Medicinal Native Plants | Trisha Shirey & Ellen Zimmermann |Central Texas Gardener

Welcome to Backyard Basics, I’m Trisha Shirey, and joining me once again is Ellen Zimmermann of Easy Herbs. Welcome to the program, Ellen.
– Thanks, Trisha. – We’re in the midst of a beautiful spring, and there are so many things that are growing that are native but also have medicinal benefits, and Ellen is going to share some of those with us. Let’s start with agarita. That’s one of my favorite drought-tolerant shrubs, and it has these beautiful berries this time of year, which are edible, but it also has medicinal uses.
– It does, and the agarita mahonia trifoliolata – it has a three leaf pattern, as you can see. – Thorny leaf. – Thorny leaf, but it’s definitely in threes, and the berries, as you said, are edible, and it’s a good old Texas remedy and to make agarita jam, and even that has a little bit of medicinal properties to it. But more of the medicine is in the branch and in the root because you can see the yellow in the root is the berberine that’s in the plant, and that has antiviral properties, antibiotic properties. It’s a great herb for the lever. I have people who actually order it to treat severe liver disorders, so you can – I don’t harvest the root because then you have to –
– You lose the plant. – You lose the plant, so I harvest
the branches which also have a lot of berberine in it, and I make a tea from the branches or a tincture. I also make tea from the leaves, so the whole plant has the berberine to it, all the way from the most in the root, up through the branches to the leaves and even into the berries, so it’s a great plant. It’s our gift in Central Texas because it only grows in the Edwards Plateau. – It likes rocky thin soils, that’s where it does best.
– It does. – It really doesn’t take clay soils very well. So let’s move on to echinacea, which a lot of people grow because it’s a beautiful flower, but it has a lot of medicinal properties and one of the oldest herbal remedies around. – It is, it’s the world’s most popular herbal medicine, Echinacea purpurea. That’s the species. And it grows fabulous in Central Texas. It’s a wildflower, so you can cast your seeds in the fall as other wildflowers, and again, the whole plant is medicinal. Traditionally, echinacea root is what was used to make medicine, and the medicine is for the immune system as most of us know. A lot of people take echinacea when they’re starting to get a cold or a flu. It’s good for all kinds of infections. The Native Americans called it snake root, and you can even use it for snake bites. – I’ve heard that.
– The buds, also, don’t forget the buds. The buds have a chemical constituent in it that’s good for prevention of disease.
– Interesting, okay. And then, so the black hall viburnum, that’s a beautiful shrub. It’s a good understory tree, kind of hard to find. But what kind of uses does it have?
– The rusty black hall viburnum is commonly called cramp bark, and it’s antispasmodic, and it’s used – I use it mostly for women who have menstrual cramps, but it’s a – restless leg syndrome, it works as an antispasmodic.
– Okay, and let’s move on to passion vine. That’s a wonderful vine, a great butterfly plant, host plant. So what are its medicinal properties?
– It’s a great herb, very safe herb for anxiety. To stifle anxiety. It’s also a good painkiller, and it’s – it’s very safe, that’s why I love to use passion flower. – And what part of the plant is used? – The leaves and the flowers, so the aerial parts of the plant.
– And so, you make tinctures from these, and these are some of the tinctures, and the tinctures are best used as – just done sublingually.
– Right, I’m going to sample it.
– Show us how you take that. – Show you how I take a tincture.
Just fill up your little dropper. Right under the tongue.
– Right under the tongue, gets into the body most quickly, but you can also put it in water or tea so you don’t have to take it that way. But most of my tinctures taste okay, they’re pretty good.
– Thanks for joining us on Backyard Basics.
– Thank you so much.

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