Gumweed, also known as grindelia squarrosa can be seen blooming along Main St. and in pastures where the ground has been disturbed. This is a very interesting plant as it has extremely sticky and gummy resinous leaves and flowers. A member of the sunflower family that grows from 1 to 3 feet tall, the pretty yellow gumweed flowers may tempt a person to pick a bouquet. Think again! The sap tends to linger on hands and clothing.
Indians used gumweed as a treatment for asthma, bronchitis, colic and skin rash. Practitioners of folk medicine used it to treat cancers of the spleen and stomach, burns, colds, fever, gonorrhea, pneumonia, rashes, rheumatism, smallpox and tuberculosis. Today, extracts of gumweed are used in medicine for treatment of bronchial spasm, asthma, whooping cough and poison ivy rashes. In fact, the herb is officially approved in Germany for treatment of catarrh of the upper respiratory tract. Who would have thought that such an innocuous and humble looking plant was such a powerhouse of healing!
****This article is for informational uses only and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe for any medical condition.