More Than a Pretty Greenhouse- Kew Gardens research into herbal remedies

Scientists at Kew Garden's Jodrell Labs are looking for the active compounds in traditional British folk remedies. The first to show real promise is figwort, from Northern Ireland and Norfolk- it appears to have promise in treating leg wounds and diabetes. They are looking at all kinds of plants common in Britain, many with names that reflect their supposed powers: The herb lovage, for example, won its name because of its reputation as an aphrodisiac. "Sage is a herb that has been connected with wisdom down the ages, and now for the first time we can see whether it really helps with cognitive ability, or memory" We don't know which to buy first. ::ObserverOther plants with (claimed) medicinal powers

Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus). Used to treat fevers and malaria.

Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus). Used to treat colds, toothache and sores in the mouth.

Black Bryony (Tamus communis). For gout and chilblains.

Lovage (Ligusticum scoticum). As the name suggests, an aphrodisiac.

Mistletoe (Viscum album). Used to treat many conditions - hysteria, heart palpitations, fevers, etc - as it has a calming action on the nervous system.

Marsh mallow, or althaea officinalis Herbalists have used it for centuries to cure inflammations and irritations of the bowel.

Figwort, or scrophularia Grows in shady woods and is described by Culpeper as useful for healing wounds, piles and ulcers.

Goosegrass, or gallium aparine Also known as Grip Grass, Catchweed, Cleavers or Bedstraw, is seen by herbalists as one of the best tonics available for the lymphatic system.

Sage, or salvia There are many varieties of sage, some of them toxic, but it is a highly common garden herb. Culpeper said three teaspoons of it with sugar would help patients with tuberculosis. Now being investigated by UK researchers for its memory-boosting powers.

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