Herb Walk Notes
Geneve Bean recently showed me a bunch of herbs at her place. Here are her notes along with some pix I took. These herbs and more are at Lifewater Ranch.
Yellow Pea-(also known as False Lupine or Golden Bean) Ramah Navajo Indians used a decoction of it as a cough medicine and made a fumigant of it for headaches and sore eyes. The flowers were used to make yellow dyes. Animals typically avoid this plant as the seeds are said to be lethal and can cause deformities in the young.
Virgin’s Bowers-(also known as wild clematis)-Buttercup family. Needs to be used dried or boiled as in the fresh state it can burn or blister the skin. Has been used as oil or liniment for topical itching, skin issues (eczema, topical ulcers, etc) and internally for chronic rheumatism, palsy, etc in tiny amounts. Dried leaf tea was used as a nervine for uterine diseases and as a tincture (using fresh stems/leaves and flowers) for insomnia, toothaches, pain in the testicles, bladder, ovaries and urinary tract, for
cystitis, urethritis, gonorrhea, herpes zoster, neuralgia, rheumatic headaches, orchitis (swollen testicles) and swelling of the inguinal glands (groin lymph nodes).
Homeopathics use it for chronic scrofulous (lymph) and syphilitic skin diseases. It is said that consumption of this plant may cause internal bleeding (probably from ingesting it raw).
Waterleaf-Young shoots/greens used in salads and young leaves used in place of lettuce on sandwiches and roots used in stew or boiled like carrots but can be baked or fried. The leaves were applied to minor wounds as field dressing and in poultices for insect bites and minor skin complaints. Some native american tribes also used it to combat diarrhea.
Wild Violets-Two kinds, the round leaved which are usually yellow and the western violet which is usually purple and has more lanced like leaves. There are 900 species globally. More than 30 of those reside in the Pacific NW. The flowers are used in salads to add color and a nice delicate flavor. Leaves are laxative, expectorant, diuretic and alterative (blood purifying) as well as being a mild sedative. Helps the body to eliminate waste, stimulates the lymph, helps with swollen glands, supports the immune system, helps to reduce inflammation and fevers. Has been used to treat bronchitis, sinus infections, coughs and sore throats. Used over time it can help to clear up psoriasis, eczema and acne.
Violet leaves are said to help shrink tumors and cancers, cysts, mastitis and fibrocystic breasts, epilepsy, lymph conditions and to strengthen the heart. Roots were given in large amounts to induce vomiting in cases of poisoning by some native american tribes.
Glacier Lily-leaves and fresh seed pods are edible and act as a laxative or an emetic (in large amounts), roots were toasted or consumed raw (should be done under survival
conditions only so supply is not depleted). Native Americans in Montana would chew or mash roots and use topically on sores or bites. Other tribes use the root for respiratory conditions and colds. Early physicians used it for swollen lymph nodes and peripheral edema (swelling of the lower limbs), hiccups, vomiting and coughing blood. The leaf infusion has been found effective against a host of bacteria in topical applications and was
also used to reduce fevers, infections, swelling and to reduce the risk of contraception by some American Indians. In some laboratory studies it has also been found to have some tumor reducing capabilities.
Teasel-Flower essence used as an eyewash or beauty wash for the skin, good for warts. Chinese use root for lower back pain, knee issues, weak legs, cartilage and joint problems and to tone the liver and kidneys. They also believe it enhances circulation and reduces inflammation. Has been used for chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, sciatica, rheumatic conditions and lyme. Root tincture strengthens the liver, tendons and bones and stimulates blood flow and prevents miscarriages. Root should only be used from a first year plant.
Elderberry-Bark from young trees (aged 1 or more years) is a strong laxative (must be gathered in the fall for that). Small amounts help with renal/cardiac dropsy, emetic for asthma and stomach issues and used for epilepsy. Tea from the flowers used for eye
inflammation, blood purification, good for liver and kidneys, erysipelas (a skin condition in children caused by strep). Elderberry is good for fevers, rheumatism, cholera, high blood pressure, the flu (both A & B strains), capillaries, neuralgia, burns, arthritis, hemorrhoids, etc.
Pine-Adaptogenic (gives your body what it needs when it needs it), needles high in vitamin C and used to repel fleas/lice, help with aching muscles. Indians used to eat the inner bark as well. Pitch was mixed with grease and put in the hair for dandruff and chewed for sore
throats and bad breath. Needles also used for respiratory and urinary infections, the flu, rheumatic conditions, pneumonia, gout, sciatica, prostate issues, skin conditions, detoxifying to the liver/kidneys (it can raise the blood pressure so be aware of that), as a contraceptive, the warm sap was applied to arthritic joints, sore muscles, etc. Good for diabetes when combined with marshmallow root, uva ursi and poplar bark. Ground pine resin was used for small pox and syphilis. Boosts antibodies and helps with gangrenous wounds, lowers cholesterol and helps with capillaries and venous
Mullein-Leaves were boiled in milk and used for tuberculosis, leaves also used as tea for cramps, hoarseness, coughs, chest colds, bronchitis, asthma, diarrhea, dysentery, kidney infections, smoked for bleeding lungs, tea used internally for bleeding bowels, swollen
glands, pneumonia, hay fever, etc. Flowers used for earaches, ear mites, rheumatic joints. Root tea used for lymphatic congestion to tone bladder and to stimulate urination. Leaves used topically in poultices for ulcers, boils, tumors, hemorrhoids, etc. Mountain healers
used mullein flowers with Epsom salts and vinegar for brown recluse spider bites. Seeds are considered to be narcotic.
Chicory-Root can be gathered at any time of year, leaves should be gathered before flowering, young leaves can be eaten in salads, soups, stir fry, etc. Roasted root is a
coffee substitute (if you have ever drunk Pero or Postum you have had chicory root). It is a sister plant to dandelion but is milder in its applications. Helps
liver and bile flow, drinking tea is said to prevent gallstone formation, eliminates uric acid which helps with gout and rheumatism, anti-inflammatory, blood purifying, can lower blood sugar, helps with viral and bacterial infections. Jethro Kloss said it is good for the
kidneys, spleen, stomach, liver and urinary system. Root tea is good for skin infections, typhoid, lung issues, mashed roots used as poultices for sores from venereal
diseases. Flowers added to soups, stews, salads and were pickled. Also grown commercially as a sugar substitute as it contains both fructose and maltose.
Dandelion-salad green. Used as a diuretic (nourishes as it flushes toxins), improves liver and gallbladder functions, helps with gout, arthritis, secretion of bile and gastric juices, urinary infections. Roots are said to lower blood sugar, cholesterol & blood pressure and
reduce inflammation. Roots also are antimicrobial and said to help with candida. Roots are immuno stimulants. Flowers are used for cirrhosis and jaundice. Dandelion root said to be a breast cancer preventative and helps with all kinds of liver diseases, boils, abscessses, constipation, etc.
Plantain-also called ‘way bread’ and there are several different varieties. Stalks used as bulk laxative (psyllium) and best gathered between May-Sept from 11-4. Young
leaves can be eaten in several ways and are highly nutritious. Dr. Christopher said it is the best plant for blood poisoning, it reduces inflammation, used by the Indians for foot issues, including plantar fasciitis. Also used as a poultice for varicose veins, eczema, radiation burns (mixed with slippery elm), allergies, asthma, bites/stings, poison ivy/nettles, gangrene or pus type wounds, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel, staph, hepatitis, cancer, boils, pink eye, etc.
Rose-only 3 TRUE roses (hence only 3 MEDICINAL ones), good source of nutrition. Term sub-rosa comes from them being hung in great halls or war councils and believed that
whatever was said under them was held in the strictest of confidence. Rose petals used for colic, heartburn, headaches, etc. Rose hips were used for bedwetting, frequent urination, leucorrhea, spermatorrhea, scurvy, etc. Rose improves appetite, is considered to be a
heart tonic, used for sore throats, wounds, coughs, mouth sores, gingivitis, herpes, inflammation, congestion, digestive issues, headaches, nausea, constipation, menstrual problems, frigidity, to balance hormones, impotence, to reduce stress and tension, depression, anxiety, for skin conditions, wrinkles, etc. Rose oil is used a lot for the birthing process (USE ONLY TRUE ROSE OIL-Attar of Rose or Rose Otto only as other rose oils are adulterated and not true rose oil). Rose root bark has been used for diarrhea, to reduce labor pains and as an eyewash for snow-blindness.
Marshmallow-Loosens bronchial congestion, helps with asthma, gastrointestinal issues (soothes), diarrhea, ulcers, singular for whooping cough. Works for sore throats, dysentery, externally used for wounds, bruises, burns, infections, was used as a cure-all back in the day for diabetes, tuberculosis, septicemia, gangrene, vomiting, bloody stools or urine, nosebleeds, kidney and gallstones, stomach issues, bedsores, blood poisoning, etc. Root was used to help with arthritis, milk production in nursing mothers and immune enhancement. It is a part of black salve.
Horsetail-Called scouring rush or Joint grass (the doctrine of signatures would say due to the obvious joints in it that it is good for all kinds of joint related issues). High in silica, especially the ash. Has been shown effective on strep and other fungi and bacteria that can infect wounds, used for all kinds of skin injuries, works like and internal toilet to flush out toxins, helps with diarrhea, intestinal hemorrhaging, hemorrhoids, anal fistulas, eye inflammation, for prostate and urinary infections, and to help guard against fat deposits in the arteries. Teas were used for kidney and bladder issues, tuberculosis, water retention, stomach issues, etc. If using horsetail for a long period of time you need to take a thiamine supplement as well (don’t take them at the same time). It is one of the oldest living plants dating back to the Paleolithic era.
Hound’s Tongue-has many of the same components as its sister plant comfrey. Used for pain relief (can depress the nervous system so not supposed to be used internally on a
regular basis). Was said to be a cure for rabies, the root was used to dispel mucous in the head, nose, eyes and upper respiratory area, leaves used for burns, hemorrhoids, punctures, gangrene, cancer, to deter rodents, also used for diarrhea, dysentery, neuralgia, neuritis, ulcers, urinary infections, indigestion, colic, coughs, used externally for snake bites, scrofula (lymph tumors), goiter, insect bites,
tumors, abrasions, boils and wounds that failed to heal properly using other methods.
Comfrey-high in nutrients, a cell proliferant (means it helps to physically rebuild bone and tissue) and is used in commercial creams and ointments for bug bites, bruises, sprains, rashes, skin issues, damaged tendons or ligaments, promotes growth of connective tissue, cartilage, bone and breaks down red blood cells (bruises), speeds healing, also used for burns, varicose veins, colitis, bronchitis, cirrhosis (Japanese use a vinegar extract of Comfrey for that), gastric ulcers, as a mouthwash for bleeding gums, sore throat, used as a diuretic and bulk laxative. Has been found to be effective for internal hemorrhaging (lungs, stomach and bowel), asthma, tuberculosis, catarrh (mucus buildup), gangrene, inflammation, to regulate blood sugar, promote the secretion of pepsin (digestive enzyme).
Blackberry-High in tannins (drink with milk to void out the
tannins), hemostatic (either internal or from the mouth or
rectum), roots used mixed with other herbs for backaches, eye sores, stomachaches, muscle and bone pain, arthritis, etc. It is anti-carcinogenic (helps with cancer), cooling to the body, nourishes the blood, tightens and tones the tissues, the bark is good for diarrhea and dysentery. The leaves are used for colds, fevers, vaginal and mucus discharge, sore throats, etc. Berries are good for constipation, anemia, regulates menstruation. Leaves picked in spring and summer, the root should be dug in the spring before the plant flowers or in the fall after the plant dies off.
Trillium-Native Americans considered it sacred-used for female issues, hemorrhaging after childbirth, heavy menses, etc. Was also used to facilitate childbirth. Root used most but so were leaves. Root used for earaches, to promote menstruation, helps with cramping, raw root was used grated on joints or on eyes to reduce swelling. Roots boiled in milk for diarrhea/dysentery. Tonic for female system and menopausal women. Root used in cough syrup and to keep gangrene from spreading, used in skin diseases, leaves boiled in lard and applied to tumors, ulcers and for anthrax. Young leaves were edible. It contains human-like hormones (similar to cortisone), has been used for diabetes, bronchial issues, mucus discharge, nosebleeds, etc.
Cedar-Used as a moth repellent and potpourri. Cedar planks used to smoke fish. Native Americans used it for skin rashes, respiratory issues, kidney infections, rheumatism, arthritis, gonorrhea, sinus congestion, menstrual difficulties, etc. Cedar oil (Atlas or Morocco ONLY) used to promote urination, , helps with prostate and urinary issues, cystitis, urethritis, candida, nervousness, anxiety, to diffuse anger/stress, stimulate
hair growth, fight dandruff and excessive sweating. Tea made from the boughs was used for colds, coughs, diarrhea. Tea from the bark was used for kidney issues. Tinctures used for ringworm, jock itch, nail fungus, athlete’s foot, red cedar tincture used for sluggish respiratory, reproductive, urinary and digestive systems. Chewing cedar buds was done for toothaches and the steam inhaled was said to induce labor. The oil from the needles was used for warts, hemorrhoids, herpes and fungal infections.
Fir-Needle tea was mixed with grease for hair treatment, needles were dried and powdered and used like baby powder and rubbed on the body as perfume or as an insect
repellent, also sprinkled on runny open sores or mixed with tallow for wounds, cuts, ulcers, bleeding gums, skin infections, etc. Smoke from burning the needles used for fainting, headaches, venereal diseases. Needles are high in vitamin C and nutrition. Help to expel phlegm from the lungs. White fir branches used for tea for malaria
and to stimulate urine flow. Cones were ground into powder and mixed with marrow and eaten as a delicacy. The inner bark was ground into a powder and mixed with flour to
extend the food supply (wasn’t considered to be very tasty however). The cones were said to help with digestion. Pitch was used in tea for tuberculosis, colds, asthma, coughs. Large amounts cause vomiting. Used as an antiseptic for bruises, sores, cuts and wounds. Not for those with sensitive skin as it can cause rashes in those people, etc.
Raspberry-leaves have an affinity for the female reproductive system, tones uterine muscles, helps control bleeding after childbirth, helps the body to re stabilize after birth or miscarriage, good for diarrhea, fevers, intestinal spasms, urinary tract infections, shown to
reduce blood glucose levels, heals canker sores and helps to keep skin, nails and teeth healthy. High in vitamin D and helps with cancer, anemia, colds, flu, colic, hysteria, jaundice,
mumps, indigestion, tuberculosis, etc. The fruit strengthens the kidneys and helps with bed wetting.