What I regret most about not being able to attend the garden walk is that I missed hearing the speakers they had lined up because I was prepared with several questions that I had about the garden and the plants grown. There are over 140 medicinal plant species planted in the garden and I think on this blog I've only managed to document 23 of those plants. While not extensive I hope that the photos and information that I've recorded here can serve as a virtual garden walk of sorts. If plants and their medicinal uses interest you see my previous post Medicinal Plant Garden in Chicago and this post. I don't believe I repeat any of the plants or photos in these entries but if I do I apologize.
Aloe vera commonly known simple as Aloe is used to treat burns and as a laxative. The beneficial part of the plant is the leaf sap. Obviously Aloe doesn't grow in Chicago because it couldn't survive a winter here so these are grown in pots that are sunken into the raised bed.
Vinca minor Common periwinkle is the source of a compound used to treat cerebral senility and improve cerebral circulation. It is also in use in two cancer fighting drugs at the moment with more being studied.
Momordica charantia is a vining plant better known as Bitter melon or Balsam-apple. It is a popular fruit used in Asian cooking and is said to stimulate digestion. Compounds from the fruit and leaf are used to treat Type 2 diabetes and HIV. In the Medicinal Plant Garden they grow it climbing up a trellis and the diminutive yellow flowers stand out against the green leafs. Every time I've been in this garden the flower has always had ants visiting. It has been impossible to get a picture of the flower without an ant.
Rauvolfia viridis Willd. Ex Roem. & Schult. Thankfully is better known as Caribbean Snakeroot. The root of this evergreen plant is the source of a compound called Reserpine that is used to treat psychotic behaviors and hypertension. It is named after German botanist and scientist Leonhard Rauwolf who is said to have been the first European to have described the preparation and drinking of coffee.
"A very good drink they call Chaube that is almost as black as ink and very good in illness, especially of the stomach.This they drink in the morning early in the open places before everybody, without any fear or regard, out of clay or China cups, as hot as they can, sipping it a little at a time."
Calendula officinalis is a common and popular garden plant. I have Calendula growing in my own garden but it is just orange/gold in the Medicinal Plant Garden this two tone variety is growing alongside the orange/gold. I don't know what accounts for the white but it makes for a more interesting flower. The flower head is used to treat ailments from stomach aches to menstrual cramps and cuts/burns.
Platycodon grandiflorus better known as Balloon-flower or Chinese bellflower is another popular garden plant. A nice enough addition to a garden, though I've never grown it, it is has medicinal properties. It is used to relieve irritation of the throat and loss of voice and draining of puss from the lungs. As an aside if you like this flower see the mutant Balloon-flower that was found by a fellow garden blogger at PATSP.
Podophyllum peltatum also known as Mayapple or American mandrake. The photo here is of the fruit that is edible in small amounts when it is ripened in late summer. Wikipedia's entry for Mayapple states that the root is toxic, oddly enough- the medicinal part of this herbaceous perennial is the root/rhizome. The root/rhizome contains a compound called podophyllotoxin and it is used to treat the kind of warts you get when you are very popular after last call at the local bar. It is also the precursor to cancer fighting drugs like etoposide and taeniposide.
Punica granatum commonly known as Pomegranate is grown in the medicinal garden because it has antibacterial and antiviral properties. The useful part of the plant is the leaf and the fruit rind which also has anti-ulcer effects and of course the fruit is edible. There are three Pomegranate trees in the garden but they are too tender for our climate here so they are grown in pots and taken in during the winter.
Passiflora incarnata Better known as Passion flower is said to have anti-anxiety properties. The part the extracts are taken from is the flower top. It also produces fruit that is edible and very tasty. The seeds can be hard to germinate for the first time grower one trick I like to use is to soak the Passion flower seed in citrus juice to try to break down the seed coat. Germination can take up to a year so be patient or just buy a growing plant. The common name of the plant has nothing to do with love or romance, Passion (Christian theology) is a refference to the suffering of Christ in the hours leading up to his crucification.
Sorry about the cheesy quality of the video it is my first time trying to use Windows Movie Maker and I'm hoping to get better at it.