Tag Archives: Perennial

Earthyman’s video of Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) at Ion Exchange, Inc., in Northeast Iowa

Earthyman views the best butterfly plant at Ion Exchange, native seed and plant nursery in NE Iowa. Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) will attract butterflies to your prairie perennial garden. Blazingstar is a perennial prairie wildflower

To Purchase This Native Wildflower Please Visit Out Website at http://ionxchange.com/products/LIATRIS-LIGULISTYLIS-%7C-Meadow-Blazingstar.html

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ECHINACEA PURPUREA | Purple Coneflower

ECHINACEA PURPUREA | Purple Coneflower

Product Description
“Purple Coneflower, Black Samson, Red Sunflower”

Echinacea from the Greek word for “sea urchin” or “hedgehog” referring to the spiny chaff at the center of these flowers. Purpurea also from the Greek for the word meaning “purple”.

Favors open prairies and dry open woods of the Tallgrass region and blooms from May to October. Grows to two to three feet in height with pale purple to purple flowers.
Sun Exposure: Prairie, Savanna
Soil Moisture: Wet Mesic, Mesic, Dry Mesic
Bloom Time: Summer, Fall (July, August, September)
Bloom Color: Purple
Max Height: 4 feet
Wetland Code: UPL
Germ Code: A
Seeds Per Packet: 300
Seeds Per Ounce: 6,600

Edible Uses: Unknown

Medicinal Uses: Echinacea is considered to be the most effective detoxicant in Western herbal medicine for the circulatory, lymphatic and respiratory system. Its use has also been adopted by Ayurvedic medicine. Plants in this genus were probably the most frequently used of N. American Indian herbal remedies. They had a very wide range of applications and many of these uses have been confirmed by modern science. This species is the most easily cultivated of the genus and so has been more generally adopted for its medicinal uses. The plant has a general stimulatory effect on the immune system and is widely used in modern herbal treatments. In Germany over 200 pharmaceutical preparations are made from Echinacea. There has been some doubt over the ability of the body to absorb the medicinally active ingredients orally (intravenous injections being considered the only effective way to administer the plant), but recent research has demonstrated significant absorption from orally administered applications. The roots and the whole plant are considered particularly beneficial in the treatment of sores, wounds, burns etc, possessing cortisone-like and antibacterial activity. The plant was used by N. American Indians as a universal application to treat the bites and stings of all types of insects. An infusion of the plant was also used to treat snakebite. The root is adaptogen, alterative, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, sialagogue. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Herbal Uses: Unknown

To Purchase This Native Wildflower Click on Ion Exchange, Inc., Link Below

http://ionxchange.com/products/ECHINACEA-PURPUREA-%7C-Purple-Coneflower.html

 

Skullcap: A Summer For Rabies Article

Over time little known plants were often targeted as miraculous cures for one thing or another. Skullcap is one of them. For some time it was publicized as the only cure for rabies, rabies in people, of course, not in animals.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2030/

It went by the name of maddog weed when I was small, and it seemed that every summer a new supply of its miracle cure was hastily made to insure the well being of those who might have come in contact with rabid animals. There was a time that I was so young I can barely remember, when a rabies scare turned normal parents upside down. When I think of it, I call it the summer for rabies. I remember only bits and pieces of that summer since I was not quite 5, but it was not a happy time. My dog Pepper, who was approximately my age, had her first litter of puppies. I only remember naming one of them Sandy and it was to be a pet for my uncle and his new wife. There were not many dogs in my life at that time, only Pepper, and she was a beautiful mixed breed of something or other. Long white hair that glistened and a personality that could easily win the coldest heart, that was my Pepper.

Word got around that a rabid raccoon had come close to homes where children were playing in the yard; then we heard that squirrels, opossums, rabbits, and finally my Uncle Dock’s beautiful collie, Shep, had to be put down because of the dreaded rabies.  When that happened, dogs were put on a makeshift chain and contained within a fenced area, or they were put in an inside area where no other animals could get to them.  Pepper was given living quarters in a toolroom just off the back porch.  I breathed a sigh of relief because she was safe.  Image

Publicized as a cure for rabies, Scutellaria lateriflora caused a stir during the mid 18th century. One doctor announced at the time that he had successfully treated hundreds of cases with it. His claims for skullcap were finally discredited, but not before earning the plant more common names referring to its association with rabies: madweed and mad dog weed. It grows in moist woods and swampy areas, and as a native North American plant, can be found across the country. It is a perennial with an erect, smooth branching stem that grows to 3 feet. Broadly lance shaped, toothed leaves grow in opposite pairs. Small tubular blue, pinkish, violet or white flowers bloom in July and August. The blooms have two lips, the upper one is hooded.

The name of the plant, skullcap, refers to the shape of the flower, which resembles a helmet with the visor raised. Skullcap was the word for a type of military helmet that was familiar to earlier colonists. The Indian tribes used it as a sedative, and there were at one time claims for it’s effectiveness as a “nervine” or tranquilizer. It has achieved a reputation as a sedative and antispasmodic, properties that may account for its sometimes being effective in alleviating the symptoms of rabies. For years herbalists have acclaimed the plant as an excellent “nervine”, and have prescribed it for a gamut of so called nervous disorders from mild anxiety to epilepsy. That achieved some controversy, but less controversial is the calming effect of the tea made from the whole plant.

Skullcap contains scutellarin a flavonoid with sedative and antispasmodic properties. This was probably the active ingredient in the skullcap extract used in 19th century medicine. It is still used in modern herbal medicine for the prevention of epileptic seizures, insomnia, hysteria, anxiety and withdrawal from barbituates. It is currently an alternative herbal medicine to treat HDD. More cautious pharmacological opinion concedes as possible the validity of skullcap’s use as a sedative, but only on the basis of animal tests. It is one of those plants that should not be used as a home remedy in any instance, the plant has some effect on the nervous system, and as such should be considered too dangerous to be used in any way without the attention of trained medical personnel.

The summer for rabies is only a dim, distant memory, and not a very pleasant one at that. Dogs and cats were being put down for no reason other than folks had no place to keep them contained. Somehow I lost the puppy, Sandy, perhaps as a precaution, but my Pepper dog was spared at a time when many animals were not.  People were worried, and children were not allowed to roam freely that year.  And bottles of skullcap infusion lined many kitchen cabinets.  Image

That’s the way of things sometimes, we have to survive a scare to make us more aware, more cautious. It has always bothered me that so many animals were wiped out simply as a precaution. But there again, veterinarians were unheard of in the mountains, and fathers simply did what they had to do to protect their families.

http://ionxchange.com/

Planting Native Wildflowers Spring Bloomers Acorus calamus Sweet Flag

Acorus calamus Sweet Flag

Sun Exposure Prairie
Soil Moisture Wet, Wet Mesic
Bloom Time Spring, Early Summer
May, June July
Bloom Color Green
Height 2 feet
Wetland Code OBL
Germ Code C(60)
Seeds Per Packet 300
Seeds Per Ounce 6,600

 

Native Americans chewed the root or made a tea from the dried root for treating gas, stomachaches, indigestion, heartburn, fevers, colds, and coughs; anti-spasmodic, anti-conversant,  central nervous system depressant; in India it has been used for many years as an aphrodisiac. They also chewed the root to stave off thirst and as a stimulant on long journeys.

German studies showed the controlled dosages of the root helped lower serum cholesterol levels in rabbits.

In Appalachia, freshly cut leaves are still used as an insecticide.

The inner portions of the tender young shoots make a very tasty Spring salad. The Pennsylvania Dutch used the root to flavor pickles and the powdered root has been used to make cachets and scent perfumes.

 

Edible Uses:
The rhizome is candied and made into a sweetmeat. It can be peeled and washed to remove the bitterness and then eaten raw like a fruit. It makes a palatable vegetable when roasted and can also be used as a flavouring. Rich in starch, the root contains about 1% of an essential oil that is used as a food flavouring. The root also contains a bitter glycoside. Some caution is advised, see the notes on toxicity.

The dried and powdered rhizome has a spicy flavour and is used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

The young and tender inflorescence is often eaten by children for its sweetness. Young leaves – cooked. The fresh leaves contain 0.078% oxalic acid. The leaves can be used to flavour custards in the same way as vanilla pods.

The inner portion of young stems is eaten raw. It makes a very palatable salad.

Medicinal Uses:
Sweet flag has a very long history of medicinal use in many herbal traditions. It is widely employed in modern herbal medicine as an aromatic stimulant and mild tonic. In Ayurveda it is highly valued as a rejuvenator for the brain and nervous system and as a remedy for digestive disorders. However, some care should be taken in its use since some forms of the plant might be carcinogenic – see the notes on toxicity for more information.

The root is anodyne, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hallucinogenic, hypotensive, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, mildly tonic and vermifuge. It is used internally in the treatment of digestive complaints, bronchitis, sinusitis etc. It is said to have wonderfully tonic powers of stimulating and normalizing the appetite. In small doses it reduces stomach acidity whilst larger doses increase stomach secretions and it is, therefore, recommended in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. However if the dose is too large it will cause nausea and vomiting.

Sweet flag is also used externally to treat skin eruptions, rheumatic pains and neuralgia. An infusion of the root can bring about an abortion whilst chewing the root alleviates toothache. It is a folk remedy for arthritis, cancer, convulsions, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, epilepsy etc. Chewing the root is said to kill the taste for tobacco.

Roots 2 – 3 years old are used since older roots tend to become tough and hollow. They are harvested in late autumn or early spring and are dried for later use. The dry root loses 70% of its weight, but has an improved smell and taste. It does, however, deteriorate if stored for too long.

Caution is advised on the use of this root, especially in the form of the distilled essential oil, since large doses can cause mild hallucinations. See also the notes above on toxicity.

A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. It is used in the treatment of flatulence, dyspepsia, anorexia and disorders of the gall bladder.

Warning! – Some species are thought to contain the carcinogen beta-asarone. Vapors from the roots do repel some insects. The root, when candied, was a long-time pioneer confection. It was boiled all day long, cut into small pieces, and then boiled again for a few more minutes in thick maple syrup. This “candy” was used most often used to aid digestion, but also used to serve as a tonic and physic.

Sweet Flag