Other names: C. obliqua alba, Bitter Herb, Cabeza de Tortuga, Chelone, Chelone glabra, Galane, Galane à Épi, Galane Glabre, Hummingbird Tree, Salt-rheum Weed, Shellflower, Snakehead, Tête de Tortue, Turtlebloom
Habitat: Margins of swamps, wet woods and rivers. Eastern N. America – Newfoundland to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Georgia and Missouri.
Description of Balmony:
Chelone glabra , Balmony is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.
Easily grown in any ordinary soil, but it grows best in a light loam . Tolerates heavy clays and light shade . Prefers growing in light shade . Survives but does not thrive in dry conditions . Prefers growing in a bog garden or in a soil that is unlikely to dry out . Plants are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c . A polymorphic species, there are several named forms . The plant spreads freely at the roots and so is best grown in a large pot .
Propagation of Balmony:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and keep moist. The seed germinates in 2 – 6 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring or early summer. Division in autumn. Cuttings of soft tips in summer in a sandy soil in a frame.
Culinary uses of Balmony:
Actions : Cholagogue, hepatic, anti-emetic, stimulant, laxative.
Part Used : Dried aerial parts
Balmony is an excellent agent for liver problems. It acts as a tonic on the whole digestive and absorptive system. It has a stimulating effect on the secretion of digestive juices, and in this most natural way its laxative properties are produced. Balmony is used in gall stones, inflammation of the gall-bladder and in jaundice. It stimulates the appetite, eases colic, dyspepsia and biliousness and is helpful in debility. Externally it has been used on inflamed breasts, painful ulcers and piles. It is considered a specific in gall stones that lead to congestive jaundice.
Priest & Priest tell us that it is a “mild relaxing hepatic influencing the mucous membranes, stimulating appetite and toning the stomach. It is suitable for children and the elderly. Indicated for gastro-intestinal disturbances after prolonged illness” They give the following specific indications : Atonic conditions, malaise and debility, dyspepsia, mal-absorption, roundworms and threadworms, colitis from hepatic dysfunction, chronic jaundice.
Felter considered it a “useful remedy for gastro-intestinal debility with hepatic torpor or jaundice. Dyspeptic conditions attending convalescence from prostrating fevers are often aided by it, and should be studied particularly for vague and shifting pain in the region of the ascending colon.”
King’s Dispensatory describes it as being tonic, cathartic, and anthelmintic. Especially valuable in jaundice and hepatic diseases, likewise for the removal of worms, for which it maybe used in powder or decoction, internally and also ln injection. Used as a tonic in small doses, in dyspepsia, debility of the digestive organs, particularly when associated with hepatic inactivity, and during convalescence from febrile and inflammatory diseases. It is valuable after malarial fevers as a tonic and to unlock the secretions when checked by quinine. Recommended in form of ointment as an application to painful and inflamed tumors, irritable and painful ulcers, inflammed breasts, piles, etc. King’s gives the following specific indications: Gastro-intestinal debility, with hepatic torpor or jaundice; worms.
For the relief on constipation, Balmony may be combined with Butternut. For jaundice it will best be used with Milk Thistle and other toning hepatics such as Golden Seal.
Preparations & Dosage of Balmony:
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Tincture: take 1-2ml of the tincture three times a day.
Esoteric uses of Balmony:
Steadfastness, patience, and perseverance. Associated with the tortoise or turtle.
Constituents : Very little work has been carried out on this plant. Resins and bitters only have been reported.