The seeds and fruits are anaphrodisiac, aphrodisiac, galactogogue, ophthalmic, sedative, stomachic, women's complaints. Prolonged usage restores corpus luteum function. Unfortunately, the berries are unlikely to be produced in the British climate[K]. The berries of this plant have a range of medicinal actions but possibly the most important is its ability to rectify hormonal imbalances caused by an excess of oestrogen and an insufficiency of progesterone. It acts upon the pituitary gland, reducing the production of certain hormones and increasing the production of others, shifting the balance in favour of the gestagens. Thus it has a wide application of uses in malfunctions of the feminine reproductive system and has been used with great effect in restoring absent menstruation, regulating heavy periods, restoring fertility when this is caused by hormonal imbalance, relieving pre-menstrual tension and easing the change of the menopause. Some caution is advised since excessive doses can cause a nervous disorder known as formication, which manifests as a sensation of insects crawling over the skin. The berries are considered to be an aphrodisiac, though other reports say that they are anaphrodisiac. The reason for this apparent disagreement is that the berries have a regulating effect on the body and so are likely to increase sexual activity in those who are not very active in this area whilst reducing it in those who are very active[K].The fresh berries are pounded to a pulp and used in the form of a tincture for the relief of paralysis, pains in the limbs, weakness etc.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage.Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, November in a cold frame.
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Hardy to about -10°c, this species only succeeds outdoors in the milder parts of Britain, though it grows well on a wall at Kew. Plants only flower freely in a warm summer, so they are best grown against a sunny wall even in areas of the country where they are hardy. The plants failed to open their flowers on our Cornish trial ground even after a very hot summer[K]. The flowers are produced so late in the season that they are unlikely to produce viable seed in this country even if they flower properly[K]. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. The whole plant is aromatic, the leaves and stems are strongly aromatic, the flowers are deliciously scented and the dried seeds have a pungent lemony perfume. This species has long been regarded as a symbol of chastity.Flowers are produced at the ends of the current year's growth. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring and should consist of cutting out dead wood and shortening last year's flowering branches.
Problems, pests & diseases
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Polycultures & Guilds
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