Herb: Manchurian Baby's Breath


Latin name: Gypsophila oldhamiana


Family: Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family, Starwort Family)



Medicinal use of Manchurian Baby's Breath:

The root is used in the treatment of jaundice, lung diseases, rheumatism and typhoid fever.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
August

Habitat of the herb:

Scrub, mountain slope grasslands, rocks and maritime sands from sea level to 2,000 metres.

Edible parts of Manchurian Baby's Breath:

A famine food, used when all else fails. No more details are given. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and, if growth is sufficient, plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Basal cuttings before the plant flowers. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Root cuttings.

Cultivation of Manchurian Baby's Breath:

Scrub, mountain slope grasslands, rocks and maritime sands from sea level to 2,000 metres.

Known hazards of Gypsophila oldhamiana:

Although no mention has been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus has a root that is rich in saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by heat so a long slow baking can destroy them. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.