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Daphne mortal, Daphne mezereum (lat.)
For the medicinal purposes mainly the cortex and the fruit is used. The cortex is stored in early spring or in winter. The fruit is stored immediately after completely ripe. The cortex is cut into pieces and dried in a dark, windy place. The fruit is dried directly in the sun. Both are stored in boxes. They are best before 2 years.
The medicinal use of the plant has long history. It was widely used in folk medicine and homeopathy. The cortex is officinal in only a few countries. The alcohol extract from cortex and fruits is used against rheumatism, podagra, neuralgia, paralysis, different types of diathesis, some skin diseases, etc. In some countries the fruit is used against trombophlebitis. In this case it is used as anti-coagulable. It is discovered that this feature is common for daphne. To use the fruit for this purpose, the irritating and poisonous part from the fruit should be taken out in a special way. The cortex is soaked in water or vinegar and put on inflamed joint or nerve like mustard plasters. The cortex is also used as ointment for the same purpose. The fruits were used as laxative, the cortex as local irritant in Greece. In Armenian folk medicinal practice the plant is used against colitis and some stomach diseases, as well as against joint rheumatic inflammations as ointment.
Amirdovlat mentions some exciting information on daphne. According to him, the plant leaves used with wine or grape juice cures plague or prevents it. Daphne is also mentioned as cure against toothache and headache; it is also good for intestine. According to K. Babikyan, the plant leaves provide good results when used with honey; the plant was also used to cure the wounds on horse skin.
To make a decoction from the cortex or fruit, 20 grams is mixed boiled in 200 ml water for 20 minutes, then drunken 1 table-spoon, 3 times a day. To make a squash from the cortex and fruit, the decoction is boiled until it halves, then drunken with water, 1-2 drops, 3 times a day. To make an alcohol extract from the cortex, 1 gram is soaked in 64 gram, 70 degree spirit for a few days, then drunken 1-2 drops, 3-4 times a day. To make an ointment, 5 portions of alcohol extract is mixed with 10 portions of Vaseline or butter, and then used externally.
Daphne is strictly poisonous. Even one drop of its juice causes significant irritation on the skin. It is extremely dangerous when the juice gets into the eyes. The fruit is pretty sweet. The poison comes when dealing with the plant, even from the scent of the flowers in the house. Diarrhea, vomits, throat and mouth dryness, stomachache, dizziness, fear, sight problems, fever, arrhythmia are common for the patients poisoned from the fruit of the plant. Stomach wash should be done to the patient, tranquilizers should be taken.
It is interesting to know that the plant being poisonous for humans is eaten by some birds. This way the seeds of the plant are spread. Animals are reluctant to approach the bushes of daphne.
Daphne is also decorative and melliferous. It needs to be protected as the aerials are not very big. In a number of European countries this plant is considered disappearing and is taken under strict protection.
These are folk remedies and are no guarantee is made as to either their effectiveness, or their safety.