The leaves and sawdust, boiled in lye, have been used to dye hair an auburn colour.Wood - hard, close grained, heavy. Although the wood is rather small, it is highly valued on account of its hardness - it is twice as hard as oak (Quercus species). It is used for engraving, printing blocks, bowls, combs etc. The root especially is much liked by turners and cabinet makers.
The leaves and the bark are alterative, antirheumatic, cathartic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, febrifuge, oxytocic and vermifuge. The leaves have been used as a quinine substitute in the treatment of malaria. The leaves are harvested in the spring, before the plant comes into flower, and they are dried for later use. The bark can be harvested at any time of the year and is dried for use in decoctions. Use this remedy with caution and preferably only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The plant has not been fully tested for its toxic side effects. The wood is diaphoretic, in full dose it is narcotic and sedative, in overdose it is convulsant and emetico-cathartic. A tincture of the wood has been used as a bitter tonic and antiperiodic, it has also had a reputation for curing leprosy. A volatile oil distilled from the wood has been prescribed in cases of epilepsy. An essential oil obtained from the plant is used in dentistry.A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is extensively used in the treatment of rheumatism.
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A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -23°c, though it prefers milder winters. A very polymorphic species, it is a very ornamental but slow growing plant and there are many named varieties developed for their ornamental value. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. A good bee plant. Plants are very tolerant of being trimmed, they can be cut right back to the base if required and will usually resprout freely.The foliage is pungently scented, especially when wet.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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