CLEMATIS – Clematis ligusticifolia, clematis occidentalis, clematis columbiana, clematis chinesis, clematis neomexican, clematis virginiana, clematis recta, clematis cirrhosa, etc.
Also known as: Virgin's Bowers, Traveler's Joy, Lady's Bower, Leather Flower, Love Vine, Sugar Bowls, Pepper Vine, Vasevine, Devil's Darning Needles, Woodbine, Wei Ling Xian, Mu Tong, etc.
Parts used: roots, stem flowers, leaves.
Systems/organs affected: bladder, reproductive, nervous, skin, heart, small intestine.
Properties: anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, stimulant, analgesic, antidote, diuretic, anodyne, nervine, anti-inflammatory, vascular tonic, acrid (burning), antimicrobial, cytotoxic, anti-carcinogenic, antipyretic, anti-nociceptive (reduces sensitivity to painful stimuli), antiviral, anti-fungal. .
CLEMATIS is a member of the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) family. It is a woody vine that wraps itself around whatever it finds in its path be it rock or tree. It has vibrant green foliage with striped cylindrical stems and opposite leaves that vary in shape and length according to the variety. The flowers have four sepals, numerous stamens and vary in color from white to ivory to a bluish purple. The vine can grow to be up to 100 feet long and blooms from April to June with the fruit appearing between July and September. There are around 350 species of clematisthroughout the globe. It is native to China but has naturalized in various climates.
Clematis has been used for centuries by Asian cultures for arthritic and rheumatic conditions and to help drive damp conditions from the body. It was used, also, for anxiety, migraines, uterine and ovarian cramping. The early Spanish Americans called it the 'herb of the goat' and decocted it to wash wounds. The Native Americans used the inner bark for fevers and both the leaves and bark for shampoo. They treated wounded horses with a decoction of the leaves. The fibers from the bark were used to make nets and snares. The King's American Dispensatory states that, “Clematis virginiana has been highly spoken of as a nervine in uterine diseases... Clematis recta, being particularly useful in nervous insomnia, neuralgic and rheumatic headaches, toothaches, reflex neuroses of women from ovarian or urinary irritation, neuroses of men with pain in testicles and bladder, cystitis, urethritis, gonorrhea, orchitis and swellings of the inguinal glands.” In the 16th Century, it was powdered and used internally for bone pain. It was used by the early pioneers as a substitute for pepper and the root was ground up and dried and then used for shampoo.
Michael Moore (herbalist), once said of clematis that, “... a useful treatment for headaches in general and migraine and cluster headaches specifically... Most effective in classic migraines where there are head flushes or visual disturbances in advance of the actual headache and most effective then, when drunk at the first sign of these presymptoms. Some folks find the tea works better, some find the tincture more effective. Try both.”
The Virginia variety was used for all kinds of skin problems and venereal diseases. It was also used for cancers, tumors, nephrosis (kidney disease), scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymph nodes in the neck), gout, malaria, blood sugar and blood pressure issues and as an antidote for snake bites. Different species of the plant were used for different things. For instance, the Chinesis version used the roots for pain, fevers, cancer and as an antibacterial. Montana and Armandii varieties were used to promote lactation, urination and to stimulate menstruation. The Vitalba species was used for tooth pain (the branches were smoked like cigarettes for that), etc. Hunters would even use the fuzzy seeds to pack their boots in winter to keep their feet warm.
According to studies, clematis has a host of components that act as anti-inflammatory agents. The ethanolic extracts of three different kinds of clematis were found to inhibit the enzymes that cause inflammation. The strongest of those was clematis pickeringii, In animal studies the vitalba variety was found to reduce the sensitivity to painful stimula, as was the brachiata version. In point of fact, clematis brachiata was able to lower one's body temperature better than indomethacin (a medication used to treat the pain and inflammation associated with gout and rheumatoid arthritis).
In in vitro studies, clematis ganpiniana was found to be effective not only against breast cancer cells but also effective against E. coli, candida, staph, bacillus subtilis (the bacterium from hay and grass) and bacillus pumilus (spore bacteria found in soil).
Clematis Montana has been found to have antiviral effects against HIV and flus.
The Chinese Materia Medica says it is tasteless or slightly bitter and cold in nature. It is used on the meridians for the bladder, heart and small intestine. In traditional Chinese medicine it is typically used for mastitis, hepatitis, diabetes, lower back pain, cancer, arthritis, psoriasis, to induce labor and for digestive issues related to the esophagus and peristalsis. There are some indicators that clematis root may also revitalize beta cells which may help with Type I diabetes. (In Type I diabetes, the beta cells stop producing insulin �clematis seems to re-boot those cells to produce insulin again).
In a study done on 35 patients with viral hepatitis, 90% of them were found to get better when taking clematis.
Clematis is one of the Bach flower essences used for those who seem to live in a dream world and need to be grounded. These people are often considered airheads or 'not all there' and have a hard time focusing (would be good for anyone experiencing focus issues) and meeting obligations. Clematis helps to clear the mind and focus on the present. It is a part of Bach's famous rescue remedies.
Keep in mind that clematis is an acrid herb. This means that it burns and can cause severe reactions if used improperly. It is considered a poisonous plant as it is part of the buttercup family so great care needs to be used when employing this herb. It can cause skin redness, blistering and inflammation if not correctly used topically. Improper oral use can cause labored breathing, blistering, abdominal cramping, irritated kidneys, eye inflammation, weakness, bloody and painful urination, bloody diarrhea, vomiting of blood, dizziness, fainting, confusion and convulsions. If too much has been ingested it is suggested that the stomach be pumped and demulcents employed (slippery elm, marshmallow root, etc.). Generally, clematis is not to be used long-term.
This herb should never be used by: pregnant women, those with excessive urination, enuresis or those on blood pressure or blood sugar medications as it may cause those to drop too low.
ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY HERBAL PRODUCT OR REGIMEN.
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