Spicebush Plant Information – A Wild Edible
This post, titled Spicebush Plant Information – A Wild Edible, provides information including edibility and propagation of this medicinal plant.
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a wild edible that is native to eastern North America. It is a small deciduous tree growing to 15 foot in USDA zones 4 to 9. This hardy perennial tolerates deer, drought, heavy shade, and clay soil. You’ll find spicebush in damp, partially shaded, rich woodlands, on mountains’ lower slopes, in thickets, and along stream banks. Spicebush is primarily an understory species found in the wild in open forests and along forest edges
Spicebush leaves are alternate, simple, oval or obovate and broadest beyond the middle of the leaf. It has yellow flowers that grow in showy clusters which appear in early spring, before the leaves begin to grow. The fruit grow in clusters, from the leaf axils of the female bushes, in autumn. Ripe fruit is a red, berrylike drupe. Plants are either male or female – both sexes are needed in a garden if one wants drupes with viable seeds.
Crush or scratch the thin, brittle twigs, or any part of spicebush to release its lemony-spicy fragrance. The leaves, buds, and new growth twigs can be made into a tea. The fruit drupes taste a little like allspice.
Rinse them, pat them dry, and chop them in a blender or spice grinder. Berries have too much oil to be dried, so flash freeze them for future use.
Spicebush can be propagated by seed, clonal via rhizome sprouting, and cuttings. . Seeds should be stratified for 90-120 days at 41 degrees. Seed should be sown 0.25 to 0.5 in. deep. Softwood cuttings should be taken in June or July.
Spice bush has a wide range of uses as a household remedy, especially in the treatment of colds, dysentery and intestinal parasites. It warrants scientific investigation. The bark is aromatic, astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge, stimulant and tonic. It is pleasant to chew. It is used in the treatment of coughs and colds. The bark can be harvested at any time of the year and is used fresh or dried. The fruits are carminative. The oil from the fruits has been used in the treatment of bruises and rheumatism. A tea made from the twigs was a household remedy for colds, fevers, worms and colic. A steam bath of the twigs is used to cause perspiration in order to ease aches and pains in the body. The young shoots are harvested during the spring and can be used fresh or dried. The bark is diaphoretic and vermifuge. It was once widely used as a treatment for typhoid fevers and other forms of fevers. *
I found some seeds at Amazon. The link is below:
Check out the Amazon link.
Creamy Cashew Salad Dressing
This is the perfect dressing for a wild green salad. The creaminess of the blended cashews balances the robust greens.
6 tbs. olive oil
6 tbs. canola or sunflower oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup mellow (light-colored) miso
2 cloves of garlic
2 common berries, or 1 tsp. allspice, ground
Purée all ingredients in a blender.
Makes 1-1/2 cups
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Enough spicebush twigs, striped of leaves and broken into lengths of approximately 5 inches, to fill a 3-quart pan
2½ quarts water
2 tablespoons honey
Fill pan with twigs and water, and bring to a boil, uncovered. After about 25-30 minutes, water should be slightly yellow. Strain tea through colander into gallon container. Stir in honey. Tea will keep in refrigerator for a week. It should be served hot – microwaving is fine. Enjoy!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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