Herb Library

Back to Herb Menu     Back to Index

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 , Stinking Clover, Waa' (Navajo)
(Cleome serrulata)

Having saved them at times from starvation, this plant is esteemed by the Navajo people. It is found growing on the mesas of the reservations to a height of about 3 feet; the flowers are purple and bloom July through August.


The leaves and flowers were boiled and eaten by the natives of New Mexico and Arizona.

The entire plant is harvested before blooming and used to produce a yellow-green dye. One bushel of the plant is boiled in 5 gallons of water until tender; the leaves are then mashed and the stalks removed; to the mix add one pound of yarn, then place the whole aside in a warm place for one week for it to ferment; during this time, the yarn is rubbed into the dye often; after one week, place on stove and let boil for one hour; remove from heat and allow to ferment another week, then rinse.

©2002 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH