Alaskan Plant #2: Fireweed

Alaskan Plant #2: Fireweed

 

Yarrow was the first plant I discussed as part of my Alaskan Plant article series. The next plant I would like to cover is Fireweed. Fireweed is a plant that I haven’t used much but it is a fascinating plant! On one of the tour buses we kept passing by fields of them, and in other parts of Alaska I saw them along road sides, side walks, and in wooded areas. It is a beautiful plant that isn’t always discussed, so I thought I would write a mini profile on it!

 

 

Latin Name:

 

Epilobium angustifolium.

The synonyms for Epilobium angustifolium are Chamaenerion angustifolium2,3, Chamerion angustifolium 2,3,4 and Epilobium spicatum3.

 

Plant Family:

 

Onagraceae

 

Fireweed Uses

Fireweed Uses

 

About The Plant:

 

Fireweed is found along roads1,2, meadows, and disturbed areas, such as places that have been logged or burned1. It is called fireweed since it grows in newly burnt areas2.

 

Herbalism-Herb:

 

Bruton-Seal and Seal state it is no longer used that much in western herbalism in current times2. However, it is used by the indigenous peoples or First Nations of the Americas2,4.

This plant is used in foods. I bought some amazing fireweed jelly during my trip! Its honey is also very popular1,2,4, but unfortunately I did not see any when I was there.

 

Fireweed digestive uses and properties

Fireweed Digestive Uses And Properties!

 

Usually the flowers1,2,4, leaves1,2,3,4, and roots are used4. It is often made into a tea1,2,3,4, syrup2, or herb infused oil4. Fireweed can be used for digestive issues like an upset stomach1, stomach ache3, diarrhea2,4, and constipation1,3. But it is laxative1,3,4 in excessive amounts1.

It has some antibacterial properties3, and it is effective against some types of yeast or other fungi2,3,4. Fireweed is anti-inflammatory3,4, soothing2,4, and calmative4. It is astringent2,3,4 and it is used for pain (it is analgesic), including sore throats2,3,4. It is effective for coughs3,4. The leaves can be used for minor wounds2,3,4 and burns3,4.

 

Fireweed Properties

Fireweed Properties

 

Aromatherapy-Hydrosol:

 

As far as I know, I don’t think there is an essential oil that is commercially available. However, there is a fireweed hydrosol but (at the time of this writing) I have not used it. I think it is a rare hydrosol that is not commonly available, so all of its properties have not been completely figured out yet. The hydrosol is not mentioned much in the aromatherapy or herbalism literature. However Rogers states that though there is not much research done on it, he thinks the hydrosol is probably antibacterial and it might be useful for burns4.

Fireweed Hydrosol Uses

Fireweed Hydrosol Uses

 

References:

 

Biggs, Carol R. 1999 (originally written) and 2016 (8th printing). Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants: Alaska, Canada & Pacific Northwest Rainforest, Volume 1-An Introductory Pocket Trail Guide. Fireweed profile.   p. 19-20.

Bruton-Seal, Julie and Matthew Seal. 2009. Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies. Castle Books. New York, NY. p. 146-149.

Duke, James et al. 2002. Handbook Of Medicinal Herbs, 2nd edition. CRC Press. New York and Washington D.C. p. 302

Rogers, Robert Dale. 2014. Mini Review: Fireweed-A Treasured Medicine of the Boreal Forest. Discovery Phytomedicine 1: 10-15.

 

Alaskan Plant Articles:

 

Yarrow: http://www.plantalkemie.com/aromatherapy/alaska-and-seattle-plant-1-yarrow/

 

For more information or if you have questions about aromatherapy, herbalism, formulation, perfumery, eco living, and natural skin and hair care, please join Plant Alkemie’s Facebook group and Plant Alkemie’s Facebook fan page. And be sure to check out more articles on Plant Alkemie’s website: http://www.plantalkemie.com.

 

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