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Lady's Tresses

Botanical: Spiranthes autumnalis (ORICH.)
Family: N.O. Spiranthideoe

---Part Used---Tuberous root.
---Habitat---Dry, hilly fields all over Europe - towards the Caucasus.
(Lady's Tresses grow on the Sussex downs near Amberley. - EDITOR.)


---Description---This orchis takes its name from speira (a 'spiral') and anthos (a flower), inallusion to the spiral arrangement of the flowers. Rootstock produces every season two or three oblong tubers and a tuft of spreading, radical, ovate leaves about 1 inch long, a flowering stem 6 or 8 inches high by the side of the tuft of leaves. Blooms in autumn, flowers a greenishwhite, smelling like almonds, in a close spinal spike about 2 inches long, diverging horizontally to one side - with the bracts erect on opposite side, in appearance not unlike lilies of the valley.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---Formerly used as an aphrodisiac.

A tincture of the root is used in homeopathy for skin affections, painful breasts, pain in the kidneys and eye complaints.

---Other Species---
Spiranthes diuretica, used in Chile in cases of ischury.

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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

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