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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.  Michael Moore’s books contain an excellent glossary of medical terms, as well as maps. )
(Part 2 of Plants to help with radiation sickness, I’ll cover Elderberry and Spiderwort next posting. )
#53
Common Name : Nettle, Stinging Nettle
Latin Name: Urtica dioica, U. urens, U. dioica gracilis
Family: Urticaceae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=URDI all States with the exception of Arkansas and Hawaii (Urtica dioica – Stinging Nettle)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=URUR all of New England including Pennsylvania and New York- all states bordering on the ocean except N. Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, plus appearance in inland states of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Illinios, Wisconsin (Urtica urens- Dwarf Nettle)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=URDIG all states except Nevada, Hawaii, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, S. Carolina (Urtica dioica gracilis – California Nettle)
 
 
Appearance and Habitat: A 4-angled stem, covered with many bristly, stinging hairs, has slender, branching, feathery clusters of minute greenish flowers in the leaf axils. Flowers are unisexual, with either male or female on a given plant, or on same plant with males in upper leaf axils, females lower.  Highly irritating to the skin, this Nettle should not be handled. However, the very young shoots and top leaves may be cooked and served as greens or used in soups and stews. (1)  Nettle has square stems with hairs all along them.  The leaves are a rich green with the undersides lighter.  Some species have hairs that sting.  The leaves come to a tapered point and are serrated.  They are also opposite along the stem.  The flowers are green and grow in clusters where the leaves stem out.  (I have seen them in mountains along Smokey Valley, Nevada and at first thought they were marijuana)  They are found in the west from sea level to 10,000 feet and are usually in damp places, marshes or along streams. (2) Waste ground, hedgerows, woods, preferring a rich soil and avoiding acid soils.   A perennial  growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate. (3)
Warnings: The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin.  This action is neutralized by heat or by thorough drying, so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious.  However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop grittly particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys. (4)
Edible Uses: Young leaves – cooked as a potherb and added to soups etc. They can also be dried for winter use. Nettles are a very valuable addition to the diet, they are a very nutritious food that is easily digested and is high in minerals (especially iron) and vitamins (especially A and C).  The young shoots, harvested in the spring when 15 – 20cm long complete with the underground stem are very nice. Old leaves can be laxative. The plants are harvested commercially for extraction of the chlorophyll, which is used as a green colouring agent (E140) in foods and medicines. A tea is made from the dried leaves, it is warming on a winters day. A bland flavour, it can be added as a tonic to China tea. The juice of the leaves, or a decoction of the herb, can be used as a rennet substitute in curdling plant milks. Nettle beer is brewed from the young shoots. (5)  (Back in the mid 90’s gourmet restuarants would pay $10.00 a pound)
Medicinal Uses:  Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy and nutritious addition to the diet. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a cleansing tonic and blood purifier so the plant is often used in the treatment of hay fever, arthritis, anaemia etc. The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating tonic. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding, it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc. The fresh leaves of nettles have been rubbed or beaten onto the skin in the treatment of rheumatism etc. This practice, called urtification, causes intense irritation to the skin as it is stung by the nettles. It is believed that this treatment works in two ways. Firstly, it acts as a counter-irritant, bringing more blood to the area to help remove the toxins that cause rheumatism. Secondly, the formic acid from the nettles is believed to have a beneficial effect upon the rheumatic joints. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use. This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns. The root has been shown to have a beneficial effect upon enlarged prostate glands. A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of rheumatic gout, nettle rash and chickenpox, externally is applied to bruises. (6)
Collect the leaves in late June or early July and dry them in a  paper bag.  Be sure and wear gloves as the hairs can easily pierce the skin.  You can collect the seeds in the late summer by snipping the tops off and drying them over newspaper.  The tea can be used for internal bleeding from coughing or vomiting.  Injecting the tea is a routine practice in Europe for vaginitis or bleeding piles, while drinking the tea.  Nettles will irritate the kidneys when used for long periods but are an excellent diuretic.  They seem to increase urine acidity do to phosphates in the plant.  The seeds contain formic acid and tea from them can be used as a lung astringent and will help strengthen capillaries in the lungs.   One teaspoon of the seeds is soaked in a cup of hot water to make tea.  The same tea can be used as a final rinse after shampooing hair.  (7)
Foot Notes: (2, 7) Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West  by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, pages 113-14 , publisher:  Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979  ISBN 0-89013-104-X  
Foot Notes: (3, 4, 5, 6 ) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Urtica+dioica  (There are several uses of Nettle for radiation exposure, juice for burns, tea for internal bleeding, blood purifier, and is rich in important vitamins for recovery.)
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#54
Common Name: Echinacea, Kansas Snakeroot, Black Sampson, Purple Coneflower, Spider Flower (1)
Latin Name: Echinacea angustifolia, E. pallida, E. purpurea
Family: Compositae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ECAN2 only states between the west bank of the Mississippi R. and the Rocky Mountains, excluding Arkansas. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ECPA Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, N. and S. Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Conecticut, Maine,
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ECPU all states east of the Mississippi R. excluding New England north of New York, including west of the Mississippi R. Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado.
#54(a)
Common Name: Echinacea, Black Sampson (Echinacea angustifolia)
Appearance and Habitat: The many stout stems of this perennial   are 18-24 in. tall and rarely branched.  Oblong leaves are covered with stiff hairs. The flower heads, borne singly atop the stems, have pinkish-lavender rays drooping from a dark, spiny, cone-shaped center. (1)Perennial growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. It is found on gravelly, sandy, and rocky soil of the limestone prairies from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, south to Texas. (2) It is a long living perennial,  averaging one foot to one and a half foot tall.  In May – June it produces cone flowers (purple – pink) on thck stalks.  The plant is prickly and hairy.  The leaves are mostly basal, narrow, and up to 4 inches long.  The seed heads are visable into the fall.  When driving look for the black seed heads on hillsides and road cuts.  The best medicine grows on limestone hills in the western plains. (3)
Warnings: None (4)
Edible Uses: None (5)
Medical Uses: Echinacea is one of the world’s most important medicinal herbs. Research shows that it has the ability to raise the body’s resistance to bacterial and viral infections by stimulating the immune system. It is also antibiotic and helps to relieve allergies. Plants in this genus were probably the most frequently used of all North American Indian herbal remedies. They had a very wide range of applications and many of these uses have been confirmed by modern science. The plant has a general stimulatory effect on the immune system and is widely used in modern herbal treatments. There has been some doubt over the ability of the body to absorb the medicinally active ingredients orally (intravenous injections being considered the only effective way to administer the plant), but recent research has demonstrated significant absorption from orally administered applications. In Germany over 200 pharmaceutical preparations are made from Echinacea. The roots and the whole plant are considered particularly beneficial in the treatment of sores, wounds, burns etc, possessing cortisone-like and antibacterial activity. The plant was used by North American Indians as a universal application to treat the bites and stings of all types of insects. An infusion of the plant was also used to treat snakebites. The root is adaptogen, alterative, antiseptic, depurative, digestive, sialagogue. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The plant has been used as a diaphoretic. (6) Gather the fresh roots from August to November and the seed heads from as early as June.  The  plant has many constituents which need solvents to leech them out.  The root will retain it’s constituents for up to a year to a year and a half.  to make a tincture,  it is recommended to use a percolator.  Use 1 part plant root/seed head to 3 parts of 80% alcohol in a percolator.  To start grind the roots in a blender or break them up as small as possible along with the seed heads.  Moisten the powdered root and seed heads with the 80% alcohol and  wait an hour while it sits in the percolator.  Pack it down as tight as possible at the end of that hour.  Wait 2 days before continuing, then percolate for 48 hours.  Draw the 1: 3 strong tincture and set it aside (extract #1).  Add 5 parts of hot water to the pulp in a double boiler, steep over boiling water for 2 hours or until 2 parts in volume remain (extract #2).  Combine both extracts to form a 1:5 tincture to make a  maximum tincture of both aromatics and mucoploysaccharides.  Take as needed internally or externally.  (Michael Moore starts with 5 ounces of dried root and seed heads, grounds them , ends up adding another 5 ounces of ground root and seed heads to the extracts making 25 ounces of tincture) Echinacea speeds  the white blood cells in their attack on bacteria, toxic immune complex proteins, and viruses that cause influenza and herpes.  Echinacea seems to speed up lymphocyte replication and vastly improves the antibodies ability to penetrate the cell to kill microbes.  The  quicker the junk is removed, from the body, the less scarring occurs and the better the flesh works after healing. Echinacea also  speeds repair of tissue damage from swellings.  Echinacea, contains polysaccharides  that help hold starches together longer, and protects hydrogels in our cells from dissolving, thus speeding regeneration of tissues.  Applied as a salve or  tincture taken 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon every couple hours, it limits swelling and edema problems from hemorrhoids, contusions, sprains, to stings of bees and wasps.   When cartilage is injured, (or tendons,  ligaments, and muscle sheaths, Echinacea will help by increasing the blood supply to the injured area.  It helps to keep the injury from re-injury which can lead to chronic tendinitis or bursitis.  Use up to 1/2 ounce of the tincture to support the density and tensile strength until the swelling reduces and the pain leaves.  It will also help with jobber’s angle, tennis elbow, and skier’s knee.
Taking 30 drops, 5 times a day will help decrease corneal opacities and the interocular pressure of glaucoma. (7)
Foot Notes: ( 3, 7) Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West  by Michael Moore, Published by Museum of New Mexico Press, pages 45- 49, Copyright 1989
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#54(b)
Common Name: Pale Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Appearance and Habitat:  Stout stems, 2-4 ft. tall, bear flowerheads having lavender, or rarely white, rays drooping from a large, spiny, cone-shaped center. The ray flowers vary in length and width. Coarse-haired, narrowly lance-shaped leaves are attached to the plant near its base. A sometimes aggressive plant that shows off best and benefits from mixing with grasses. The only Echinacea native  to Ontario. (1) Dry soils on prairies and barrens.  Sandy open woods and prairies in Texas.  North America – MIchigan to Nebraska and south to Texas.  A perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).  It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September (2)
Warnings: None (3)
Edible Uses: None (4)
Medicinal Uses: Plants in this genus were probably the most frequently used of N. American Indian herbal remedies, though this species is considered to be less active than E. angustifolia. They had a very wide range of applications and many of these uses have been confirmed by modern science. The plant has a general stimulatory effect on the immune system and is widely used in modern herbal treatments. There has been some doubt over the ability of the body to absorb the medicinally active ingredients orally (intravenous injections being considered the only effective way to administer the plant), but recent research has demonstrated significant absorption from orally administered applications. In Germany over 200 pharmaceutical preparations are made from Echinacea. The roots and the whole plant are considered particularly beneficial in the treatment of sores, wounds, burns etc, possessing cortisone-like and antibacterial activity. The plant was used by N. American Indians as a universal application to treat the bites and stings of all types of insects. An infusion of the plant was also used to treat snakebites. The plant is adaptogen, alterative, antiseptic, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, sialagogue. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. (5)
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54(c)
Common Name: Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Appearance and Habitat: A popular perennial with smooth, 2-5 ft. stems and long-lasting, lavender flowers. Rough, scattered leaves that become small toward the top of the stem. Flowers occur singly atop the stems and have domed, purplish-brown, spiny centers and drooping, lavender rays. An attractive  perennial with purple (rarely white), drooping rays surrounding a spiny, brownish central disk.  The genus  name is from the Greek echino, meaning hedgehog, an allusion to the spiny, brownish central disk. The flowers of Echinacea species are used to make an extremely popular herbal tea, purported to help strengthen the immune system; an extract is also available in tablet or liquid form in pharmacies and health food stores. Often cultivated, Purple Coneflower is a showy, easily grown garden plant. (1)  Dry open woods and prairies and barrens in N. America – Virginia to Ohio and Michigan, south to Georgia and Louisiana.  A perennial  growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).  It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. (2)
Warnings: None (3)
Edible Uses: Leaves. No more details are given. (4)
Medicinal Uses: Echinacea is considered to be the most effective detoxicant in Western herbal medicine for the circulatory, lymphatic and respiratory systems. Its use has also been adopted by Ayurvedic medicine. Plants in this genus were probably the most frequently used of N. American Indian herbal remedies. They had a very wide range of applications and many of these uses have been confirmed by modern science. This species is the most easily cultivated of the genus and so has been more generally adopted for its medicinal uses. The plant has a general stimulatory effect on the immune system and is widely used in modern herbal treatments. In Germany over 200 pharmaceutical preparations are made from Echinacea. There has been some doubt over the ability of the body to absorb the medicinally active ingredients orally (intravenous injections being considered the only effective way to administer the plant), but recent research has demonstrated significant absorption from orally administered applications. The roots and the whole plant are considered particularly beneficial in the treatment of sores, wounds, burns etc, possessing cortisone-like and antibacterial activity. The plant was used by N. American Indians as a universal application to treat the bites and stings of all types of insects. An infusion of the plant was also used to treat snakebites. The root is adaptogen, alterative, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, sialagogue. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. (5)
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#55
Common Name: Acacia, catclaw acacia, Whitethorn, Huisache, Cassie, Timbe, Vivorama (1)
Latin Name: Acacia dealbata, A. farnesiana, A. greggii, A. retinodes
Family: Leguminosae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACACI Hawaii, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, MIssissippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Maryland. (main database for Acacia)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACDE3 California, Oregon (Acacia dealbata)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACFA all states along the southern most tier of the United States- California to Florida including Hawaii. (Acacia farnesiana)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACGR California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (Acacia greggii)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACRE2 California and Florida (Acacia retinodes)
 
55(a)
Common Name: Mimosa (Acacia dealbata)
Appearance and Habitat: In many habitats by steams, gullies, alpine ridges, and  dry forests.   An evergreen tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate.  It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to February.
Warnings: None
Edible Uses: Flowers – cooked. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters. A gum that exudes naturally from the trunk is edible and is used as a substitute for Gum Arabic. It is very soluble in water and viscous, but is of low quality. Larger quantities can be obtained by tapping the trunk. Some species produce a gum that is dark and is liable to be astringent and distasteful, but others produce a light gum and this is sweet and pleasant. It can be sucked like candy or soaked in water to make a jelly.. The gum can be warmed when it becomes soft and chewable.
Medicinal Uses: None
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55(b)
Common Name: Huisache, Sweet Acacia, (Acacia farnesiana)
Appearance and Habitat: A 15-20 ft., multi-trunked tree  or shrub. Branchlets spiny and bearing finely divided leaves, each of the many leaflets less than 1/4 inch long. The bipinnately compound foliage is light-green and ferny. Small, fragrant, orange-yellow flowers 1/2 inch in diameter cluster in globose heads with many protruding stamens per flower.  Fruit a reddish brown to black woody pod  1 1/2 to 3 inches long, rounded, not flat, and tapered at both ends. (1) Dry sandy soils in pinelands, hammocks, and disturbed areas in south-eastern N. America.  A deciduous shrub growing to 9 m (29ft 6in). It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from Feb to March. (2)
Warnings: The seeds, containing an unnamed alkaloid, are used to kill rabid dogs in brazil. (3)
Edible Uses: A low-quality gum obtained from the plant is used to prepare sweets (4)
Medicinal Uses: The bark is astringent and demulcent. Along with the leaves and roots it is used for medicinal purposes. Colombians bathe in the bark decoction as a treatment for typhoid. The gummy roots have been chewed as a treatment for sore throat. A decoction of the gum from the trunk has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of dyspepsia and neuroses. The flowers are added to ointment, which is rubbed on the forehead to treat headaches. The powdered dried leaves have been applied externally as a treatment for wounds. The green pods have been decocted and used in the treatment of dysentery and inflammations of the skin and raucous membranes. An infusion of the pod has been used in the treatment of sore throats, diarrhoea, leucorrhoea, conjunctivitis, and uterorrhagia. The juice of the bark is used in Nepal to treat swellings. (5)
Foot Notes: (1)
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55(c)
Common Name: Catclaw, Whitethorn, Huisache, Cassie, Timbe, Vivorama (1) (Acacia greggii)
Native American Name:  Bi-Joarum (Paiute) (1)
Appearance and Habitat: It is found in all of our deserts, from 2,500 ft to 6,500 ft, with the exception of the northern Great Basin. The thorns ” catclaws” are broad at the base and curve backwards, similiar to rose thorns.  Catclaw has yellow  cylindrical flower spikes and can’t be confused with Mimosa when in bloom, as Mimosa has white or lavender button flowers.  (2) A rounded and much-branched shrub to 5 ft. tall, (occasionally tree-like to 15 ft.) with twice-pinnate, gray-green foliage; creamy-white flowers; contorted pods; and cat claw-shaped thorns. The flowers occur in bushy, 2 in. spikes and are fragrant. Occasionally a small tree with a broad crown. One of the most despised southwestern shrubs. As indicated by the common names (including the Spanish, una de gato), the sharp, stout, hooked spines, like a cat’s claws, tear clothing and flesh. (3) (note: sources disagree on bloom color, but Michael more is correct)
Edible Uses: Dried pods were ground into flour and used to make mush or cakes. Seeds are stored, roasted, ground and made into bread.  (4)
Medicinal Uses: Collect the seed pods when they are still green or collect the flowers. They can be dried in the shade in a card board box.  The leaves can be hung over paper, still attached to the branches, the leaves will most likely fall off onto the paper. Also collect the smaller roots.   The leaves and pods can be powdered for tea, use 1 part dried plant to 32 parts boiling water, allow to sit overnight and return the water level to 32 parts.  Take 2 – 4 ounces every 3 hours for diarrhea.  The tea is a strong astringent hemostatic and anti-microbial wash.  Use the roots as a cold infusion by hanging 1 part dried root in 32 parts water at room temperature overnight.   The tea made from flowers and leaves  is a anti-inflammatory for the stomach in cases of nausea and vomiting.  It is also a sedative. (5)
Foot Notes:  (1) Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, pages 57 ,   Publisher: Meyerbooks Copy right 1990; ISBN 0-916638-15-4
Foot Notes: (2, 5 )  Medical Plants of the Desert and Canyon West  by Michael Moore, Published by Museum of New Mexico Press, pages 11-12, Copyright 1989
(Acacia greggii would be useful with radiation sickness, as an anti-microbial, to stop internal bleeding, and to end vomiting.)
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55(d)
Common Name: Swamp Acacia, Swamp Wattle, (Acacia retinodes)
Appearance and Habitat: Occurs mainly in open forest in poorly drained soils inland from the coast.  An evergreen tree growing to 6 m (19ft 8in).  It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Feb to August.
Warnings: None
Edible Uses: Flowers – cooked. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters. Seed. No more details are given. The seedpods can be up to 18cm long. Acacia seeds are highly nutritious and contain approx 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated which is a distinct health advantage although it presents storage problems as such fats readily oxidise. The mean total carbohydrate content of 55.8 + 13.7% is lower than that of lentils, but higher than that of soybeans while the mean fibre content of 32.3 + 14.3% is higher than that of other legumes such as lentils with a level of 11.7%. The energy content is high in all species tested, averaging 1480+270 kJ per 100g. Wattle seeds are low glycaemic index foods. The starch is digested and absorbed very slowly, producing a small, but sustained rise in blood glucose and so delaying the onset of exhaustion in prolonged exercise.
Medicinal Uses: None
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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