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.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Kalmia angustifolia L.
  • Heath family

Common Names

  • Calico bush
  • Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
  • Sheep laurel
  • Spoonwood

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Parts Usually Used

Twigs, leaves, flowers
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

A small North American plant of the heath family, with pinkish flowers and evergreen leaves; poisonous to sheep and other animals. Slender shrub; 3-5 feet tall. Stems are crooked and have rough bark. Leaves opposite, leathery, elliptical to lance-shaped, 2-3 inches long. Flowers deep rose-pink (or white), to 1/2 inch across; in clusters on sides of twigs; May to July. Flowers are axillary rather than terminal, as in Mountain Laurel (K. latifolia).
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Where Found

Found in dry soils, rocky hills and elevated ground in most parts of the United States. New Foundland to Virginia, Georgia mountains; north to Michigan.
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Medicinal Properties

Sedative, astringent
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Native Americans used minute amounts of Lambkill flower, leaf, and twig tea for bowel ailments. Tiny amounts of leaf tea used for colds, backaches, stomach ailments. Externally, for swelling, pain, and sprains. The plant, in medicinal doses under medical supervision, is antisyphilitic, sedative to the heart, fevers, tinnitus, vertigo, jaundice, neuralgia, and inflammation.

According to one herbalist, the antidote for poisoning from this herb, whether of man or beast, is whiskey.
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Highly toxic! Do not ingest. Use only under medical supervision.

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

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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