Medicinal plants and drugs



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116. Agropyron repens – Quackgrass (Couch grass). It is a perennial plant with an underground horizontal stolon that can grow several meters long. (Its stolon is flexible, while that of the very similar Bermuda grass is thick and stiff and cracks when bent). The stem (culm) is medium-tall (30-100 cm). Leaves are linear, relatively narrow (≤ 5 mm), scabrous. The sheath is pilose when young, later glabrous, smooth, the blade is bluish-green. The leaf auricle is thin and undulate. The spike is long, spikelets are borne one by one on the protruding teeth of the axis, sideways to the axis. The glume is 3-7-veined, apiculate, the palea has no awn or just a short one. When ripe, spikes may fall apart. See Picture 116.

Drug: the thin rhizome (Graminis rhizoma).

It is a weed that is very difficult to control in fields and arable lands. The underground rhizomes are made into a decoction. Stolons are thin and flexible and do not contain any starch. Its active ingredients are triticin, inosite, amygdalin and a vanillin glycoside. It also contains silica acid.

- Its tea is one of the oldest diuretic and alterative medicines.

- Due to its diuretic effects, it is blended to tea mixtures for skin diseases.

- As a diaphoretic, it is helpful in treating chroniccatarrhs, too much rheum and chest pain.

- It can be a food for diabetics since it is a sugar substitute.

117. Zea mays – Maize (Sweet corn). It is a vigorous, tall (1-3 m), annual cultivated plant. Its leaves are linear lanceolate, large, 4-15 cm wide. It is a monoecious plant. Its male flowers are borne at the end of the main stem in a panicle, this is the so-called tassel, while female flowers are borne in axils of middle leaves in spadices. Characteristic features are the silks at the end of the ears, which are elongated styles or rather stigmas of the female flower. It flowers in July-August. Corns are arranged in rows on the ear, their colour, shape, size is a species characteristic. See Picture 117.

Drug: the styles and the stigmas (Maydis stigma), the starch (Amylum maydis), and the germ oil (Oleum maydis embryonis). Its active ingredients are flavonoids, tannins, essential oil, fatty acid, silicon dioxide, vitamins K and E and sitosterol.

The silks, i.e. the stigmas are to be collected; 10 g silks have to be soaked in 100 g water.

- It is helpful in kidney, bladder complaints and cystic spasms, it is a diuretic and anti-stone.

- The phosphoric salts contained in it are helpful in vertebral pain.

- A decoction of the silks and seeds is an excellent remedy of coughs and mucous conditions.

Araceae – The arum family. Acorus: P 3+3 A 3+3 G (). The rhizome is usually tuberous. The spadix is enclosed by a spathe and it is usually organized with female flowers towards the bottom and male flowers towards the top. The fruit is a berry. Leaves are wide and cordate, with a saggitate base.

118. Acorus calamus – Sweet flag (Calamus). It is a medicinal plant native to East-India which was brought to Europe in the 16th century and later it escaped. It is a perennial plant, typical of marshes and moist soils. Its jointed, fleshy rhizome (20-50 cm) runs horizontally; its inner structure is spongeous. The 30-70 cm long, linear, sword-shaped leaves stem from the back of the rhizome, as well as the dense spadices, which are 8-12 cm long and consist of many tiny flowers. The fruit is a reddish berry but it is fertile in Hungary. See Picture 118.

Drug: the rhizome (Calami rhizoma), which has a pleasant aroma and a spicy taste when dried. Essential oil is also extracted from it (Aetheroleum calami). Its active ingredients are essential oils (cis-isoasarone, isoeugenol), mucilage, tannins and the bitter material acarone.

- It is stomachic, appetitive and carminative; blended to tonic herbal mixtures. It is alterative.

- It has sedative (cardiac) and antispasmodic effects.

- It regulates gastric acid production, enhances circulation; as a bath it is a neurotonic.

- Its tea is used in liver and spleen complaints and abdominal pains.

- It is used to make analgesic and muscle creams and foot bath; it alleviates spasms and fatigue.

3.8.1. Test questions

111. Which part of cowslip is collected?

112. What is the value of the leaves, stem and rhizome of chinese rhubarb?

113. What are the charadcteristics of the leaves hop?

114. What can glandular hairs of hop cones cause to those who collect them?

115. What are the main differences between stinging nettle and annual or dwarf nettle?

116. What are the characteristics of birch bark and birch shoots?

117. What is the difference between pedunculate oak and sessile oak?

118. Which parts of walnut can be collected?

119. When is the drug of black poplar is harvested?

120. What is the difference between garlic leaves and onion leaves?

121. Which parts of lily of the valley are drugs? How can it be propagated?

122. What is the difference between the rhizomes of couch grass and bermuda grass?

123. Where are the flowers of maize situated?

124. Where does sweet flag grow? How does it propagate in Hungary?

3.9. 9. Sample questions for the final examination

Please specify Latin names and harvesting times of plants and drugs figuring in the questions when answering each question.

1. Describe the history of Chinese and Indian herbal medicine.

2. Define “medicinal plant”. List the Latin names of the most common drugs.

3. List active ingredients and describe glycosides.

4. Describe the role of active ingredients in the vegetable kingdom.

5. Scots pine, mountain ash.

6. Hawthorn species and meadow sweet.

7. Describe legume (pea or bean) family and liquorice.

8. Describe the willowherb (or evening primrose) family and alder buckthorn.

9. Describe caraway and garden angelica.

10. Describe elder and marsh mallow.

11. Describe linseed and lungwort.

12. Describe white horehound and lemon balm.

13. Describe marjoram and mint species.

14. Describe thorn apple and woolly foxglove.

15. Describe the aster (daisy, sunflower) family and goldenrod.

16. Describe sunflower and common yarrow.

17. Describe mugwort, wormwood and St. Benedict’s thistle.

18. Describe milk thistle and baby’s breath.

19. Describe chinese rhubarb and silver birch.

20. Describe black poplar and lily of the valley.

4. Part 3. Appendices

4.1. Bibliography

Altmann, H. (1993): Mérgező növények, mérgező állatok. Lícium Könyvek.

Bernáth, J. (1997): Vadon termő és termesztett gyógynövények. Mezőgazda Kiadó. Budapest.

Bernáth, J. (2000): Gyógy- és aromanövények. Mezőgazda Kiadó, Budapest.

Biegelbauer, P. (1990): Gyógyító illatok. Bioenergetik Kiadó, Budapest.

Bremness, L. (1993): Füveskönyv. Novotrade Kiadó, Budapest.

Bukovinszky, J. (1992) Ezer jó fű. Kossuth Kiadó, Budapest.

Castleman, M. (1994): Gyógynövény enciklopédia. Esély Kiadó Kft. Budapest.

Dános, B. (1992): Gyógynövényismeret. I-II-III. Semmelweis Kiadó, Budapest.

Forey, P. – Fitzsimons, C. (1994): Ehető növények. Egyetemi Nyomda, Budapest.

Galambosi, B. (1983): A fűszer és gyógynövényekről. Mezőgazdasági Kiadó, Budapest.

Graf, C. (2002): Holdkalendárium. Magyar Könyvklub, Budapest.

Haraszti, E. (1985): Növényi mérgezések. Mezőgazdasági Kiadó, Budapest.

Hornok, L. (1978) Gyógynövények termesztése és feldolgozása. Mezőgazdasági Kiadó, Budapest.

Kerekes, J. (1969): Gyógynövénytermesztés. Mezőgazdasági Kiadó, Budapest.

Kincses Ajtay, M. (1993) Mérgező növények. Kossuth Kiadó, Budapest.

Németh, I. (1996): Gyomnövényismeret Regiocon Kft. Kompolt.

Oláh, A. (1989): A természet patikája. Kossuth Kiadó, Budapest.

Pahlow, M. (1990): Reumás és köszvényes bántalmak. Springer-Verlag.

Pahlow, M. (1990): Időskori panaszok és tünetek. Springer-Verlag.

Pahlow, M. (1991): Idegesség és alvászavarok. Springer-Verlag.

Pahlow, M. (1991): Gyomor- és bélpanaszok kezelése. Springer-Verlag.

Pahlow, M. (1992): Hólyag- és vesebántalmak kezelése. Springer-Verlag.

Pahlow, M. (1992): Megfázás és influenza kezelése. Springer-Verlag.

Polunin, M. – Robbins, Ch. (1993): Nagy orvosságos könyv. Corvina Kiadó, Budapest.

Polunin, O. (1981): Európa fái és bokrai. Gondolat Kiadó, Budapest.

Rápóti, J. – Romváry, V. (1990): Gyógyító növények. Medicina Kiadó, Budapest.

Rosival, V. (1992): Gyógyító természet. Homeopátia. Kossuth Kiadó, Budapest.

Simon, T. (1992): A magyarországi edényes flóra határozója. Tankönyvkiadó, Budapest.

Theiss, B. –Theiss, P. (1989): Erdők, mezők patikája. Microtrade Kft. Eger.

Treben, M. (1990): Egészség Isten patikájából. Hunga Print Kiadó, Budapest – Maglód.

Treben, M. (1991): Allergia. Biokultúra Egyesület, Budapest.

Ujvárosi, M. (1973): Gyomnövények. Mezőgazdasági Kiadó, Budapest.

Varró, A. B. (1991): Gyógynövények gyógyhatásai. Pannon Kiadó, Budapest.

4.2. Index of English – Latin names of medicinal plants

Alder buckthorn – Frangula alnus

Anise – Pimpinella anisum

Annual nettle – Urtica urens

Asarabacca – Asarum europaeum

Babie’s breath – Gypsophila paniculata

Basil – Ocimum basilicum

Belladonna – Atropa bella-donna

Bennet’s root – Geum urbanum

Black alder – Frangula alnus

Black locust – Robinia pseudoacacia

Black mustard – Brassica nigra

Black poplar – Populus nigra

Blackcurrant – Ribes nigrum

Blackthorn – Prunus spinosa

Blackwort – Symphytum officinale

Blessed thistle – Cnicus benedictus

Broadleaf plantain – Plantago maior

Calamus – Acorus calamus

Canadian goldenrod – Solidago canadensis

Caraway – Carum carvi

Castor oil pant – Ricinus communis

Castorbeen – Ricinus communis

Cheeseplant – Malva neglecta

Chinese rhubarb – Rheum palmatum

Coltsfoot – Tussilago farfara

Comfrey – Symphytum officinale

Common agrimony – Agrimonia eupatoria

Common been – Phaseolus vulgaris

Common butterbur – Petasites hybridus

Common centaury – Centaurium erythraea (C. minus)

Common chickweed – Stellaria media

Common chicory – Cichorium intybus

Common dandelion – Taraxacum officinale

Common elder – Sambucus nigra

Common evening primrose – Oenothera biennis

Common flax – Linum usitatissimum

Common hawthorne – Crataegus monogyna

Common horehound – Marrubium vulgare

Common horsetail – Equisetum arvense

Common houseleek – Sempervivum tectorum

Common lavander – Lavandula angustifolia

Common mallow – Malva neglecta

Common marsh mallow – Althaea officinalis

Common mistletoe – Viscum album

Common motherwort – Leonurus cardiaca

Common nettle – Urtica dioica

Common rue – Ruta graveolens

Common silwerweed – Potentilla anserina, Argentina anserina

Common soapwort – Saponaria officinalis

Common St. John’s-wort – Hypericum perforatum

Common thyme – Thymus vulgaris

Common toadflax – Linaria vulgaris

Common vervain – Verbena officinalis

Common yarrow – Achillea millefolium  

Coneflower species – Echinacea spp.

Coriander – Coriandrum sativum

Corn poppy – Papaver rhoeas

Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus

Couch grass – Agropyron repens

Cowslip – Primula veris

Curley mint – Mentha aquatica var. crispa

Datura – Datura stramonium

Deadly nightshade – Atropa bella-donna

Denseflowered mullein – Verbascum densiflorum

Dill – Anethum graveolens

Dog rose – Rosa canina

Dwarf mallow – Malva neglecta

Dwarf nettle – Urtica urens

Eastern larkspur – Consolida orientalis

Elecampane – Inula helenium

English hawthorne – Crataegus laevigata

English lavander – Lavandula angustifolia

Europaean barberry – Berberis vulgaris

Europaean goldenrod – Solidago virga-aurea

Europaean mistletoe – Viscum album

Europaean red raspberry – Rubus idaeus

Europaean wild ginger – Asarum europaeum

Fennel – Foeniculum vulgare

Feverwort – Centaurium erythraea (C. minus)

Field horsetail – Equisetum arvense

Field melilot – Melilotus officinalis

Field pansy – Viola arvensis

Forking larkspur – Consolida regalis

French lilac – Galega officinalis

Garden angelica – Angelica archangelica

Garden chervil – Anthriscus cerefolium

Garden sage – Salvia officinalis

Garlic – Allium sativum

German chamomile – Matricaria chamomilla, Matricaria recutita

Giant goldenrod – Solidago gigantea

Goat’s rue – Galega officinalis

Golden elder – Sambucus nigra

Goosegrass – Potentilla anserina, Argentina anserina

Greater burdock – Arctium lappa

Greater celandine – Chelidonium majus

Greater plantain – Plantago maior

Grecian foxglove – Digitalis lanata

Hazelwort – Asarum europaeum

Heartsease – Viola tricolor

Henbane – Hyoscyamus niger

High mallow – Malva sylvestris

Holy ghost – Angelica archangelica

Hop – Humulus lupulus

Horse chestnut – Aesculus hippocastanum

Horse heal – Inula helenium

Hyssop – Hyssopus officinalis

Jimson weed – Datura stramonium

Jove’s beard – Sempervivum tectorum

Juniper – Juniperus communis

Jupiter’s eye – Sempervivum tectorum

Lady’s bedstraw – Galium verum

Large-flowered mallow – Malva sylvestris

Large-leaved lime – Tilia platyphyllos

Large-leaved linden – Tilia platyphyllos

Lemon balm – Melissa officinalis

Lily of the valley – Convallaria majalis

Linseed – Linum usitatissimum

Liquorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra

Little leaf lime – Tilia cordata

Little leaf linden – Tilia cordata

Lovage – Levisticum officinale

Lungwort – Pulmonaria officinalis

Maize – Zea mays

Marjoram – Majorana hortensis

Meadow sweet – Filipendula ulmaria

Med wort – Filipendula ulmaria

Medicinal rhubarb –

Melilot – Melilotus officinalis

Milk thistle – Silybum marianum

Mountain ash – Sorbus aucuparia

Mugwort – Artemisia vulgaris

Narrow leaved lavander – Lavandula angustifolia

Oilseed pumpkin – Cucurbita pepo var. styriaca

Old man’s whiskers – Geum urbanum

Opium poppy – Papaver somniferum

Orange mullein – Verbascum phlomoides

Oregano – Origanum vulgare

Parsley – Petroselinum crispum

Pedunculate oak – Quercus robur

Peppermint – Mentha x piperita

Pot marigold – Calendula officinalis

Quackgras – Agropyron repens

Raspberry – Rubus idaeus

Red sepaled evening primrose – Oenothera erythrosepala

Ribbed melilot – Melilotus officinalis

Ribwort plantain – Plantago lanceolata

Roman chamomile – Anthemis nobilis

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis

Rowantree – Sorbus aucuparia

Sage – Salvia officinalis

Scented mayweed – Matricaria chamomilla, Matricaria recutita

Scots pine – Pinus sylvestris

Sessile oak – Quercus petraea

Sheperd’s purse – Capsella bursa-pastoris

Silver birch – Betula pendula

Silwerweed cinquefoil – Potentilla anserina, Argentina anserina

Single-seedid hawthorne – Crataegus monogyna

Small-leaved lime – Tilia cordata

Small-leaved linden – Tilia cordata

Small nettle – Urtica urens

Spiny rest-harrow – Ononis spinosa

St. Benedict’s thistle – Cnicus benedictus

Sticklewort – Agrimonia eupatoria

Stinging nettle – Urtica dioica

Summer savory – Satureja hortensis

Sunflower – Helianthus annuus

Sweet basil – Ocimum basilicum

Sweet calamus – Acorus calamus

Sweet corn – Zea mays

Sweet pepper – Capsicum annuum

Sweet wodruff – Galium odoratum, Asperula odorata

Tansy – Chrysanthemum vulgare, Tanacetum vulgare

Thorn apple – Datura stramonium

True lavander – Lavandula angustifolia

Turkey rhubarb – Rheum palmatum

Valerian – Valeriana officinalis

Verbena – Verbena officinalis

Walnut – Juglans regia

White dead nettle – Lamium album

White horehound – Marrubium vulgare

Wild celery – Angelica archangelica

Wild pansy – Viola tricolor

Wild strawberry – Fragaria vesca

Wild thyme – Thymus serpyllum

Willow herb – Epilobium parviflorum

Wood avens – Geum urbanum

Wooly foxglove – Digitalis lanata

Wooly mullein – Verbascum phlomoides

Wormwood – Artemisia absinthium

Woundwort goldenrod – Solidago virga-aurea

Yellow bedstraw – Galium verum

Yellow melilot – Melilotus officinalis

Yellow sweet melilot – Melilotus officinalis

Yellow toadflax – Linaria vulgaris

4.3. Index of Latin–English names of medicinal plants

Achillea millefolium – Common yarrow

Acorus calamus – Calamus, Sweet calamus

Aesculus hippocastanum – Horse chestnut

Agrimonia eupatoria – Common agrimony, Sticklewort

Agropyron repens – Quackgras, Couch grass

Allium sativum – Garlic

Althaea officinalis – Common marsh mallow

Anethum graveolens – Dill

Angelica archangelica – Garden angelica, Holy ghost, Wild celery

Anthemis nobilis – Roman chamomile

Anthriscus cerefolium – Garden chervil

Arctium lappa – Greater burdock

Argentina anserina – Goosegrass, Common silwerweed, Silwerweed cinquefoil

Artemisia absinthium –Wormwood

Artemisia vulgaris – Mugwort

Asarum europaeum – Hazelwort, Asarabacca, Europaean wild ginger

Asperula odorata – Sweet woodruff

Atropa bella-donna – Belladonna, Deadly nightshade

Berberis vulgaris – Europaean barberry

Betula pendula – Silver birch

Brassica nigra – Black mustard

Calendula officinalis – Pot marigold

Capsella bursa-pastoris – Sheperd’s purse

Capsicum annuum – Sweet pepper

Carum carvi – Caraway

Centaurea cyanus – Cornflower

Centaurium erythraea (C. minus) – Common centaury, Feverwort

Chelidonium majus – Greater celandine

Chrysanthemum vulgare –Tansy

Cichorium intybus – Common chicory

Cnicus benedictus – St. Benedict’s thistle, Blessed thistle

Consolida regalis – Forking larkspur

Consolida orientalis – Eastern larkspur

Convallaria majalis – Lily of the valley

Coriandrum sativum – Coriander

Crataegus laevigata – English hawthorne

Crataegus monogyna – Common hawthorne, Single-seedid hawthorne

Cucurbita pepo var. styriaca – Oilseed pumpkin

Datura stramonium – Thorn apple, Jimson weed, Datura

Digitalis lanata – Wooly foxglove, Grecian foxglove

Echinacea spp. – Coneflower species

Epilobium parviflorum – Willow herb

Equisetum arvense – Field horsetail, Common horsetail

Filipendula ulmaria – Meadow sweet, Med wort

Foeniculum vulgare – Fennel

Fragaria vesca – Wild strawberry

Frangula alnus – Alder buckthorn, Black alder

Galega officinalis – Goat’s rue, French lilac

Galium odoratum – Sweet wodruff

Galium verum – Yellow bedstraw, Lady’s bedstraw

Geum urbanum – Wood avens, Bennet’s root, Old man’s whiskers

Glycyrrhiza glabra – Liquorice

Gypsophila paniculata – Babie’s breath

Helianthus annuus – Sunflower

Humulus lupulus – Hop

Hyoscyamus niger – Henbane

Hypericum perforatum – Common St. John’s-wort

Hyssopus officinalis – Hyssop

Inula helenium – Elecampane, Horse heal

Juglans regia – Walnut

Juniperus communis – Juniper

Lamium album – White dead nettle

Lavandula angustifolia – Common lavander, True lavander, English lavander, Narrow leaved lavander

Leonurus cardiaca – Common motherwort

Levisticum officinale – Lovage

Linaria vulgaris – Common toadflax, Yellow toadflax

Linum usitatissimum – Linseed, Common flax

Majorana hortensis – Marjoram

Malva neglecta – Dwarf mallow, Common mallow, Cheeseplant

Malva sylvestris – High mallow, Large-flowered mallow

Marrubium vulgare – White horehound, Common horehound

Matricaria chamomilla – Scented mayweed, German chamomile

Matricaria recutita – Scented mayweed, German chamomile

Melilotus officinalis – Yellow sweet melilot, Melilot, Field melilot, Yellow melilot, Ribbed melilot

Melissa officinalis – Lemon balm

Mentha aquatica var. crispa – Curley mint

Mentha x piperita – Peppermint

Ocimum basilicum – Basil, Sweet basil

Oenothera biennis – Common evening primrose

Oenothera erythrosepala – Red sepaled evening primrose

Ononis spinosa – Spiny rest-harrow

Origanum vulgare – Oregano

Papaver rhoeas – Corn poppy

Papaver somniferum – Opium poppy

Petasites hybridus – Common butterbur

Petroselinum crispum – Parsley

Phaseolus vulgaris – Common been

Pimpinella anisum – Anise

Pinus sylvestris – Scots pine

Plantago lanceolata – Ribwort plantain

Plantago maior – Broadleaf plantain, Greater plantain

Populus nigra – Black poplar

Potentilla anserina – Goosegrass, Common silwerweed, Silwerweed cinquefoil

Primula veris – Cowslip

Prunus spinosa – Blackthorn

Pulmonaria officinalis – Lungwort

Quercus petraea – Sessile oak

Quercus robur – Pedunculate oak

Rheum palmatum – Chinese rhubarb, Turkey rhubarb

Ribes nigrum – Blackcurrant

Ricinus communis – Castor oil pant, Castorbeen

Robinia pseudoacacia – Black locust

Rosa canina – Dog rose

Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary

Rubus idaeus – Raspberry, Europaean red raspberry

Ruta graveolens – Common rue

Salvia officinalis – Sage, Garden sage

Sambucus nigra – Common elder, Golden elder

Saponaria officinalis – Common soapwort

Satureja hortensis – Summer savory

Sempervivum tectorum – Common houseleek, Jove’s beard, Jupiter’s eye

Silybum marianum – Milk thistle

Solidago canadensis – Canadian goldenrod

Solidago gigantea – Giant goldenrod

Solidago virga-aurea – Europaean goldenrod, Woundwort goldenrod

Sorbus aucuparia – Mountain ash, Rowantree

Stellaria media – Common chickweed

Symphytum officinale – Comfrey, Blackwort

Tanacetum vulgare – Tansy

Taraxacum officinale – Common dandelion

Thymus serpyllum – Wild thyme

Thymus vulgaris – Common thyme

Tilia cordata – Small-leaved linden, Small-leaved lime, Little leaf linden, Little leaf lime

Tilia platyphyllos – Large-leaved linden, Large-leaved lime

Tussilago farfara – Coltsfoot

Urtica dioica – Stinging nettle, Common nettle

Urtica urens – Annual nettle, Dwarf nettle, Small nettle

Valeriana officinalis – Valerian

Verbascum densiflorum – Denseflowered mullein

Verbascum phlomoides – Wooly mullein, Orange mullein

Verbena officinalis – Common vervain, Verbena

Viola arvensis – Field pansy

Viola tricolor – Heartsease, Wild pansy

Viscum album – Europaean mistletoe, Common mistletoe

Zea mays – Maize, Sweet corn

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