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. MIchael Moore’s books also contain a glossary of medical terms. )
Common Name: Prairie Clover
Latin Name: Dalea candida, D. candida oligophylla, D. gattlingeri, D. formosa , D. purpurea
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=DACA7 Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and east to Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, and most of Canada. Split with Dalea candida in the east and Dalea candida oligophylla in the west
Common Name: White Priarie Clover (Dalea candida)
Appearance and Habitat: Often occuring in patches, these perennials bear at least 8-10 slender, 1-2 ft. stems and groups of short, narrow leaflets. Tiny, individual flowers cluster around a cylinder-like cone. Several branched stems with smooth, bright green leaves, and dense spikes of white, bilaterally symmetrical flowers. The bright, white flowers start as a ring around the base of the cone and work upward as the season advances. This species, and others with only five stamens and petals that are all rather similar, were once placed in the genus Petalostemon. White Dalea (D. albiflora), found from Arizona and southwestern New Mexico south to Mexico, resembles White Prairie Clover but has 10 stamens. Leaves are alternate and the plant is usually 1 to 2 feet high. (1) Dry desert and alluvial soils to 2000 meters. Praires and open woods on sandy, clayey and rocky soils. A perennial growing to 0.7 m (2ft 4in). It is in flower from Jul to August. (2)
Edible Uses: Root – raw or chewed for its pleasant sweet flavour. Eaten as a delicacy by children. A tea-like beverage is made from the dried leaves (3)
Medicinal Uses: The roots have been chewed to bring relief from the pain of toothaches etc. (4)
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4)
Common Name: White Praire Clover (Dalea candida oligophylla)
Appearance and Habitat: Dry desert and alluvial soils to 2000 meters. Praires and open woods on sandy, clayey and rocky soils. A perennial growing to 0.7 m (2ft 4in). It is in flower from Jul to August.
Edible Uses: Root – raw or chewed for its pleasant sweet flavour. The root can be dried, ground into a powder and stored for later use. Leaves – cooked]. The peeled stems have been used as a food. A tea-like beverage is made from the dried leaves
Medicinal Uses: The plant is a strong emetic. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat wounds
Common Name (None): Dalea gattingeri
Appearance and Habitat: Dry desert and alluvial soils to 2000 meters in Tennessee to N.W. Alabama. A perennial growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in). It is in flower in July.
Edible Uses: Root – chewed. A tea-like beverage is made from the dried leaves
Medicinal Uses: None
Common Name: Purple Praire Clover (Dalea purpurea)
Appearance and Habitat: Tiny rose-purple flowers in cylindrical, head-like masses at ends of upright wiry stems. This is one of the most widespread of the perennial Prairie Clovers, identifiable by their cone-like flower heads. An excellent range species, with high protein content, Purple Prairie Clover decreases in abundance with overgrazing. A midwestern white-flowering species, White Prairie Clover (D. candida), has elongated flower heads and is only 2 (60 cm) tall. A white-flowering southeastern coastal plain species, D. carnea var. albida, has conspicuous green bracts within the heads. (1) Dry desert soils to 2000 meters. Sandy praires Texas. A perennial growing to 0.9 m (3ft). It is in flower in July (2)
Edible Uses: The root was used for chewing. A pleasant sweet flavour. The dried leaves are a tea substitute. (3)
Medicinal Uses: A poultice of the steeped bruised leaves has been applied to fresh wounds. A decoction of the leaves and blossoms has been used in the treatment of heart problems, diarrhoea. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of measles (4)
Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=DAPU5
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4)
Common Name: Feather dalea, Featherplume, Yerba de Alonso Garcia, (Dalea formosa)
Appearance and Habitat: Featherplume is a 2-3 ft., thornless, colony-forming shrub which can reach 6 ft. in height. A low scraggly shrub bearing tiny, pinnately compound leaves and pea flowers with yellow and bright purple to pink-purple petals in short, head-like racemes. It forms large, low-spreading, finely-textured mounds with silvery, delicately compound leaves. Short, spike-like clusters of fuzzy, purple flowers cover the blooming plant. Close inspection reveal a bright yellow banner petal contrasting with the rose-purple corolla. Blossoms are followed by flat, shaggy-haired seed pods. Leaf color is grey-green. The flower is red, purple, or yellow and it blooms from April to August. Soil Description: Poor, dry, rocky soils. Limestone-based, Caliche type, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay (1) This shrub is generally 2 to 3 feet high, but can also be barely more tan a few senescent twigs. The leaves are feathery, grey green in color and are pinnate or semi compound. The branches are brittle and sort of spiny. The flowers emerge at the ends of the twigs with up to half dozen in a bunch. When collecting the flowering branches, suddenly you notice the fragrance of the flowers, a sweet delicious smell like honeysuckle or jasmine. They are wide spread, as far west as Kingman, Arizona, east to the panhandle, north to Santa Fe and all points south. They are especially abundant in the eastern Gila and lower Rio Grande drainages from 3,000 to 6,500 feet in elevation. (2)
Edible Uses: a simple tea brewed for flavor from the stems and flowers. (3)
Medicinal Uses: This is one of our best tasting herb teas, sweet, delicate, and a little tart. It can be brewed as Sun Tea by filling a jar with the twigs and flowers and placing them in the sun for a few hours. Pueblo Indians and the Apaches used it as a treatment for growing pains and aching bones. The Hopi use it for influenza and virus infections. The New Mexico Spanish will make a strong bath with the branches and bathe in it for a couple hours to relieve arthritic pains. (4)
Foot Notes: (1)http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=DAFO
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4) Medicinial Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore, pages 131-132, Publisher Museum of New Mexico Press, copyright 1989, ISBN 0-80913-182-1
Common Name: Prodigiose, Large Flower Brickellbrush, Tasselflower Brickellbrush,
Latin Name: Brickellia grandiflora
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=BRICK main database (Medicinal properties are unknown for most, PFAF has no reports, but Michael Moore covers the following
all states west of the Rockies including Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=BRCA3 Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, (B. californica)
Appearance and Habitat: Clusters of creamy-yellow, rayless flower heads hanging from short branches at tips of leafless stalks borne in upper axils of leafy stems. This large and complex genus consists mostly of shrubs. Some were used medicinally by Native Americans. (1) It is a large, many branched bush, up to 3 feet tall. The leaves are dark green and purplish and paired, except for near the flowers. When they start to become alternate they are 2 to 3 inches long, triangular, and moderately toothed. The flowers are cream white to yellow and will number dozens down a stem. Prodigiosa grows in the lower foothills. Other species can be used as well Brickellia incana (silver foliage, maroon flowers in the Mojave and Colorado deserts) B. californica (more rounded leaves, three ribbed and rough textured with white nodding, sweet scented flowers) (2)
Medicinal Uses: There are three distinct uses for Prodigiosa 1) lowering blood sugar in certain types of diabetes, 2) stimulating hydrochloric acid secretions by the stomach, and 3) stimulating bile synthesis and gallbladder evacuation. Hyperglycemia: It mildly inhibits epinephrine’s stimulation of the liver to produce glucose. Epinephrine (adrenalin) stimulates the liver to break down stored glycogen directly into blood sugar. That’s a good condition if the NWO is hot on your heels, but not good grumbling about your job at a desk. It is always easier to release into the blood stream than to pull it back. With stress elevation of glucose, insulin is secreted to get the levels down. But after years of stress, the body can no longer send other cells to accumulate the glucose, or continue to send it to cells as fats. Pretty soon the cells start refusing the insulin commands, and blood sugar levels stay elevated. This leads to adult-onset diabetes. A cup of Prodigiosa in the morning and afternoon will help control the condition. For the tea, a standard infusion of 1:32; one part plant to 32 parts of boiling water, let set overnight, return the water level to 32 parts, and strain out the plant. For the tea take 2 – 4 ounce doses. Stomach: The plant has strong effects on the stomach lining, increasing both quantity and acidic quality of secretions. Protein and butter fat must stay in the stomach longer before being passed along. The longer food remains in the stomach the more likely for you to have acid indigestion. Over time you become hypersensitive to proteins in your diet. This is especially true for heavy drinkers, and the older we get it becomes more common even if we don’t drink. A cup of Prodigiosa tea in the late afternoon will keep indigestion down. Gallbladder: It’s unlikely that it will flush out gallstones but taking it can help prevent gallstones or gallbladder attack. It does this by having beneficial effects on fat digestion. The longer bile is retained in the gallbladder the more likely it might precipitate its cholesterol into stones. (3)
Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=BRGR
Foot Notes: (2, 3) Medicinial Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore, pages 131-132, Publisher Museum of New Mexico Press, copyright 1989, ISBN 0-80913-182-1
Common Name: Chickweed
Latin Name: Stellaria alsine, S. jamesiana/ Pseudostellaria jamersiana , S. media
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=STAL4 New England south to Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland – Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=STME2 entire country
Common Name: Bog Stitchwort (Stellaria alsine)
Appearance and Habitat: Streamsides, flushes, wet tracks and woodland ridges in Europe and N. America. A perennial growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from May to June.
Warnings: Although no mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of some members of this genus contain saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed b the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used as food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc. in order to stupefy or kill the fish.
Edible Uses: Young leaves and shoots – raw or cooked
Medicinal Uses: The whole plant is carminative, depurative and galactogogue. It promotes hydrosis. A decoction is used as an antidote against snakebite, in the treatment of colds, traumatic injuries and pimples. The fresh herb can be crushed for external application.
Common Name: Tuber Starwort (Stellaria jameriana)
Appearance and Habitat: Moist woodland amongst shrubs, westward from Wyoming and Texas. A perennial growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
Warnings: (Same as above)
Edible Uses: Young leaves – raw or cooked. Root – raw or cooked. Sweet and pleasant.
Medicinal Uses: None
Common Name: Chickweed (Alsine media)
Appearance and Habitat: Growing almost anywhere, it is acommon garden weed. A cosmopolitan plant found in most regions of the world. An annual growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to December, and the seeds ripen from Jan to December. (1) Chickweed enjoys a moist shady place to grow. It is a lime green matting plant, with foot long jointed stems and opposite oval leaves. The leaves clasp the stem. The flowers are snow white, and five petaled. The seeds are green capsules, and by the time summer is ending the capsules and lower leaves turn tan. The plant has a somewhat salty taste. It prefers moist, shady places under larger plants. Look for it in spring along sidewalks, steps, and the edges of vacant lots. It is better established in older gardens and alleys in the city, and less likely to be found in newer subdivisions. (2)
Warnings: (Same as above) (3)
Edible Uses: Young leaves – raw or cooked as a potherb. They can be available all year round if the winter is not too severe. Very nutritious, they can be added to salads whilst the cooked leaves can scarcely be distinguished from spring spinach. The leaves contain saponins so some caution is advised, see the note on toxicity at the top of the page. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – ground into a powder and used in making bread or to thicken soups. It would be very fiddly to harvest any quantity of this seed since it is produced in small quantities throughout most of the year and is very small. The seed contains 17.8% protein and 5.9% fat. (4) (Good chart on contents at website)
Medicinal Uses: Chickweed has a very long history of herbal use, being particularly beneficial in the external treatment of any kind of itching skin condition. It has been known to soothe severe itchiness even where all other remedies have failed. In excess doses chickweed can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. It should not be used medicinally by pregnant women. The whole plant is astringent, carminative, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, refrigerant, vulnerary. Taken internally it is useful in the treatment of chest complaints and in small quantities it also aids digestion. It can be applied as a poultice and will relieve any kind of roseola and is effective wherever there are fragile superficial veins. An infusion of the fresh or dried herb can be added to the bath water and its emollient property will help to reduce inflammation – in rheumatic joints for example – and encourage tissue repair. Chickweed is best harvested between May and July, it can be used fresh or be dried and stored for later use. A decoction of the whole plant is taken internally as a post-partum depurative, emmenagogue, galactogogue and circulatory tonic. It is also believed to relieve constipation and be beneficial in the treatment of kidney complaints. The decoction is also used externally to treat rheumatic pains, wounds and ulcers. The expressed juice of the plant has been used as an eyewash (5) Chickweed is best fresh, or as a fresh tincture, however it can be dried by placing it in a paper sack. Dried, it seems to retain it’s qualities for about 6 months. A salve can be made for the dried Chickweed by first grinding it up, and moistening it with alcohol, either grain alcohol or rubbing alcohol, use 1 part dried plant to 2 parts alcohol. Place the moistened herb in a blender and pour 7 parts by volume of vegetable oil on it before blending. Let it blend until it becomes warm (several minutes) , then strain it through a piece of cloth. To harden the oil, mix with beeswax at about 1 1/2 parts on low heat until it is dissolved. Don’t overheat the beeswax, and use a double broiler if possible. When it starts to harden put the salve in a jar and cap it. The salve can now be used for topical swellings of fingers, hands, feet, or for sprains, athritis, gout, and pseudo-gout conditions. It doesn’t work well for cuts or contusions. For the tincture use a ratio of 1 part chopped plant to 2 parts alcohol. As with all tinctures it needs to be shaken daily in the glass jar/with lid for about a week before using it and straining out the plant. (6)
Foot Notes: 1, 3, 4, 5)
Foot Notes: (2, 6) Medicinial Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore, page 32, Publisher Museum of New Mexico Press, copyright 1989, ISBN 0-80913-182-1
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