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    Scientific Names

    • Gnaphalium polycephalum L.
    • Compositae
    • Composite family

    Common Names

    ivyLife everlasting
    ivyChafe weed
    ivyCommon everlasting
    ivyField balsam
    ivyIndian Posy
    ivyOld field balsam
    ivySweet balsam
    ivySweet-scented life everlasting
    ivyWhite balsam
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    Parts Usually Used

    The entire plant
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Life everlasting is a fragrant, herbaceous annual plant; the erect, branched, white-woolly stem grows 1-3 feet high and bears alternate, sessile, lanceolate leaves that have wavy margins and are dark green above and white-woolly beneath. Yellow flower-heads grow in several terminal panicled clusters from July into September.

    Other varieties: Low cudweed or marsh cudweed (G. uliginosum) was smoked by Native Americans to cure headaches; Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) called Pearly everlasting, was once called Lady’s tobacco, has basically the same properties as life everlasting (G. polycephalum); Sweet everlasting, also called Rabbit tobacco (G. obtusifolium).
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    Where Found

    Grows in dry fields, open pine woods, and clearings in the Atlantic coastal states and west to Kansas and Texas.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge, pectoral, vermifuge
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    In Colonial America, pillows were stuffed with native life-everlasting, for its delicate and soothing aroma. The pillows were especially used for consumptive patients. Life everlasting was a popular smoke among European peasants.
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    An infusion of life everlasting, taken as a tea, is useful for lung problems, leukorrhea, and intestinal problems, including hemorrhage. The cold infusion helps expel intestinal worms. A homeopathic tincture is used for sciatica, lumbago, and some kinds of arthritis. The fresh juice is used to calm excessive sexual desire. Externally, it makes a good fomentation for bruises, wounds, and ulcers. The dried flowers are used like hops for a calming herb pillow. As a mouthwash and gargle, the infusion is good for sores in the mouth and throat.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    The fresh herb can be chewed or the leaves applied for external problems.

    Infusion: steep 1 tsp. leaves and flowers in 1 cup boiling water. Take 1-2 cups a day.
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    Buy It! American Folk Medicine/i>, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    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! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

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

    Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

    Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

    Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

    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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