Ethnobotanist James Wong has certainly turned the spotlight on flowers in his six-part television series exploring plant-based natural remedies and beauty treatments.
He reveals the historical use of plants, Hops and Lavender as ingredients traditionally used to reduce anxiety and aid restful sleep, and the use of marigolds and violas as ways to help relieve the symptoms of everyday ailments such as sore throats, acne and eczema.
Since the programme was aired, we have had a huge amount of interest in the plants featured and have put together this collection seeds from four of the plants. All are easy to grow. The seed collection comes complete with detailed cultivation information. Why not “Grow you own!”
For full details of each herb, please click on the plants name.
Calendula officianalis “Pot Marigold”
The edible flowers can be used to decorate cakes and salads. It is also currently one of the top herbs used for medicinal use. Historically, Calendula flowers have been considered beneficial in reducing inflammation, promoting wound healing, and used as an antiseptic.
Like most hardy annuals, Calendula is very easy to grow and can be simply sown where it is to flower.
Humulus lupulus 'Hops'
Humulus lupulus, is a climbing hardy herbaceous perennial. Hops are the female flower cones or “strobiles” of the plant. The hop vines, called bines, are usually grown up strings called a hopfield or hop garden.
Leaves and shoots are eaten either cooked or in salads, the flavour is said to be delicious. Hops are used as a sedative and relaxant. Sleeping on a pillow filled with hops is said to help insomnia.
Lavandula angustifolia “Lavender Vera”
Lavender angustifolia, also known as Lavender vera is thought to be the true English Lavender. It is also called True Lavender or Fine Lavender.
It is thought to be the best Lavender for medicinal and aromatherapy purposes and is an excellent plant for low informal hedging and as a specimen evergreen for borders and formal gardens.
Chamaemelum nobile "Roman Chamomile"
Camomile is a most useful plant. It can be used to make beautiful lawns and raised beds, an infusion of the plant is an ideal family remedy, calming and sedative, perfect for restlessness or travel sickness, while cold camomile tea is effective as a spray to prevent “damping-off” of seedlings .
Taken from the word "ethnology" (the study of culture) and “botany” (study of plants) is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants.
History of Ethnobotany:
The term "ethnobotany" was first used by a botanist named John W. Harshberger in 1895 while he was teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. Although the term was not used until 1895, practical interests in ethnobotany go back to the beginning of civilization when people relied on plants as a way of survival.
In AD 77, the Greek surgeon Dioscorides published "De Materia Medica", which was a catalogue of about 600 plants in the Mediterranean. It also included information on how the Greeks used the plants, especially for medicinal purposes. This illustrated herbal contained information on how and when each plant was gathered, whether or not it was poisonous, its actual use, and whether or not it was edible (it even provided recipes). Dioscorides stressed the economic potential of plants. For generations, scholars learned from this herbal, but did not actually venture into the field until after the Middle Ages.
In the beginning, ethnobotanical specimens and studies were not very reliable and sometimes not helpful. This is because the botanists and the anthropologists did not come together on their work. The botanists focused on identifying species and how the plants were used instead of including how plants fit into people's lives. On the other hand, anthropologists were interested in the cultural role of plants and not the scientific aspect. Therefore, early ethnobotanical data does not really include both sides. In the early twentieth century, botanists and anthropologists finally collaborated and the collection of reliable, detailed data began.
- Additional Information
Common Name Four packs of plants used in herbal remedies