caisse gave the tea to a number of her aquaintances suffering from cancer, no less her own Mother and an Aunt, with what she claimed to have been remarkable results. Ever since then the tea has been a famous name amongst herbal blends with what results one can only surmise as no clinical tests have ever been done to prove or disprove its effect.
The ingredients are simple, having been refined over the years by the Nurse down to four
Slippery Elm Bark
A distillation of recipes:-
250 grams Burdock Root, 200 grams Sheep’s Sorrel, 40 grams Slippery Elm Bark, 20 grams Rhubarb Root
Mix all the herbs together thoroughly and use 25 grams of the mix to 1 litre of fresh water( its up to you if you use tap water, bottled water or filtered water but don’t use water that you have previously boiled in the kettle and left – always use fresh water)
Mix the herbs into the water and bring to simmering point, then simmer gently for around 10 minutes.
drink 1 part (around 25 ml diluted in 50 ml of fresh water) just once a day, either in the morning or just before bed. Its NOT tasty so be prepared!
An emmenagogue is a herb or plant material which stimulates blood flow from the uterus. The strongest of them will help stimulate and regulate menstrual flow such as in hormonal disorders or those who suffer from irregular or light menses. The strongest can also be considered arbortificents which may well stimulate a miscarriage so they should be used with attention and care although you would have to ingest a very large quantity to induce a miscarriage. Emmenagogues should never be used whilst pregnant for obvious reasons.
Each of the herbs is generally made into a tea and drunk a couple of times each day for ten days then ten days rest. None of them are particularly tasty if you ask me but it isn’t the taste that you are seeking but the natural chemical constituents of the plant that have the required action.
It is perfectly acceptable to add things to a tea made from any of the herbs though. Most people will sweeten the tea to improve its flavour but the addition of vanilla or liquorice are both perfect to improve flavour. Dried or fresh Orange or Lemon (or any citrus to tell you the truth) peel is also a great addition to improve the flavour. Don’t add a soft drink or alcohol though – neither will disguise or improve the flavour and the alcohol may well damage the constituents.
Each listing is shown by considered strength
The following is a list of herbal material, each of which is classed as an Emmenagogue:-
Considered Very Strong
Considered Very Strong
Considered Very Strong
Considered Very Strong
These are really only a small selection of the herbs which are considered to be Emmenagogues – there are many more and, of course, like any product, whether it be pharmaceutical or herbal, what suits you may not suit someone else so it really is a question of trial and error to find the right one for your condition.