Health Benefits of Juniper Haircap

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Juniper Haircap Quick Facts
Name: Juniper Haircap
Scientific Name: Polytrichum juniperinum
Shapes Oblong, 4-sided
Indigenous, perennial plant found in high, dry places along the margins of dry woods, mostly on poor sandy soil. The evergreen plant, with slender stem, is of a reddish colour and from 4–7 in. high. Stems are reddish with grey-green leaves with distinctive red-brown tip. Leaves are lanceolate and upright spreading when dry and moist and wide spreading. Slender leaves are distributed all around and along the entire length of the stems and eventually turn brown and break off as they ages. Leaves are widely spreading to ascending when moist and dry leaves are slightly incurved and strongly ascending to erect. Leaves are lanceolate and somewhat spreading, much darker green than the mosses in general. Leaf surface is bluish green, grayish green or dark green and turns brownish red to brown at the leaf tips. The fruit is a four-sided oblong capsule. Taste and smell are slight. It is said that this moss is found growing on human skulls, thus the origination of Haircap moss.

This moss is diocious with male reproductive organs and female reproductive organs on separate plants at their apices. These reproductive organs are surrounded by shallow rosettes of modified leaves. Male reproductive organs are yellowish orange to dark red and sperm are spread to neighboring plants. A sporophyte contains slender seta and spore bearing capsule. Setae are 2-6 cm long, more or less erect, terete and red to reddish brown at maturity. Immature capsules are held erect and mature capsules are tilted at an angle and are held sideways. An immature capsule bodies are nearly terete and light green and mature capsule bodies are brown, four angled except at their bases where they are ring shaped and more narrow. Mouth of capsule bodies have flat circular plugs which falls to the ground and releases tiny spores to the wind. Spores are globoid, 8-10 micrometers across and smooth.

Facts About Juniper Haircap

Name Juniper Haircap
Scientific Name Polytrichum juniperinum
Common/English Name Ground Moss, Robin’s Rye, Bear’s Moss, Juniper haircap, Juniper polytrichum moss
Name in Other Languages Danish: Ene-jomfruhår;
German: Wacholder-Widertonmoos;
French: Polytric genevrin, Polytric genévrier, Polytric à feuilles de genévrier;
Dutch: Zandhaarmos;
Swedish: Enbjörnmossa,  En-björnmossa, Enmossa;
English: Juniper haircap moss
Plant Growth Habit Evergreen and perennial
Stem 1-10 cm tall
Leaf Linear to linear-lanceolate, 4-8 mm long
Medicinal part The whole plant
Fruit shape & size Oblong, 4-sided

Leaves

Leaves are 4-8 mm long, wide spreading when moist and upright spreading when dry. Edges are toothless; tip extends into short, toothed and reddish bristle point.

Sporophytes

Sporophytes are common. Stalk is upright, wiry, reddish about 2-6 cm long. A capsule is reddish brown, four sided, vertical, 2.5-5 mm long and becomes horizontal with age and is puckered at base. It has short and blunt teeth around capsule mouth. Capsule hood long with hairs and covers entire capsule.

Uses

As a remedial agent this plant has been unnoticed but is nevertheless valuable. Professor King, of Cincinnati, says: “A strong infusion of this plant taken in doses of four tablespoonfuls every ½ hour, has removed from dropsical patients from 20 to 40 pounds of water in the space of twenty-four hours.”

Very useful in urinary obstruction and suppression, fevers and inflamations. Can be used for the most sensitive conditions, as the acceptability is met without stomach rebellion. Can be used with other hydragogue cathartics with decided advantage.

Dose

1 teaspoonful to 1 cup of boiling water. Drink 1–2 cupfuls a day, a few swallows at a time. Of the tincture, ½–1 fl. dram.

Medicinal uses

  • The whole plant is diuretic.
  • An infusion is effective for dropsy especially when used with hydrogogue cathartics.
  • It is used for treating urinary obstructions, gravel.
  • Use it in form of herb tea to treat kidney stones.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=15762#null

https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/mosses/plants/jnp_haircap.html

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