Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wildcrafting: White Snakeroot

White Snakeroot 
 (Eupatorium rugosum) 

Native Woodland Wildflower 

Soil Type - Rich wodland
Soil ph - Neutral
Water - Moist
Light - Shade

Height Average: 2 - 5 ft.
Flower Colors:  White 
Time of Bloom: Summer/Fall; July, Aug, Sep &  Oct
Root System: Fibrous, branched roots & tough, knotty rhizomes (horizontal underground stems).


White Snakeroot was the cause of "Milk Sickness" in many parts of the early frontier.  It is thought to have caused more deaths than any other disease of the time. Cows eat the plant, secrete a poison, tremetol, into their milk.  The cattle would develop the sickness called "trembles". Abraham Lincoln's Mother died from "Milk Sickness".  Large numbers of early pioneers died from this disease and, not knowing the cause, blamed it on "cursed land" and would move elsewhere.  The confusion over the cause of "Milk Sickness continued up to the 1900's.
Dr. Anna Pierce Hobbs Bixby is credited with identifying the plant in the 1830s. However, she was unable to determine the precise cause until she was shown the White Snakeroot by a medicine woman of the Shawnee tribe. The Shawnee woman's name is lost to history, but she and her people would have had deep knowledge of the herbs and plants in the area. One of the first wildcrafter's of North America.


Leaves:  Dry into smudge sticks and the smoke from burning can be  used to revive unconscious people.

Roots:  Root tea used for diarrhea, kidney stones, and fever. Root poultice used to treat snakebites.

NOTE: I will add a picture of the flowers once it starts blooming.

No comments:

Post a Comment