Thursday, 2 July 2009

Enchanting!

Deep in the wooded areas near the Hospital in Ilkeston, there grows an enchanting plant. Easily overlooked with very small, white flowers and growing in the most shaded parts, it is nevertheless rather common. It is the Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana).

Despite the name, it is not actually a member of the Nightshade family at all. Enchanter's Nightshade is a member of the family which includes Willowherbs, Evening Primroses and Fuchsias.
More colourful and easily seen among the hedgerow plants is the Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica).

Woundworts are very useful with many medicinal qualities. It has antiseptic, astringent, diuretic and antibacterial qualities as well as a vast list of other uses. Infusions of the leaf can be used to treat eye conditions such as sties and pinkeye and is also used for treating fevers, diarrhea, sore throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart. With a list like that, you wonder why the NHS needs anything else!
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