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Sunday, February 19, 2012

FIELD RESTHARROW: HEALTH BENEFITS AND USES OF FIELD RESTHARROW


FIELD RESTHARROW, LAND WHIN, GROUND FURZE, ONONIS ARVENSIS 
Field Restharrow has a tough weedy stem which could halt the harrows used to till soil, hence its name. The ancient herbalists used this plant to treat bladder and kidney stones and as a diuretic. It is a native of Europe and found in Britain. It flowers in July and August and has pink or purple flowers. It is a member of the Fabaceae (pea family) and the flowers look a little like those of a small sweet pea which is commonly grown in British gardens. It is related to chickpeas, green beans, borlotti beans, lentils, indigo, kudzu or pueraria, senna, alfalfa, carob, broom, lupins, and peanuts to name but a few. It’s more exotic relatives include the Indian coral tree, the ashoka tree, the Monkey Pod tree, dhak, jhand, the pongam tree and the butterfly pea.
  It is endangered and protected in Finland and has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes. The tender young shoots can be pickled or used as a vegetable when cooked, and are said to refresh the breath and disguise the smell of alcohol.
  This plant contains essential oils, flavonoids, glycosides and tannins, with the root being the part employed in traditional systems of medicine in Europe. The root is harvested in September and October, and dried for later use. It is used to stop bleeding from fresh wounds, for headaches, rheumatism skin problems, infections of the urethra and piles. It has been in the official Pharmacopoeias of the former Soviet Union states, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Austria.
  A decoction of the root was used for skin problems as an external wash and an infusion was used incases of delirium.
  Currently research is being carried out into its flavonoid contents 

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