Herb latin name: Elaeagnus parvifolia
Synonyms: Elaeagnus umbellata parvifolia
Family: Elaeagnaceae (Oleaster Family)
Medicinal use of Elaeagnus parvifolia:The unripe fruit is astringent and is eaten in the treatment of bloody dysentery. The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Shrubberies, 1500 - 3000 metres, from Afghanistan to S.W. China. Forest openings at elevations of 1300 - 3000 metres in Nepal.
Edible parts of Elaeagnus parvifolia:Fruit - raw, cooked or added to curries. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter and contains a single large seed. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
Other uses of the herb:Very tolerant of maritime exposure, it can be grown as an informal hedge in exposed positions.
Propagation of Elaeagnus parvifolia:Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It should germinate in late winter or early spring, though it may take 18 months. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate, often taking more than 18 months. A warm stratification for 4 weeks followed by 12 weeks cold stratification can help. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well. Prick out the seedlings into individual pot as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out when they are at least 15cm tall. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 10 - 12cm with a heel, November in a frame. Leave for 12 months. Fair to good percentage. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months.
Cultivation of the herb:Shrubberies, 1500 - 3000 metres, from Afghanistan to S.W. China. Forest openings at elevations of 1300 - 3000 metres in Nepal.
Known hazards of Elaeagnus parvifolia:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.