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Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




BUNCHBERRY
CORNACEAE
aka Cracker Berry, Dwarf Cornel, Scarlet Stoneberry
(Cornus canadensis syn Cornus succia)
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A low, woodland plant native to North America. The slender stem topped by a whorl of leaves (4 to 6) and just below them, one to 2 pair of scales. The leaves have distinctive veining with 2 or 3 pairs running from the center of the vein below the middle of the leaf; flowers appear atop the stalk which grows from the top of the stem; petals (bracts) are white while the true flower is green and in the center of the bracts; the fruit is a bright red berry appearing in a dense cluster.

Called 'Matagon' by the Native Americans of the Quebec region of Canada where the berries were used as food.



USES
MEDICINAL:
Has been used by Native Americans for paralysis, the berry being steeped for an infusion.
The Flambeau Ojibwe made tea from the root for infant colic.
The Tete de Boule boiled the plant with wintergreen to treat colds; it was also combined with yew to treat menstrual cramps.
The whole plant was used by the Malecite for "fits".
In the recent past bunchberry has been examined for possible use in heart disease and cancer.

CULINARY:
The red fruit was eaten by Native Americans in New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, British Columbia, and Alaska.





©2005 Ernestina Parziale, CH

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