M Section

Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus rosea
Mahonia, Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt)
Marijuana, Cannabis sativa
Marjoram (Origanum majorana L.)
Marshmallow, Marshmallow root, Mallow, Cheeses (Althaea officinalis (L.)
Mate, Ilex paraguariensis
Mayapple, American mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum (L.)
Meadowsweet, Queen of the Prairie, Filipendula ulmaria, F. rubra
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum L. syn. Carduus marianus)
Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) 
Milkweed, Butterfly Milkweed, pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa L.)
Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum and P. incanum)
Mint,Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.)
Horsemint, Monarda punctata   
Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca L.
Monkshood, Aconitum napellus
Mountain Laurel, Kalmia latifolia
Mulberry (Morus rubra; Morus nigra; Morus alba)
Mullein (Verbascum thapsis L.)
White Mustard, Sinapis alba, Black mustard
Morel mushroom (Morchella esculenta)
Myrr, Commiphora molmol

Mahonia, Oregon Grape

Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt


Notes: I munch on a few Oregon grape berries in the fall of the year while traveling in Washington, British Columbia and Oregon. The sour berries may help alleviate my psoriasis, I hope so because they don't taste so good that I would make them regular food. This is a holly like plant that grows as part of the under story in Northwestern forests.

Uses: (Photo, more)

Food: Berry used to flavor cooked vegetables and meats.

Medicine: Native Americans used berries to stimulate appetite. The bitters is used to treat anorexia. Anti-diarrhea properties for boiled root extract. Cholagogue (liver stimulating), alterative, antiseptic, diuretic, dyspepsia, treat bronchitis, Tincture used on acne, eczema, vaginitis, rheumatism, fever. Topical creams and ointments containing Oregon Grape bark extract are used here and in Europe to treat the symptoms of psoriasis.

Chemistry: Berberine, berbamine, oxyacanthine are all antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Also alkaloids: hydrastine, canadine, corypalmine, mahonine, isocorydine. Tannins and resin.

Caution: hydrastine in large amounts is fatal. Keep out of eyes extremely painful.

Study: A 10 % Mahonia bark extract as well as a placebo skin application was used two or three times a day by psoriasis sufferers. The 82 patients were instructed to apply the Mahonia bark extract to one side of the body and the placebo ointment to the other side of the body. They also wore ointment soaked bandages at night. Sides of the body and ointments were randomly selected. The average length of treatment was four weeks. More than half of the patients and physicians judged the Mahonia ointment ineffective, according to a review in Herbalgram, Number 42. 1998. Six percent of experimental group reported Mahonia bark side effects including itching, burning and allergic reactions. Despite the shortcomings of the Mahonia ointment investigators concluded that Mahonia extract was "a potent and safe therapy of moderately severe cases of psoriasis vulgaris".

-Muller et. al. 1995 , The antipsoriatic Mahonia aquifolium and its active constituents; II. Antiproliferative activity against cell growth of human keratinocytes. Planta Medica, Vol. 61, 74-75.

-Wiesenauer, Ludtke. 1996. Mahomia aquifolium in patients with Psoriasis vulgaris--an intra-individual study. Phytomedicine. Vol. 3, 231-235.


Marijauna, Hemp, Ganja, Reefer, Pot, etc.

Cannabis sativa L.


Food: Illegal condiment rarely used in homemade brownie and cookie mixes to provide "high".   Also, see Psychoactive Plants.

Native American Uses:  Cherokee as a stimulant, improves mental attitude in sick patients, giving them the will to go on and get well.

Medicine:  Mild sedative that appeared to help many a Private First Class (Pfc.) deal with Vietnam war and get a color boost out of his/her music.  Vietnam protesters used the drug for the same reasons. 

End twigs, leaves, seeds and especially the flower heads used.  Anti-emetic effect; anti-nausea; analgesic; bronchial dilator; may quell methacholine induced asthma attacks; psychotropic effects include:  "buzz", euphoria, ("stoned") lost incentive, lost drive, loss of inhibition,  acute sensitivity to stimuli (sensory stimulant)  including increased sensitivity to taste, color, sound, heat and cold, also, the alteration of the spatial and time perception.

May cause either clear (apparent) or confused thinking (at the same time, psychedelic effect).  These effects, after repeated use, may lead to anxiety, paranoia, confusion, unclear thinking.  Empathy may be effected--in a few people it goes to a higher level, in others it is reduced.

Traditionally use to treat gout, malaria, forgetfulness, Beri Beri, constipation, anxiety.  In Europe used externally in balms and as a poultice for wounds, pain, soreness, infections.   Also used to treat insomnia, arthritis, epilepsy, asthma bronchitis, whooping cough.  

Modern medical practice to treat pain and symptoms of cancer, ulcers, emphysema, bronchitis, anxiety, hysteria, neurasthenia.

My mother who suffers from increased inner ocular pressure might benefit from Cannabis.

Marinol (R) a Cannabis derivative is used as an appetite stimulant for anorexia, loss of appetite due to cancer, and as an antiemetic caused by cancer treatment, treatment of AIDS. 

Chemistry:  Cannabinoids to include 1-THC  and 61 other cannabinoids; numerous volatile oils to includeL  humules, caryophyllene, alpha-pinenes,  beta-pinenes, beta-ocimene, limonene, myrcene and numerous flavonoids.

Contraindications:  Do not use in the United States and most other countries due to severe legal penalties. Do not use while driving or operating machinery.  My induce reversible impotency after long and continued use.   Chronic use may cause symptoms similar to chronic cigarette smoking:  bronchitis, laryngitis.   Long term use may make the patient apathetic, anxious (paranoid), depressed.  Rarely, it may produce transient hallucinations.  Like most drugs should be avoided by pregnant and nursing mothers.  Long term studies are ongoing to ascertain the effects of Cannabis and its derivative drugs for medical intervention.


Origanum majorana L.


Food: Italian dishes, sauces, meat, vegetables, salads. This is a must herb in tarter sauce for fish. Also, sprinkle over fish before steaming or grilling.

Medicine: Antispasmodic soothes smooth muscle linings of the digestive tract and uterus. Helpful for gastritis. In-vitro anti herpes chemistry. Use as a substitute for oregano for acute infections colds flu. Helpful for rhinitis (inflammation of nasal mucosus).

Chemistry: Flavonoids: luteolin, apignin, diosmetin and their glycosides: vitexin, orientin, thymonin. Arbutin. Also, rosmaric acid and chlorogenic acid derived from caffeic acid. Polysaccharides and volatile oils. Cis sabinene hydrate (40-50%) and cis-savinene hydrate acetate which through steam distillation trans-locate to alpha terpinenes, gamma terpinenes, terpinols terpinene 4 ol, sabinenes, trans-sabinene hydrate...

Dosage: Infused as a tea one teaspoon dried aerial parts to 250 ml of water off boil. Two to four teaspoons full of fresh herb to cup of water....One to three times a day. Use tea as a mouthwash or external application for washing wounds (antimicrobial).

Safety: No known side effects. Arbutin content makes drug un suitable for long term use. Limit to food doses or therapeutic doses for 6 days or less.

Wildlife/Veterinarian: Insecticide wash for small animals.

Marshmallow, Marshmallow root, Mallow, Cheeses

 Althaea officinalis (L.)


(Also see hollyhocks, malvas)

Description: A common ornamental garden plant with downy heart shaped leaves and pink to white flowers.   The dried root, leaves and flowers have been used in decoction or infusion to treat bronchitis, cough or thousands of years. Sweet, mucilaginous, softening and soothing with expectorant properties. A folk treatment of irritation of the digestive tract, gastric mucosa, asthma. Used externally on burns, inflammations, cuts, insect bites, ulcers, diarrhea, abscesses, constipation.

Uses: Soothes local irritations, stimulates immune system particularly phagocytosis, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic.  Infusion of flowers soothing to inflammations, sores and burns.

Mode of administration and form: In syrup for dry coughs. Leaves in infusion. Ground root in infusion or decoction for internal use. Available dried cut, sifted, powder, in capsules, cut leaves cut or ground roots. Powdered roots used to make soft lozenges for sore throats, coughs. Has been combined with licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra).

Chemisty: Soothing mucilages, polysaccharides to include galacturonic rhamnans, arabans, glucans and arabinogalactans, pectin.  Also, flavonoids, phenolic acids, asparagine, 


Ilex paraguariensis 


Medicine: Leaves are dried, cut and parched.  Infused into water as a stimulating drink.  Drug is approved by Commission E to treat lack of stamina (eregogenic aid).  Also see Ilex vomitoria.

Chemistry:  volatile oils, saponins, flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, caffeine, theobromine.


Mayapple, American mandrake

Podophyllum peltatum (L.)


Description:  Forest dweller, Canopy or umbrella like cleft leaf.  Single white flower tucked under leaf, two leaves typically, on single stout stalk---5 to 7 toted lobes.  Found in rich woods most evident in early spring, showy about the time I'm plucking morels. (photo, more).


Food:  Fruit may be eaten in summer, when soft and ripe.  Difficult to find, as many plants die off in summer, does not always provide abundant fruit...And, you are competing with forest creatures.  Cook fruit or, if dead ripe, eat out of hand.  Use in pies, muffins, waffles, pancakes.

Medicine:  Antimitotic: Plant drug led to the formulation of Etoposide for treating small cell lung cancer and testicular cancer.   Roots and leaves are poisonous.  Handling roots may cause allergic dermatitis.  Himalayan variety (Podophyllum emodi) is most rich in drug podophyllotoxin.  Minute doses of the plant were used by Native Americans to treat a variety of illnesses:  as an emetic (purgative), removing warts, treating verrucae.

Chemistry:  Contains lignans: podophyllotoxin, alpha peltatin, beta peltatin, dioxypodophyllotoxin.

Insecticide:  Plant may be used as an insecticide in your garden.  Carefully blend root in water, strain, filter and add to sprayer (see video Little Medicine).  

Caution:  Avoid using using this plant as a drug without medical supervision.  Drug may be absorbed through skin, allergenic, toxic, anti-mitotic...Said to b used by Native Americans to commit suicide.

Meadowsweet and Queen of the Prairie

Filipendula ulmaria L.; Filipendula rubra (Hill) Robins


Perennial herb to five feet in height.   Woody stem when mature, alternate elongated petioled leaves.  Ovate, pinnate, double toothed.  Leaves have almond like fragrance.  Flowers numerous rays (radiant).  Found in temperate biomes of all northern temperate latitudes.

Medicine:  Aerial parts, especially flowers, collected, dried. Drug is astringent, antimicrobial, antipyretic, anti-ulcer (stomach ulcers).  Tones smooth muscle of gut.  

Commission E approves the use as supportive and adjuvant therapy for coughs, bronchitis, acute infections such as colds and influenza.

The root of Filipendula rubra (Queen of the Prairie) was used by Native Americans to treat heart problems.  Also a love charm, love medicine.

Chemistry:  Flavonoids, tannins, salicyclic acid.

Note:  Druids revered this herb, sacred to them.  These ancient people of northern Europe and possibly northern Spain used Filipendula ulmaria, Mentha aquatica, Verbena officinalis.  All were used as strewing herbs to ward off evil spirits and promote good health.  (Also see Medieval Herbs)

Milk Thistle

Silybum marianum L. syn. Carduus marianus




Food: Seeds may be added to waffles, pancakes, hot cereals.

May be ground and blended into water to make slightly bitter milk-like drink for liver protection. Chop in blender and add to salads. Leaves of spring may be stripped of spines, cooked and eaten or added fresh, raw to salads. Older leaves get too tough to eat without cooking. Root may be peeled boiled and eaten. Flower head like most thistles may be eaten (with some difficulty and small reward) like artichoke.

Medicine: Antioxidant, liver cell regenerator, liver protection. Stimulates bile flow. Appetite stimulate. Tonic. Relaxes digestive spasms. Used internally for liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice...protective to liver toxins such poisoning by Amanita species mushroom. Therapeutic for alcoholic's liver. Used in treatment of drug addiction aftereffects to liver. Boiled and eaten flower heads traditionally used as a tonic. Flower head considered a lactagogue, and anti-depressant for mild depression. Claimed to speed up recovery from side effects of chemotherapy. For another liver protecting herb and a special liver protecting herb formula see .

Commission E approved for treating liver and gallbladder and dyspepsia.

Chemistry: Flavolignin silymarin liver protectant. Polyacetylenes.

Wildlife/Veterinarian: Animals studies show the seed extraction of silymarin (bioflavonoid) to be effective protecting the liver from toxins.


Murray. Healing Power of Herbs, Prima, 1995. Pp250-252 over 30 scientific references.

Meuninck, Herbal preparations and nutritional therapies. One hour video. Media Methods 1999.

Salmi and Sarna: Effect of silymarin on chemical, functional and morphological alteration of the liver. A double-blind controlled study. Scand J Gastoren. 17, 417-421 1982.

Ferenci et al.: Randomized controlled trial of silymarin treatment in patients with cirrhosis of the liver. J. Hepatol 9, 115-113, 1989.



Asclepias syriaca L.

  A. tuberosa L. (next)



Uses: (photo and more information)

Food: Eat young shoots prepared like asparagus before milky. Flower buds may be prepared like cooked broccoli harvest before they open. Seed pods are prepared as follows: Boil water, pour over seed pods, let water and pods steep for five minutes, then pour off water, and put a second boil of water over once steeped pods. Let cool to eating temperature. Many people use three water baths over pods, and that is recommended for first encounters. Flowers may be dried and stored for winter use in soups, stews.  Native Americans ground seeds into flour.

Lore: Seed fiber and seed hair was used as life jacket batting;

Flowers are sweet, a potential source of sugar.

Medicine: Preparation of roots for medicine (traditional): pound or split roots to expose flesh for drying. Prepare root in 100 proof vodka 1 part root to 5 parts volume of vodka; i.e. 1/2 ounce of root to 2 1/2 ounces of vodka steep for 14 days or thereabouts; Use 10 to 20 drops three times a day. CAUTION: POTENTIALLY TOXIC USE ONLY UNDER MEDICAL SUPERVISION.

Root decoction has mild cardiac stimulating effect without the toxic effects of digitalis. Be warned this is best practiced with medical supervision.

Special Utility: Latex has been used by my daughter as paper glue; fibrous stems can be made into cordage; pulp of plant may be chopped, shredded, boiled and prepared into paper;

Medicinal Folklore: latex of leaves and stem rubbed on warts; also reported to be used on cancerous tumors; Native American lore suggest that approximately a fistful (cup and half) of milkweed was dried and pounded to a pulp then mixed with three Arisaema (Jack in the Pulpit) rhizomes. The plants were then put in a skin or gourd and infused into water for 20 or 30 minutes. The infusion of the two plants was drunk a cup an hour to induce sterility.

Native American Medicine:  All varieties had uses.   Used to treat wounds (poultice); infusion of r epilepsy; white gum for treating insect stings, bites, envenomations; root infusion for kidney ailments;  dried leaves in infusion for stomach problems; poultice to treat sore breasts; gum rubbed on breasts as lactagogue; plant was used to treat venereal diseases.   

Homeopathic preparations are used for treating many ailments to include edema; dropsy; dysmenorrhea (emmenagogue). Native Americans also used white sap of the plant to treat poison ivy; ringworm and many skin problems. Boiled root used for treating edema worms; congestive heart failure; ringworm; kidney disorders. eclectics used dried and powdered milk weed root in a tea as an asthma remedy and a mild sedative. Root decoction may me emetic; a few people get allergic reactions to milky sap.

Asclepias curassavica L. is used in China to disperse fever (clears heat); improve blood circulation and to control bleeding. Entire plant is dried and decocted as a cardiac tonic; also for tonsillitis, pneumonia; bronchitis, urethritis; externally for wounds; other types of external and internal bleeding. Calotropin inhibits human nasopharyngeal tumors (source did not say whether this effect was in vivo, or in vitro).

Chemistry: Contains a mild cardiac glycoside (cardiac steroids) cardenolide glycosides called alpha asclepiadin and beta asclepiadin; beta sitosterol; seed oil 53% linoleic acid; but just 1% lenolenic acid (essential fatty acids). some nicotine in sprouts as well as asclepiadin, sitosterol amyrin and tannins.

Resin may be collected from leaves and stems. Cut and collect working your way down from the top of the plant. For example, cut leaf stem or stem near top of plant then scrape off white resin; when this wound drys and skins over cut a bit further down; and collect resin; Collected resin will oxidize and dry in a glass or stainless collecting dish. Stir or turn it occasionally for thorough drying. According to Michael Moore the dried gum may be chewed in small portions to treat dry cough, as an expectorant (bitterness stimulates saliva flow, potential sialogogue.

Butterfly milkweed,  

Pleurisy Root

Asclepias tuberosa L.



Medicinal uses: Premier Native American expectorant medicine. Root used in decoction for treating pleurisy; bronchitis, antispasmodic, gastritis, fever, pneumonia, colds, flu (to reduce fever, febrifuge causing perspiration) asthma, also used to treat uterine orders but contraindicated for pregnant women  External use of mashed root or mashed root infusion for snake bites; bruises rheumatism, wounds, ulcers.

Chemistry:  Cardioactive steroids:  frugoside, glucofrugoside, coriglaucigenin.

CAUTION: Never to be used during pregnancy.  High dose of extraction is emetic.

Nature lore: Flowers attract butterflies.


Aconitum napellus L.



Medicine:  Toxic plant, use to be avoided, other safer herbs work in similar ways.   Used in Chinese medicine as a cardiac tonic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory.



Mountain Mint

Pycnanthemum virginianum and P. incanum


Uses: (Photo/more)

Food:  One of my favorite teas.  Corral it in a container in your garden.  Vigorous, invasive plant.  Cool infusion tea with lime juice is excellent.  See cold infusion Herbal Preparations.  Also, use in cooking where you want a distinctive, strong mint scent and flavor.

MEDICINE: For stomach upset, colds, sinus headache, sinusitis, fevers, tonic, stimulant, increases perspiration, relaxant (stomach), colic.

Chemistry:  Volatile oils, triterpenes, phenolic acids, flavonoids.

Preparation: as a tea, cold infused is good, put in quart jar of water and place in sun, or in refrigerator over night. Sun may waste some chemicals.


Mentha piperita L.



Uses: (Photo, more)

Food: Teas, in salads, cold drinks, sauteed vegetables, flavor principle of sub continent Asia and Middle East.

Medicine: Antiseptic, carminative, relieves muscle spasms, warming, increases perspiration. Stimulates bile secretion. Menthol and menthone, volatile oils, antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, cooling, and skin anesthetic (in too high concentration skin irritant and may burn...BE CAREFUL).

Commission E approved for (leaves) dyspepsia, gallbladder and liver problems.  Oil approved for colds, coughs, bronchitis, fevers, mouth and larynx inflammations, infection prevention, dyspepsia, gallbladder and liver problems.

Recent studies in Europe suggest it may be a treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

Antispasmodic effect on digestive system as a tea or food. Used to treat colic cramps and flatulence. May help relieve diarrhea, spastic colon, constipation.

May relieve headaches related to digestive weakness. Diluted oil used for headache, inhalant for respiratory infections (rubbed on chest as Vick's Vaporub).

Essential oil dilute is rubbed on temples for headache and tension relief. Tea for digestive problems. Capsules are used for irritable bowel syndrome (see healthfood store or physician).

Chemistry: Triterpenes, phenolic acids, flavonoids: luteolin and menthoside. mjor volatile oils: menthol, menthone.

Horsemint, Spotted Beebalm

Monarda punctata L.


Found in the dunes area near Lake Michigan and elsewhere in northern latitudes.  Characteristic collars of flowers several on each stem, strongly aromatic, like thyme.  Related to beebalm, horsemint is a stronger tasting cousin.  Fragrant strewing herb, hang it in your kitchen.

Medicine:  Use by Native Americans to treat inflammations, externally for back pain, rheumatism (used in bath and steam bath and sweatlodge)).  Infusion of the plant as a wash to reduce fever.  Cloth soaked in cold infusion used to treat headache. 

Traditionally used to treat dyspepsia, dysmenorrhea.  Uterine stimulant, not to be used during pregnancy.  Tea is strong and limiting, that is, I can only drink it as a weak brew.  Oil for diluted external use and toxic if taken full strength internally.

Chemistry:  Thymol, essential oils, phenolic compounds.


Leonurus cardiaca L.



Uses :  (Photo/more)

Medicine: Considered by many herbalists and Naturopaths as a superior woman's herb. Uterine and circulatory stimulant. Considered hypotensive, antispasmodic, diuretic, laxative, sedative and emmenagogue. Useful for PMS? Leonurine in the plant tones the uterine membrane (membrane regulation). Traditionally indicated for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, urinary cramps and general debilitation (weakness) and to clear toxins from the body Also, for bacterial and fungal infections internally and externally.  Infusion is also used for asthma and heart palpitations. Homeopathic preparations used in menopause. Ancient Greeks used the herb with pregnant women to treat stress and anxiety, but many modern herbals suggest not to use the herb with pregnant women because of its uterus stimulating effects. Chinese use the herb similarly to European traditional uses as a single herb (Simpling) and do not compound it typically with other herbs. (3) (6)(7)

Alexander Levitov MD (Minneapolis, MN.) uses Motherwort and passionflower to lower blood pressure with his patients.

Commission E approved for nervous heart complaints (palpitations).

Preparation: Decoction of herb use in China as uterine stimulant. Decoction aqueous extract is antibacterial. Chinese treat nephritis with aqueous extract (according to Hsu 180 to 240 grams of fresh herb to water as a tea or decoction.)(3). Herb in US and Europe made into a tea.

Seeds are slightly sweet and cooling about 15 grams of seed for beta carotene and essential fatty acids to improve eyes. (3)

Chemistry: Beta-sistosterol, phenolic compounds (tannins) flavones: rutin, pinitol, leonurine, leonuridine, leonurinine, stachydrine (3).


Mountain Laurel

Kalmia latifolia L.


Medicine:  Leaves of this Eastern U.S. shrub are toxic and little used today in any concentration.  Homeopathic preparations are cardiac pain (angina), nerve pain, rheumatic pain, pain of shingles.

Native American infused leaves and applied the tea to open wounds and scratches.  Cherokee rubbed leaves over rheumatic areas of body.  Leaf sap considered a panacea.  Plant was revered as poisonous.

Chemistry:  internal use toxic due to the formation of grayanotoxins.

Mulberry (red, black, white)  

Morus rubra; Morus nigra; Morus alba


Description:  Small to medium sized trees, leaves simple, alternate, toothed, round or slightly elongated, broadest near base.  Flower are green, tiny, clustered on spike (photo).

Uses: See Native American Food and Medicine

Food:  Mulberries come in red, purple, white and black varieties. The darker berries may be of the same species. White berries are Morus alba. Trees may reach 60 feet...Have a broad, rounded crown, but typically caught up in hedge rows where its shape is determined by the competition with other trees and shrubs. Leaves are heart shaped, or lobed, 2 to 3 lobes. Green to yellow green flowers, cylindrical, long fruit.

WARNING: Do not eat the unripe fruit and leaves because they may be mildly hallucinogenic. Ripened fruits are very edible.

Recipe: Mulberries are great right off the tree. Or layer then fresh with whipped cream.

FUDGE: Mulberries, gooseberries and currants may be combined or used separately to make fudge.

Gently cook 1 cup mulberries, until hot. Mash the berries through a fine sieve to separate the juice. Mix in 2 cups of brown sugar, add 3 Tbsp. of butter (I prefer ghee, clarified butter). Then reheat slowly to dissolve the butter. Bring the pan to a boil over medium heat. Do not stir. Let the mixture form a hot soft ball between 235-240 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer.

Then whip the mixture with a wooden spoon for a few seconds. Press the fudge into a buttered pan and cut pieces. Eat immediately or cover and refrigerate. This stuff is messy, when serving kids, have lots of room and sufficient water for clean up.

Medicine:  White mulberry extract (Morus alba) has shown promise for treating elephantiasis.   Traditionally the fruit of white and red mulberry have been used to reduce fever.  Root tea of red mulberry was considered a tonic by Native Americans.  Red mulberry bark tea was used for treating dysentery.  decoction of same root was used by Delaware to induce emesis. The root bark decoction was also reported to be cathartic.  according to Duke in his book Handbook of Northeastern Indian Medicinal Plants Rappahannock  applied the sap of red mulberry to their skin to treat ringworm.



Verbascum thapsis L.


Uses: (photo and more information)

Food: Tea is made from the leaves to reduce upper respiratory tract congestion, spasms.

Medicine: tea for upper respiratory tract conditions, coughs, congestion and infections. Used for treating bronchitis and tracheitis. Flower is Appalachian folk remedy for treating necrotic ulcer of recluse spider. Folk practitioners pounded flowers into a blend of vinegar and Epsom salts and washed the wound 10 or 12 times per day. Leaf and flower infusion used to reduce and thin mucus formation. Induces coughing up (expectorant) of phlegm. Often combined with other expectorants: thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) for example. Flowers infused in olive oil are used in Europe for hemorrhoids and ear infections.

Commission E approved for bronchitis and coughs.

Chemistry: mucilage (polysaccharide). Bioflavonoids, triterpenoid saponins, tannins and volatile oils.

Preparation and dosage: Pour cup of boiling water over teaspoon of dried, crushed or powdered leaf. Drink when cool. Infuse whole fresh flower in olive oil. Pack flowers into a small jar, cover with olive oil. Let infuse in refrigerator for at least three days. Use warm.

Grey Morel mushroom (Morchella esculenta)

Black morel (Morchella elata)


Description:  Forest dweller, apple orchards, pine forests.  Three to five inches tall. black morel taller stem, typically comes earlier than grays.  Grey morel shorter stem.  Head  or top of mushroom is brain like in appearance (photo).

Food:  Morel mushrooms may be found in April and May in many wooded areas or old apple orchards. Morel mushrooms may be harvested. But be careful, as you know, many mushroom species are deadly. Forage with an expert. Seen here are gray morels. The gray and black variety may be eaten raw or prepared in a million other ways.  .

Chemistry:  Polysaccharides

Cosmetic:  In Moerman's Native American Ethnobotany. Timber Press, Portland Oregon:  the Crow Indians used morels as a substitute for soap.


Mustard (white, brown and black)

Sinapis alba (white pepper) 

Brassica juncea

Brassica nigra


Food:  Black pepper leaves may be added judiciously to salads.  Seeds of all three mustard used in combination or separately as spice.

Medicine: White pepper:  Warming, stimulating, digestive, circulatory stimulant, analgesic, expectorant, diuretic and anti-microbial.  Externally as mustard plasters as an analgesic, to treat arthritis, counterirritant, chilblains, certain skin 
eruptions, to help alleviate cold symptoms.

Also called white mustard:  Dried seeds drug approved by Commission E to treat colds, bronchitis, cough and rheumatism.

Brown pepper:  antibiotic effect, warming stimulant.

Black pepper:  used externally as poultice  (see white pepper), used in baths and foot baths as an analgesic (may cause redness and allergic reaction), footbaths for colds, flu.   Mustard plaster for respiratory tract infections (colds).

Isothiocyanates in mustard like in broccoli has been proven to be anti-cancer when consumed.

Chemistry:  Myrosin, sinigrin, isothiocyanate (water and seeds are mixed to activate myrosin and sinigrin activity to produce isothiocyanate that is hydorlyzed to sulforephane in the mouth (Anti-cancer).


Myrr, Guggal, Myrr gum

Commiphora molmol Engl.



Medicine:  Bark resin, a fragrant exudate plus fruit flowers, stem and roots used.  Used to treat inflammations of the pharynx and mouth.  Antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent.

Animal studies suggest a lowering of the rate of glucogenesis (post prandial), thereby increasing interest as a potential drug for treating diabetes.  (Diabetes,Res 1991, 18  pp.163.

Contraindication:  Not to be used during pregnancy or nursing.

Dosage:  Tincture 1:5 resin to ethanol extract.  Swap or brush on inflamed area.  Or as a rinse tincture diluted in water 10 or less drops to 60ml of water.