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Secret of the Garden #5

It’s Halloween Weekend, so let’s talk about a plant that is often used in evil ways; a perfect poison.

poison Hemlock

Hemlock is well known throughout history, and in Ancient Greece was used on Socrates as a form of execution. There are two types to watch for; Poison Hemlock (found in Europe) and Water Hemlock (found in North America). This plant is deadly from it’s leaves to it’s roots.

The poison within the Hemlock plant is Coniine, and it will only take a dose of 0.15 grams to kill an adult. The poison works from the outside in, numbing the extremities until it begins to work on the internal organs, paralyzing the lungs causing death. Hemlock looks much like a salad ingredient, resulting in accidental poisonings (or maybe not!)

Water Hemlock

Water Hemlock contains different toxins: Cicutoxin and Cicunol. These will cause violet convulsions, cramps and tremors. If you are able to survive, you will most likely suffer long term damage such as amnesia. This plant is considered the most poisonous in North America.

Care is needed when picking wild plants! Hemlock can easily be mistaken for Queen Anne’s Lace.

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Secret of the Garden #4

There’s no secret here. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of growing or smelling fresh Rosemary, then you’ll know exactly what I mean. This plant is a good secret and one you’ll want to add to your garden.

Rosemary is one of the easiest and a hardy herb for the garden. It will even survive the hot Florida summers, not something many herbs can do. Although this herb is used for cooking, it also has many other uses. Those uses range from household, medicinal, cosmetic, decorative and aromatic. Here are a few examples.

Culinary; added to sugar to use us deserts, use the flowers in salads, garnish meats and vegetables during cooking and added to baked bread or butter. These are just a few, but I’m no cook, so I’m sure there is plenty more!

Household; boil to use with water as an antiseptic solutions, repels moths in linens, repels other insects, air freshener.

Medical; Pain reliver for migraines, menstrual cramps and arthritis Immunity booster (it contains anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and anti carcinogenic properties), added to tea it can help reduce coughs and phlegm, it can boost our abilities to concentrate & focus, helps heal brain damage from strokes, reduce pain as an anti-inflammatory, fend off infections, good for blood circulation, full of iron and vitamin B6, fights mood swings, regulate some hormones, fights indigestions IBS and some ulcers, helps prevent blood clots from developing, helps the liver in detoxifying the body.
(as with any herb please talk to your doctor before using!)

Cosmetic; fights premature aging, a natural astringent, mouthwash, a natural deodorant, acne treatment, eczema, itchy skin and scalp, stimulate hair growth, improve skin complexion, helps heal burns.

Decorative; Rosemary is used not only as a potted herb but will also make a beautiful hedge for a herb garden. It is easy to shape and often is used in creating topiaries. Cut the branches to use as a wreath or in centerpieces. It also grows in several form, including cascading, making it a nice addition to a container garden or on its own in a pot. Rosemary will also repel some insects.

Aromatic; use to mix in potpourri, use as an essential oil to ease stress, help focus, relieve headaches, relieve fatigue, energize, boost memory.

So, you can see for yourself that Rosemary is a secret weapon to add to you garden!