Wednesday, April 25, 2012
APRIL 25, 2012 HYDRASTIS CANADENSIS
Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.
Most medicinal herbs should never be wild harvested. Most need a very specific habitat and won’t transplant well. It is also illegal to take plants from state or national parks or forests without a permit. But some medicinal herbs are commercially grown and can be added to residential gardens. Herbs can be purchased at some garden centers or ordered from specialized seed catalogs. The United Plant Savers also holds Plant Give-Away events for members. This is why you need to be a member of United Plant Savers http://www.unitedplantsavers.org/
To grow goldenseal, it helps to own a patch of Ohio woodlands with a rich, moist, loamy soil, as well as good water drainage and about 60 to 70 percent shade. I doubt any of us in New York City own a piece of land in Ohio, but you never know who you will meet If you are lucky, it is also sometimes possible to tuck a few plants into a backyard native wildflower garden.
Do you know anything about the plant Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)? It is known asone of the oldest American Indian medicinal plants. I relate to Goldenseal. Unfortunately, by 1910 Goldenseal was the most common item in the American herbal medicine chest and was being picked to extinction. Its most active ingredient is Berberine. There are several plants/herbs that have berberine. Goldenseal is still the most popular herbal among consumers. It is rare in the Midwestern United States according to Matthew Wood's book The Book of Herbal Wisdom. There are many conditions for which goldenseal is used. Some of them include gastrointestinal ukcers, mouth ulcers, sore throat, bladder infections, pruritis, boils, eczema and many other skin disorders. Since the herb is considered endangered I try to utilize it very little in clinical practice. The delivery of goldenseal is varied as dried root, tincture, powdered, capsules, and fluid extract.
To grow goldenseal:
Step 1 — Site Preparation: Begin with a humus-rich soil under natural shade or a man-made canopy. The general soil preparation is the use of lime to create a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.0.
Step 2 — Propagation: Goldenseal can be best started from rhizome pieces planted in the fall. Plant two to three inches deep. Be patient. It can take three to five years to grow harvestable roots from rhizomes, longer with other propagation methods.
Step 3 — Mulch: Keep the area around goldenseal weed-free and use hardwood bark chips or leaf humus. Rake back the mulch to one to two inches before the plants emerge in spring.
Step 4 — Harvest: Divide the plants or harvest the roots in fall when fully mature.