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Earthnotes
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.




BUTTERCUP 1
RANUNCULACEAE
aka Lesser Celandine, Pilewort
(Ranunculus ficaria)
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!!WARNING!!
TOXIC!
PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY!
HARMFUL IF EATEN!
SKIN IRRITANT!
Most members of the Ranunculus family contain irritating
compounds that make them unsafe for internal use!

In folk medicine some varieties of Buttercup were used for cancer by being combined with honey from clover blossoms and other herbs.

PROPAGATION: By SEED in summer; by division in spring or autumn.
NEEDS: Grown as a crop in neutral to alkaline soil in sun or shade. Can be invasive when grown under moist conditions in shade which encourages bulbil formation at the base of the leaves.
PART USED: Whole plant, roots.
HARVEST: Entire plant, including roots, are lifted after flowering; used fresh for ointments and suppositories, dried for other uses.
CULTIVATED VARIETIES:
R. f. Albus: White blooming
R. f. Brazen Hussy
R. f. Flore Pleno

MEDICINAL USES:
Astringent, slightly bitter.
Has been used both internally and externally for hemorrhoids.
Has been used externally for perineal damage resulting from childbirth.
For general external use has been combined with Witch Hazel. Also: combined with Plantain, Calendula, or Witch hazel for suppositories.




BUTTERCUP 2
Ranunculaceae
aka *Batchelor Button, Blisterweed, Burrwort, Butterrose, Crowfoot, *Globe Amaranth, Gold Cup, Gold Knots,
Horse-Gold, Meadow Crowfoot, Meadowbloom, Tall Field Buttercup, Yellow Gowan, Yellow Weed, Yellows

(*Do not confuse with plants more commonly known by these names.)
(Rununculus acris)
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!!WARNING!!
TOXIC!
PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY!
HARMFUL IF EATEN!
SKIN IRRITANT!
Most members of the Ranunculus family contain irritating
compounds that make them unsafe for internal use!

CONTAINS: Antibiotic protoanemonine

A perennial native to Europe, but naturalized in North America where it is found in the eastern states and in the Pacific northwest from Oregon to western British Columbia. Simple stems grow from 1 to 3 feet; leaves are sharply incised, palmately compound, and downy with long petioles (although upper leaves can be nearly sessile); flowers a shiny yellow. Some double forms occur.

PART USED: Fresh plant
RELATED VARIETIES:
R. recurvatus: The root was used by the Menomini and the entire plant by the Ojibwe to produce a RED DYE by boiling in water, then immersing fabric in the tepid water.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Acrid, anodyne, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, rebefacient.
Has been used for abrasions, toothache, and rheumatism.
The Montagnais tribe of Native Americans relieved sinus headache by using the dried plant as snuff to promote sneezing. The Algonquins of Temiscaming used the flowers and seeds powdered for the same purpose.

HOMEOPATHIC:
A homeopathic tincture is used for skin diseases, rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis, rhinitis.

DYE:
Sources state both red and yellow can be produced. The Ojibwe used burr oak to set the color which was probably red. The Forest Potawatomi used the entire plant to produce a yellow dye which they used on rushes or flags to make baskets and mats (color was set by placing a handful of clay in the pot).

OTHER:
The Ojibwe smoked the seeds in their pipes along with other herbs to lure deer close enough for a shot with bow and arrow.




BUTTERCUP 3
Ranunculaceae
aka Acrid Crowfoot, Bulbous Buttercup, Cuckoo Buds, Crowfoot, Frogwort, King's Cup, Meadowbloom, Pilewort, St. Anthony's Turnip
(Rununculus bulbosus)
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!!WARNING!!
TOXIC!
PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY!
HARMFUL IF EATEN!
CHEWING ANY PART OF THE PLANT CAUSES PAIN AND INFLAMMATION OF THE MOUTH!
SKIN IRRITANT!
External application can cause blisters and prolonged use can lead to ulcerations!
Most members of the Ranunculus family contain irritating
compounds that make them unsafe for internal use!

CONTAINS: Protoamemonin, anemonin

A common plant native to Europe and naturalized in the United States. Can be found in fields, pastures and dry meadows of the northeastern United States and the Pacific northwest coastal areas. The hairy stem rises 6 to 18 inches from a solid, fleshy bulb, or corm. Basal leaves have long petioles and tripartate leaves having 3 lobed leaflets; upper leaves are pinnate, with 3-lobed leaflets. Flowers are yellow with 5 petals and numerous hairy stamens; appear May through July depending on location.

PART USED: Juice of leaves and flowers
SOLVENT: Water.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Acrid, hot, rubefacient, counter-irritant, toxic; affects heart. Used same as R. acris.
Has been used for skin diseases. The juice has been applied directly to warts.
Juice has been applied externally to rheumatic and gouty joints.
Tincture has been applied externally and taken internally for shingles and sciatica.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
PROFESSIONALS ONLY!
TINCTURE = 6 to 8 drops

HOMEOPATHIC:
Tincture used to treat: alcoholism, pain below the breast, pains in the chest, delirium tremens, diarrhea, dropsy, dyspnea, eczema, epilepsy, pain in the feet, gastralgia, hay fever, shingles hiccup, hydrocele, jaundice, pain in the liver, neuralgia, nyctalopia, ovarian neuralgia, pleuristic adhesion, rheumatism.

OTHER:
Was once used by beggars to produce open sores in a bid for sympathy.




BUTTERCUP 4
Ranunculaceae
aka Biting Crowfoot, Blisterwort, Celery-leaved Buttercup, Celery-leaved Crowfoot, Cursed Crowfoot, Ditch Crowfoot, Marsh Crowfoot, Water Crowfoot
(Rununculus sceleratus)
imageImage

!!WARNING!!
!!TOXIC!!
♠ PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY!
(The same is true of this one as the others, only worse!)
♠ HARMFUL IF EATEN!
♠ CHEWING ANY PART OF THE PLANT CAUSES PAIN AND INFLAMMATION OF THE MOUTH!
♠ SKIN IRRITANT!
♠ External application can cause blisters and prolonged use can lead to ulcerations!
♠ Boiling the plant in water has been known to sicken those in the vicinty
of the oils rising in the steam much as poison ivy!
♠ It is said that 1/2 oz of the juice can kill a dog!
♠ Most members of the Ranunculus family contain irritating
compounds that make them unsafe for internal use!

Annual or biennial found in wet, marshy environments of the northeastern United States and coastal areas of the western United States and Canada. Root is fibrous from which rise stiff, hollow, glabrous, branched stems 6 to 18 inches in height. Leaves are thick, light green, shiny, palmately lobed. Flowers are pale yellow and appear from May to November.

PART USED: Fresh plant
RELATED VARIETIES:
YELLOW WATER CROWFOOT (R. flabellaris): The Meskwaki used the stigma of the flowers as snuff to cause sneezing to clear sinus passages.
SMALL-FLOWERED BUTTERCUP (R. abortivus): Was used as a diaphoretic and for syphilis.
R. pensylvanicus: Used the same as R. sceleratus, also for corns, warts, and wens.
R. repens: Has been used as fodder for milk animals in the belief it gave a good color to milk and its butter.



USES

MEDICINAL:
Has been used the same as R. acris. Was chiefly used as an external counterirritant to rheumatism, hip disorders, sciatica, and piles.
The decoction has been used as an INSTANT EMETIC for other POISONS.
Was once used in Europe for intermittant fever by applying to the wrists and hands.

VETERINARY:
Was once applied to fistulous ulcers and boils on backs of horses.
First aid treatment for animals sickened by eating Buttercup is to administer raw eggs and sugar in skim milk.

OTHER:
The decoction, thrown onto the ground, is said to bring night crawlers and worms to the surface.
An old dairy ritual was to place garlands of buttercup chains on cows at Midsummer's Eve and to rub the udders with the flowers in the belief this would improve milk yields.





©2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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