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Composite Family (Compositaceae)

Other Useful Species Of Composites

Several species of composites have minor uses in medicine. Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) is an annual European species that is collected and dried, and brewed into an aromatic tea that has a calming effect. The dried leaves and flowers of common wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) of Europe are used to make a tonic known as bitters, while the flower buds are used to flavor a liquor known as vermouth. The seeds of the wormwoods Artemisia cina and A. maritima, species native to the steppes of central Asia, are given as a treatment against several types of intestinal parasites.

Some other species in the aster family have been erroneously ascribed medicinal qualities. This occurred as a result of a theory of medicine that was developed during the Middle Ages, known as the "Doctrine of Signatures." According to this ideology, the potential medicinal usefulness of plants was revealed through some sort of sign, such as a similarity between their shape, and that of a part of the human anatomy. In the case of the herbaceous plant known as boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), the leaves are arranged opposite each other on the stem, and they lack a petiole, and are fully joined to each other by a band of leafy tissue that broadly clasps the stem. This unusual growth form, or signature, was interpreted by herbalists to suggest that boneset must have therapeutic properties in helping broken bones to heal. As a result, boneset was spread as a moist poultice over a broken bone, which was then encased within a bandage, plaster, or splint.

Several species of chrysanthemums are used to manufacture an organic insecticide known as pyrethrum. Chrysanthemum roseum, C. coccinium, and C. cinerariaefolium of southern regions of Asia have been widely cultivated for the production of these chemicals. Sometimes, living chrysanthemums are inter-cultivated with other plants in gardens, in order to deter some types of herbivorous insects.

The latex of the rubber dandelion (Taraxacum bicorne) contain 8-10% rubber latex, and is potentially useful for the commercial production of rubber.


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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cluster compound to ConcupiscenceComposite Family (Compositaceae) - Characteristics Of The Asteraceae, Horticultural Species, Agricultural Species Of Composites, Other Useful Species Of Composites