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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.

aka American everlasting, Pearly Everlasting, Ladies tobacco, Cudweed, Poverty weed, Silver leaf,
Life everlasting, Cotton weed, None-so-pretty, Margarite, Moonshine, Silver button, Silver Leaf

(Anaphalis margaritacea)

A perennial, creeping, spreading woolly North American native of the Compositae family. Not fragrant. Flowers appear from July-Sept and the male flowers have a yellow tuft in the center. Found in fields with dry soil.

PROPAGATION: By seed or by digging up the creeping rootstock.
NEEDS: Full sun and soil on the dry side.
HARVEST: Flowers with stalks; leaves.
PART USED: Whole plant.


Expectorant, astringent, aromatic, anodyne, sedative, diaphoretic, vulnerary, pectoral, aphrodisiac and antiseptic.
Native Americans used the tea for colds, bronchial coughs, throat infections.
Leaves were smoked for throat and lung ailments.
A decoction was used for coughs, tuberculosis and its affectations, and stomach complaints.
Used for diarrhea; pulmonary complaints.
Externally, a poultice was used for sprains, bruises, boils, painful swellings and rheumatism. Also, fomentations were applied to the head to induce sleep.
A decoction of the flowers and stalks was used as a fomentation for painful or bruised limbs, bronchitis and for ulcers.
Used for burns, and as a weak vermifuge.
Fresh juice of the plant was used for ulcerations of the mouth.
The Tete de Boule Indians boiled the flowers and applied them to burns and dermatitis.
The Mohawk made an infusion of the flowers together with the root of mullein for asthma.
An unusual use of the plant by both the Chippewa and the Flambeau: the Chippewa made a decoction from the flowers and combined it with mint, then sprinkled the liquid onto hot coals where it would be inhaled by a patient to provide relief from paralysis. The Flambeau thought the flowers smelled like acorns and would reduce them to a powder, then sprinkle them on live coals to be inhaled by a patient needing relief from paralysis.

The leaves were included in the list of Canadian medicinal plants. The plant (cut and dried) was used as a tobacco substitute by fishermen.

The leaves of the variety A. m. var. subalpina was used in the form of incense by the Cheyenne as a strong 'spiritual medicine' capable of affording protection and also used for purification rites.
The Forest Potawatomi dried the flowers and smoked them in a pipe or burned them on hot coals as protection from evil spirits who would interfere in the healing of the patient. Anaphalis was also used as a 'witch charm' to keep evil spirits away from a house. When the dried flowers were placed on a pan of live coals, it was believed to hurt the eyes of the evil spirits and keep them away.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH