The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

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Clematis

Scientific Names

Clematis

  • Clematis virginiana L.
  • Buttercup family

Common Names

  • Clematis
  • Virgin’s bower
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    Parts Usually Used

    Twigs and leaves, flowers
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    Clematis

    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    A woody climbing vine, its opposite, ternate leaves divided into 3 sharp-toothed ovate, acute, serrate leaflets. Its small, petalless flowers have 4 petal-like whitish sepals and bloom in leafy, cymose panicles during summer and autumn. The fruit is a feathery achene (a small, dry fruit with one seed which is attached to the ovary wall only at one point) which grows in prominent heads. These feathery plumes attached to the seeds.

    Another variety: Native Americans used another plant (Clematis ligusticifolia) also called clematis and virgin’s bower. They used the leaves and bark as shampoo; at Fort MacDermitt, Nevada, the root was dried and powdered for use as a shampoo.
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    Where Found

    Found along streambanks, bushes, thickets, wood edges, and fences in the eastern and central states of the United States. Nova Scotia to Georgia; Louisiana; eastern Kansas north to Canada.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Diaphoretic (increases perspiration), diuretic, stimulant, vesicant (produces blisters).
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    Uses

    An infusion of the leaves and flowers of virgin’s bower is said to relieve even severe headaches. For external use, this herb is sometimes combined with other plants to make ointments or poultices for sores, skin ulcers, and itching skin.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Infusion: steep 1 heaping tsp. of leaves and flowers in 1 cup water for 30 minutes. Take 1 tsp. 4-6 times per day.

    Inhaling the fumes of the bruised root or leaves is said to relieve headaches (but I wouldn’t try it).
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    Warning

    Virgin’s bower contains acrid substances which can cause severe skin irritation. Sensitive people can get dermatitis from handling the plant.

    Virgin’s bower is toxic. Highly irritating to skin and mucous membranes.
    Ingestion may cause bloody vomiting, severe diarrhea, and convulsions.

    Use under medical supervision only.
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    Bibliography

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 15th Edition, F. A. Davis Company, 1915 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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