antispasmodic, Buck Brush, California Lilac, Ceanothus americanus, Ceanothus cuneatus, Ceanothus fendleri, Ceanothus herbaceus, Ceanothus integerrimus, Ceanothus velutinus, edible Red Root, edible redroot, field medicine, hemostatic, hepatitis recovery, herbal remedies, home remedies, Jersey Tea, medical Red Root, medical redroot, militia supply, Mountain Lilac, Native American food, native american medicine, natural soap, New Jersey Tea, poultice, Red Root, Redroot, shrinking breast cysts, Snowbush, Tea during Revolutionary War, tonsil inflammations, treatment for asthma, treatment for bronchitis
(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
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