Heart & Soul Apothecary Blog — plant identification

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Does Your Garden Grow Wild - The Eastern Daisy Fleabane

Does Your Garden Grow Wild - The Eastern Daisy Fleabane 0

If you have been anywhere this spring in the Hudson Valley, you will have noticed we have had lots and lots of rain, much to the happiness of the reservoirs! Summer heat will surely be upon us sooner than we can yell out Uncle, but until the meantime, many of us are experiencing an abundance of growth in our yards and gardens. 

Personally my gardens are so overgrown, I am almost not sure what to do. I definitely need assistance, it's too big of a job just for me at this point. I even imagined while trying to walk through it this morning, that perhaps I should rent a rototiller and simply till the entire yard! 

Happy to say though, while walking around the raised vegetable garden, that the garlic, onions and rhubarb all held out from last years weed pulling from a young fellow who attempted to assist me despite being told which plants were weeds and to pull.

Even my organic Adirondack Blue Potato Plants are doing fabulous!

Organic Adirondack Blue Potato Plants

This leads to today's subject on identifying what's in your yard. What plants can be used for teas and salves that are right under your nose and feet?

For the next few months, I aim to share a few common plants that live right underneath our feet that can be used for your medicinal and magical uses.

Let's start with Eastern Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus). It's a member of the Asteraceae (Aster) family of flowers. These flowers have fringed white (sometimes lightly pink) petals and are roughly less than an inch across with a lovely yellow center. With the exception of the shape of the leaf, it's easily understandable someone might think these look like wild chamomile or even feverfew.

Most people would simply pull these as weeds, but do note to definitely use gloves since some people can get contact dermatitis from handling the plants from their stems which are a bit hairy.

Native Americans have long used this plant, mostly it's leaves and flowers as they have most active medicinal components, but the entire plant can be used.

Collect the flowers and leaves when it's in bloom for best results in making a water or alcohol tincture. 

"An alcohol and water tincture extracts the medicinal phytochemical compounds better than a tea, which loses the oil soluble compounds that are the most active." (*See below)

Several studies find very promising uses for this simple 'weed' in your garden. 

In Folk Medicine and Native American Medicine: Fleabane has been used for urinary problems such as painful urination, and inflammation of the urethritis with scalding urine. Fleabane has also been used for renal or vesical pain; urinary stones, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea with back pain and blood clots. Fleabane is used as an astringent, diuretic, spasmolytic and emmenagogue. It also has a history of relieving gout symptoms.

For tea, only the flowers and leaves are used. - Collect (while wearing gloves) then let dry on a baking sheet - or bake for 2 hours in an oven at 175 F degrees. Then store in a container with tight lid.  

Magical Uses: "Fleabane has been used since the Ancient times to protect people from evil spells and to exorcise demons. Use Fleabane in sachets and hang it around the house to prevent evil of all forms from entering. Also use it to strengthen any healing or exorcism rituals/spells." (*Copyright © 2012 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Well that's good to note, I'd recommend adding a little sea salt to your sachets though and place them in the corners of your homes for extra protection too.

Insect Repellent: Contrary to it's name, it does not keep away the fleas per se, but does discourage other pests such as mites, mosquitos, and ticks. Plus are a delight to our humming birds, butterflies and bees and can be hosts for butterflies to lay their eggs.

Warnings: Pregnancy: - Do not use any form of eastern daisy fleabane while pregnant.

Here are additional resources to learn more about this most interesting yet useful 'weed' in your garden:

1) * http://thenatpath.com/williamson/herb-of-the-day-eastern-daisy-fleabane/

2) http://www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org/pages/plants/annualfleabane.html

3) For more information on magical uses this is an interesting article I found: http://www.alchemy-works.com/erigeron.html

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to heal or cure any disease.