Rubus strigosus

Rubus strigosus

Rubus strigosus, Red Raspberry, (Rosaceae, the Rose Family), to 2 m in height, white flowers, habitat: dry or moist woods, fields, and roadsides (102, 103).

Recent scientific findings have shown Red Raspberry leaves and roots contain high concentrations of tannins, which is most likely responsible for the antinauseant, antivomting, antidiarrheal, and astringent effects of this plant. A vast amount of literature exists supporting the numerous folkloric claims for this interesting plant genus. Various species of Raspberry have been shown to: induce ovulation, relax the uterus, act as a diuretic, stimulate immunity, kill viruses (including herpes), control glucose-induced high blood sugar, promote insulin production, kill fungi, stimulate interferon production (88, 267).

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Rumex mexicanus

Rumex mexicanus

Rumex mexicanus, Dock, (Polygonaceae, the Smartweed Family), to 1 m in height, brown flowers, habitat: moist, often brackish or saline soil (102, 103).

Dock greens, continuing to grow despite snow and frost, are still important in places where commercial vitamins are hard to come by, both preventing and curing scurvy as they do. For these purposes the greens, which when young and tender are pleasingly lemon-like raw, are better the less they are subjected to heat. Interestingly, they are even richer in Vitamin C than oranges. Dock greens are also more abundant than carrots in Vitamin A, which forms rhodopsin in the retina of the eye and therefore, when this pigment is not sufficient in the system, both add to improve night vision (6).

American Indian tribes extracted these essentials by boiling the dug and scrubbed roots in water and drinking the extract several times each day. Some of the tribes dug up the roots in the late summer or just before the ground froze in the fall, washed them thoroughly after trimming them, then split, dried, and stored them (6).

Root Dock tea was made by the pioneers be steeping about an ounce of the dried, finely cut, yellow roots in a quart of simmering water until the latter cooled, then straining the liquid, throwing away the solids. The liquid was bottled and kept cool. Half a cup drunk shortly before breakfast each morning was supposed to be slightly laxative, tonic, blood-purifying, and appetite stimulating. The astringent decoction was also used as a digestive remedy and externally for skin ailments (6).

The Blackfeet and Navajos Indians merely pounded the Dock roots into a pulp and applied them to human and animal swellings and sores, including ulcers, supposedly with satisfactory results. A syrup was made by boiling a pound of cut bits of Dock root in a quart of water until only half the amount of water remained, straining and discarding the solids, and then adding enough sugar or honey to form a sticky, thick solution. This was taken by the teaspoonful, when the throat tickled, as a cough syrup and counterirritant. Dock as a whole, eaten, drunk, or used as poultices, was believed efficacious in the treatment of rheumatism (6).

It also is known to produce tannins, chrysophanein C21H20O9, 3-methylchrysazin, and chrysophanol C15H10O4 (88, 168, 169, 238).


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