Saturday, June 25, 2011

In the Meantime, Here's Some Devil's Club

When you have a big event, a lot gets done in preparation, but a lot of other things get put aside until after the event.  My daughter's been graduated and my son's been married and now that everyone who came here for the events has left, I'm reviewing what needs to be done in the various facets of my life.

So, in the meantime, I was going to put up some devil's club photos I've taken.  But they really aren't that good.  So, I deleted most of them and settled for a couple that are just barely ok. Sorry, I've got things to do. 

 From an old NPR story:
Devil's club, or Oplopanax horridus, is a plant with an unmistakable presence. It has leaves like palm fronds, spines like daggers and red fruit that's candy for bears. It sticks its long neck out as far south as Oregon, and to the east, has even surprised a few Michigan hikers with its cloak of vicious thorns. But the plant is perhaps most common to the bear, deer and salmon habitats of Alaska's Tongass National Forest.   [Well, we aren't near the Tongass, but we have lots up here in Southcentral Alaska too.]

 "The Tlingit have turned to devil's club for a list of ailments you wouldn't wish on an enemy: from coughs and colds to stomach ulcers, tuberculosis and hypoglycemia. 
Tribe members steep it into teas, mash it into salves, chew, sip and steam it. It's also used to ward off evil. The plant, dubbed the "Tlingit aspirin" has not been approved for medicinal use by the Food and Drug Administration."

"Externally the prickly outer bark sometimes is scraped from the stem, leaving the cambium for use in the preparation of decoctions and poultices; however, others use both the cambium and stem together. Poultices were applied to sores and wounds to prevent or reduce swelling and infection. The cambium sometimes is softened by chewing prior to being placed on a cut or burn as an emergency analgesic and local antiseptic. In many cultures, the plant is believed to possess “magical” powers that impart great strength."

Devil's Club superficially is similar to Cow Parsnip - in the size of the plant and the leaf shape and size.  An older post on cow parsnip compares devil's club and cow parsnip.

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