Apr. 21, 2017

common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

Another common trait of showy flowered plants made their medicinal use compelling. Showy flowers attract all manner of predators. These plants need defenses against being eaten. They therefore typically contain physiologically active chemicals. Milkweed is a well known example. That milky sap contains very bitter and active chemicals. Almost nothing will eat them. But used in small amounts, it will produce reactions that at the very least you can imagine as helpful. It will certainly bring up anything else that may be bothering your stomach. Just like the pills in the bottles in my cupboard, it needs to be used in moderated doses. Even today there is a very active effort to find phytochemicals (to use the technical term) that will produce helpful reactions, including profits for the pharmacy industry. Common milkweed grows in AL, AR, CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, MB, NB, NS, ON, PE, QC, and SK(E). Hillsdale Co MI, 7/3/16.