been using plants as “medicines” for ages. Many of these you may have
in your garden. But be careful as some can cause a rash, some may cause
calm, while other stress, and some can even kill. Still other can cure
various degrees of illness, or there are those causing malignancies. We
are worried about side affects from any pills or “meds” in a
prescription. Can you imagine what happened when someone went outside,
brought in a plant and boiled it or smashed it and then gave it to the
sick one? Some of our drugs now are based on those old recipes.
through books to find those houseplants or garden flowers we grow now that
were considered medicinal in the past, I found 8 pages of those that have
been used just for toothache. Root paste from CASTER
BEANS was pushed into cavities. Remember, we consider CASTER
BEANS to be poisonous. The roots were boiled with cornstalks and
rubbed on the gums.
I have CATNIP
growing in the back yard. It
was added to CLOVES and made
into a poultice on aching teeth. Also
fresh leaves of YARROW were
chewed, GARLIC bulbs were held
against the gums. Our gorgeous waxy, early BLOOD
ROOT was dug (it bleeds red) and applied to the teeth. My little patch
of BLOOD ROOT has never been
used that way. The plant
prefers damp soil in a semi-shady place.
The white waxy (3 inch) blooms appear first, followed by leaves of
various lobed shapes that disappear by late summer when we have very hot
weather or dry soil. The clump
has spread slowly by rhizomes. I
have never seen seeds but I do have several solitary plants quite a ways
from the original.
Peterson Field Guides there is one call ‘MEDICINAL PLANTS”. For those
of you who hate BINDWEED, it can be used as a “cold leaf tea” on spider bites.
It can also be used as a laxative, for gall bladder ailments, and
jaundice. Think of this as you spend several years trying to get it out of
your flower beds. The roots go
deep and may recover from a treatment of glysophate (Round-up, Kleen-up,
or Ortho Weed and Grass Killer) but don’t give up.
It took me 3 years of chopping it down, pulling it up and spraying.
Watch close if you neighbor has it. There are those who consider it a
“pretty flower”. It is a relative of the MORNING
GLORY and some authors also
list it as a weed as it sheds seeds that live for a number of years.
(Allium sativium) has been used for everything.
Even today there is some discussion going on about how good it is.
Cough syrup is made by “simmering 10 cloves in a pint of milk,
add honey” and take as needed. Kosher
dill pickles with a clove added to the jar is one of my “hunger
cures”. Name the ailment and GARLIC
has been recommended sometime somewhere.
Both CHIVES and GARLIC are Allium or ONION
family. It likes a partial
sunny, moist, loose soil. You
can raise from seed but will take 2 or more years.
You can divide the clumps in spring but the more usual way is to
break off the offsets (cloves) and plant separately in autumn.
There is giant GARLIC
which is milder. Since it is
highly water it needs to be damp but gets root rot easily in wet soil.
Plant the cloves about 2 inches deep.
Many of us have
LARKSPUR (Delphinium ajacis) in
our yard about 3 feet tall. It
blooms of red, pink, and mostly blue during May and
OF THE VALLEY (Convallaria majalis) is a vigorous 5 inch plant that is
both loved and hated as a ground cover in shaded areas. It is classified
as poisonous by US Food and Drug Administration. Herbalists back in the 16th
century used it to ease gout and strengthen memory. It is used today in
some heart remedies. If it
likes where planted (usually as a groundcover) it will spread rapidly.
Spreading by root rhizomes I have had it go under a fence out to
the sidewalk. Its tiny blooms
are quite often put in bridal bouquets.
Did you know
there is a STRYCHNINE
I have a number
of books about plants used as medicine. Among them are “Medicine and
Magic of Plants”, “Petersons Field Guide of Medicinal Plants”,
“Natures Prescriptions”, “The Green Pharmacy”, “Natures
Cures”, “Medical Botany”, and “The Healing Herbs”. There are
probably many more available.
CAREFUL ABOUT CHEWING ON YOUR PLANTS!!!