Other names: Lucerne?
Scientific name: Thuja occidentalis
Arabic names: العفص (al ‘afes)
Rain Forest names:
Family: Cupressaceae (Cypress)
Approximate number of species known: 5 (2 native to North Maerica) 3 native to East Asia
Common parts used: Leaf
Height: 10-60 feet
Actions: Alterative, anthelmintic, astrigent, diaphoretic, expectorant
Known Constituents: Flavanoid glycosides, mucilage, tannin, thujone, vitamin C
A very old tree, whose oldest known member is 1100 years old. Has reddish-brown bark and is commonly cultivated as an ornament. The branches are fan like and the leaves are scaly and 3-5mm long. The trunk is usually nearly half a metre in diameter. It tends to grow in wet forests and swamps. Deer tend to strip this tree for its foliage.
The species thuja orientalis is now in it’s own genus of lplatycladus orientalis
The name derives from the latin word ArborvitE meaning the tree of life. Occasionaly this tree is referred to as a cedar, but because they are not cedars they are sometimes called red cedars or white cedars.
The Native Americans used this herb for fevers, headaches and rheumatism. It receives attention because of its frequent use to treat warts. It has been used internally, particularly for women when the wart virus is contributing to reproductive problems.
Considered an anti viral and anti bacterial it is sometimes used in immune enhancing formulas.
Its been used when there is heart weakness. Its stimulating effect on the uterus makes it a valuable herb to stimulate and regulate menstruation, but makes it a herb that is generally not recommended during pregnancy.