Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

Other common names: Common fireweed, great willow herb, rose bay willow herb, wicopy, blooming Sally, wild asparagus, purple rocket, perennial fireweed

*Note that there are several unrelated species with the common name “fireweed”

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Family: Onagraceae

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Dawn Endico

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Dawn Endico

Actions:

Astringent, styptic, antimicrobial, tonic, febrifuge, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, mild laxative, digestive tonic, diuretic.

Harvest:

Young shoots are harvested in spring, the roots in autumn.

Part used: Leaves, stems, roots.

Constituents:

Tannins, vitamins C and A, sitosterol, flavonoids, polysaccharides and others.

Indications:

Fever, infections, enlarged prostate, abscesses, tumours, cuts/scrapes, swelling/inflammation, bleeding, rheumatism, stomach upset, constipation, fluid retention, sunburns, razor rash.

Photo courtesy of www.geograph.org.uk

Photo courtesy of http://www.geograph.org.uk

Medicinal preparations:

Internal

Fireweed can be used in an infusion (decoction for the roots), the stems can be peeled and eaten raw, and the roots can be roasted. The leaves can be either made into a tea, or used in tinctures, syrups or other internal preparations (as can the roots).

External

The leaves make a great poultice to draw pus out of an abscess, while making it so the wound doesn’t heal over too quickly before the infection is drained. It can also be applied in a liniment or ointment to kill infection, or reduce inflammation. It can be handy when used in an aftershave or after-sun product.

Contraindications:

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Do not administer to children or take with medications without the advice of a physician. If you have a serious health condition such as cancer, talk with your healthcare practitioner before taking fireweed or any herbal supplement.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Fireweed is truly a fire plant, even energetically speaking. It has such an affinity for the element that it thrives in places where a fire has ravaged. After the Mount St. Helens eruption, fireweed was one of few plants that took over the charred areas. It has a masculine affinity, as well.

Historically it was prized among several First Nations tribes, and it was combined with toxic hallucinogens in Russia to make what was called “Ivan’s tea.” According to Alaskan folklore, the blooming of fireweed indicates the end of summer and the impending cold weather.

Needless to say, the constitution of fireweed is hot and dry.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

 

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