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Medical disclaimer: always check with a physician before consuming wild plants, and make positive identification in the field using a good source such as Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.  Michael Moore also has a glossary of medical terms in his books, and maps in later editions. ) 
#89
Common Name: Yarrow, Plumajillo, Milfoil
Latin Name: Achillea millefolium, Achillea sibirica, Achillea ptarmica
Family: Compositae
Native American Names: Pannonzia (Shoshone), Wiutu (Paiute) Wapun wapun (Warm Springs, Ore tribe), Kannam nam stuck (Washoe) (1)
http://www.plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACMIO all of canada all of the United States including Hawaii,(Achillia millefolium)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACMIA all states west of the Rocky Mountians and Alaska, not in Canada. (Achillea millefolium alpicola)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACMIP Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California (Achillea millefolium pacifica)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACSI Montana, N. Dakota, Minnesota, Alaska. (Achillia sibrica)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACPT Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennslyvania north to New England in Canada- Labrador west to Manitoba, and Alberta (Achillea ptarmica)
Photos: (click on latin name after range)
Appearance and Habitat:  It is a perennial and found in varies forms around the world.  The leaves are fine and fern like and form a mat of the basal leaves in spring, finally growing upright and blooming in July to September.  The flowers are snow white and form a flat top.  All parts of the plant have a pleasant woodsy scent.  They can be confused with carrot and hemlock flowers.  The former all form an umbrella like head, whereas Yarrow flowers start in several spots along the stem forming auxiliary clusters below the top.  In the west it is found from the ponderosa forest to the tree line and as low as 2,400 feet.  It is common along roadsides and valleys, but hardly ever found on slopes. (2) Found in meadows, pastures, and lawns, but not on the poorest soil. It is hardy to zone 2 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. It grows .6 m (2ft) by .6 m (2ft). (3)
Warning: Extended use of this plant, either medicinally or in the diet can cause allergic skin rashes or lead to photosensitivity in some people. (4)
Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked. A rather bitter flavour, they make an acceptable addition to mixed salads and are best used when young. The leaves are also used as a hop-substitute for flavouring and as a preservative for beer etc. Although in general yarrow is a very nutritious and beneficial plant to add to the diet, some caution should be exercised. See the notes above on possible toxicity. An aromatic tea is made from the flowers and leaves. An essential oil from the flowering heads is used as a flavouring for soft drinks. (5)
Medicinal Uses: Yarrow has a high reputation and is widely employed in herbal medicine, administered both internally and externally. It is used in the treatment of a very wide range of disorders but is particularly valuable for treating wounds, stopping the flow of blood, treating colds, fevers, kidney diseases, menstrual pain etc. The whole plant is used, both fresh and dried, and is best harvested when in flower. Some caution should be exercised in the use of this herb since large or frequent doses taken over a long period may be potentially harmful, causing allergic rashes and making the skin more sensitive to sunlight. The herb combines well with Sambucus nigra flowers (Elder) and Mentha x piperita vulgaris (Peppermint) for treating colds and influenza. The herb is antiseptic, antispasmodic, mildly aromatic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, odontalgic, stimulant, bitter tonic, vasodilator and vulnerary. It also contains the anti-inflammatory agent azulene, though the content of this varies even between plants in the same habitat. The herb is harvested in the summer when in flower and can be dried for later use. The fresh leaf can be applied direct to an aching tooth in order to relieve the pain. (6) Native Americans would boil the whole plant and use it as a poultice for both man and horse on boils.  They also used the root of the plant for a toothache, by inserting a small piece of root in the cavity.  They also used hot applications of the leaves, flowers, and pounded root for an ear ache.  They made tea out of the roots for stomach trouble. (7) Collect the whole flowering plant, including the roots.  The leaves and stems retain their strength longer than the flower tops.  Store them loosely in paper bags until they are dry.  It is an effective stomach tonic, make a tea out of a tablespoon of the chopped plant and drink it at room temperature; it has a mild laxative effect as well.  Hot strong tea, enough to be bitter, will stimulate sweating in dry fevers.  Drinking 2 or 3 cups a day will decrease menstruation, help shrink mild hemorrhoids and polyps.  The fresh leaves are an effective first aid to stop bleeding and form scabs for cuts and abrasions.  The root  is effective for sore gums and teeth.  You can either chew the fresh root or make a tincture for use topically.  To make a tincture ahead of time for gums and teeth use 1:5 ratio of dried plant root to 50% (vodka) alcohol.   For a fresh tincture use 1:2 in 50% alcohol.  With the tincture you can use between 10-40 drops as needed. ( 8 )
Foot Notes: (2, 8 )Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West  by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, page 164, publisher:  Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979  ISBN 0-89013-104-X
Foot Notes: (1, 7) Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, pages 43, 45, 47, Publisher: Meyerbooks Copy right 1990; ISBN 0-916638-15-4
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#90
Common Name: Wild Iris, Blue Flag, Dwarf Crested Iris, Yellow Flag,  Bearded Iris
Latin Name: Iris missouriensis, Iris cristata, Iris pseudacorus, Iris germanica,  
Family: Iridaceae
Range:http://www.plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=IRMI all states west of the Rocky Mountains, except Alaska, plus Nebraska, N. and S. Dakota, Minnesota, in Canada-British Columbia, Alberta (Iris missouriensis)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=IRCR Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, east of the Mississippi R. Illinois to Mississippi, then east to Georgia and Pennsylvania and along the Atlantic coast between, plus Massachusetts. (Iris cristata)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=IRPS all states except Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Wyoming, N. and S. Dakota, Iowa, Oklahoma, in Canada it is found in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick (Iris psedacorus)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=IRGE all states east of the Mississippi except Alabama, West Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, west of the Mississippi found only in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota.  In Canada, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brusnwick (Iris germanica)
Photos: (click on latin name after common name)

 90(a)
Common Name: Blue Flag,  Wild Iris Western Blue Flag, Rocky Mountain Iris, Lirio (Iris missouriensis)
Native American Names: Poku erop (Paiute), Daw see doya (Shoshone) (1)
Appearance and Habitat: Rocky Mountain iris is slender-stemmed and 1-2 ft. high. One to four flowers occur per stem. They are pale to dark, lilac-purple and haves yellow bases. The grayish-green leaves are relatively broad. Large, delicate, pale blue or blue-violet flowers, often with purple veins, bloom at the top of stout, leafless (or with 1 short leaf) stalks that grow from dense clumps of flexible, tough, sword-shaped leaves. The only native species east of the Cascade Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, it often forms dense, large patches in low spots in pastures, where the tough leaves are avoided by cattle. (2) A perennial growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from May to June.  it is found in meadows, along streams, and in pinewoods but always where moisture is abundant until it flowers. (3)  This is the predominant iris in the west.  It has bluish-purple flowers, smaller than the garden variety, and can cover whole meadows with beautiful midsummer blossoms. (Ruby Valley in Northern Nevada turns into a sea of blue from the Blue Flag blossoms, it is a beautiful sight to see) The plants form colonies.  The creeping root stalk  is reddish brown and covered with leaf scales from the previous growth.  It is found in wet areas, moist meadows, and the borders of mountains that have a greater precipitation.   It may descend to as low as 5,500 feet and be found as high as 8,000 feet.  They are found in all the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico and northwards as well as the mountians in California, then up the coast. (4)
Warnings: Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised.  An arrow poison was made from the ground up roots.  Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people. (5)
Edible Uses: The roasted seed is a coffee substitute (6)Medicinal Uses: Rocky Mountain iris was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat various complaints, but especially as an external application for skin problems. It was for a time an officinal American medicinal plant, but is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The root is emetic and odontalgic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints, stomach aches etc. The pulped root is placed in the tooth cavity or on the gum in order to bring relief from toothache. A decoction of the root has been used as ear drops to treat earaches. A poultice of the mashed roots has been applied to rheumatic joints and also used as a salve on venereal sores. Caution is advised in the use of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity. A paste of the ripe seeds has been used as a dressing on burns. (7) Native Americans used tea from the roots for kidney problems.  They would also insert a portion of the root in tooth cavities to kill the nerve, and after that the tooth would come out. ( 8 ) Collect  the root stalk in the fall or spring, remove the dead chaff and dry on a flat surface.  Blue Flag used to be the treatment of choice syphilis, less toxic than other treatments (bismuth, arsenic, mercury) and is still used widely by herbalists in England, America,  the Orient, and other countries.  Blue Flag was the official treatment until  1947 when it was dropped from the list in the National Formulary.  The active principle is oleo-resin complex, formerly called ‘iridin’  and classed as  a phenol glycoside.   The fresh roots are toxic and should not be used internally, but a poultice of the raw rhizome is effective against staph sores.   Only the dry root should be tinctured or ground and put in #00 capsules.  For the tincture, 1 part root to 5 parts 80% alcohol used at 5-20 drops a day, or the capsules no more than 3 times a day.  One fourth to one half teaspoon of the dry root can be boil in water and taken as a energetic laxative (cathartic).  It is a good stimulant for both pancreatic enzymes and bile.    A single capsule between meals is also useful where bile insufficiency results in poor oil absorption or periodic light-colored feces (but not related to drug therapy).   Blue Flag was formerly used in treating jaundice, as its biliary effects cause a reflex stimulation of some liver functions, not advisable for either chronic or acute liver malfunction.  It is strong in its effect and can be unpleasant if used in excess; therefore its present use is almost always in combination with other herbs.  As a stimulant to the lymphatic system is should be combined with Redroot or echinacea, one half teaspoon of Blue Flag with 2 tablespoons of either, and boiled for 20 minutes in a pint of water and drunk in small doses during the day.   It can also be combined with Burdock, Yellow Dock, Figwort, Inmortal, sarsaparilla, gotu kola, and ginseng and used in skin eruptions that result from internal imbalances or blood toxicities.  Small, frequent doses of blue Flag are a strong diuretic and has been used for various dropsies.  It will also stimulate the production of both saliva and sweat.  Overall this plant makes and effective medicine, but it is better when combined. (9) (Personal Note: I use oil of cloves to prevent pain when a tooth goes bad.   If it is strong enough oil, it will kill nerves.  Look for pure clove oil.  When I run out, I will probably use Blue Flag.)
Foot Notes: (1, 8) Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, pages 41, 45, 47, Publisher: Meyerbooks Copy right 1990; ISBN 0-916638-15-4
Foot Notes: ( 4, 9) Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West  by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, page 39-40, publisher:  Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979  ISBN 0-89013-104-X
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#90(b)
Common Name : Dwarf Crested Iris (Iris cristata )

Appearance and Habitat:  This is a small iris, its clusters of narrow, pointed leaves ranging in height from only 4-16 in. The  sepals of the its blue-violet flowers are distinctly marked with a central yellow or white, purple striped band. Crested ridges called beards occur along the band. One (occasionally 2) violet-blue flower with 6 spreading, petal-like parts, atop a short slender stalk. This is a low iris of southern and midwestern wooded uplands. Dwarf Iris (I. verna) has non-crested sepals,  narrower leaves less than 1/2 (1.5 cm) wide, and occurs in peaty soil and pine barrens from New York south to Florida, west to Arkansas, and northeast to Missouri, Kentucky, and Ohio. (1) Rich woods, wooded bottoms and ravines and usually on calcareous soil (CaCO3).  A perennial growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is in flower from May to June. (2)
Warning: same as Blue Flag (3)
Edible Uses: Root – used as a spice. Frequently chewed by local people to alleviate thirst. When first chewed the roots have a pleasant sweet taste, within a few minutes this changes to a burning sensation far more pungent than capsicums. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. ( 4)
Medicinal Uses: An ointment made from the roots is applied to cancerous ulcers. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of hepatitis. (5)
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#90 (c)
Common Name: Yellow Flag, Pale Yellow Iris (Iris Pseudacorus )
Appearance and Habitat: Europe including Britain from Norway south and east to N. Africa the Caucasus and W. Asia.  Damp marshy areas, swampy woods,  shallow water, or wet ground on the edges of rivers and ditches. A perennial growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 2 m (6ft). It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to July.
Warnings: The leaves and especially the rhizomes of this species contain an irritating resinous substance called irisin.  If ingested this can cause severe gastric disturbances.
Edible Uses: The seed is said to make an excellent coffee substitute as long as it is well roasted. Caution is advised, it might be poisonous
Medicinal Uses: The fresh root is astringent, cathartic, emetic, emmenagogue and odontalgic. A slice of the root held against an aching tooth is said to bring immediate relief. It was at one time widely used as a powerful cathartic but is seldom used nowadays because of its extremely acrid nature. It can also cause violent vomiting and diarrhoea. When dried the root loses its acridity and then only acts as an astringent
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90(d)
Common Name: Purple Flag, Bearded Iris (Iris germanica )
Appearance and Habitat: A perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1.5 m (5ft). It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June.
Warnings: The leaves and especially the rhizomes of this species contain an irritating resinous substance called irisin.  If ingested this can cause severe gastric disturbances.
Edible Uses: The root is dried and used as a flavouring
Medicinal Uses: The root is diuretic, emetic, expectorant and mildly purgative. Another report says that the juice of the fresh root is a strong purge of great efficiency in the treatment of dropsy. In the past, sections of the dried root have been given to teething babies to chew on, though this has been discontinued for hygienic reasons. Roots of plants 2 – 3 years old are dug up after flowering and are then dried for later use.
 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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