Bear Springs, Sister Ranger District, Oregon

My latest adventure was on the east side of the Cascade Range, close to Sisters.  It is still relatively early in the season, early June, but it seems like this year things are about two weeks ahead due to the drought conditions.  The first cluster of flowers we came upon was

Lonicera ciliosa

Lonicera ciliosa

Locincera ciliosa (Orange honeysuckle).  A beautiful and fairly prolific flower grows primarily in forest, thickets, from sea level to 5500 ft.  A native utilized by several Indian tribes  including the Chehalis, Cowichan, Klallam, Lummi, Skagit, Squaxin, Swinomish and Thompson.  It is primarily a gynecological aid, although different parts are used for contradictory issues, the leaves as a contraceptive  (Chehalis) and the vines stems used to help conceive (Thompson).  The bark and chewed leaves were used for colds (Swinomish) and  sore throats.  Thompson Indians thought the plant acted as an anticonvulsive and used the woody part of the vine internally or as a bath for epilepsy.  They also used the vine pieces under a pillow for insomnia.  Lastly they took the peeled stems in a decoction as a tonic (this was the wording captured by the ethnographer, therefore it might have a different cultural meaning from tribe to tribe or from what we think of a tonic, that which strengthens the body systems).  The Chehalis used an infusion of the crushed leaves as a rinse for the growth of hair.

IMG_3053

Mimulus guttatus

The second plant that was in abundance was Mimulus guttatus (Seep Monkeyflower), used by the Kawaiisu, Shoshoni and Yavapai tribes.  It is found in wet or moist places, throughout western North American, Alaska and North Mexico.  The Kawaiisu used it as a pain reliever, making it into a decoction of stems and leaves in a steam bath.  The Shoshoni crushed the leaves and applied it to wounds or rope burns,  Lastly the Yavapai took it as a decoction for stomach ache.  Physicians historically used it as a poultice, or tea to treat a variety of symptoms ranging from rheumatism to a throat spray for bronchitis.

2276

Clintonia uniflora

Third on the list was Clintonia uniflora (Bride’s Bonnet) used by the Bella Coola, Cowlitz, Haisla & Hanaksiala and lastly the Micmac.  A small little lily it is found in moist and shaded forest through out (http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=clun2, AK, CA, ID, MT, OR, WA), Mostly used externally the whole plant was used as wash for the body, the toasted leaf was poulticed and applied to wounds.  It was used for eye medicine by several tribes for sore eyes. Primarily the plant was either juiced or poulticed (smashed).  The only recorded internal use was from the Micmac, where the juice was taken with water for gravel (urinary calcili).

IMG_3041

Maianthemum racemosum

Next on the list and in great abundance was  Maianthemum racemosum (False Solomon’s Seal).  Used similarly to Solomon Seal, the plant was used my many Indian tribes.  This plant is found in moist shady places throughout most of North America, except for Texas.  It has demulcent properties and was used internally and externally.  The uses are almost too many to list, but some of the more interesting ones include the Iroquois who used it for witchcraft medicine, hunting medicine (fishing), psychological aid (Meskwaki) to bring people back from insanity and cancer treatment (Thompson).  As a demulcent it  forms a soothing film over a mucous membrane, relieving minor pain and inflammation.  As such it is used internally as a tonic in an infusion, or used for sore throats, kidney and as a gastrointestinal aid.  It is one of those plants that has such a wide scope of medicinal uses it is worth delving more into its uses.

images

Lilium washingtoniaum

Another interesting plant that we came across, but I could not find any mention in the literature of its medicinal uses is Lilium washingtoniaum.  It is uncommon according to http://www.pnwflowers.com/flower/lilium-washingtonianum. A beautiful plant that seems to change colors depending upon the soil that it is growing in.

 

Having a colorful delicate flower and quite prolific was the Aquilegia

Aquilegia formosa

Aquilegia formosa

formosa (Crismon Colombine).  The Paiute tribe that did their season round through Central Oregon used the plant for analgesic and antirheumatic uses.  It was considered a panacea plant and used for throat, gastrointestinal, dermatological, cough and colds. All parts of the plant was used.  The leaves were chewed to treat coughs and sore throats, as well as, applied to bee stings. Roots were mashed and massaged into aching joints.  Seeds were chewed for gastrointestinal issues, and a poultice of the leaves were applied externally.

Valerian-Plant

Valeriana sitchensis

The last plant that was sporadically placed was Valeriana sitchensis ( Mountain Valerian).  It is found all over the Oregon Cascade and coastal range.  Valerian has a long history of use for treating insomnia and anxiety.  Primarily used by the Okanagon and Thompson tribes.  It was used as an analgesic, cold remedy, antidiarrheal, and dermatological aid.  The roots were poulticed and applied to cuts, wounds, bruises and inflammation.  In western medicine it was used by physicians as mentioned above for treating insomnia, anxiety as well as, analgesic for aches and pain.  Currently herbalists recognize that for some people valerian can have the exact opposite effect acting as a stimulant.  It has a warm energy and is more specific to individuals that have cold constitutions, although in my case, despite the fact that I have a cold constitution, I find it very stimulating and use skullcap as an alternative sedative herb.

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Toad
    Jun 27, 2014 @ 21:47:48

    Great info. Thanks for id-ing the Clintonia uniflora (Bride’s Bonnet) for me. I saw a bunch of that on my hike last Sunday.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: