Herb: Cassine


Latin name: Ilex cassine


Synonyms: Ilex caroliniana


Family: Aquifoliaceae (Holly Family)



Medicinal use of Cassine:

The leaves are hypnotic and laxative. A strong decoction of the plant was used by some native North American Indian tribes to induce vomiting. This was seen partly as a physical and partly a spiritual cleansing.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Tree

Height:
10 m
(33 feet)

Flovering:
May to
June

Habitat of the herb:

Cold swamps and on their borders in rich moist soils. Occasionally also found on high sandy banks of pine barren streams.

Edible parts of Cassine:

The dried roasted leaves can be used as a tea substitute. Some caution is advised since it can cause dizziness and have a laxative effect.

Other uses of the herb:

The plant has been used as a soap. No more information is given. Wood - soft, light, close-grained, not strong. It weighs 30lb per cubic foot. Of no commercial importance.

Propagation of Cassine:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can take 18 months to germinate. Stored seed generally requires two winters and a summer before it will germinate and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. Scarification, followed by a warm stratification and then a cold stratification may speed up the germination time. The seedlings are rather slow-growing. Pot them up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame for their first year. It is possible to plant them out into a nursery bed in late spring of the following year, but they should not be left here for more than two years since they do not like being transplanted. Alternatively, grow them on in their pots for a second season and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Give them a good mulch and some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of almost ripe wood with a heel, August in a shaded position in a cold frame. Leave for 12 months before potting up. Layering in October. Takes 2 years.

Cultivation of the herb:

Cold swamps and on their borders in rich moist soils. Occasionally also found on high sandy banks of pine barren streams.

Known hazards of Ilex cassine:

Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.