, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 contain an excellent glossary of medical terms, as well as maps. )

# 41

Common Name: Sand Grass, Indian Rice Grass, Indian Millet
Latin Name: Achantherum hymenoides 
Family: Poaceae
Native American Name: Wye (Paiute, Shoshone) (1)
Range:http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACHY  all states west of the Mississippi except Iowa, Missouri, Louisana.
Appearance and Habitat: Indian rice grass is a 1-2 ft., perennial bunchgrass. The sage-green, wiry foliage and ivory-colored seedheads give the grass an overall light, airy appearance. Foliage turns tan when dormant. This beautiful grass often dominates sand dunes. It is a highly palatable species for many animals including livestock. (2) Sandy praires and rocky slopes. Generallh found in dry, well drained soils, in association with a range of plants.  Found in Western N. America – British Columbia to Manitoba, south to Texas, California, and Mexico. It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from May to July. (3)
Warnings: None (4)
Edible Uses: the seed; Paiutes would gather the seed in large shallow baskets shaped similar to a half clamshell.  They are called Winnowers (or Kawonoo) .  Tapping the bottom of the basket with the fingers causes any dirt, straw, un ripened seed to move to the edge.  When the seed is nearly clean the contents are pour onto canvas and the wind removes the chaff.  The seed is then ground into meal for mush.  It is light grey in color, and the mush has the consistency of Cream of Wheat.  It has high food value.  (5) Seed – raw, cooked or ground into a meal and used in making bread etc, gruel and as a thickener in soups. The seed is rather small but when fully ripe it falls readily from the plant and is fairly easy to harvest. Another report says that the seed is rather large, but this has not been our experience. The seeds were parched over the flames of a fire in order to remove the hairs. A pleasant taste and very nutritious, it contains about 6% sugars and 20% starch. Before corn was introduced to the area, this seed was at one time a staple food for some native North American Indian tribes (6)
Medicinal Uses: None (7)
Foot Notes: (1, 5)   Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, pages 26, 27, 32  Publisher: Meyerbooks Copy right 1990; ISBN 0-916638-15-4

Common Name: Blazing Star, whitestem blazingstar, veatches blazingstar, Indian gravy
Latin Name: Mentzelia albicaulis, M. multifora, M. punila  
Family: Loasaceae
(Pay attention to the photos of this species, note the shape of the leaves.)
Common Name: Whitestem Blazingstar, Indian Gravy (Mentzelia albicaulis)
Native American Name: Ku-Ha (Paiute) (1)
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=MEAL6 Rocky Mountains west, plus Texas, Nebraska, S. Dakota
Appearance and Habitat: Dry, especially sandy soils, in desert valleys and foothills in Western N. America – British Columbia to California.  An annual  growing to 0.3 m (1ft). (2)
Warnings: None (3)
Edible Uses: seed: The orange seed is put in a hot frying pan and when the seed turns a darker color warm water is added and stirred until it forms a gravy. (4)  Seed – raw or cooked. The oily seed is parched and ground into a meal then mixed with water to make a mush. The seed meal can be kneaded into a seed butter and used as a spread on bread. The minute seeds are much used for food by several native North American Indian tribes. (5)
Medicinal Uses: A poultice of the crushed, soaked seeds has been applied to burns and also to relieve the pain of toothache. (6)
Foot Notes: (1, 4)   Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, page   27,    Publisher: Meyerbooks Copy right 1990; ISBN 0-916638-15-4
42 (b)
Common Name: Manyflowered Mentzelia, Adonis Blazingstar, Prairie Stickleaf,   (Mentzelia multiflora)
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=MEMU3 California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska
Appearance and Habitat: This plant, 2–2 1/2 feet tall, has many branches and shiny white stems. It is noted for its rough, sticky foliage covered with hairs with minute barbs; hence the common name stickleaf. The flowers, about 2 inches in diameter, open in the late afternoon and close in the morning. They usually have 10 yellow petals with many long stamens. (1) Dry sandy and gravelly places below 2000 meters in creosote bush scrub and deserts in Western N. America.  A perennial that blooms from July to August.  (2)
Warnings: None (3)
Edible Uses: Seed – raw or cooked. They are parched and ground into a meal. (4)
Medicinal Uses: The plant is used as a toothache medicine. The plant is diuretic. The leaves and the roots have been used as a treatment for tuberculosis. It was the strongest TB medicine for the strongest patients. (5)
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4, 5)
Common Name: Dwarf Mentzelia, (Mentzelia pumila)
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=MEPU3 Montana, N. Dakota, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico
Appearance and Habitat: Western N. America, a perennial.
Warnings: None
Edible Uses: Seed – raw or cooked. They are parched and ground into a meal.  This use has not been verified.
Medicinal Uses: The plant is used as a toothache medicine. The root is laxative. It is dried, ground into a powder and inserted as a suppository in the rectum to treat constipation.
Common Name: Wild Oats
Latin Name: Avena fatua (also Avena sativa cultivated oats) 
Family: Graminaceae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AVFA all states with the exception of Arkansas, N. and S. Carolina, and Georgia.  Also most of Canada.
Appearance and Habitat: An annual grass that grows from 1 foot to 3 feet tall.  The leaves are long broad and tough. The ripening seed hangs down covered in bristles.  If the seed is smooth you have found cultivated oats. Either type makes good medicine, but not A. barbata which has seed that is brown and looks like a cockroach, though is still edible.  The plant especially likes sloping vacant lots, and disturbed ground. (1)  A common weed of arable land and waste ground.  An annual growing to 1.5 meters (5 ft).  It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. (2)
Warnings: None (3)
Edible Uses: Seed – cooked. The seed ripens in the latter half of summer and, when harvested and dried, can store for several years. It has a floury texture and a mild, somewhat creamy flavour. It can be used as a staple food crop in either savoury or sweet dishes. The seed can be cooked whole, though it is more commonly ground into a flour and used as a cereal in all the ways that oats are used, especially as a porridge but also to make biscuits, sourdough bread etc. The seed can also be sprouted and eaten raw or cooked in salads, stews etc. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. (4)
The Seed, ground or crushed to be used in making breads or mush. (5)
Medicinal Uses: The unripened seed makes the best  tincture with 50% vodka (100 proof).  Mix the ground seed in the alcohol and let it sit, shaking occasionally, for a week.  You want to collect it when the seeds in the middle of the stalk squirt white milk.  The whole head can be stripped and used.   It is usually in May when it is perfect for medicine.  It is a tonic,  laxative, nerve stimulant.  It has been used for epilepsy, nervous exhaustion, and is helpful for removing oneself from some narcotics addiction.   It is very beneficial and effective for depression (divorce or death in the family) or ‘burn out’.   It is helpful in kicking cocaine or amphetamine addiction.   Take a 1/4 teaspoon of the tincture as needed. (6)
The seeds are diuretic, emollient and refrigerant. (7)
Foot Notes: (1, 5, 6 ) Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore, pages 129-131, copy right 1989, publisher Museum of New Mexico Press ISBN 978-089013182-4
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.