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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. ) 
#96
Common Name: Indian Root, Virginia Snakeroot, Arizona Snakeroot
Latin Name: Aristolochia watsonii,  A. serpentaria, A. clematitis, A. macrophylla, A. reticulata, A. tomentosa
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARIST2 main database: all states east of the Mississippi, Iowa to Louisiana, Kansas to Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, plus Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARCL Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts (Artistolochia clematitis)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARMA7 all states east of the MIssissippi R. except New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Mississippi; it is found in Ontario as well.  (Aristolochia macrophylla)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARRE3 Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas (Aristolochia reticulata)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARSE3 all states east of the Mississippi R. except Wisconsin, and states further north than New York and Connecticut,  on the west side of the Mississippi- Iowa to Louisiana, Kansas to Texas (Artistolochia serpentaria)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARTO3 all states east of the Mississippi R. except Virginia to Pennsylvania and New Hampshire north (Aristolochia tomentosa)
 http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ARWA Arizona, New Mexico (Aristolochia watsonii)
Photos: (click on latin name after common name) 
#96(a)
Common Name: Birthwort ( Aristolochia clematitis)
Appearance and Habitat:  Waste ground, gardens, orchards etc. in E. and S.E. Europe naturalized in Britain.  A perennial growing to 0.7 m (2ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is hardy to zone 6. It is in leaf 11-May It is in flower from Jul to September.
Warnings:
The root and stem are poisonous.  The plant contains aristolochic acid, this has received rather mixed reports on its toxicity.  According to one report aristolochic acid stimulates white blood cells activity and speeds the healing of wounds, but is also  carcinogenic and damaging to kidneys.  Another report says that it is too toxic for clinical use.  Another report sas tat aristolochic acid has anti-cancer properties and can be sed in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and that it also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells.
Edible Uses: None
Medicinal Uses: Birthwort has a very long history of medicinal use, though it has been little researched scientifically and is little used by present-day herbalists. It is an aromatic tonic herb that stimulates the uterus, reduces inflammation, controls bacterial infections and promotes healing. The juice from the stems was used to induce childbirth. The plant contains aristolochic acid which, whilst stimulating white blood cell activity and speeding the healing of wounds, is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys. The flowering herb, with or without the root, is abortifacient, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, oxytocic and stimulant. Another report says that the root is used on its own whilst a third says that either the fresh flowering herb or the dried rootstock can be used. The plant should not be used internally without experienced supervision, externally it is used in the treatment of slow-healing cuts, eczema, infected toe and finger nails etc. Use with caution, internal consumption can cause damage to the kidneys and uterine bleeding. It should not be used by pregnant women.
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#96(b)
Common Name: Pipevine (Aristolochia macrophylla)
Appearance and Habitat:
Moist rich woodlands, forests, ofen on dissected uplands and rugged, rocky slopes – Cumberland and Blue Ridge mountains at elevations of 50 to 1300 meters.  Eastern N. America- Pennsylvania to Minnesota, Georgia, Tennessee and Kansas.   It is a climber growingto 7 m (23ft) at a fast rate.  It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October.

Warnings:
(Same as for Aristolochia clematitis)
Edible Uses:
None
Medicinal Uses:

The plant contains the antiseptic and antitumor compound aristolochic acid. A decoction of the root has been used externally to treat ‘swelling of feet and legs’. A compound infusion of stalk chips has been used in the treatment of ‘yellowish urine’.
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#96(c)
Common Name: Texas Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia reticulata )
Appearance and Habitat: Moist woodlands, moist sandy soils at elevations of 30 to 600 meters in Southern N. America – Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.  A perennial growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in). It is in flower from May to July.
Warnings: 
(Same as for Aristolochia clematitis)
Edible Uses: None
Medicinal Uses: The root is aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, stimulant and stomachic. The dried rhizome of Aristolochia reticulata is sometimes sold as serpentary for the treatment of snakebites. It is used as a tonic to calm the stomach, promote urination, and increase perspiration. The active ingredient is aristolochic acid, a potent gastric irritant that, in large doses, can cause respiratory paralysis.
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#96(d)

Common Name:
Virginia Snakeroot  (Artistolochia serpentaria )
Appearance and Habitat: Rich dry woods, usually on calcareous soils in South-eastern N. America – Connecticut to Florida, west to Texas and Ohio.  A perennial growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).  It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from Jun to August.
Warnings:  (Same as for Aristolochia clematitis)
Edible Uses:
None
Medicinal Uses: The Virginia snakeroot is attracting increasing interest for its medicinal virtues and as a result is becoming uncommon in the wild. It merits consideration for cultivation in forest areas. It is used in a number of proprietary medicines for treating skin, circulatory and kidney disorders. The plant contains aristolochic acid which, whilst stimulating white blood cell activity and speeding the healing of wounds, is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The root is antidote, anti-inflammatory, bitter tonic, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant. Traditionally it was chewed in minute doses or used as a weak tea to promote sweating, stimulate the appetite and promote expectoration. The native North Americans considered it to have analgesic properties and used an infusion internally to treat rheumatism, pain – but especially sharp pains in the breast, and as a wash for headaches. This plant should be used with caution, it is irritating in large doses and can cause nausea, griping pains in the bowels etc. It should only be used internally under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The bruised root is placed in hollow teeth for treating toothache. An extract of the root can be drunk to relieve stomach pains. The boiled root, or a decoction of the whole plant, can be used to treat fevers. The chewed root or crushed leaves was applied to snakebites. This species was the most popular snakebite remedy in N. America. It has also been applied externally to slow-healing wounds and in the treatment of pleurisy.
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#96(e)
Common Name: Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia tomentosa )
Appearance and Habitat: Moist woods along rich river banks.  Thickets and woods in sandy and silty soils in South-eastern N. America – North Carolina to Florida, west to Texas, Kansas and Illinois.   A perennial growing to 10 m (32ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.  It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from Jul to August.
Warnings:   (Same as for Aristolochia clematitis)
Edible Uses:
None
Medicinal Uses: This species has medicinal activity that is similar to but weaker than A. serpentaria. – these activities are listed below. The Virginia snakeroot is attracting increasing interest for its medicinal virtues and as a result is becoming uncommon in the wild. It merits consideration for cultivation in forest areas. It is used in a number of proprietary medicines for treating skin, circulatory and kidney disorders. The plant contains aristolochic acid which, whilst stimulating white blood cell activity and speeding the healing of wounds, is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The root is antidote, anti-inflammatory, bitter tonic, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant. Traditionally it was chewed in minute doses or used as a weak tea to promote sweating, stimulate the appetite and promote expectoration. The native North Americans considered it to have analgesic properties and used an infusion internally to treat rheumatism, pain – but especially sharp pains in the breast, and as a wash for headaches. This plant should be used with caution, it is irritating in large doses and can cause nausea, griping pains in the bowels etc. It should only be used internally under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The bruised root is placed in hollow teeth for treating toothache. An extract of the root can be drunk to relieve stomach pains. The boiled root, or a decoction of the whole plant, can be used to treat fevers. The chewed root or crushed leaves was applied to snakebites. This species was the most popular snakebite remedy in N. America. It has also been applied externally to slow-healing wounds and in the treatment of pleurisy.
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#96(f)
Common Name: Indian Root, Arizona Snakeroot ( Aristolochia watsonii)
Appearance and Habitat:  This plant comes from a rather old family normally found in the tropics.  It formed at a time before insects had wings.  It is a trailing vine with alternate arrowhead leaves, form one half inch to one inch long.  The flowers are purple mauve tubes that open with a spotted lower lip.  The flowers mature into air inflated capsules.  The plant usually has a brown/purple type tint.  They are found from 2,000 to 5,000 feet in southern Arizona/New Mexico, and  west Texas, then south to Mexico.  You will find it in dry washes, especially around Mesquite, Ocotillo, Acacia (Cat Claw) and Paloverde.  Walk up the wash towards the foothills covered with Agave, Prickly Pear, or Saguaro.  Look especially at island areas in the wash. 
Medicinal Uses:
It helps the stomach secretions for better digestion at the same time it enables the liver to process amino acids and proteins better.  It stimulates white blood cells into production while increasing arterial blood supply decreasing peripheral constriction and hypertension.  It helps in recovery from long illnesses by helping the liver.  It also stimulates sweating to end a fever state. It is not quite as good as Virginia Snakeroot as a vasodilator and respiratory stimulant but an equal on other areas mentioned.  Both plants can be used as a poultice for snakes bites if you don’t have immediate access to medical facilities.  Indian Snakeroot is best taken as a tincture (preferred), or the dried herb taken in capsules(00 gelcaps), as the tea is quite nasty tasting.  When collecting take the entire plant including the tuberous root.  For a fresh tincture slice the root thinly using 1 part fresh root to 5 parts alcohol (vodka or grain).  If you dry the root before tincturing 1:10 and dry the root in the folded cheesecloth pouch and hang out of the sun to dry.  For the dried plant, ground, take 2-5 00 gelcaps daily and for the foliage only 5- 8  00 gelcaps daily.  A few drops of the tincture before meals will increase appetite, especially in older folks.  With the main ingredient Aristolochic acid small frequent doses are recommended with breaks in between.  Indian Root (30 drops)  and Echinacea (60 drops)combined along with Hollyhock Root (four ounces at 1 : 32 in water at room temperature left for 6 hours) during the first period of an infection and follow up with Alfalfa Tea for recovery. 
Foot Notes:  Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore. publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, Copyright 1989, Pages 59 – 61
(This plant may be very helpful for people who suffer from AIDS, or anyone with a low count of white blood cells.  It could also be used for snake bite in an emergency. )
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# 97
Common Name: Cliffrose, Quinine Bush
Latin Name:  Cowania stansburiana aka Purshia stansburiana, C. mexicana aka Purshia mexicana
Native American Names: Hunabe (Shoshone and Paiute) Bat-nat-san (Washoe) (1)
Family: Rosaceae
Range: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PUST  California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico (Cowania stansburiana )
Photos: (Click on latin name after range)
Appearance and Habitat: Dry rocky slopes and mesas usually between 1050-2400 meters in South-western N. America – Utah to California and Colorado, south to central Mexico.  An evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).  It is hardy to zone 9. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. (2) Quininebush or cliffrose is a freely branched, broad-leaf evergreen shrub growing 4-10 ft., depending on the site.  The tubular flowers are creamy-white, five-petaled and extremely fragrant, eventually producing white, feathery fruits. Its bark is reddish and peeling. Leathery, pinnately compound leaves are green above, woolly-white below.  It is an important browse plant for deer, cattle, and sheep, especially in winter. Native Americans used to make rope, sandals, and clothing from the shreddy bark and arrow shafts from the stems. (3) This is a medium  to tall shrub, with open branches.  It has shredded grey bark on older branches and shiny reddish brown bark on younger branches.  The leaves are little palmate or semi-compound dark green that are crinkly in appearance.  They are also leather-like and appear almost like succulent leaves.  The leaves are eaten by many animals with hoofs.  In May the shrubs burst forth with cream colored blossoms that are 5 petaled like a rose.  When in bloom they are orange scented.  The seeds are plumed as is it’s close relative Apache Plume.  It is quite common in the Great Basin ranging in altitude from 3,500 – 8,000 feet.  From there south into southern Arizona, northern Sonora mountains, and the edges of the Mogollon plateau.  When they are in bloom; follow your nose. (4)  
Warnings: None (5)
Edible Uses: None (6)
Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the green branches, together with sagebrush (Artemisia spp) and juniper (Juniperus spp) has been used as an expectorant and laxative treatment for colds. A decoction of the leaves and flowering stems has been used to treat venereal disease and pains over the kidneys. The leaves have been chewed in the treatment of arthritis. The leaves have been made into a tea for bathing and cleansing the skin. It is an antiseptic wash, used for treating smallpox or measles. (7) Collect the buds and new blooms, remove the green calyx and dry in a cheesecloth pouch.  Also collect the leafing brown branches, bundle them and dry them as well.  The chopped, boiled stems and leaves make a very soothing tea  for suppressing a cough.  This is especially useful during the beginnings of a cold.  Drink the tea slowly, even gargle with it before swallowing.  It will also induce sweating while it softens mucus in the lungs and throat.  The same tea helps with back aches.  The flowers and buds can also be used, but remember to remove the bitter green calyx before drying.  Go light on the amount of  stems, flowers, leaves, and buds in the  tea, or it will be bitter. ( 8 ) For small pox, Disinfect everything in the smoke from the plant, and the patient would drink tea from the plant and wash with it. (9)
Foot Notes: (1, 9) Indian Uses Of Native Plants by Edith Van Allen Murphy, pages 53, 63, Publisher: Meyerbooks, copyright 1990, ISBN 0-916638-15-4
Foot Notes:(4, 8) Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore. publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, Copyright 1989, Page 34
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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