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(Before consuming wild plants, contact your doctor to make sure it is safe, and make positive identification in the field using a good source such as Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West also contains a glossary of medical terms as do all of Michael Moore’s books.)
 
#5
 
Common Name: Inmortal, Antelope Horns, Spider Milkweed
Latin Name: Asclepias asperula 
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Range:  http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ASAS  California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska  
Appearance and Habitat: Spider antetope-horns is a clump-forming, 1-2 ft. perennial with an upright or sprawling habit. Stems are densely covered with minute hairs. The leaves are 4–8 inches long, narrow, and irregularly grouped, lanceolate. The long, thick, narrow leaves are often folded lengthwise. As the green seed pods grow in length and begin to curve, they resemble antelope horns. Its pale, greenish-yellow flowers, tinged maroon, are crowded in round, terminal clusters 3–4 inches across at the end of the flower stem and are intricately arranged. Inside the partially divided petals is a crown, out of which extend 5 white stamens with large, ball-like anthers, all symmetrically arranged.  It is an evergreen and prefers rocky or sandy soils of prairies, pastures, plains, hillsides, brushlands, and woodlands.
(1) 
A perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).  It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. Found in sandy or rocky calcareous soils in South-western N. America. (2) Immortal is a rather strange looking Milkweed, seldom upright, looking more like a mat of coarse trailing grass.  After blooming the pods appear, they sometimes grow outwards in opposing pairs, a horn like formation which gives its common name “Antelope Horns”.   The seed becomes airborne after the pod splits and resembles a large Dandelion seed.  The root is quite often very large, larger than the foliage at times.  In older plants the root is heavily furrowed with a brown-gray bark, while in younger plants it might be smooth with reddish-brown stripes along it sides.  The root is quite brittle and the inner pith is cream colored.  Look for the plant on dry rocky hillsides within its range.  As to elevation, it should be below the Juniper-Pinion belt. (3)
Warnings: Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus
contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides. They are usually avoided by grazing animals.  This species is said to be poisonous to livestock. (4)
Edible Uses: Flowers, Leaves, Seed, Seed Pod
Unopened flower buds – cooked. Unopened flower buds – cooked. They taste somewhat like peas. They are used like broccoli. Flowers and young flower buds – cooked. Used as a flavouring and a thickener in soups etc. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. The flowers are harvested in the early morning with the dew still on them. When boiled up it makes a brown sugar. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. They should be used when less than 20cm tall. A slightly bitter taste. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods, 3 – 4 cm long, cooked. They are very appetizing. Best used when about 2 – 4cm long and before the seed floss forms, on older pods remove any seed floss before cooking them. If picked at the right time, the pods resemble okra. The sprouted seeds can be eaten. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The latex in the stems is made into a chewing gum. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost. Yields are higher on dry soils.(5) 
 Medical Uses:  The plant is used as a snuff in the treatment of catarrh (6)   In the fall collect the root and split them to make drying easier, the smaller the better.  Use cheesecloth  hung up in the shade folded over to make a pocket.  Place the split roots in the pocket and shake them occasionally (every couple days)  to be sure of consistent drying all the way around.  (This is the basic practice with all roots or very fleshy leaves and plant tops.)  After drying use 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of  water and boil for 20 minutes.   Drink a cup every 3 to 4 hours as necessary for asthma, pleurisy, bronchitis, and other lung infections.  The root  acts as a bronchial dilator while stimulating lymph drainage.  The dried root is a reliable cardiac tonic, for congestive heart problems, but now powdering the root is necessary.  Take 1/2 teaspoon of the powdered root every morning with water.   Taking the root in this fashion doesn’t have to be daily, but occasionally for maintenance.  The plant should  not be used during  pregnancy, and may cause miscarriage up to the 6th week (7)
Foot Notes: (3, 7)  Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West  by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, page 89-90, publisher:  Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979  ISBN 0-89013-104-X
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#6
Common Name:  Blue Vervain, Common Vervain, Verbana 
Latin Name : Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida, Glandularia canadensis,Glandularia gooddingii,  Verbena bracteata, Verbena hastata, Verbena lasiostachys, Verbena macdougalii,  Verbena neomexicana,  Verbena officinalis, Verbena plicata,  Verbena stricta
Family: Verbenaceae
Range:http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GLBIB  most western states below S. Dakota (excluding Nevada and Utah, plus Wisconsin, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia, several states bordering the Ohio River and lower Mississippi.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GLCA2 on the west, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Minnesota,  to the east coast.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GLGO  southwestern states including Oklahoma and Texas plus Alabama.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VEBR entire country with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VEHA2 other than Hawaii and Alaska we all have one type or the other. 

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VEMA Rocky Mountain states south of Montana plus Texas
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VENE California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Maryland
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VEOF  California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan, Louisiana, plus south of the Ohio River and east of the lower Mississippi River, plus south of New York and Massachuttes
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VEPL  Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas
Photos: (Please look for photos by doing a search on google using the latin name for plants (they are listed in order) that grow in  your area.  Also check for links at the bottom of the page on usda plants for  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant.  This is a very large and  wide spread species.  ) 
 
PFAF lists 3.
 
Common Name: American Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata).
Appearance and Habitat: Swales, damp thickets and shores in N. America – Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Florida and from California to British Columbia.  A perennial  growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).  It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Jul to August.
Warnings: None.
Edible Uses: Seed – cooked. The seed can be roasted and ground into a powder or used whole as a piñole. Pleasantly bitter, some of this bitterness can be removed by leeching the flour. The leaves are used as a tea substitute.
Medicinal Uses: The leaves and roots are antiperiodic, diaphoretic, emetic, expectorant, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. The roots are more active than the leaves. The plant is used in the treatment of stomach aches, gravel, worms and scrofula. An infusion of the roots, leaves or seeds has been used in the early stages of fevers. A snuff made from the dried flowers has been used to treat nose bleeds.  http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Verbena+hastata
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Common Name: Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
Appearance and Habitat: Waste ground and roadsides, avoiding acid soils and shady positions. Europe, including Britain, from Denmark south and east to N. Africa, W. Asia to the Himalayas.  It is a perennial growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).  It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-Apr It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. (Of coarse we have the species here as well.)
Warnings: None
Edible Uses: Leaves – parboiled, seasoned and then eaten. The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The flowers are used as a garnish.
Medicinal Uses: Vervain, which has tonic and restorative properties, is sometimes used as a domestic herbal remedy. It is useful when taken internally in the treatment of headaches, fevers, nervous exhaustion, depression, gall bladder problems, insufficient lactation etc. It should not be given to pregnant women, though it can be used to assist contractions during labour. Externally, it is used to treat minor injuries, eczema, sores, neuralgia and gum disease. The leaves and flowering stems are analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, stimulant, tonic and vulnerary. The plant is harvested as flowering begins in the summer and dried for later use. Some remarkable results have been obtained when using this plant in the treatment of certain tumours, but further research needs to be carried out before definite claims can be made. The root is astringent, it is used in the treatment of dysentery. This species was ranked 12th in a Chinese survey of 250 potential antifertility plants. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Strain’, ‘Stress’, ‘Tension’ and ‘Over-enthusiasm’.
 
Common Name: Hoary Vervain
Appearance and Habitat: Roadsides and other dry open places in Central N. America – Ontario and Ohio to South Dakota and Wyoming, south to Tennessee and Texas.  A perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).   It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from Jul to August.
Warnings: None
Edible Uses: A tea-like beverage has been made from the leaves.
Medicinal Uses: The plant is thought to be specific for fever and ague. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of stomach aches
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(Now for Michael Moore who lists all species above.)
 
Common Name: Vervain, Blue Vervain, Dormilon
Appearance and Habitat:  There are 3 types in the west,  Type 1 is a mountainous plant that stands erect with spires of blue to purple flowers starting at the bottom and continuing up the stem.   It has toothed leaves and doesn’t branch until mid summer, if then  (examples: V. hastata, V. neomexicana, V. macdougalii ).  Type 2  a many stemmed flat mat with deeply cleft leaves that are opposite with blue and purple flowers.  It can be found at all altitudes (examples: V. bracteata).   It can be found in waste places and dry foothills.  Type 3 is low spreading species, hairy with deeply cleft leaves, terminal flowers of blue, purple, and sometimes pink. This type resembles the flower garden Verbena.  They bloom from mid-spring to fall (examples: G. canadensis,  G. binpinnatifida ).   This type can be found at elevations from 2,500 to 5,000 feet and is in great abundance in California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada. 
Botanists are beginning to give Verbena its own genus and before long all will be called Glandularia.
Medicinal Uses:  Vervain can serve as a sedative, diaphoretic, anti-spasmodic, diuretic, and a bitter tonic.  Use all of the low growing types, flowers, stems, foliage, and roots, but the tall upright species, collect only the flowers and leaves.  The best time to pick is when it is still in flower and be sure and wash them off before drying.  When dry, use as a standard infusion, 1 part dried plant to 32 parts boiling water, allow to cool and set for at least 8 hours, returning the water to the original level before straining out the plant.  Use 2 -5 ounces up to 3 times a day.  For tinctures, 1 part dried plant to 5 parts 60% alcohol (cheap vodka, do not use rubbing alcohol).  Allow this to set for a week before straining out the plant.  For the tincture you can use 30 – 90 drops up to 4 times a day.  Using larger volumes of Vervain can cause vomiting and nausea.  For children, use the lowest dose and cut to 1/4 to 1/2 .  Either formula works quite well at the onset of a viral cold.  The tea is an effective sedative for insomnia and will settle a upset stomach.   Taken at bedtime it has a tendency to  soothe the brain and allow a more restful sleep.  The tea will also help with bruises and  strains by helping to re-absorb blood from ruptured tissues.  The tea is also helpful to recovering alcoholics by countering blood sugar imbalances.  Vervain tea does have a bad taste which can be over come with the addition of some honey. 
Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore, 2nd Edition, pages 253 – 257, Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, copyright 2003, ISBN # 978-0-89013-454-2
 
Reproduced, in part, (as well as previous postings under this title) in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.
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