Our Herb for December 30th – Jewel Weed

Today’s Herb – Jewel Weed

Jewel Weed

Impatiens capensis
Synonyms—Wild Balsam. Balsam-weed. Impatiens
pallida. Pale-touch-me-not. Spottedtouch-me-not.
Slipperweed. Silverweed. Wild Lady’s Slipper. Speckled
Jewels. Wild Celandine. Quick-in-the-hand.
Part Used—Herb.

Habitat—Members of the genus Impatiens are found widely distributed in the north temperate zone and in South Africa, but the majority are natives of the mountains of tropical Asia and Africa.

The flowers, purple, yellow, pink and white, sometimes a showy scarlet, are spurred and irregular in form and are borne in the leaf axils.

The name Impatiens is derived from the fact that the seed-pod, when ripe, discharges the seeds by the elastic separation and uncoiling of the valves.

Under the name of Jewelweed the herbage of Impatiens aurea and of I. biflora are largely employed in domestic practice and by homoeopaths and eclectics.

Description—The plants are tall and branching, tender and delicate succulent annuals, with swollen joints, growing in lowlying, damp, rather rich soil, beside streams and in similar damp localities.

They are smooth and somewhat glaucous, the stems somewhat translucent, the foliage showing a brilliant silvery surface when immersed in water, which will not adhere to the surface.

The leaves are thin, ovate oval, more or less toothed, of a tender green color.

The slipper-shaped, yellow flowers, in bloom from July to September, have long recurved tails, those of the first-named species being of a uniform pale-yellow, those of the second species, orange-yellow, crowded with dark spots, hence its common name of Spotted-touch-me-not. The oblong capsules of both species when ripe explode under the slightest disturbance, scattering the seeds widely. Most of the popular names refer to this peculiarity, others to the shape of the flowers.

Medicinal Action and Uses—The herbs have an acrid, burning taste and act strongly as emetics, cathartics and diuretics, but are considered dangerous, their use having been termed ‘wholly questionable.’

Constituents—The chemical constituents are not known, though the leaves apparently contain tannin, which causes them to be employed as an outward application for piles, proving an excellent remedy, the freshly gathered plants being boiled in lard and an ointment made of them. The fresh juice of the herb appears to relieve cutaneous irritation of various kinds, especially that due to Rhus poisoning. A yellow dye has been made from the flowers.

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Jewel Weed
Impatiens capensis
Found: in wet, shady soil throughout our area
Height: 1-1.5 meters (3-5 feet)
Leaves: are oval shaped and toothed. Toward the bottom of the plant they are opposite; leaves on top are
alternate.

Flowers: have a characteristic pendant-like shape with red spots

Uses: crushed leaves can be made into a poultice to treat a rash or inflamed skin, including irritation from Poison Ivy. Lawsone, a component of Jewel Weed leaves, has reported antihistamine and anti-inflammatory activity.

Jewel Weed – “Touch Me Not” – Impatiens This plant is a very effective Poison Ivy antidote.

The Jewel Weed Stem should be crushed and the liquid rubbed into the skin contacted by the Poison Ivy and symptoms will not appear or will be much less troublesome.

Jewel Weed usually grows near water or in shallow ponds. It is often found in areas where Poison Ivy grows.

Leaves of three, Let them be … Poison Ivy Link to Poison Ivy, Oak, & Sumac Information Center. Jewel Weed totally neutralizes the Poison Ivy’s oily antigen called Urushiol, and you will no longer spread it by scratching or rubbing. The Urushiol oil may be carried on the fur of pets, clothing, shoes, toys, tools, or other objects and then transferred to the skin. Approximately 24 to 36 hrs after a sensitized person is exposed to the Urushiol, a blistery, itching rash develops. Usually within 15 minutes of contact, the Urushiol binds to skin proteins. If it is washed off with soap and water before that time, a reaction may be prevented. After the antigen is fixed, however, it cannot be washed off or transferred to other areas. Scratching or oozing blister fluid cannot spread the antigen to other areas of the body or to other persons.

Jewel Weed is still quite helpful even if you have developed scabs, though you need to work – Rub – it in longer, and it takes time for the blisters to heal.

Daily Feng Shui Tip for June 8 – “Name Your Poison Day!”

Today’s ‘Name Your Poison Day’ has me thinking of holistic remedies that can be embraced if your poison is ivy or sumac or oak. At least one of these poisonous weeds grows in every U.S. state, and as many as 10 million Americans are affected by these plants annually. Contact with them can cause irritating blisters, itching and a discharge. Should that happen, immediately wash the affected area with cold water — you have about two minutes to rinse off the urushiol oil that carries the plant’s ‘poison.’ However, if you’re lacking water and you develop a rash, you can bring quick relief by dabbing the area with a mix of equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. You can also rub slices of fresh lemon on the affected area to stop the itch and heal the rash. Of course, gel from a fresh aloe plant offers the same healing relief. Be aware that these remedies are not applicable if the skin has been broken. In that event, proper medical intervention may be necessary. This way the next time someone asks you ‘what’s your poison,’ it won’t be ivy, sumac or oak!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

14 Surprising Uses for Vodka

14 Surprising Uses for Vodka

  • Melissa Breyer

Something akin to what we now know as vodka first appeared in Poland in the 11th century. Called gorzalka, the vodka prototypes were used as medicines. By 1534, a treatise on herbs professed that vodka could serve “to increase fertility and awaken lust.” Hot diggity!

Although many still indulge in the “medicinal” benefits of a martini, vodka has a surprising array of alternative uses that can save money and be kinder to the planet than the harsh chemicals it can stand in for. And with so many uses, it makes sense to have one bottle of vodka rather than array of otherwise specific products.

So just what can the versatile vodka do around the house?

1. Febreze without the guilt
If you douse your clothes and home with Febreze to remove odor, you can do the same with vodka…but without the cyclodextrin, and without supporting a company that tests on animals. (I’m talking to you, Proctor & Gamble.) The alcohol in vodka kills bacteria which cause odor, and vodka is basically odorless, as far as booze goes. Spritz your clothes and hang them in a well-ventilated room. (As with any natural remedy, sp0t-test first.)

2. Keep cut flowers fresh
If you’re going to have fresh-cut flowers working hard to brighten up your decor, show some hospitality and give them a little drink. Several drops of vodka and a large pinch of sugar added to the water in your flower vase, changed daily, stunts ethylene production and will extend the vitality of bouquet.

3. Shoo flies, and other pests
I couldn’t harm a fly, or any other living thing. Except…if something is biting and sucking the blood from my children, mamma bear swoops in and goes medieval. DEET is persona non grata in my neck of the woods, and I wouldn’t own a can of Raid if you paid me. But a spray bottle of vodka? Sure. Use it to spray directly at the offenders, it can also be used on your skin as a repellant.

4. Calm the sting of sea creatures
The pain of jellyfish and ray stings is magically dissipated with meat tenderizers (the enzymes that work to break down meat’s proteins also break down the stinging agents in the venom). But if you find yourself at the beach with vodka instead of meat tenderizer (and who doesn’t?)–it can help alleviate the punch those stings can pack. Douse the area with vodka. (And…have a shot while you’re at it?)

5. Give your hair some life
Vodka can make people lush and bouncy, and can do the same for your hair. Add an ounce to your bottle of shampoo and use as you usually do. It helps to break down the oil build-up that can make your hair droll.

6. Remove laundry stains
Treat stubborn stains with a splash of vodka and some elbow grease, then launder as usual.

 

7. Make lavender ironing water
Forget about scented fabric softener for fragrance, be like a cool French granny and use lavender ironing water instead. Mix 3 ounces of 90-proof vodka and 12 drops of pure lavender essential oil and let sit for 24 hours. Then add 12 ounces of purified water and swirl together. Store in the refrigerator until it loses its scent, around 6 weeks.

8. Get rid of unloved plants
Also known as weeds (poor, misunderstood things)–if you’ve got them and don’t want them, vodka can kill them. Vodka attacks broad-leaf weeds, like dandelions, chickweed, by breaking down their protective coverings which leads to lethal dehydration. Fill a spray bottle with an ounce of vodka, a few drops of liquid dish soap, and two cups of water. Spray on weeds, in the sunlight, and wilt away they will.

9. Quash mold and mildew
Like vinegar, vodka can help combat stubborn mold and mildew stains in the bathroom. Spray it on stained caulk, let it sit for 30 minutes, and scrub with a brush.

10. Wash your mouth out
With homemade mouthwash: Boil 6 ounces of water and 2 ounces of vodka together. Add in 4 teaspoons of liquid glycerin and 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel. Remove from heat and let cool. When cooled, add 10-15 drops of Spearmint oil and shake the entire mixture together well.

11. Make a tincture
You can make a tincture of botanicals and vodka to use topically for a number of ailments or conditions. Fill a jar with a handful of flowers/roots/leaves and top with vodka.

12. Ease a poison ivy rash
Urushiol oil, the pesky component of poison ivy and poison oak, leads most to an agonizing rash. Before the rash sets in, vodka can be poured directly on the skin where contact occurred to minimize the severity of what’s to come. Rubbing alcohol will work too.

13. Shine your shiny things
Who needs separate chrome-cleaner, glass-cleaner, and porcelain-cleaner when a trip to the liquor cabinet can tackle all three materials at once? Dampen a cloth with vodka, rub, back in the shine.

14. Unstick sticky stickers
I bet 9 out of 10 of you save glass jars and reuse them. How many of you cringe at the gummy label adhesive that clings to glass like a manic starfish? (Or is that just me?) Vodka to the rescue. Dab a scouring sponge with some vodka, scrub, rinse with some liquid dish soap, no more sticky ugh.