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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. ) 
Common Name: Ratany, White Ratany, Trailing Ratany, Little Leaf Ratany.
Latin Name:
Krameria erecta, K. grayi, K. lanceolata, K. ramosissima
Family: Krameriaceae
California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida. Main database.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=KRER California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Texas. (Krameria erecta)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=KRGR Same states as above. (Krameria grayi)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=KRLA Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkanasas, Texas, Georgia and Florida. (Krameria lanceolata)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=KRRA Texas (Krameria ramosissima)
Photos : (Krameria erecta ) (Krameria grayi ) (Krameria lanceolata) ( Krameria ramosissima)
Appearance and Habitat: A low, grayish, intricately branched, very twiggy shrub with bilaterally symmetrical reddish-lavender flowers. This species is commonly found among creosote bush. Similar species lack glands beneath flowers and have different barb arrangements on prickles of fruit. ( Krameria erecta)(1) White ratany is found in the arid regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It occurs from southern California east to western Texas and from southern Nevada and Utah south to northern Mexico. White ratany is not currently listed as a dominant and/or indicator in published plant association or habitat type classifications. It occursin the understory of ironwood (Olneya tesota), Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia), juniper (Juniperus spp.), and shrub live oak (Quercus turbinella). In the shrub layer white ratany is associated with creosote bush (Larrea spp.), bursage (Ambrosia spp.), and little-leaf paloverde (Cercidium microphyllum). (Krameria grayi)(2) This is not the sandbur of the Grass Family; however, its burs are just as spiny, though densely covered with white hairs. The flowers and short silky leaves grow on prostrate branches, up to 2 feet long, from a thick woody root. The 5 wine-red sepals may be mistaken for the petals, which are smaller and tinged with green, the upper 3 being united. The flowers are about 1 inch broad. Not conspicuous or abundant. One of the common names sandbur comes from the hard, one-seeded, wooly fruit covered with barbless spines.  (Krameria lanceolata)(3)  All Ratany’s are easy to identify when in bloom. The flowers are magenta with 3 regular petals, with 2 of those fused together like sweet pea. The leaves are opposite and narrow and the fruit is barbed burrs. They are semi-parasitic on the roots of other bushes. K. grayii has fuzzy and whitish leaves and grows no taller than 2 feet. They form a bush of crisscross semispined branches when not in bloom. Liking the low desert, it blooms when ever there is enough moisture. K. lanceolota forms vines that may reach 2 feet in length and bloom from April through June. It prefers the higher desert grasslands in the prairies. All Ratany’s usually grows below 5,000 feet and are scare in the Great Basin, Utah and Colorado; but still can be found there. It is fortunate that our Ratany did not become the U.S.P. Kamaria, or it would have been decimated as was Virginia Snakeroot and American Ginseng. In the first half of the 20th Century tons of Ratany roots were harvested in Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. (4)
Medicinal Uses :The root is the strongest, followed by the foliage, but overall Ratany is one of our best astringents and topical hemostat. Collect the root and foliage, split the root and dry it in a cheesecloth pocket hung in the shade, the leaves can be dried in a low cardboard box or on newpaper in the shade. The foliage can be used for tea. To make the tea bring water to boil at 20 part (by weight), to one part dried leaves an boil for 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool. When it has reached body temperature strain out the leaves and add water to make 16 parts. For the dried root tincture, grind the root then use 1 part root to 5 parts 50% vodka, shake daily and wait until the second week to strain, then add 5% glycerin. To treat sore gums, mouth sores or abscesses you can use the tea or tincture alone or with Yerba Mansa or Sumac. The tea or diluted tincture can be gargled to treat an acute sore throat. You can also make a salve to treat hemorrhoids. For the salve mix one ounce of ground root moisten with 2 ounces of grain alcohol or 90% isopropyl alcohol. Let the two sit for half an hour, then add 14 ounces of vegetable oil and blend them together until warm. Now place a cloth inside a colander, with a bowl below, and strain the mix. Near the end of the straining process, pick up the cloth, forming a pocket, and by hand apply pressure to complete the straining. If the alcohol smell bothers you, allow the mixture to sit for 8 to 10 hours while the alcohol evaporates. Next add 3 ounces of bees wax and heat it only enough for the bees wax to melt (double broiler). Mix the two together while molten and pour into a jar that has a lid. As it cools the mixture will harden somewhat. The tea can also be used to decrease internal bleeding, but may cause constipation.
Foot Notes: (1, 2)http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=KRER   http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=KRLA

Foot Notes: (3)http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/kragra/all.html
Foot Notes: (4, 5) Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore, pages 97-99, Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, Copyright 1989, ISBN 0-80913-182-1

Common Name: Mexican Tea
Latin Name:
Chenopodium ambrosioides
Family: Chenopodiaceae
All states except Alaska, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming; In Canada; Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
Photos: Here
Appearance and Habitat: Mainly found on dry wasteland and cultivated ground in Tropical America, naturalized in S. Europe. An annual / perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.7 m (2ft 4in). It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. (Much too wide spread to be only in zone 8, use the map on usda plant database, click on the state, and see what counties it is found in.)
Warnings: The essential oil in the seed and flowering plant is highly toxic. In excess it can cause dizziness, vomiting, convulsions and even death. The plant can also cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions. The leaves and seeds of all members of this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorded by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Saponins are in many foods, such as beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quanitities of them in streams, lakes, etc. in order to stupefy or kill fish. The plant also contains oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some nutrients in food. However, even considering this, they are very nutritious vegetables in reasonalble quantities. Cooking the plant will reduce its content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take expecial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.
Edible Uses: Leaves – cooked. The tender leaves are sometimes used as a potherb. Used as a condiment in soups etc, they are said to reduce flatulence if eaten with beans. The leaves have a rank taste due to the presence of resinous dots and sticky hairs. The raw leaves should only be eaten in small quantities, see the notes above on toxicity. Seed – cooked. The seed is small and fiddly, it should be soaked in water overnight and thoroughly rinsed before it is used in order to remove any saponins. An infusion of the leaves is a tea substitute.
Medicinal Uses : Mexican tea is a Central American herb that has been used for centuries to expel parasitic worms from the body. The whole plant is analgesic, antiasthmatic, carminative, stomachic and vermifuge. An infusion can be used as a digestive remedy, being taken to settle a wide range of problems such colic and stomach pains. Externally, it has been used as a wash for haemorrhoids, as a poultice to detoxify snake bites and other poisons and is thought to have wound-healing properties. Use with caution and preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women. See also the notes above on toxicity. Until fairly recently, this was one of the most commonly used vermifuges, though it has now been largely replaced by synthetic drugs. The seed, or an essential oil expressed from the seed, was used. It is very effective against most parasites, including the amoeba that causes dysentery, but is less effective against tapeworm. Fasting should not precede its use and there have occasionally been cases of poisoning caused by this treatment. The oil is used externally to treat athlete’s foot and insect bites. One report says that it is an essential oil that is utilised. This is obtained from the seed or the flowering stems, it is at its highest concentration in the flowering stems before seed is set, these contain around 0.7% essential oil of which almost 50% is the active vermifuge ascaridol. The essential oil is of similar quality from plants cultivated in warm climates and those in cool climates. The leaves are added in small quantities as a flavouring for various cooked bean dishes because their carminative activity can reduce flatulence.

Common Name: Hollyhock
Latin Name:
Alcea rosea
Family: Malvaceae
All states except Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, S. Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Arizona; In Canada; Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
Photos: Here
Appearance and Habitat: Not known in a truly wild situation. The original habitat is obscure, it is probably of hybrid origin. A garden escape in Britain. A perennial to 2.4 m (7ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in). It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October.(1)   A familiar Garden plant that grows to 6 or 7 feet in height. The flowers come in white, pink, blue and red. In the south it is a biennial and further north a short lived perennial. It is an increasingly urban weed, growing in vacant lots, along curbs, farming areas, and older sections of cities and towns.(2)
Warnings: None(3)
Edible Uses:Young leaves – raw or cooked. A mild flavour, but the texture leaves something to be desired. They have been used as a pot-herb, though they are not particularly palatable. They can also be chopped up finely and added to salads. Inner portion of young stems – raw. Flower petals and flower buds – raw. Added to salads. A nutritious starch is obtained from the root. A refreshing tea is made from the flower petals.(4)
Medicinal Uses :The flowers are demulcent, diuretic and emollient. They are useful in the treatment of chest complaints, and a decoction is used to improve blood circulation, for the treatment of constipation, dysmenorrhoea, haemorrhage etc. The flowers are harvested when they are open and are dried for later use. The shoots are used to ease a difficult labour. The root is astringent and demulcent. It is crushed and applied as a poultice to ulcers. Internally, it is used in the treatment of dysentery. The roots and the flowers are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are said to have a sweet, acrid taste and a neutral potency. They are used in the treatment of inflammations of the kidneys/womb, vaginal/seminal discharge, and the roots on their own are used to treat loss of appetite. The seed is demulcent, diuretic and febrifuge.(5)  Collect the roots in the fall and winter, peel away any sections that are dark and woody. The lighter the root, the better the medicine is that comes from it. You can use a short sided cardboard box to dry the roots in, like the cardboard cartons that come with beer or soda. Collect the leaves in the early spring, before the plant comes into bloom. Dry the leaves is small bundles 1/2 in diameter and remember to alway dry herbs in the shade. Tea works well form either the dried root or leaves. To make the tea use 1 part dried leaves or plant to 32 parts water (by weight). Boil the water, remove from the heat source, add the dried plant and after 8 hours strain the plant out. This tea can be used as much as you want. It is a time honored treatment for intestinal tract infections with vomiting and diarrhea, kidney and urinary tract infections, and as a douche of vaginal inflammations. You can also treat duodenal stomach ulcers with the same tea. The powdered root and leaves make an excellent poultice for skin infections. Mix the powered root or leaves with water, place on the gauze, tape over the wound, and apply hot towels over the top. Replace the hot towels as they cool. You can repeat the process every 4 hours, or as needed, until the infection starts to localize. and is on its way out.(6)
Foot Notes: (1, 3, 4, 5 )http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Alcea+rosea
Foot Notes: (2, 6) Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West by Michael Moore, pages 58-59, Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, Copyright 1989, ISBN 0-80913-182-1

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