Herbs-Treat and Taste is about herbs and spices and their uses in medicine and cookery.We give recipes and information which enable people to have a healthier diet which can prevent certain illnesses and alleviate symptoms such as a cough, sore throat etc.There is information on different herbs,their history ,what other people think or thought about them and what we think.
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Saturday, May 5, 2012
THREE OF THE MEADOW RUES: THALICTRUM FLAVUM, T. AQUILEGIFOLIUM AND T.MINUS: INFORMATION
small meadow rue
SMALL MEADOW RUE, GREATER MEADOW RUE AND YELLOW OR COMMON MEADOW RUE
Thalictrum minus is native to Europe, south west Asia and parts of north west Africa and South Africa. Unlike the other two meadow rues it has yellow, plum-brown flowers, rather like the figwortin colourand its foliage is similar to theMaidenhair fern.
The young leaves of this meadow rue can be cooked and eaten likespinach, although some of the Ranunculaceae family members have some toxicity so caution is recommended. Some research has been done on this plant and some new alkaloids and other compounds have been discovered in it. An infusion of the leaves or a decoction of the root has been used in traditional medicine in the past to help reduce fevers
common meadow rue
The Common meadow rue has tufty yellow flowers and tends to grow in moist places, such as water meadows, fens and ditches. This is Thalictrum flavum which can grow to over a metre high. It is this one that Nicholas Culpeper the English herbalist who wrote his Herball in the 17th century mentions thus:-
“Government and virtues. Dioscorides saith, That this herb bruised and applied, perfectly heals old sores, and the distilled water of the herb and flowers doth the like. It is used by some among other pot-herbs to open the body, and make it soluble; but the roots washed clean, and boiled in ale and drank, provokes to stool more than the leaves, but yet very gently. The root boiled in water, and the places of the body most troubled with vermin and lice washed therewith while it is warm, destroys them utterly. In Italy it is used against the plague, and in Saxony against the jaundice, as Camerarius says. A poultice made of the leaves has been known to give ease in the sciatica; and the country people in Buckinghamshire boil the roots and young leaves in ale, and take it as a purge. In smaller doses it works by urine, and removes obstructions of the viscera.”
greater meadow rue
The third meadow rue is Thalictrum aquilegifolium, or Greater Meadow rue, or Columbine meadow rue, the latter name being given to it because of the similarity of its leaves to columbines. This one in also native to North America, where it was used in the 19th century to flavour spruce beer which was taken as a digestive tonic. It was also used as a purgative and diuretic, so one wonders what happened to those who drank the beer!
As you can see from the pictures, these three meadow rues are quite distinctive, although all are in the same genus.This last has been used in Chinese medicine for the treatment of respiratory problems such as asthma, in combination with other herbs.