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Gum Plant


    Scientific Names

    Gum Plant
    • Grindelia squarrosa L.
    • Compositae
    • Composite family

    Common Names

    ivyAugust flower
    ivyGumweed
    ivyResin-weed
    ivySticky heads
    ivyTarweed
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    Parts Usually Used

    Leaves, flowering tops
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Gum plant is a bushy biennial or perennial plant; several stems grow together to a height of 1-2 feet and bear alternate, oblong to ovate or lanceolate, sharply serrate or denticulate (the uppermost may be entire), leathery leaves. It has many leafy branches and many flower heads. Two to five yellow flower heads, about an inch across, grow in a terminal cyme; they are sticky and the bracts which surround them are rolled back; from August to September. Flowers of aromatic taste and balsamic odor.
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    Where Found

    Native to, but not plentiful in, the coastal areas of California. Found in open and dry areas, on roadsides and waste land and often a weed of rangeland. British Columbia to Minnesota and south to California and Texas.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Antispasmodic, demulcent, diaphoretic, expectorant, sedative
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    Biochemical Information

    Up to 21% amorphous resins, tannin, laevoglucose and volatile oils
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    The Shoshone Indians called the gum plant (Grindelia squarrosa) by the name of “Sanaka para” and the Blackfeet Indians called it “Aks-Peis.” They used it as a cough medicine; using the upper 1/3 of the plant dried, especially the sticky buds. This was also taken for dropsy and smallpox. The boiled root was taken as a tea internally.
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    Uses

    Used in small doses, gum plant helps colds, nasal congestion, bronchial irritation, and for the spasms of whooping cough and asthma. Has been used to treat catarrhal kidney problems, iritis, indigestion, and cystitis. Externally, the tea is used as a wash for burns, rashes, blisters, and inflammations; a fluid extract, diluted with 6 to 10 parts water, can be applied to skin irritation caused by poison ivy or poison oak (soak a clean bandage, keep it moist, and change often). Used in external ulcers, impetigo, eczema and allergic dermatitis. Native Americans used the buds on the plant, dried they were used for smallpox and measles, toothache, rheumatism.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Use dried leaves or flowering tops.

    Infusion: steep 1 tsp. dried leaves or flowering tops in 1 cup boiling water. Take 1 cup a day.

    Tincture of Grindelia: take 5-30 drops, as required.
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    Warning

    Gum plant tends to take up selenium compounds (a sulphur-like non-metallic element) from the soil and store them. It becomes toxic in areas where the soil is rich in selenium; do not pick it from such areas. Large doses can be poisonous; smaller doses may cause slowing of the heartbeat. Avoid in cases of low blood pressure.

    Because of its high resin content, it is considered hard on the kidneys and for this reason usually is used only for acute ailments.
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    Bibliography

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

    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! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

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

    Buy It! American Folk Medicine/i>, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    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! 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

    Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature's Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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