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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. ) 
# 91
Common Name: Red Root, Buck Brush, Mountain Lilac, Jersey Tea, California Lilac, Snowbush, New Jersey Tea 
Latin Name: Ceanothus americanus,  C.cuneatus, C. fendleri, C. greggii, C. herbaceus, C. integerrimus, C. martinii, C. saguineus, C. spinosus, C. velutinus
Family: Rhamnaceae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CEANO main index all of the lower 48 States, in Canada – British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CEAM all states east of the Mississippi R. and along the west bank, plus Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Ontario, and Quebec. (Ceanothus americanus)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CEGR California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas (Ceanothus greggi)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CEHE all states between the Mississippi R. and the Rocky Mountains, plus Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts; In Canada – Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba. (Ceanothus herbaceus)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CEIN3 New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington. (Ceanothus ingerrimus)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CEMA2 Nevada, Arizona, Utah,  Colorado, Wyoming (Ceanothus martinii)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CESA Michigan, California, S. Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia (Ceanothus sanguineus)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CESP California (Ceanothus spinosus)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CEVE all Rocky Mountain states west to the Pacific Ocean, except Arizona and New Mexico, In Canada – British Columbia and Alberta. (Ceanothus velutinus)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CECU California and Oregon (Ceanothus cuneatus)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CEFE Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado,  Wyoming, S. Dakota, Texas (Ceanothus fendleri)
Photo: (click on latin name after common name)
#91(a)
Common Name: New Jersey Tea, Red Root ( Ceanothus americanus)
Appearance and Habitat: New Jersey-tea is a low, upright, deciduous shrub  that grows to only 3 ft. tall. Pubescent leaves give the entire plant a grayish cast. Small white flowers occur in 2 in., branch-tip clusters. A low shrub with tiny white flowers in oval  clusters rising from the leaf axils on the new shoots. The base is woody, while the upper portion of the plant is made up of herbaceous,  spreading branches. Fall color is insignificant. The dried leaves of this nitrogen-fixing shrub make an excellent tea that was very popular during the Revolutionary War period. Smaller Red-root (C. ovatus), with flowers in a globose cluster and narrower leaves, ranges from Manitoba and western Quebec to western Maine, south to western Georgia, west to Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas. Small-leaved Red-root (C. microphyllus), has tiny leaves, less than 1/2 (1.3 cm) long, and occurs in sandy pine or oak woods in the South. (1)  Dry woods and  on gravelly banls, often on sandstone or limestone bluffs in Eastern N.  America – Maine to Florida, west to Oklahoma and Minnesota.   A deciduous shrub  growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.  It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. (2)
Warnings: None. (3)
Edible Uses: A refreshing and stimulating tea is made from the dried leaves, it is a good substitute for china tea though it does not contain caffeine.The leaves are gathered when the plant is in full bloom and are dried in the shade. (4)
Medicinal Uses: The roots and root bark of New Jersey tea was used extensively by the North American Indians to treat fevers and problems of the mucous membranes such as catarrh and sore throats. Current day usage of the roots concentrates on their astringent, expectorant and antispasmodic actions and they are employed in the treatment of complaints such as asthma, bronchitis and coughs. The roots and root-bark are antispasmodic, antisyphilitic, strongly astringent (they contain 8% tannin), expectorant, haemostatic and sedative. They have a stimulatory effect on the lymphatic system, whilst an alkaloid in the roots is mildly hypotensive. The plant is used internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints including asthma and whooping cough, dysentery, sore throats, tonsillitis, haemorrhoids etc. A decoction of the bark is used as a skin wash for cancer and venereal sores. The powdered bark has been used to dust the sores. The roots are unearthed and partially harvested in the autumn or spring when their red colour is at its deepest. They are dried for later use. (5)
Other Uses: The flowers are rich in saponins, when crushed and mixed with water they produce an excellent lather which is an effective and gentle soap. They can be used as a body wash (simply rub the wet blossoms over the body) or to clean clothes. The flowers were much used by the North American Indians as a body wash, especially by the women in preparation for marriage, and they leave the skin smelling fragrantly of the flowers. (6)
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#91(b)
Common Name: Jersey Tea, Priarie Redroot,( Ceanothus herbaceus )
Appearance and Habitat: This species grows 2-3 ft. tall with a thick rootstock and dense foliage. Leaves as much as 2 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, may be as small as 1 inch by 1/4 inch, with prominent, yellowish veins on the lower side. Margins finely serrate. Less woody than C. americanus, with narrow, glossier leaves and shorter flower clusters. Flowers small, white, in dense, rounded clusters 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide, at the ends of leafy twigs, opening from March to July. Fruit  a rounded, dark brown, 3 lobed capsule, about 3/16 inch in diameter, with a saucerlike support. Fall color is insignificant.  This genus can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.  (1)  Sandy or rocky plains, prairies and slopes in Eastern and Central N. America – western Maine and Quebec to Manitoba, south to Texas.   A deciduous shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).  It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower from Jun to July. (2)
Warnings: None (3)
Edible Uses: The young leaves and flowers are steeped in boiling water for about 5 minutes. The resulting liquid is yellowish in colour and tastes similar to Oriental tea but is considered milder and sweeter. (4)
Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the roots has been used as a cough remedy. (5)
Other  Uses: All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. (6)
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#91(c)
Common Name: Buckbrush ( Ceanothus cuneatus )
Appearance and Habitat: Buckbrush is a member of the buckthorn family (family Rhamnaceae) which includes shrubs, woody vines, and small to large trees, rarely herbs, often spiny. About 700 species worldwide; 15 native  and 3 naturalized tree, about 50 shrub, and 1 woody vine  species in North America. Leaves: mostly   alternate, also opposite; simple; often with 3 or more veins from base; usually with tiny stipules. (1) Dry slopes below 1800 meters in California.  South-western N. America Oregon to California and Mexico.   An evergreen shrub  growing to 1.8 m (6ft) at a fast rate.  It is hardy to zone 7. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. (2)
Warnings: None (3)
Edible Uses: Seed. No more details are given. The leaves and flowers make an excellent tea when steeped in boiling water for about 5 minutes. (4)
Medicinal Uses: Astringent, digestive, pectoral, tonic. A liver tonic.  (5)
Other Uses:  All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc[K] The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins. (6)
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#91(d)
Common Name: Deer Brush ( Ceanothus ingerrimus)Appearance and Habitat: A loosely branched, 3-10 ft.  shrub  with showy flowers; glossy, light-green, semi-deciduous leaves; and yellowish branches. Flower clusters are up to 6 in. long and are made up of small white to dark blue or pink flowers. An openly branched shrub with thin leaves, gray  bark, and tiny, white or pale blue flowers in conical clusters at ends of flexible twigs. In the spring Deer Brush covers hillsides with a mixture of white and pale blue and fills the air with its sweet, spicy honey scent. (1) Dry slopes and ridges in pine and mixed evergreen forests, 300 – 2000 meters in Western N. America – Washington to California.  A deciduous shrub  growing to 4 m (13ft 1in).  It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. (2)
Warnings: None. (3)
Edible Uses: Seed – raw or cooked. Used as piñole. (4)
Medicinal Uses: The plant has been used by some native North American Indian tribes to treat women who have suffered injury in childbirth. (5)
Other Uses:  All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins. (6)Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CEIN3
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#91(e)
Common Name: Oregon Teatree, Redstem Ceanothus, Wild Lilac (Ceanothus sanguineus )
Appearance and Habitat: An ornamental, 3-10 ft. shrub  with purplish or reddish, flexible, shiny twigs. Leaves are thin and round. White-flowered clusters, up to 4 in. long, occur on peduncles almost as long from wood of the previous season. (1) Dry rocky crests, bluffs and borders of woods in Western N. America – British Columbia to California.   A deciduous shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in). It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower from May to June. (2)
Warnings: None. (3)
Edible Uses: A tea is made from the leaves (4)
Medicinal Uses: A poultice of the dried, powdered bark has been applied to burns, sores and wounds. (5)
Other Uses: All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins. (6)Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CESA
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#91(f)
Common Name: Snowbrush, Tobacco-brush, Mountain Balm, Sticky Laurel   (Ceanothus velutinus )
Native American Names: “Moon-num Moon-num” Warm Springs Inidan Tribe, “Datzip” Shoshone. (1)
Appearance and Habitat:  The clusters of fragrant, creamy-white flowers contrast well with the dark, balsam-scented, sticky foliage of this 3-5 ft. broadleaf evergreen  shrub. Snowbrush’s stems are stout and much-branched, lending a spreading, round-topped habit. The entire plant is pleasantly aromatic. (2) Moist soils of hills and mountains to 2,600 meters.  It often occres in draws and on the open face of hills, becoming rapidly established on burnt-over mountain slopes.  Western N. America – British Columbia to Colorado and California.  An evergreen shrubgrowing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in). It is hardy to zone 5. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to July. (3)
Warnings: None (4)
Edible Uses: The leaves are used as a tea substitute. (5)  In Fallon,  Nevada, the tea is called Sheep-herder tea or “Datzip”. (6)
Medicinal Uses: The leaves are febrifuge. An infusion has been used in the treatment of coughs and fevers. A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used both internally and externally in the treatment of dull pains, rheumatism etc. The leaves contain saponins and have been used as a skin wash that is also deodorant and can destroy some parasites. The wash is beneficial in treating sores, eczema, nappy rash etc. (7)
Other Uses: A poultice of the dried powdered leaves has been used as a baby powder for treating nappy rash etc. Smoke from burning the plant has been used as an insecticide to kill bedbugs. All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins. ( 8 )   Any buckthorns make a delightfully fragrant soapsuds. (9)
Foot Notes: (1, 6. 9) Indian Uses of Native Plants by Edith Murphey, pages 40, 57, Publisher: Myersbooks, copyright 1990, ISBN 0-916638-15-4
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#91(g)
Common Name: Fendler’s Ceanothus (Ceanothus fendleri )
Appearance and Habitat: Fendler’s buckbrush or Fendler ceanothus is a thorny shrub,  seldom over 3 ft. tall, with bluish-gray, smooth, thorn-tipped branches. Habit varies from upright and refined to low and sprawling. The evergreen  plant is covered with small clusters of white flowers for 1-2 weeks in late spring to mid-summer. (1)  most situations other than deserts, but especially in pine forests in the southern Rockies, 1500 – 3000 meters.  Western N. America – S. Dakota to Wyoming and Utah, south to Mexico.  A deciduous shurb growing to 2 m (6ft 7in) at a fast rate.  It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. (2)
Warnings: None. (3)
Edible Uses:  Fruit. Used for food in New Mexico. The berries are sweetened with sugar and used as food. The fruit is about 5mm wide. Strips of the inner bark can be eaten in the summer. The leaves are used as a substitute for tea. (4)
Medicinal Uses: The plant is sedative. An infusion has been used to treat nervousness and a poultice of the plants also used for this purpose. The leaves have been chewed to treat a sore mouth. (5)
Other Uses:  All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins. (6)
Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
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(Now, Michael Moore, who covers all western species including ( Ceanothus spinosus ), ( Ceanothus martinii ) and ( Ceanothus greggi) (these links are photos.)
Appearance and Habitat:  Although widely distributed several characteristics are universal.  The small seed pods resemble a horned acorn and are three lobed.  They also tend to be darkly shaded on the side facing the sun, almost  as if spray painted.  The small flowers are borne on little puffs at the end of the straight stems, which stand out from the branches at sharp, nearly right angles.  The more common types have white or cream colored flowers, however those along the California coast can have lilac, pink, or purple flowers.  The more common types also have small dark green or olive colored leaves or, sparsely leaved or  leafless branchlets that double as blunt thorns ( C. cuneatus C. greggii, C. fendleri,). The first two appear as small shrubs growing from 2 to 5 feet in height and the latter a scruffy ground cover to small shrublet up to 3 feet high.  The  five pointed flowers form fragrant clusters, and if rubbed in water will make a soapy foam.  C. velutinus is a more substantial plant that grows in the north and has large sticky-shiny dark green fragrant leaves and flower clusters that are round and almost shockingly white (hence the name “snow bush”.  C.  herbaceus, sometimes called grub root, more closely resembles the New Jersey tea (C. americanus) of the eastern United States, and grows to the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.  It is a spineless shrublet, with strong veined leaves, fragant clusters of white flowers and long thick reddish roots.  The roots of C. cuneatus, C. greggii, and C. herbaceus have a scent of wintergreen and the others do too, occasionally.  In the west it can be found along the coastal ranges and further inland from  5,000 -10,000 feet. 
Medicinal Uses: A lymphatic remedy.  Collect the roots in the late fall when their color is darkest.  The plants are tough, the roots especially so.  The root bark and inner pith should have a reddish-brown or reddish-purple color, if so it is usable.  Split the roots using wire cutters or sharp clippers while they are still fresh and dry them in a paper bag.   Useful for  tonsil inflammations, sore throats, enlarged lymph nodes, and to shrink non-fibrous cysts.  This includes shrinking breast cysts.  For adults, boil two tablespoons of the root for  20 minutes in a quart of water and refrigerate, drink a third of a quart an hour before each meal.  A few days of this regimen will reduce lymph nodes that remain swollen after the infection has subsided, this can also be used for an enlarged spleen during mononucleosis or  hepatitis recovery.  As a tincture, it will diminish the tendency for  red blood cells to clump together, a condition known as  rouleau.  Another way to describe it is having sticky viscous blood with adhering constituents and diminished surface tension.   Redroot helps red blood cells and inner vessel linings repel each other.  The blood doesn’t change chemistry it changes its osmolality and flows better.  This aids the transport across capillary walls of diffuse substances and non protein fractions  of blood that become interstitial fluid and lymph.  For a tincture mix 1 part fresh root to 2 parts alcohol (vodka), and for dried roots use one part root to 5 parts alcohol (50% alcohol) 30 – 90 drops 4 times a day.  It is probably inappropriate to use Redroot in conjunction with medicines that alter blood coagulation.   Headaches and malaise from food reactions or airborne pollen can be helped with Redroot.  It is an excellent remedy for menstrual hemorrhage, nosebleeds, bleeding hemorrhoids, and old ulcers.  It is also extremely useful to help repair capillary ruptures from vomiting  or coughing.  
Medicinal Plants Of the Mountain West  by Michael Moore, 1st Edition, page 140-41, publisher:  Museum of New Mexico Press ; copy right 1979  ISBN 0-89013-104-X

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.