A Peterson Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs

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This guide offers the most comprehensive treatment of medicinal plants of western North America ever published. It includes five hundred color photographs, information on where the plants are found and their medicinal uses, and an index to medical topics covering a wide range of ailments. 500 photos.
Table of Contents:
Preface v Acknowledgments xiii How to Use This Book 1 General Organization 1 Identifying Plants 2 Uses 7 Warnings 10 Conservation and Harvesting 10 A Final Word of Caution 13 White or Whitish Flowers 17 Yellow Flowers 96 Orange Flowers 150 Pink to Red Flowers 154 Violet to Blue Flowers 186 Green to Brown Flowers 222 Shrubs 250 Trees 323 Woody Vines 365 Ferns and Fern Allies 371 Grasses and Grasslike Plants 380 Glossary 389 Photo Credits 396 References 398 Life List 404 Index to Plants 415 Index to Medical Topics 433


Excerpts:
Miscellaneous Showy Flowers
BUNCHBERRYLeaves, roots, berries
Cornus canadensis L.Dogwood Family
Low-growing, spreading perennial, 3-8 in., often forming large
colonies. Oval leaves in whorls of 6 beneath showy "flowers"
(bracts); veins arch from leaf base toward tip; margins entire.
Small, greenish white flowers tightly clustered above 4 large, white,
petallike bracts; May-July. Fruit scarlet, single-seeded. Where
found: Moist, cool forests, meadows, bogs. Alaska to Idaho, Mont.
south to N.M., nw. Calif. eastern N. America. Uses: American Indians
toasted the leaves, then sprinkled the powder on sores. Berries were
a snack source, dried and stored for winter; also chewed to treat
insanity. Leaf tea drunk as a strong laxative and to treat paralysis.
The Paiutes mashed and strained the roots and used the liquid as a
wash for sore eyes. Tea of the whole plant was taken for coughs,
fevers, and tuberculosis. Tea from roots, leaves, and berries was
drunk for fits. A root tea was given to babies for colic. Bark tea
drunk for body pains.
ICE-PLANT, SEA FIGLeaves
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.Carpet Weed Family
Multibranched, bumpy-stemmed perennial, spreading along ground; to 24
in. high. Leaves succulent, alternate, flat, ovate to spoon-shaped;
margins wavy. Flowers stalkless in leaf axils, showy, white to red-
tinged, with many stamens and 5 linear petals; Mar.-Oct. Bumpy fruit
opening when moist. Where found: Saline soils near coast, bluffs,
disturbed sites, coastal sage scrub. Along the cen. and s. coast of
Calif. to Ariz.; Baja Calif., Mexico; S. America, Mediterranean.
Alien (SouthAfrica). Uses: Historically, physicians used leaf juice
to soothe inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory or
urinary system; to treat painful or difficult urination and
involuntary urination. In Europe the fresh juice has been used to
treat water retention and painful urination and to soothe lung
inflammation. Related species: M. edule L. (Carpobrotus edulis [L.]
N. E. Br.), or Hottentot Fig, a common escape in California, is used
externally in S. Africa for burns and thrush and internally for
dysentery. Warning: High in oxalates, potentially toxic in high
doses, especially in flower and fruit.
CANADA VIOLETWhole plant
Viola canadensis L.Violet Family
Perennial with short, thick rhizome and slender stolons; to 10 in.
Leaves heart-shaped or oval on long stalks; tips pointed; margins
toothed. Flowers solitary from leaf axils. Petals white above, purple
beneath, yellow-centered; bottom petal dark-lined, spurred; side
petals hairy at base; Apr.-July. Pod splitting into 3 valves. Where
found: Moist to dry woods. Ore. to ne. Wash., Idaho, Utah, Ariz.
Rockies from Mont. to N.M.; eastern N. America. Uses: Native
Americans used a root tea for pains in the bladder region.
Externally, a poultice was used to treat skin abrasions and boils. In
European traditions violet species were listed as soothing and
softening for coughs and colds, urinary tract ailments, and skin
conditions. Warning: Roots of most if not all violet species may
induce vomiting.
Text copyright (c) 2002 by Steven Foster and Christopher Hobbs.
Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.


Christopher Hobbs, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, teacher, and consultant to the dietary supplement industry, has written many books on herbal medicine, including Herbs for Dummies and Dietary Supplements for Dummies.
With more than 40 years of experience in the herbal field, Steven Foster is author, co-author, and photographer of seventeen books. He lives in Eureka Springs Arkansas, in the heart of the medicinal plant-rich Ozarks.


ROGER TORY PETERSON, one of the world's greatest naturalists, received every major award for ornithology, natural science, and conservation as well as numerous honorary degrees, medals, and citations, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Peterson Identification System has been called the greatest invention since binoculars.

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