Valerian ( Valeriana officinalis. Syn. Great Wild Valerian. Nat. Ord. Valerianaceae), B.P. & H.An important pharmacopoeial plant, well worth the growers attention, which is used as a nervine, stimulant, antispasmodic, and tonic. It must be carefully distinguished from the Red Valerian of the flower garden (Centranthus ruber), and from the various other species of wild Valerian and Centranthus. Description.A stout tallish plant with pinnate leaves consisting of numerous leaflets, and white or pinkish flowers, in a terminal rounded”cyme.”It is a perennial, flowering from June to July, and is found in damp neglected spots, though it is not particularly common. Cultivation.Valerian may be grown from seed, or from the runners given off by older plants. The ground should previously be well dug and treated with farmyard manure. It must be fairly retentive of moisture, and be in a damp, shady locality or situated on the bank of a stream. The seedto be obtained in autumn from fine wild specimens, or through seedsmen who understand the strain requiredcan be sown in the open from April to August. Seedlings must bepricked off and set in permanent quarters as soon as they attain a fair size. They need careful weeding, and must have abundance of liquid manure, and water. Plants grown from seed may not flower the first year, but will produce plenty of leaves. If blossom should appear it should be cut off to encourage the formation of good root or rhizome. The underground stems of Valerian give off slender runners from which new plants originate. The usual method of propagation is to transplant wild specimens, or to collect tliese daughter plants, setting them in prepared ground at a suitable distance apart, and treating them in the same way as seedlings. Marketing.In September and October the plants are scythed down and the rhizomes are dug or ploughed out. These are then placed in troughs or boxes drilled with holes in a stream of running water, and well stirred, until thoroughly washed. They are next sliced and dried in artificial heat. The smaller rhizomes need not be sliced. The B.P. thus describes the commercial article as it should appear on the market after this process :”A short erect rhizome entire or sliced, dark yellowish-brown externally, and giving ofi numerous slender brittle roots 3-4 ins. long, of the same colour as the rhizome : rhizome and roots whitish or yellowish internally. The odour that is developed in the process of drying is strong, characteristic, and disagreeable ; taste unpleasant, camphoraceous, and slightly bitter.”Growers of Valerian would be well advised to undertake the process of curing on the spot, since they are then less dependent on an immediate market for sale, and the outfit required washers, shed, coke stove, sheers, etc.could be utilised for other herbal roots, such as aconite, belladonna, burdock, dandelion, dock, etc. Violet (Viola odorata) and Heartsease (Viola tricolor. Nat. Ord. Violacea3), H.These herbs, the former a cultivated, sweet-scented species often found wild, but largely grown in gardens, and the latter found as a cornfield”weed,”are both officinal in Homeopathy. The various violets and pansies used in perfumery and confectionery as well as in medicine are cultivated on a commercial scale at Stratford-on-Avon. The flower of the sweet-scented Violet is required as well as the leaves. It should be picked before it is in full bloom, and rapidly dried to retain as much colour as possible after being deprived of the calyx. The entire herb. Heartsease, is marketed. Cultivation.The violets are perennial herbs found very generally all over the country. They can be grown from seed or by transplanting en masse to suitable situations, where they spread, bloom, and multiply year after year, requiring little attention at the hands of the grower. The soil should be well prepared by digging in the first place, and mixed with fibrous loam, road grit, and farmyard manure. The position of the beds should be neither too sunny nor too shady. The young plants should be soaked in water during times of drought, when the sun is not too hot, and the herbs should generally be mulched -when flowering v/ith leaf-mould, moss litter, etc. The beds should be made afresh every few years. Wintergreen (GauUheria procumbens. Nat. Ord. Ericaceae), B.P. & H.This is the source of Oil of Gaultheria, used as an antirheumatic and anodyne. An important pharmacopoeial plant. Description.This is a little procumbent ground-covering herb, with dark green leathery leaves, and bright red berries, alUed to the Bearberry. Wintergreen is a source of a drug officinal in British medicine as well as in Homeopathy, which always commands a high price, so that the market for the herb is an assured and steady one. It is an herbaceous perennial plant with woody leaf -stems, not a native of this country, but an American plant, and must be distinguished from the five species of Pyrola or Wintergreen which grow wild in England. Cultivation.Wintergreen should be propagated from specimens found growing wild in their natural situation. Seeds expressed from the berries when ripe in the autumn will germinate if sown in suitable spots, i.e. in a grove, or under shade, or even under clumps of bushes, unless these trail upon the ground and completely exclude the hght and air ; but sets from the entire herb root easily and spread. Divided roots may be planted in woodland spots in the spring or autumn, about 6 ins. apart each way, in permanent beds. They will soon cover the entire ground. The soil requires a natural or artificial mixing to the depth of 4 ins. or more with good leaf-mouldor rich vegetable humus. The herb is gathered and dried in October. Woodruff (Asperula odorata. Syn. Sweet Woodruff. Nat. Ord. Rubiaceae). This is useful as a diuretic and tonic. Description.This is a wellknown beautiful little woodland herb, often grown in gardens. It could be marketed, if collected or gathered in sufficient quantity, without difficulty. Marketing.Dry as for other herbs during the flowering season. The whole herb is required. Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium. Nat. Ord. Compositae).This is used as a bitter tonic and anthelmintic. Description.This is one of the plants, allied to Southernwood, Mugwort, and Tarragon, whose cultivation from seed or propagation by division of roots might advantageously be increased. The flowering”tops”are the parts required. Gather in August or throughout the blossoming season, and carefully dry. Yarrow or Milfoil (Achillea Millefolium. Nat. Ord. Compositae).This is used as a diaphoretic, stimulant, and tonic. Description.A ubiquitous herb, the demand for which is such that the wild supply might be augmented by cultivation. It does well on light soil in open situations. Herb centres ofier id. per lb. for fresh herb.A. B. T.
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