Caprifoliaceae / Honeysuckle
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Lore: Stone age sites from Europe reveal that Elder has been valued by mankind for thousands of years. Some thought that spirits lived among the plants and refused to cut them down.(Erichsen-Brown) The Elder shows up in the myth and legend of many peoples in the old world and the new. The various beliefs are far to numerous to list here in entirety. The stems have been used to make musical instruments such as flutes and Native Americans made clapper sticks used ceremonially to accompany singing and dancing. The stems have been used to make arrow shafts and blowguns. In addition, the berries formed a principle food for some tribes. The leaves, crushed and rubbed on the skin or worn under a hat are thought to keep insects at bay and the juice has been used by gardeners to protect other plants from insects. The wood has been used to make various delicate instruments such as combs, skewers, needles for weaving nets and is said to persist in the earth longer than an iron bar.(Grieve)
Uses: Large amounts of vitamin C, flavenoids and rutin, which are known to improve immune function account for
the use of the juice and flower tea as a cold remedy and tannins account for many of the other medical uses. Native
Americans used the inner bark to make tea used as a diuretic, emetic and laxative and poultice it on various injuries.
Modern herbalist tend to use only the flowers and fruits for similar purposes. The flowers are used in tea to treat fevers
and stimulate perspiration, sooth headache and to treat colds, flue, dropsy, rheumatism, consumption, urinary infections
and many other conditions. Warning:Fruits from related species that are red, unripe fruits, leaves and other parts
of the plant may be dangerously purgative and should not be ingested. (Foster & Duke) (Dobelis)
Both a key and 380 color photos make this book useful for identifing the woody plants of Tennessee.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves