Herb latin name: Rhododendron arboreum
Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Medicinal use of Rhododendron arboreum:The young leaves are astringent and poultice. They are made into a pasteand then applied to the forehead in the treatment of headaches. The juice of the bark is used in the treatment of coughs, diarrhoea and dysentery. A decoction of the flowers is used to check a tendency to vomit, especially if there is also a loss of appetite. The juice of the flowers is used in the treatment of menstrual disorders. The petals are eaten to assist the removal of any animal bones that have become stuck in the throat.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Forests and shrubberies with Pieris ovalifolia and Quercus incana, 1500 - 3600 metres from Pakistan to S.E. Tibet in the Himalayas.
Edible parts of Rhododendron arboreum:The tender leaves are used as a cooked vegetable. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Flowers - raw or cooked. A sweet-sour taste, they are said to make a good sub-acid jelly. Th flowers are sometimes simply pickled by adding salt and chili. Caution is advised, large quantities can cause intoxication.
Other uses of the herb:The juice of the leaves is spread over cots and beds to get rid of bed lice. Wood - soft, even grained, seasons badly. Used in turnery, it can also be used to make charcoal and for fuel. Th wood is much employed in Nepal where it is used for making household implements, building small houses and fences. Planks of the wood are carved to make boxes, cupboards and other furniture. It is a very good fuel, burning well with a long-lasting heat - overcollection of the wod for fuel, and also for making charcoal, has become a cause for conservation concern.
Propagation of Rhododendron arboreum:Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 - 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult.
Cultivation of the herb:Forests and shrubberies with Pieris ovalifolia and Quercus incana, 1500 - 3600 metres from Pakistan to S.E. Tibet in the Himalayas.
Known hazards of Rhododendron arboreum:The leaves are poisonous. The flowers can cause intoxication in large quantities.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.