Plants for Hot Conditions – Plant Medicine for the Woodsman
CURLY DOCK, A.K.A. YELLOW DOCK (Rumex crispus)
Areas found: Edges of woodlands, pastures
Description: This plant is easily distinguished in two seasons: In the summer, the leaves are long and lance-shaped and twist in a curl, giving it the nickname curly dock. The leaves are dark green and fairly rough with a red vein in the center. In the late summer it is one of the first plants to turn almost completely dark brown.
Medicinal actions: Anti-inflammatory, with warming properties that drive fluids to the skin’s surface for cooling effects
Uses: It can be used to treat mild hyperthermia, swelling, and inflammation. It can reduce tenderness associated with autoimmune disorders.
Areas found: Often invasive and climbing among trees and low shrubs in areas at the edge of fields and older roads
Description: There are around twenty types of honeysuckle in North America. Whether it is the shrub or the climbing-vine variety, honeysuckle is easily recognized by its fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers, which bloom in an array of colors, from white to yellow to red. When not in bloom honeysuckle bears bright-colored berries that attract various birds.
Medicinal actions: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, fever reducer
Uses: A decoction of honeysuckle stems is used internally in the treatment of acute rheumatoid arthritis, mumps, and hepatitis. Honeysuckle stems and flowers are used together as a medicinal infusion in the treatment of upper respiratory
tract infections (including pneumonia) and dysentery. It can be used internally and externally to treat any inflammation.
BLACK CHERRY (Prunus serotina)
Taste: Bitter, sweet, sour
Areas found: Hardwood areas of the Eastern Woodlands
Description: Fairly large tree with bark that peels and is red underneath. The outer bark is usually a dark gray.
Medicinal actions: Astringent
Uses: The root bark and inner bark can be used in infusions (not boiled) to treat diarrhea, fever, coughs, colds, and sore throats.
WOOD SORREL (Oxalis stricta)
Taste: Cooling, sour
Areas found: Field edges
Description: Leaves are clover-like with yellow flowers.
Medicinal actions: Cooling, tonic, anti-inflammatory
Uses: Decoctions are used to relieve hemorrhages and urinary disorders. Cloths soaked with juice and applied to the skin are effective in the reduction of swellings and inflammation. Don’t overuse wood sorrel internally.
Other plants for hot tissue states:
• Sheep sorrel
• Garden sorrel