Mt Teide, Tenerife, January 2012

Mt Teide, Tenerife, January 2012

As a first post one of the most strikingly beautiful plants i had the pleasure of discovering back in January on Mt Teide in Tenerife, an emerging spiraling Echium Wildpretii.
Below some interesting medicinal benefits of its UK cousin.
Bugloss, Viper’s
Botanical: Echium vulgare (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Boraginaceae
—Part Used—Herb.
Viper’s Bugloss is a showy plant covered with prickly hairs. It grows on walls, old quarries and gravel pits, and is common on calcareous soils. The name Bugloss, which is of Greek origin, signifies an Ox’s Tongue, and was applied to it from the roughness and shape of the leaves.

Viper’s Bugloss was said of old to be an expellent of poisons and venom, and to cure the bites of a viper, hence its name. Coles tells us in his Art of Simples:
‘Viper’s Bugloss hath its stalks all to be speckled like a snake or viper, and is a most singular remedy against poyson and the sting of scorpions.

Its seeds are also thought to resemble snake heads, thus specifying it as a cure for the bites of serpents. Its generic name Echium is derived from Echis, a viper.

Parkinson says of it:

‘the water distilled in glasses or the roote itself taken is good against the passions and tremblings of the heart as also against swoonings, sadness and melancholy.’

A decoction of the seeds in wine, we are told by old writers,

comforts the heart and drives away melancholy.

Medicinal Action and Uses – Diuretic, demulcent and pectoral. The leaves, especially those growing near the root, make a good cordial on infusion, which operates by perspiration and alleviates fevers, headaches and nervous complaints, relieving inflammatory pains. The infusion is made of 1 oz. of the dried leaves to a pint of boiling water, and is given in wineglassful to teacupful doses, as required.

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