Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Taxus baccata L.

Family : Taxaceae

English Name : Yew

Origin : Central and Southern Europe

It is a small evergreen or medium sized tree with fluted stem and reddish grey bark. Leaves are 2.5 to 3.5 cm long, linear, flattened, distchious, acute and narrowed into a short petiole. Male cones are subglobose and solitary in leaf axis and females are also solitary, axillary with a single erect ovule. The fruits are red coloured with woody testa. The fruit is a fleshy berry about 10mm in diameter and containing a single seed.

Kashmir to Khasi hills (in the temperate Himalayas. from 1800 to 3000 m); also in Europe. Asia Minor and northern Africa.

Parts Used : Bark, wood, leaf, fruit and aerial part

Herb Effects
All parts of the plant, except the fleshy fruit, are antispasmodic, cardiotonic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, narcotic and purgative; cardiotonic and abortifacient (leaf); anticancer (bark); “hypothesmic activity” (aerial part); antispasmodic and sedative (fruit and leaf); narcotic and toxic (leaf. young aerial part and shoot).

Active Ingredients
Beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin (fruit); beta-sitosterol, ephedrine, formic acid, gallic acid, ginkgetin, millosine, HCN, tannic acid, taxine A and B4, taxol (leaf); taxol, ecdysterone, campesterol and beta-sitosterol (bark).

Medicinal Use
The leaves have been used internally in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, hiccup, indigestion, rheumatism and epilepsy. Externally, the leaves have been used in a steam bath as a treatment for rheumatism. A homeopathic remedy is made from the young shoots and the berries. It is used in the treatment of cystitis, eruptions, headaches, heart and kidney problems, rheumatism etc.

Powder: 3 to 5 g
Leaves: 1 to 5 grains.

All parts of the plant, except the flesh of the fruit, are highly poisonous, having a paralyzing affect on the heart.


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