Thursday, July 28, 2016
MYRRH: Commiphora Myrrha, Balsamodendron Myrrha, Myrrha Herdbol, Commiphora Abyssinica, Commiphora Gileadensis
Also known as: Guggul, Karam, Bisabol, Bdellium
Parts Used: gum resin
Systems/Organs affected: heart, liver, spleen, oral, structural, blood, circulatory, immune
Properties: antiseptic, antispasmodic, emmenogogue, astringent, expectorant, stimulant, carminative, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, vulnerary, purgative (in large doses), anti-fungal, analgesic, oral
Myrrh is a part of the Burseaceae family (just like Frankincense). This class of plants are actually trees that produce resins-also known as oleoresins. True myrrh comes from a tree common to the Middle East and Africa. It is a relative of frankincense. The tree trunk is often twisted and gnarled with lovely white flowers. The resin is harvested through cuts in the trunk. The resin seeps through and hardens in teardrop shapes along the trunk. It is then collected and steam distilled to make the essential oil. Myrrh oil is a yellowish-red color with a balsam or camphor-like scent.
There are several species of myrrh native to North Africa, India and the Middle East. It also is now found in Ethiopia, Libya, Somalia and Iran. However, true myrrh is actually known as Turkey myrrh or karam as it is known in Arab countries. This kind of myrrh is considered to be superior to all others and its oil is highly prized. There are also other classes of plants referred to as myrrh such as sweet cicely, otherwise known a myrrhis odorata, which is NOT a myrrh at all. There also is a tree in West Africa from which 'myrrh beads' are harvested. These beads are worn around the hips of married women in Mali. Again, this is NOT a myrrh either. The commiphora gileadensis is believed to be the Balm of Gilead spoken of in the Bible.
Myrrh has a lengthy history dating back close to 1500 years before Christ. The word itself comes from the Aramaic/Arabic 'murr/mur' which means'bitter'. References to myrrh have been found recorded in early Egyptian papyrus which listed over 700 remedies including instructions on use for embalming. It was a heavily traded item among the caravans anciently before ever being spoken of in a Biblical sense. It is one of the most talked about herbs in the Bible, , having been mentioned 152 times! (it was mixed with wine and offered to Christ before his crucifixion. Apparently this was common practice to offer such a drink to condemned prisoners as it was believed to dull the mental anguish they would suffer having been condemned to death. In fact, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea used a 100# mix of aloe and myrrh to anoint Christ's body before burial).
Myrrh was often used as a perfume or as a fixative for other scents. The Egyptians called it 'phurl', and aside from using it for embalming and perfume, it was used for hay fever. The Hebrews would mix it with wine and consume it to raise their consciousness before religious rituals. Moses was told to take it with him when leaving Egypt so the Hebrews could use it for their worship. It is mentioned in the Quran, the Old and New Testaments, in both Roman and Greek texts, in Chinese papers and Ayurvedic texts aside from Egyptian papyrus. Pliny and Dioscorides both used it in salves. Young Persian women preparing to be introduced at court would use myrrh as part of their purification while the Israelite women would wear sachets of it to help mask body odor. Aphrodite, in Greek mythology, was believed to have forced her daughter Myrrha to have inappropriate relations with her father. The father was angered and turned his daughter into a myrrh tree. When the tree bloomed their child Adonis was born and the resin that exuded from the bark was said to be Myrrha's tears. (Only the Greeks can give us such lovely tales of life and love....sigh...:D).
Alexander the Great was said to be obsessed with myrrh and burned it iin his court almost incessantly. The essence of myrrh was distilled as early as 1540 and being used in ointments for wounds. The French created something similar to use it on cuts and burns but they also used it as a fumigant, an expectorant and for bronchitis and mucus discharge. Nicholas Lemery said it was good as an emmenogogue and to facilitate childbirth. He also used it for hernias. In 1765, Cartheuser reported in 'Matiere Medicale' that it was useful for skin problems and ulcers. It was also mixed with sage to strengthen gums and as an antiseptic for bad teeth. Ayurvedic medicine still uses it for that. Perhaps in modern times what it is most well known for is teeth and gums. Pharmaceutical medicine uses it in toothpastes, mouthwashes and various compounds. Vets use a compound tincture of it to heal wounds in horses. The gum has been used for colds, asthma, arthritis, coughs, indigestion, cancer, etc.
Multiple studies have been done on this herb. Science Daily did a test on myrrh using it for cancer in lab dishes. In 2001 they released their findings. The information stated that:
"As part of a larger search for anti-cancer compounds from plants, researchers obtained extracts from a particular species of myrrh plant (commiphora myrrha) and tested it against a human breast tumor cell line (MCF-7) known to be resistant to cancer drugs. Research data indicated that the extract killed ALL the cancer cells in laboratory dishes." (emphasis mine)
Yang Yifan (author of Chinese Herbal Medicines Comparison and Characteristics) stated that, "Myrrh is neutral and enters the liver meridians. Compared with frankincense, it is more bitter and its dispersing action is stronger. This herb is stronger than frankincense for breaking up congealed blood and is used not only in trauma and fracture, but also for hard masses, such as tumors."
Dr. Jiao Shude, a well known 20th century Chinese herbal doctor said that, "Myrrh, by contrast, (to frankincense) dissipates stasis to quicken the blood and also disperses swelling and settles pain." (In Chinese medicine myrrh and frankincense are almost always used together.)
Myrrh contains a substance called guggulsterones, which is reportedly effective on cholesterol. Guggulsterones inhibit the receptor FXR, a gene in the nucleus of liver cells, making cholesterol less absorbable by the intestines and easier to excrete by the liver.
Researchers from the University of Florence found myrrh to be an analgesic. They put mice on hot metal plates to test their pain tolerance. They found that the mice given myrrh did indeed have a higher pain thresh hold. They stated in their letter to 'Nature' that the tests, "...suggested that furanoendesma 1,3-diene may effect opiod receptors in brain membranes, which influence the perception of pain." Another group of scientists had similar findings. In that study, mice were given 500 mg/kg body weight of the extract oleo-gum resin from the commiphora molmol variety. That extract was also found to be antipyretic.
The Saudi Arabian Dept. of Pharmacology reported that taking myrrh before ingesting alcohol or NSAIDS protected the stomach from ulcergenic effects. It also protected against stomach lesions, the depletion of stomach wall mucus and hemorrhages.
Myrrh contains a hefty amount of sesquiterpenes which have been found to be effective against staph, candida, E. coli, and more.
In 2004, a study was conducted in Egypt on 1019 people who had parasitic infections. These particular parasites are resistant to a lot of modern treatments used for parasitic infestations. In this pilot study, a drug called Mirazid, derived entirely from myrrh, composed of eight parts resin and three point five parts oil, was given to the test subjects. They were given two capsules of 600 mg on an empty stomach one hour before breakfast for six days. They were examined three months after the treatment and were found to have a significant reduction in parasites (96-97%) as well as a marked reduction in eggs produced by said parasites. A similar study conducted on a different parasite showed the same results.
Another study, this one in New Jersey, found that myrrh inactivates the protein Bcl-2, which is overproduced by cancer cells in the breast and prostate. It also was found that myrrh inactivated MCF-7, another protein found in breast tumor cells and is resistant to traditional treatments. A similar study found myrrh to be comparable to the standard cytotoxic drug cyclophosphamide. (al-Hablai, et al., Anti-carcinogenic 337-347).
Research has shown myrrh to increase glucose tolerance in diabetics as well. It has been used for the many different maladies including rheumatism, arthritis, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, uterine tumors, circulatory issues, menopause, nervous system disorders, gingivitis, athlete's foot, eczema, hemorrhoids, ringworm, bronchitis, diarrhea, hypothyroidism, viral hepatitis, thrush, asthma, candida, etc. Something one should obviously consider for a home first aid kit.
WebMD cautions against using myrrh if pregnant or nursing as it can stimulate the uterus. WebMD also cautions those with diabetes on its use as myrrh can lower blood sugar and interfere with diabetic medications. Those with heart issues also are cautioned, as myrrh can increase one's heart rate. DO NOT TAKE MYRRH if scheduled for any surgical procedure (stop taking it at least two weeks prior to having surgery), have systemic inflammation, uterine bleeding or fever. Always consult a physician before using any herbal product.
As is customary with my posts I am including some links below for your perusal. Stay strong and healthy!
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
HOPS: Humulus Lupulus, Humulus Japonicus
Also known as: Houblon, Pliny the Elder, Lupulin
Parts Used: Flowers (female), fruit (strobiles), leaves
Systems/Organs affected: brain, stomach, nervous system, heart, liver, digestive, respiratory, gall bladder, hormonal, pancreas, urinary
Properties: febrifuge, nervine, anodyne, bitter tonic, sedative, hypnotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, lithotriptic, aperient, anaphrodisiac, stimulant, estrogenic, expectorant, anti-carcinogenic, galactogogue
Hops is a member of the Cannabaceae (Cannabis) family and a distant relative of marijuana. That, in and of itself, is amazing. It is a vigorous plant native to Europe but now cultivated all over the globe. It has stout, hairy stems that allow it to climb up to 26 feet! It is a dioecious perennial (meaning it has both male and female flowers) that has a dark , green, heart-shaped leaves with toothed edges. The female hop flowers form strobiles (a kind of vining axis of bracts and stipules) that zigzag. Each branch has a bract which bears a pair of stipules which holds another 4-6 bracts, each holding a flower. When harvesting, the aerial portion of the plant is cut and the roots left in the ground to produce a new crop the following year. The root stock can live to be up to 50 years old. The best time to harvest in this region is between August and September when the flowers turn a rusty brown and have a yellowish powder on them. Hops should be dried immediately and then refrigerated until used as the bitter components in the plant break down quickly (between 50-70% in 6 months).
The Anglo-Saxons referred to hops as 'hoppari' which means 'to climb'. Humulus comes from the Slavic word 'chmele' which the Romans then changed to the Latin 'lupulus' which means 'wolf' or 'small wolf'. The Romans believe hops would strangle the plants they climbed, similar to how a wolf kills its prey. Pliny consumed the young shoots in spring much like the country folk of England still do today; apparently it is much like asparagus and the young tops were bundled and brought to market to sell.
Hops has been used for centuries to flavor and preserve beer but its medicinal uses were/are not as well known. Hildegard von Bingen even said that the '...bitterness fends off decomposition of beverages and increases shelf life.' The Germans even have a beer purity law called Reinheitsgebot that requires beer to be made only with malt, hops and water. Weisner (1883) said that beer was the mechanism by which herbal medicine was delivered. Paracelsus used it as a digestive aid, Lonicerus and Bock used the young shoots as a cleanser for the liver, blood and spleen and Matthiolus used it to increase bile and as a diuretic. Osiander (1824), Maton (1860) and Churchill and Stephenson (1834) all used it to promote sleep while Amarum Hecker (1814) stated that the flowers of hops were a strong tonic and Kahnt (1905) suggested in his book on phytotherapy that those with issues of sleeplessness use a hops pillow or make a tea. King George III (1738-1820) was a huge proponent of hops as a sleep agent. He used pillows of hops in his bed to calm him and assist with sleep. Interestingly enough, former kings of England had actually banned the plant saying it was, 'a wicked weed that would spoil the taste of the drink and endanger the people.' (No doubt that rings true in some cases). It wasn't until around King George III's time that the ban was lifted and people were allowed to plant and use the herb once again. In 1829, the Edinburgh New Dispensatory said that since adding hops to the beer the people of London had suffered less bladder stones than was previously recorded. In 1938, Stieber wrote in a letter to his friend, Madaus, that an infusion of hops was a great hair product. It was believed that washing one's hair with beer would increase hair production. He was not the first person to suggest such a thing. (Speaking from personal experience, I have washed my hair with beer many times in the past and while I have not experienced extra hair growth per say, I have experienced a far cleaner feeling and had lots more shine in my hair). Earlier practitioners stated that oil of hops would restore even a bald head to full hair. Mesue the Younger (around 1000-1015), an Arabic practitioner, wrote that hops reduced fevers, purified the blood, purged yellow bile from the body and is responsible for 17 different anti-inflammatory effects. Other Arab physicians also spoke of it being a digestive bitter. In Ayurvedic medicine hops is used to alleviate headaches, nervous tension and indigestion. King Wencelas IV incorporated hops into his coat of arms in recognition of its rejuvenating effects. (He recommended taking a cold brew sludge bath). Our Native Americans have long used hops for a host of conditions. The Fox and Delaware tribes used it as a sleep agent and for relaxation (the Delaware also used it for toothaches and earaches). The Cherokee used it as a sedative, analgesic, for kidney and bladder stone, as an anti-rheumatic and to help with uterine and breast-related issues. The Dakota used it for gastrointestinal problems and for wound healing while the Navajo used it for colds and coughs.
There have been many studies done on this plant for its efficacy as a sleep aid. Lupulin, a component of hops, has been found to calm nervous tension and promote sleep without constipating patients (which tends to happen with standard opiate treatments). Lupulin also was used to reduce sexual desire, for migraines, poor digestion, incontinence, excessive anger and irritability, nervousness, etc. In 1967, fifteen volunteers took 250 mg of lupulin for five days and found it to induce sleep. Some of the volunteers reported being dizzy the morning after. It also has been reported by hops pickers that they feel sleepy when harvesting the yellow-covered buds. (I imagine the fairy tale about Rip Van Winkle sleeping for 20 years was due to individuals napping in hops beds...:D). Animal studies found hops to have a tranquilizing effect on pigeons, goldfish, frogs, mice and golden carp, recent studies on mice found that hops may activate the melatonin receptors.
Most of the studies relating to hops are not on hops alone but rather on the plant combined with other herbs such as valerian. The Swiss found that a combination of valerian and hops extracts would affect the nervous system within 60 minutes. The Germans found that the same combination altered brain activity and indicated patients had a better, deeper sleep with increased REM sleep.
A study done on 8-PN, an estrogenic principle of hops, found it to help reduce hot flashes. This double-blind study consisted of 67 menopausal women taking either an 8-PN hops extract or a placebo for 12 weeks. The women were tested after six weeks and then again after 12 weeks. After six weeks, the women taking the hops extract had a significant reduction in menopausal issues as compared to those on a placebo. There was no significant difference at 12 weeks. Higher amounts of the extract also appeared to be less helpful.
A vaginal hops gel made by a Swiss company was tested on 100 women for 30 days. They reported a significant reduction in vaginal dryness, itching, inflammation, rashes, burning,etc.
Statistics in the late 1800's in Bavaria and England both found brewery workers to have a marked reduction in tuberculosis compared to the general population. However, with the use of antibacterial agents on the rise no studies were done on this connection.
Hops contains a powerful antioxidant called xanthohumol. It has a very high scavenging rate against peroxyl radicals which are one of the most common reactive oxygen species in the body. In vitro tests on this substance have found it to be anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative (prevents the spread of malignant cells into surrounding tissues), decreases plasma glucose and lipid levels, is antimutagenic, anti-carcinogenic and may be important in diabetes. (WOWZA!!!)
Hops contains isohumulones, another amazing compound found to reduce insulin resistance. A randomized study of 20 volunteers with mild type 2 diabetes found their hemoglobin AIC's and blood glucose levels significantly decreased after eight weeks on isohumulones (100 mg twice daily). Another such study on 94 patients found a marked decrease in overall body fat after 12 weeks of supplementation (48 mg). Other research indicates hops may be used for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatism and osteoarthritis. Xanthohumol is under study for its use against both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and the Linus Pauling Institute has shown recently that is is active against ovarian, breast and colon cancers (at least in a lab). They believe it also may help to prevent prostate cancer.
WebMD states that hops are considered likely to be safe for most people. However, they caution pregnant and nursing women against using it. They also state if you are depressed, have hormone sensitive cancers (such as breast cancer or endometriosis) or are due for surgery to avoid hops as it can worsen depression and may cause too much sleepiness when combined with anesthesia. Stop taking hops at least two weeks before any surgical procedure. Hops also is contraindicated if you are taking the following medications:
anti-anxiety drugs anti-seizure medications antihistamines
muscle relaxants antibiotics anti-fungal drugs
antidepressants anti-psychotics sedatives
tranquilizers narcotic pain medications gastrointestinal drugs
cholesterol lowering meds drugs that have estrogen-like properties
drugs that affect the cytochrome P450 enzyme system
MedicineNet.com advises against using hops if you have liver issues, alcohol dependence problems and diabetes.
Some people may experience an allergy to hops, which would manifest as itching, dizziness, swelling, rashes, dry cough, blood sugar fluctuations, respiratory issues, delayed thinking, etc. As always consult a physician before starting any herbal product or regimen. (Of course they will all tell you to not take herbs anyway.....but listen to your body to tell you what you need.)
This plant has ALOT to offer. It leaves one with a feeling of hope for a brighter future...
As is customary with my posts, please find some links below for your benefit. Stay strong and healthy!
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Salsify: Tragopogon dubius, Tragopogon pratensis, Tragopogon porrifilius, Scorzonera hispanica
Also known as: Oyster plant, Goatsbeard, Ba Boba Sheeb Dauxa, Shepherd's Clock, Noon Flower, Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, Meadow salsify, Yellow salsify, Black salsify, Purple salsify, Star of Jerusalem, etc.
Parts Used: roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, stems (young)
Systems/Organs affected: liver, gallbladder, immune, cardiovascular, digestive
Properties: antibilious, deobstruent, aperient, fibrous, cooling, diuretic, stomachic
Salsify is a member of the Compositae family (Sunflower or Aster). It is sometimes confusing as all salsifies are used similarly but there are varying opinions about which one is best for edible purposes. It is not to be confused with Aruncus Dioicus, which is a member of the Rose family but is also referred to as goatsbeard.
Salsify (depending on the variety) is both a biennial and a perennial. It can get up to 4 feet tall, has long, grass-like leaves and a stem with a single flower on top and is similar to a dandelion when seeded out. The variety we often see here would be classified as yellow salsify (we are in the pacific northwest of the united states) because it has a daisy like flower with bracts of leaves spiking out around it. It has a long tapered root (around 8-12 inches long and 1 inch around) that needs to be in the ground at least 4 months in order to produce a decent enough size for harvesting. It can be found growing in fields, meadows, pastures, along roadsides and waste places throughout Europe, parts of Asia, Canada and the northern United States. It blooms from April to July but can sometimes be found still blooming in September. Its flower heads open in the morning hours and then close during the day; on a cloudy say or rainy day they may not open at all. There are three species of salsify (technically): two are yellow-flowered and one is purple.
Salsify comes from the Latin word 'solsequium'. 'Sol' means 'sun' and 'sequens' means 'following'. In essence, the plant follows the sun.
For centuries it has been used as both an edible and medicinal plant. The reference to oysters is believed to be from the purple variety as the root is said to taste like oysters. It is often substituted for asparagus and artichoke hearts. It has a nutty like flower and contains a high amount of the fiber inulin, making it a plant good for diabetics. (Inulin is a prebiotic type fiber that boosts the growth of bifido bacteria in the large intestines. That type of bacteria in particular helps to reduce carcinogenic enzymes in the intestines, improves immune function and helps the body excrete waste assisting with constipation).
Salsify has been used for many things in the past. A poultice of the mashed root was used for bee stings, the root tea was used for excess urination, gonorrhea, stomach pain, diarrhea, fevers, internal bleeding and to retard/stay bleeding after childbirth and as a wash for rheumatic joints.
Culpeper said that the roots were particularly good for the liver and gall bladder and would help to remove obstructions from both. The early Myddfai physicians (a small town in Wales) used it for pneumonia and fevers. They ever gave somewhat of a recipe. "Let (the patient) take, for three successive days, of the following herbs: hemlock, agrimony, herb Robert and asarabacca, then let him undergo a three day's course of aperients. When the disease is thus removed from the bronchial tubes, an emetic should be given him (daily) to the end of nine days. Afterwards let a medicine be prepared, by digesting the following herbs in wheat ale or red wine: madder, sharp dock, anise, agrimony, daisy, round birthwort, meadow sweet, yellow goat's beard, heath, water avens, wood ruff, crake berry, the corn cockle, caraway, and such other herbs as will seem good to the physician."
Culpeper also said that a decoction of the roots was good for loss of apetite, heartburn, gallstones, kidney stones and liver and/or breast issues. He stated that cooking the roots with butter (like parsnips) was good for cold, watery stomachs and helped to strengthen the weak or chronically ill. He also used the distilled water from the plant for pleurisy and side aches.
This plant has been used, also, for sore throats, tonsillitis, whooping cough, hemoptysis, nosebleeds, urinary tract infections and lung and phlegm issues in general. Also, it is said to lower blood pressure, stimulate hair growth, increase circulation, improve bone density, improve digestion and boost immunity. Black salsify, native to Spain, southern Europe and the Middle East, is said to be highly nutritive. It contains a significant amount of potassium, manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, copper, phosphorus and the vitamins C, B5, B1, B2, folate and B6. It has a decent amount of protein also aside from its fiber content. A virtual powerhouse of nutrition. This helps to explain its benefits and use for things like blood pressure, bone structure, digestion and hair growth.
The native americans would chew the coagulated milky sap to help ease indigestion, it was also used for wounds. The Greeks and Romans would soak linen pads in the distilled juice for bleeding wounds and sores. Pliny would mix the milky juice with human milk and said it was a cure all for eye issues. The tea was also used as a lotion and/or drink to treat rabid dog bites on both humans and livestock.
All parts of the plant are edible. The stem and seed pods should be eaten young as should the leaves. The flowers can be mixed into soups or salads or sauteed like the stems and eaten like asparagus. The root can be eaten raw or cooked but should be cleaned well and the skin scraped off. The root is best eaten young as well. The root can be grated and added to salads or stews or sauteed. The seeds can be sprouted and are great with eggs.
Always consult a physician before starting an herbal regimen or formula.
As is customary with my posts I am including some links herein for your benefit. Stay strong and healthy!
Yellow Glacier Lily: Erythronium grandiflorum, Erythronium albicum, Erythronium oregonum, Erythronium revolutum, Erythronium americanum, etc.
Also known as: snow lily, avalanche lily, dog-toothed violet, fawn lily, adder's tongue, yellow snowdrop, trout lily, lamb's tongue, etc.
Parts Used: leaves, bulbs, seed pods
Systems/Organs affected: female reproductive, hormones, chi, immune
Properties: antibacterial, anti-mutagenic, contraceptive, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, laxative
Yellow glacier lily is a member of the Lilaceae (Lily) family. It has 6 petals that curl back to reveal 3 stamens. The stem bends slightly and is leafless except for the two large, lance-like leaves at its base. Glacier lilies are a sign spring has come, being one of the first blooming flora after the snow melts. (Often times you can find them blooming in the snow). They bloom from May to August, shedding the flower for a seed pod that is grayish-green in color and three sided (some say it looks like an alien head). The stem gets up to 16 inches tall and the lance-like leaves at the base get between 3-8 inches in length. The flowers are up to 1-1 1/2 inches long. Like other lilies, glacier lilies have a bulb or a corm, making it a perennial plant. It can be found in moist, shaded spots or open meadows in alpine to sub-alpine areas from Colorado to Alaska. The bulb, if using, should be harvested while the plant is in bloom to distinguish it from other members of the lily family that are poisonous (death camas).
Glacier lilies have an interesting background, with what is known of them. Lewis and Clark spoke of them in their diaries. Lewis thought it was a violet but realized later on that it was a lily. The dog-toothed violet reference can be misleading as it is not a violet at all. The flower might make one think of a dog curling back its lips to reveal its teeth, but that may be a stretch of the imagination. (I think of it more as a claw reaching up from the ground). There are 15 different species of lily and all are found in the United States with the exception of one which is found in Europe. Three of those can be found just in the Rocky Mountain region.
Erythronium grandiflorum comes from the Greek 'erythro' which means 'red'-named for the color of the European variety. Grandiflorum simply means 'large flower'.
Several native american tribes relied on this plant as a food source as well as a medicinal one. The corms (bulbs) were eaten fresh, roasted, steamed or boiled to make them sweeter (I imagine much like they did with the blue camas bulbs). Drying the bulbs also would bring out the sweetness and make them a more valuable trade item. Many of the tribes would dry a substantial amount of the corms to get them through the winter months. A hundred kilograms (220 lbs.) was considered a good winter supply for one family. The leaves are also edible but are less flavorful and nutritious. The Okanagan-Coleville indians used the corms for respiratory infections or for colds. Some tribes would mash the bulbs and use them for skin maladies such as boils or rashes. Early eclectic physicians used them for tuberculosis, peripheral edema, lymph issues, vomiting, hiccups and hemoptysis (coughing blood). Too much of the plant can also cause vomiting so a happy medium needs to be found.
Lily essence is said to help with blockages or imbalances in women-assisting with PMS, menopause, infertility or congested energy (chi) in the pelvic area. It helps one feel more joyful and safe.
According to 'North Bushcraft', a website about survival, lilies are the best when slow cooked over a long period-until the bulbs are chocolate brown. They are then dried for storage. The dried bulbs can then be reconstituted by boiling or steaming when one wishes to ingest them. The seed pods also can be cooked and are said to have a taste similar to string beans.
The leaves, which are edible raw, were made into a tea for bacterial infections or used as a wash for scrapes and sores. There are some references to the leaves also being used as a natural form of contraception. The leaves have been used to treat fevers and inflammation and a compound more recently extracted from this plant has shown itself to be able to reduce tumors and be slightly anti-mutagenic (protects your DNA from mutation).
Glacier lilies are a food source for deer, elk, grizzly and black bears as well as bighorn sheep. When harvesting this plant, please do not over harvest the area; leave a generous amount so that all can partake of the bounty the lily family offers.
As the bulbs can sometimes cause a burning sensation, it is best to use in small amounts until one knows how his/her body will respond. Too much of this plant can cause diarrhea and vomiting. DO NOT USE if pregnant or nursing. Always consult a qualified physician before starting an herbal regimen or formula.