Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger in Bloom
     Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) is a herba- ceous plant native to the deciduous forests of eastern North America.  It grows as far north as southeastern Canada but here along the fall line, we are at the southern edge of it's range.  Wild Ginger's long rhizomes smell and taste similar to ginger root but the two are not closely related.  The plants grow in small clumps that put down shallow roots and bear kidney-shaped leaves and tan to purplish flowers.
     Native Americans used the plant for medicinal purposes ranging from headache and cold remedy to the treatment of tuberculosis and venereal disease.  The use of wild ginger in medicines and cooking is inadvisable, however, because we know it contains an undetermined concentration of carcinogenic aristolochic acid.

No comments:

Post a Comment