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Rhamnus frangula - L.                
                 
Common Name Alder Buckthorn
Family Rhamnaceae
Synonyms Frangula alnus. Mill. Frangula dodonei
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous unless stored for 12 months before use[4, 19, 76]. This report is probably referring to the bark. Do not use in cases of intestinal obstruction, stenosis, atony, inflammatory colon disease, appendicitis, abdominal pain of unknown origin. Avoid long-term use. Two weeks recommended under medical supervision [301].
Habitats Swamps and damp places, usually on moist heaths and damp open woods, preferring a peaty soil[9, 17, 21].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, the Urals and Siberia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
UPDATE 15/3/2012: Rhamnus frangula L. is a synonym of Frangula dodonei Ard.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Rhamnus frangula is a deciduous Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.


USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Rhamnus frangula Alder Buckthorn


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:69_Rhamnus_Frangula_L.jpg
Rhamnus frangula Alder Buckthorn
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ies
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses                                         
None known
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Aperient;  Cathartic;  Cholagogue;  Laxative;  Purgative;  Tonic;  Vermifuge.

Alder buckthorn has been used medicinally as a gentle laxative since at least the Middle Ages[244]. The bark contains 3 - 7% anthraquinones, these act on the wall of the colon stimulating a bowel movement approximately 8 - 12 hours after ingestion[254]. It is so gentle and effective a treatment when prescribed in the correct dosages that it is completely safe to use for children and pregnant women[244]. The bark also contains anthrones and anthranols, these induce vomiting but the severity of their effect is greatly reduced after the bark has been dried and stored for a long time[254]. The bark is harvested in early summer from the young trunk and moderately sized branches, it must then be dried and stored for at least 12 months before being used[4, 238] The inner bark is cathartic, cholagogue, laxative (the fresh bark is violently purgative), tonic, vermifuge[4, 9, 13, 21, 165]. It is taken internally as a laxative for chronic atonic constipation and is also used to treat abdominal bloating, hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice, and liver and gall bladder complaints[238]. It should be used with caution since excess doses or using the bark before it is cured can cause violent purging[9, 21]. Externally, the bark is used to treat gum diseases and scalp infestations[238], or as a lotion for minor skin irritations[244]. The fruit is occasionally used, it is aperient without being irritating[4]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Rhamnus frangula for constipation (see [302] for critics of commission E).
Other Uses
Charcoal;  Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Nails;  Wood.

A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves and bark[4, 115]. It is much used in Russia and turns black when mixed with salts of iron[4]. A green dye is obtained from the unripe fruit[4, 115]. A blue or grey dye is obtained from the ripe berries[4, 115]. Plants can be grown as an informal (untrimmed) hedge, though they are also amenable to trimming[200]. The cultivar 'Tallhedge (syn 'Columnaris') is very suitable for this purpose[200]. The wood is used to make wooden nails, shoe lasts, veneer etc[46, 61]. It is the source of a high quality charcoal that is used by artists[4, 11, 13, 17, 100, 115, 182, 186].
Cultivation details                                         
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any reasonably good soil[11, 98], preferring neutral to acid conditions[238]. It grows well on damp or peaty soils[98]. Prefers a moist moderately fertile soil in sun or semi-shade[200]. Grows well in wet soils but not if they are water-logged[186]. Dislikes drought or exposure to strong winds[186]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[238]. Alder buckthorn is a slow-growing plant, though it coppices well. It was at one time often grown for its wood which was used in making charcoal[186]. The plants regenerate well after forest fires or grazing[186]. Plants flower on one-year old wood and also on the current year's growth[4]. Cultivated as a medicinal plant in S. Europe[57]. Often bears the aecidospore stage of 'crown rust' of oats[1]. The species in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. A good bee plant[4] and a main food plant for the larvae of the yellow brimstone butterfly[186].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 - 2 months cold stratification at about 5° and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame or outdoor seedbed[200]. Germination is usually good, at least 80% by late spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[113]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, autumn in a frame. Layering in early spring[4].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1117200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[13]Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[57]Schery. R. W. Plants for Man.
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[98]Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs.
Very comprehensive guide to growing trees and shrubs from seed. Not for the casual reader.
[100]Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide.
An excellent and well illustrated pocket guide for those with very large pockets. Also gives some details on plant uses.
[113]Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[115]Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[182]Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
[186]Beckett. G. and K. Planting Native Trees and Shrubs.
An excellent guide to native British trees and shrubs with lots of details about the plants.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[244]Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.
[302]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Commission E
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commission_E

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